Thursday, July 24, 2014

Table of contents - "The Spectral Book of Horror Stories" edited by Mark Morris

I hold small, independent publishers to high esteem, I find more often than not that they are bolder than the bigger presses when it comes to publishing books that break the confines of certain limits and their sustained efforts of bringing challenging titles to the readers are nothing short of praiseworthy. One such small publisher, of which I’ve become quite fond ever since its foundation in 2011, is Spectral Press. An independent publisher dedicated mostly to limited signed editions of single story chapbooks and occasional novellas Spectral Press released over time some very interesting titles from some of my favorite writers, such as Gary McMahon’s “What They Hear in the Dark”, Cate Gardner’s “Nowhere Hall”, Alison Littlewood’s “The Eyes of Water”, Tim Lebbon’s “Still Life”, Mark West’s “What Gets Left Behind” or Stephen Volk’s “Whitstable”, with more coming in the future from Angela Slatter, Lisa Hannett, Simon Bestwick, Robert Shearman and Ray Cluley. Recently Spectral Press started to publish single-author short story collections, such as Paul Kane’s “Ghosts”, and multi-author anthologies, such as “The 13 Ghosts of Christmas” edited by Simon Marshall-Jones, as well, and in this case, the next on the line is a very interesting brand new anthology, inspired by the popular 1960’s and 1970’s Pan and Fontana books of horror and ghost stories, “The Spectral Book of Horror Stories”. The good things do not stop with this little piece of news, in the style of the Pan and Fontana books of horror stories Spectral Press intends for “The Spectral Book of Horror Stories” to be an annual anthology, bringing each year new, original stories from the very best writers of the genre. The first collection of this series is edited by Mark Morris and gathers a stellar line up of authors, including Angela Slatter, Alison Littlewood, Helen Marshal, Alison Moore, Gary McMahon, Conrad Williams, Stephen Volk, Robert Shearman, Michael Marshall Smith, Ramsey Campbell and Reggie Oliver. Equally outstanding is the artist and his cover artwork, the impressive Vincent Chong put his talent to excellent use and has created a perfect cover for “The Spectral Book of Horror Stories”, a creepy, disturbing artwork, but with plenty of alluring power to tempt the readers into stepping over the threshold of this anthology. (If you wish to see more, there is a little post on Vincent Chong’s blog describing the process of creation and some of the sketches of this cover.) “The Spectral Book of Horror Stories” will be launched at the 2014 British Fantasy Convention, taking place in York during 5th and 7th September, with a mass signing session. With great regret I have to accept that as much as I would love to attend this book launch and get a copy signed by these wonderful writers this time it will not be possible, so the only thing it remains for me to do is wish all the best to Spectral Press and its new series of short story collections. And also to delight in the interviews made by Angela Slatter with the authors featured on the table of contents uncovering a bit of their writing process and the story behind the stories from “The Spectral Book of Horror Stories”.


“The figure crouched over his mother was… taking something from her, sliding some spidery thing that struggled and screamed soundlessly out of her side and into his leathery dark bag…”
THE NIGHT DOCTOR by Steve Rasnic Tem

“I saw her skin turn black and erupt in blisters and pustules as in one last mute appeal she stretched her hand towards me over the flames…”
THE BOOK AND THE RING by Reggie Oliver

“There wasn’t much of a struggle even when Tomas lashed him, limb by limb, to the stakes, although he had plenty to say to Tomas’s back as he walked away.
It was when Tomas reappeared, leading the shaggy, horned thing from the barn, that Mr Sunshine really started to squeal…”

“On the Tour” by Ramsey Campbell
“The Dog’s Home” by Alison Littlewood
“Funeral Rites” by Helen Marshall
“Slape” by Tom Flecther
“The Night Doctor” by Steve Rasnic Tem
“Dull Fire” by Gary McMahon
“The Book and the Ring” by Reggie Oliver
“Eastmouth” by Alsion Moore
“Carry Within Some Small Sliver of Me” by Robert Shearman
“The Devil’s Interval” by Conrad Williams
“Stolen Kisses” by Michael Marshall Smith
“Cures for a Sickened World” by Brian Hodge
“The October Widow” by Angela Slatter
“The Slista” by Stephen Laws
“Outside Heavenly” by Rio Youers
“The Life Inspector” by John Llewellyn Probert
“Something Sinister in Sunlight” by Lisa Tuttle
“The Video Does Not Exist” by Nicholas Royle
“Newspaper Heart” by Stephen Volk

No comments: