Monday, October 28, 2013

2012 Nocte Awards nominees

The Nocte Awards are the awards presented by Asociación Española de Autores de Narrativa de Terror (The Spanish Horror Writers Association) presented for the first time in 2009. The Nocte Awards are a prize awarded to the horror works published in Spain throughout a year. On Friday, the nominees for the fourth edition of the Nocte Awards have been announced, with the winners due to be presented on November 8th at The National Museum of Romanticism in Madrid.

Best novel:

“El osito cochambre” (The Filthy Teddy-bear) by Ignacio Cid Hermoso (23 Escalones)

“La hora del mar” (The time of the sea) by Carlos Sisí (Minotauro)

“Lucifer Circus” (Lucifer Circus) by Pilar Pedraza (Valdemar)

Best short story:

“Caperucita y el circo de los susurrus” (Little Red Riding Hood and the Circus of Whispers) by J.M. Tamparillas (“Las mil caras de Nyarlathotep”/“The One-Thousand Faces of Nyarlathotep” – Edge Entertainment)

“La bici amarilla” (The Yellow Bike) by Fernando Cámara (“La ciudad vestida de negro”/“The City Dressed in Black” – Drakul)

“La despedida” (The farewell) by Ángel Luis Sucasas (“Postales desde el fin del mundo”/“Postcards from the end of the world” – Ed. Universo)

“Sufrimiento de justos” (The Righteous’ Suffering) by Daniel P. Espinosa (“Antología Z Vo.6”/“The Z Anthology, Volume 6” – Dolmen)

“Trepanaciones” (Clamberings) by Juan Ángel Laguna Edroso (“Las mil caras de Nyarlathotep”/“The One-Thousand Faces of Nyarlathotep” – Edge Entertainment)

Best collection:

“Circo Dragosi” (The Dragosi Circus) by Fermín Moreno (Ediciones Tusitala)

“Pesadillas de un niño que no duerme” (The Nightmares of a Child That Doesn’t Sleep) by Juan Ángel Laguna Edroso (23 Escalones)

“Vosotros justificáis mi existencia” (You Justify My Existence) by Nurìa C. Botey (Saco de Huesos)

Best foreign book:

“El Devorador” (The Devourer) by Lorenza Ghinelli (Suma de letras)

“El Diablo me obligó” (The Devil Forced Me) by F.G. Haghenbeck (Salto de Página)

“Una edad difícil” (An Awkward Age) by Anna Starobinets (Nevsky Prospects)

Congratulations and good luck to all the nominees!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Cover art - "The Leopard" by K.V. Johansen

I’ve stated my admiration and love for Raymond Swanland’s works with every opportunity I’ve got, so I will not bore you with the details yet again. I’ll only post the new book cover made by this very talented artist that warms my heart, the cover for K.V. Johansen’s upcoming novel “The Leopard”. And here are some details of K.V. Johansen’s first novel in a two-book series due to be released by Pyr on June 2014.

Ahjvar, the assassin known as the Leopard, wants only to die, to end the curse that binds him to a life of horror. Although he has no reason to trust the goddess Catairanach or her messenger Deyandara, fugitive heir to a murdered tribal queen, desperation leads him to accept her bargain: if he kills the mad prophet known as the Voice of Marakand, Catairanach will free him of his curse. Accompanying him on his mission is the one person he has let close to him in a lifetime of death, a runaway slave named Ghu. Ahj knows Ghu is far from the half-wit others think him, but in Marakand, the great city where the caravan roads of east and west meet, both will need to face the deepest secrets of their souls, if either is to survive the undying enemies who hunt them and find a way through the darkness that damns the Leopard.

To Marakand, too, come a Northron wanderer and her demon verrbjarn lover, carrying the obsidian sword Lakkariss, a weapon forged by the Old Great Gods to bring their justice to the seven devils who escaped the cold hells so long before.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Free reading - "Don't Read Alone" by Paul Finch

With Halloween almost at our doors I find this month particularly good for some chilling readings and viewings. Not that the other months aren’t, but Halloween spices up a bit this period of time. If like me you are in search of something to set the perfect mood for the All Hallows’ Eve you can already grab a treat for trick-or-treating. But instead of candies we receive Paul Finch’s collection of stories, “Don’t Read Alone”. An excellent writer of short horror, crime and thriller stories Paul Finch also edited the remarkable series of anthologies published by Gray Friar Press, “Terror Tales of…”, and hit the market recently with the bestselling crime novels featuring the second Detective Mark “Heck” Heckenburg, “Stalkers” and “Sacrifice”. From today until October 27th you can get his latest short story collection published in electronic format for free on Amazon, UK or US depending on your location. Not only that, but in case you miss the chance to grab Paul Finch’s “Don’t Read Alone” until October 27th the collection will be on promotion until November 10th for the price of 99p/99c.

