Best Horror of the Year 8

Best Horror of the Year Volume 8 edited by Ellen Datlow (ebook) is on sale in the US for $1.99. Bargain. 

Halloween Reads

One great thing about visiting the dealers’ room at British Fantasy Con (FCon) is that it reminds me how passionate people are who dedicate their time and energy to the small press and how much people still love the printed page.

I’m proud to have had work in TTA Press–  I love it because there’s nothing quite like it publishing short genre fiction in the UK.  Andy Cox, the editor, has an eclectic eye for work and high production values. Interzone, Black Static and Crime Wave win awards, as do the stories that Andy chooses.

As a horror fan, Black Static has contained some amazing stories that have stayed with me, such as “White Rabbit” by Georgina Bruce (British Fantasy Award Winner in the short story category) , “Shark! Shark!” by Ray Cluley (BFA Winner short story) , “When the Moon Man Knocks” by Cate Gardner  (BFA nominated), “Sunshine” by Nina Allan (BFA nominated), “Lullaby” by Steve Rasnic Tem, “Prespective” by Steve. J. Dines,  just to name a few.  It features work by a plethora of talent like Simon Bestwick, Stephen Bacon, Stephen Hardagon, Laura Mauro, Damien Angelica Walters, Kristi Demeester, Helen Marshall, Andrew Hook, Ralph Robert Moore, Gary McMahon, Stephen Graham Jones…

Black Static Issue 60The 60th issue is now out and contains excellent work by Ray Cluley, Stephen Hargadon and Tim Lees.  It also contains the tremendous “Skyshine (or Death by Scotland)” by Carole Johnstone. I become a fangirl after reading her BFA winning story “Signs of the Times”, which was also first published in Black Static. There was a real buzz around “Skyshine” at the conference and I read it when I got home. It’s early to start talking about next year’s awards but I think it would be criminal if this wasn’t nominated. It’s inventive, clever and wry. Oh, and new subscribers can get Issue 60 free by using “B60 FREE” as their Shopper Reference during the checkout.

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I read “The Beauty” by Aliya Whiteley, published by Unsung Stories last year. It was a stunning bit of work about men in a post-woman society, that manages to be both body horror and an exploration of gender roles. I wanted to buy everything on the stand at FCon. In fact, I was deeply put out to find Malcom Devlin’s debut collection, “You Will Grow Into Them”, was sold out by the time I got there. It’s already garnering praise – see James Lovegrove’s review in the Financial Times, no less.

Did I also mention their books are also extremely handsome?

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Daniele Serra won a British Fantasy Award this year for his artwork. I came home with a copy of “Five Feathered Tales” by Alison Littlewood, which Daniele illustrated. It truly is a thing of beauty and Alison’s stories are delicate and dark. Incidentally, I also bought her new novel “The Crow Garden” after I enjoyed “The Hidden People”.

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Black Shuck Books is a relatively new venture from Steve Shaw that launched an HB-Cover-400anthology at FCon called “The Dark Satanic Mills”. It’s the second in his annual collection showcasing British writers (plus an international one), containing original work by Cate Gardner, Charlotte Bond, Paul Finch, Andrew Freudenberg, Gary Fry, Carole Johnstone, Penny Jones, Gary McMahon, Marie O’Regan, John Llewellyn Probert and Angela Slatter. Steve also launched John Lllewellyn Probert’s collection “Made for the Dark”.

Black Shuck’s catalogue is interesting. I’m thinking of Black Shuck Shadows, micro-collections by Thana Niveau, Paul Kane and Joseph D’Lacey.  “A Suggestion of Ghosts: Supernatural Fiction by Women 1826-1897”   is curated by the very knowledgeable Johnny Mains, who has scoured periodicals, archives and collections for work that hasn’t been republished since it was first released.

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Another launch that I attended was Titan Books’ New Fears, edited by Mark Morris. It’s a stellar line-up with writers like Ramsey Campbell, Nina Allan, Conrad Williams, A.K. Benedict, Alison Littlewood and Stephen Laws, to name a few.

For an alternative Halloween read, I’d suggest Simon Bestwick’s “The Feast of All Souls”, which pulls off the trick of being a haunted house story, a Victorian gothic novel, flirts with quantum physics and is a study of loss. Another recommendation would be Laura Mauro’s novella “Naming the Bones”. I’ve watched her career with interest as she’s a fine writer.

