Tag Archives: Andy Cox

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.


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?


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”.


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.


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.

“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.
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.
I think they’re good looking books too, with as much style as substance. Does that mean I’m shallow?


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Story Acceptance

My thanks to Andy Cox for accepting my story, Inheritance  (or The Ruby Tear) for Black Static magazine. It’s the most traditionally Gothic thing I’ve written and I really appreciate him taking a chance on it.

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Black Static’s 50th Issue

Andy Cox has celebrated the 50th issue of Black Static with a fantastic line up of fiction by Georgina Bruce, V.H. Leslie, Ray Cluley, Gary Budden, Tyler Keevil and Tim Casson, alongside columns by Stephen Volk and Lynda E. Rucker, DVD reviews by Tony Lee and reviews by Peter Tennant – which includes a feature on Simon Bestwick.


Black Static Issue 50 with cover art by Vince Haig

I look forward to reading work by all of these writers but am particularly pleased to see much made of Georgina Bruce’s story “White Rabbit”. I’ve long envied her work for her style and vision which is matched by her technical skill.

I’m also very pleased to see the magazine being featured in the mainstream press. Damien Walter’s article The ominous ordinary: horror writers finding scares in the everyday praises Andy Cox’s vision, Georgina Bruce for  “undermining our faith in the ordinary” and Simon Bestwick’s work as “the most engaged with ordinary British life of any horror writer working today”.

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Andy Cox has sent me the preliminary layout for “Blonde” which will be out in September’s issue of Interzone magazine. The artwork is by Martin Hanford.

Thanks Andy and Martin!

Blonde, illustrated by Martin Hanford.

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Story Acceptance : Interzone

Thanks to Andy Cox for accepting my short story, “Blonde”, for Interzone.

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Story Acceptance

A massive thanks to Andy Cox for accepting my short story set in Hong Kong,  The Absent Shade, for Black Static magazine. This will appear in an issue out early in 2015.

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Accolades for Ray Cluley and Interzone

The winners of the British Fantasy Awards 2013 have been announced. Ray Cluley won the short story category with Shark! Shark! which appeared in Black Static (issue 29). It couldn’t have happened to a better story or a nicer bloke, despite some very tough competition.

Interzone, Black Static’s sister magazine at TTA Press, edited by Andy Cox, won the best magazine/periodical category.

A big congratulations to both. I know it’s smug to say this but in a previous post I put my money where my mouth is and stated that Shark! Shark! was my favourite short story of the year. It cleverly deconstructs a whole film genre while managing to be funny and horrible at the same time, which is no mean feat.




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British Fantasy Awards 2013

I’ve just seen the British Fantasy Award 2013 nominees and am really pleased to see that there are two fabulous pieces of work in the short story category:

Shark! Shark! Ray Cluley (Black Static #29) (TTA Press)
Sunshine, Nina Allan (Black Static #29) (TTA Press)

Andy Cox is nominated for TTA Press in the Best Small Press category (the PS Publishing Independent Press Award) and for both Interzone and Black Static in the Best Magazine category.

Previously on this site I stuck my two penneth in and said that Shark!Shark! was my favourite story of the year, so good luck to Ray.

Congratulations to everyone nominated.



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