Founded in 2011 Spectral Press did from the beginning and continues to do a praiseworthy effort in supporting various forms of short fiction. With a series of chapbooks that reaches its eleventh title this month, three novellas and one collection of short stories, Spectral Press managed to put together a strong portfolio in just a couple of years. Even more so considering that the line-up of authors published by Spectral Press since its foundation includes Cate Gardner, Alison Littlewood, Gary McMahon, Gary Fry, Paul Finch, Simon Kurt Unsworth, Mark West, John Llewellyn Probert, Paul Kane or Stephen Volk, with Angela Slatter, Simon Bestwick, Tim Lebbon and Robert Shearman prepared to join the list. Two of Spectral Press’ upcoming releases will be launched at the World Fantasy Convention on November, 2nd not only in the presence of the authors, Tim Lebbon and Paul Kane, but also of the artists who made the book covers, Les Edwards and Jim Burns. And since we are at this chapter here are the covers and presentations of these two new releases.
The novella signed Tim Lebbon, “Still Life”, has a cover made by Jim Burns and although I am not sitting very well with the feeling of computer generated product left by the image I still find it quite good. Especially when the sense of comfort is shattered more by the silhouetted figure next to the cathedral than the bone choked ground seen to the fore.
Jenni’s husband was part of the Road of Souls––his flesh swarmed by ants and pecked by rooks, bones crushed to powder by wheels of dread––and yet she still saw him in the pool.
The incursion has been and gone, the war is over, and the enemy is in the land, remote and ambiguous. The village outskirts are guarded by vicious beasts, making escape impossible. The village itself is controlled by the Finks, human servants to the enemy––brutal, callous, almost untouchable.
Everything is less than it was before… time seems to move slower, the population is much denuded, and life itself seems to hold little purpose. This is not living, it’s existing.
But in a subjugated population, there is always resistance.
For Jenni, the happiest part of this new life is visiting the pool in the woods, seeing her dead husband within, and sharing memories of happier times. It calms her and makes her feel alive.
But the resistance comes to her for help.
And when her dead husband tells her it is time to fight, Jenni’s life is destined for a shattering change.
Paul Kane’s collection of stories, “Ghosts”, has a cover marked by the great talent of Les Edwards/Edward Miller. I am long admirer of Les Edwards/Edward Miller’s works and here is another example of why I love his art so much. Deeply atmospheric and yet simpler than other covers that have one or more characters taking all of the central stage we see so much lately, it is an excellent game of light and shadow and an image that reveals as much as it conceals.
They are all around us all the time. But only a few make contact, and only certain people are destined to see the Ghosts. Here, you’ll read a lonely shade’s tale… a deceased old man’s house being invaded… how one person discovers the true meaning of the Christmas spirit, while a parent struggles to come to terms with the sad loss of a child… and what happens when the ghosts of war go on the rampage, or when a monstrous wraith stalks the streets looking for revenge. Gathering together all of award-winning and bestselling author Paul Kane’s supernatural fiction, including three brand new stories–one a sequel to Charles Dickens’ ‘The Signal-Man’–and featuring an introduction from bestselling horror author Nancy Kilpatrick (Power of the Blood World series), the script of Wind Chimes introduced by its director Brad Watson (7th Dimension), plus suitably atmospheric cover art from Edward Miller, this is one collection that will haunt you forever.