While at FCon I saw James Everington read from his novel “The Quarantined City”, in which the protagonist’s search for an author takes him deep into the man’s short stories. James Everington’s fiction is quiet and unsettling, having drawn very favorable attention from The Guardian reviewer Eric Brown. I have to mention Kit Power at this point too, who has a very different (set of) voices, all of them convincing, and who is the only person at the convention who could carry off a reading with a hammer in his hand. His collection will be out next year.

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“The Doll’s Alphabet” by Camilla Grudova is a truly weird collection, repeating motifs
and ideas. Even the stories that non-plussed me left me pondering their meaning long afterwards. Her dystopic short story “Waxy” was nominated in the short story category of the BFAs this year and was a strong contender. Read The Guardian review which draws comparison with Angela Carter, Margaret Atwood and David Lynch.
I’m going to sneak in a mainstream author here. I’m a big fan of Sarah Hall.  Her new collection “Madame Zero” is pure genre. It contains “Mrs Fox” which won the BBC National Short Story Award, in which a woman is tranformed by pregnancy into a vixen. Elsewhere she explores a wind drenched world, the liberation of sexual appetites and an era where a change in antenatal priorties mean to chose a woman’s life over that of her unborn child is illegal.
She’s been twice nominated for the Booker prize and this book reveals the poet at her heart in the concise beauty of her writing.
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Last but not least is Undertow Publications, a Canadian venture run by Mike Kelly. It’s fast gained an excellent reputation for its Year’s Best Weird Fiction and Shadows and Tall Trees, as well as its single author collections, being nominated for Shirley Jackson Awards, World Fantasy Awards and British Fantasy Awards.
Mike Kelly is releasing the range in both hardback (below) and paperback.
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I think they’re good looking books too, with as much style as substance. Does that mean I’m shallow?

 

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British Fantasy Awards 2017

The winners of the 2017 British Fantasy Awards were announced during a ceremony FantasyCon 2017 on Sunday, October 1st in Peterborough, UK. Congratulations to all the nominees and winners.

The nominees, with winners in bold:

The Karl Edward Wagner Award (Special Award)
Jan Edwards

Best Newcomer
Erica L Satifka, for Stay Crazy (Apex Book Company)
James Bennett, for Chasing Embers (Orbit)
Daniel Godfrey, for New Pompeii (Titan Books)
Phil Sloman, for Becoming David (Hersham Horror)
Martin Owton, for Exile (Tickety Boo Press)

Best Magazine / Periodical
Tor.com
Black Static
Ginger Nuts of Horror
Interzone
Uncanny Magazine

Best Non-fiction
The Geek Feminist Revolution, Kameron Hurley (Tor)
Blood Spectrum, Gary Couzens (Black Static Magazine)
Ginger Nuts of Horror, ed. Jim McLeod
This Spectacular Darkness, Joel Lane, ed. Mark Valentine (Tartarus Press)
The Women of Harry Potter series, Sarah Gailey (Tor.com)
Words are my Matter: Writings about Life and Books, 2000-2016, Ursula K Le Guin (Small Beer Press)

Best Comic / Graphic Novel
Monstress, Vol 1: Awakening – Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda (Image Comics)
2000AD (progs 1963-2011) ed. Matt Smith (2000 AD Graphic Novels)
Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat! (#2-13) – Kate Leth & Brittney Williams (Marvel Comics)
Saga (#33-40) – Brian K Vaughan & Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
Sixpack and Dogwelder: Hard Travelin’ Heroz (#1-5) – Garth Ennis & Russ Braun (DC Comics)
Skal (Chapter 3, pages 1-19) – Jennie Gyllblad

Best Independent Press
Grimbold Press
Alchemy Press
Fox Spirit Books
NewCon Press
TTA Press

Best Artist
Daniele Serra
Ben Baldwin
Evelinn Enoksen
Sarah Anne Langton

Best Anthology
People of Colour Destroy Science Fiction ed. Lightspeed Magazine
Asian Monsters ed. Margrét Helgadóttir (Fox Spirit Books)
Dead Letters ed. Conrad Williams (Titan Books)
Fight Like a Girl ed. Joanne Hall & Roz Clarke (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales ed. Dominik Larisien & Navah Wolfe (Saga Press)
Something Remains ed. Peter Coleborn and Pauline E Dungate (Alchemy Press)

Best Collection
Some Will Not Sleep – Adam L G Nevill (Ritual Limited)
The Parts We Play – Stephen Volk (PS Publishing)
Secret Language – Neil Williamson (NewCon Press)
Sharp Ends – Joe Abercrombie (Gollancz)
A Tiding of Magpies – Pete Sutton (KGHH/Kensington Gore Hammered Horror)
The Unheimlich Menoeuvre – Tracy Fahey (Boo Books)

Best Film / Television Production
Arrival
Black Mirror series 3
Captain America: Civil War
Deadpool
High Rise

Best Novella
The Ballad of Black Tom – Victor LaValle (Tor.com Publishing)
Arrival of Missives – Aliya Whiteley (Unsung Stories)
Bodies of Water – VH Leslie (Salt Publishing)
Every Heart a Doorway – Seanan McGuire (Tor.com Publishing)
The Grieving Stones – Gary McMahon (Horrific Tales Publishing)
Hammers on Bone – Cassandra Khaw (Tor.com Publishing)

Best Short Fiction
“White Rabbit” – Georgina Bruce (Black Static 50 – Jan/Feb 2016)
“Charmed Life” – Simon Avery (Something Remains: Joel Lane and Friends, ed. Peter Coleborn and Pauline E. Dungate)
“Greenteeth” – Gary Budden (Black Static 50 – Jan/Feb 2016)
“The Watcher” – Sammy HK Smith (The Book of Angels by AJ Dalton)
“Waxy” – Camilla Grudova (Granta)
“The Women’s Song” – Nadine West

Best Horror Novel
Disappearance at Devil’s Rock – Paul Tremblay (Titan Books)
13 Minutes – Sarah Pinborough (Gollancz)
The Hidden People – Alison Littlewood (Jo Fletcher Books)
The Searching Dead – Ramsey Campbell (PS Publishing)

Best Fantasy Novel
The Tiger and the Wolf – Adrian Tchaikovsky (Pan)
The High King’s Vengeance – Steven Poore (Kristell Ink, Grimbold Books)
The Silver Tide – Jen Williams (Headline)
The Summer Goddess – Joanne Hall (Kristell Ink, Grimbold Books)

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vinyl

I still have every record I’ve ever bought, even the embarrassing stuff. I rescued them from a cupboard a few years ago and was relieved to find that none had warped from being stored close to the boiler ( shame, shame on me).

I’m not in the  market for either of these but they are things of great beauty.

 

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Mithila Review Issue 9

Issue 9 of Mithila Review, the journal of international science fiction and fantasy, is now Mithila Review Issue 9out.

It contains interviews, roundtable discussions, reviews, essays and poetry.

I am proud to be included with a reprint of “Blonde”, a story which originally appeared in Interzone (Issue 260 / Sept 2015). I’m also part of the roundtable on Women in Colour in Speculative Fiction alongside S.B Divya, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Shveta Thakrar, Mimi Mondal and Isha Karki

Read “Blonde”  and Women of Color in Speculative Fiction online.

Down epub/mobi of the entire issue at:

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I Will Surround You

Something to look forward to by Conrad Williams…

Conrad Williams

iwsy-2

My third collection of short stories, I Will Surround You, is to be released by Undertow Publications in October this year. The collection will include short stories published in recent years and will feature such award-shortlisted fiction as Rain, The Fox and Raptors. There will be two original stories especially written for the book: Cwtch and Trash Polka. Until then, feast your eyes on this gorgeous cover by artist Mikio Murakami.

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Arthur Rackham’s 150th Birthday Celebration

This 150th birthday celebration of Arthur Rackham, including a concert and panels, is led by V.H. Leslie.
Victoria’s wonderful novella, “Bodies of Water”, has been nominated for a British Fantasy Award.

V.H. Leslie

19 September 2017 marks the 150th anniversary of Arthur Rackham’s birth. Rackham (1867- 1939) was one of the leading illustrators in Britain’s ‘Golden Age’ of book illustration, and his works are still hugely popular today. He is linked to Bateman’s, Rudyard Kipling’s home in Burwash, East Sussex, through his illustrations of Puck of Pook’s Hill, a tale Kipling based on the house and gardens, and to Sussex in general through a number of locations. I am very excited to be involved in a series of events run by the Sussex Centre for Folklore, Fairy Tales and Fantasy and the University of Chichester.

Arthur Rackham in Sussex: A 150th Birthday Celebration

  • Exhibition, 8 September – 29 October 2017, Bateman’s, East Sussex

With thanks to the National Trust, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Chris Beetles Gallery, Brighton Royal Pavilion and Museums, the East Sussex Arts Partnership, the Arthur Rackham…

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