Here is what “Don’t Read Alone” has to offer:

“The Old North Road” (winner of the International Horror Guild Award, 2007) - A disgruntled writer pursues the legend of the Green Man, only to run into trouble of a less ethereal kind on the isolated Old North Road …

“The Poppet” - When two college friends fall out over the same girl, one of them turns to withcraft, and unwittingly unleashes a nightmarish force …

“Grendel’s Lair” - A suspected murderer leads a bunch of cops into a network of derelict air-raid shelters to find a missing child – where a hideous evil awaits them!

“Hell in the Cathedral” - When holiday-makers are marooned in a Mediterranean sea-cave, they at first think it's a joke, only to find themselves at the mercy of a relentless and voracious beast …

“The Baleful Dead” - An ageing metal band reunite to make one last album, but the country mansion they choose for a venue has a history of madness, massacre and necromancy …

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Book trailer - "The Girl With All The Gifts" by M.R. Carey

Despite a prestigious and long career in the comic books my first encounter with Mike Carey’s works was made through “The Devil You Know”, the opening novel in his Felix Castor series. And although I didn’t succeed in reading all the adventures of Felix Castor he is one of characters I hold dear. But Felix Castor didn’t remain alone among Mike Carey’s characters I cherish, last year he was joined by the amazing cast of “The Steel Seraglio” (“The City of Silk and Steel” in the UK), the novel written by the author together with Linda Carey and Louise Carey. As a matter of fact, I didn’t love only the characters of “The Steel Seraglio”, but the entire novel. A novel that I could easily place among my absolute favorites, those which I would like to have with me on a deserted island in case of a shipwreck. So there is no wonder that I received with great joy and interest the announcements of Mike Carey’s next two novels, coming next year. Another collaboration with Linda Carey and Louise Carey, “The House of War and Witness” due to be released by Gollancz, and “The Girl With All The Gifts”, due to be released by Orbit Books. And if at “The House of War and Witness” I’ll come back later with another post, here are two more reasons for which I am eagerly anticipating “The Girl With All The Gifts”, a very interesting synopsis and a catchy trailer to accompany it. It already seems that 2014 would be a busy and juicy reading year.

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her 'our little genius'.

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite, but they don't laugh.

Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children's cells. She tells her favourite teacher all the things she'll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn't know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Title spotlight - "The Moon Will Look Strange" by Lynda E. Rucker

A while back, starting in college, for several years I drifted away from short fiction and focused exclusively on novels. But after a period of time I’ve noticed the discoveries of new writers were few and far in between and that led to a return and rediscovery of the shorter forms of fiction. To my great delight, to an enrichment of the list of favorite writers too. One such talented writer, who I discovered through two short stories, is Lynda E. Rucker. I first came across Lynda E. Rucker’s fiction in the 18th volume of the prestigious yearly horror anthology edited by Stephen Jones, “The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror”, where I read “The Last Reel” and that story was followed shortly after by “The Moon Will Look Strange” published in the excellent Black Static magazine. I admit, at first “The Moon Will Look Strange” didn’t look like much, but since then I read the story three times more, starting with the reprint in Paula Guran’s “The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror 2011”, and each time the tale grew on me. Since such a thing doesn’t happen too often it was something to be considered carefully. So, I’ve started to welcome with pleasure every new opportunity of reading Lynda E. Rucker’s stories. And not only, because she is now behind one of the comment columns of the Black Static magazine as well. Her column started with the 34th issue and although Lynda had to follow in the footsteps of Christopher Fowler, the previous column writer of Black Static, she did a wonderful and convincing job even from the start. It is only fitting then to put her debut collection, “The Moon Will Look Strange”, on my wish list. On my wish list, because although Lynda E. Rucker’s collection is available since September, I am hoping to get a copy of the volume with a dedication (I so love personalized copies) at the World Fantasy Convention next week when a Halloween book launch will be held. “The Moon Will Look Strange” is released by Karōshi Books and gathers eleven stories signed Lynda E. Rucker, eight previously published and three original to the collection.

The laughter of a dead child echoes down the winding streets of a town in Spain…
A mysterious stranger makes increasingly disquieting visits to a lonely English instructor in Central Europe…
A woman experiences her own literal disintegration as someone – or something – from her past takes over her life…but who is the possessed and who is possessing?
In return for the ability to touch the miraculous, the residents of an isolated mountain community are busily manufacturing items they don’t understand in preparation for a future they cannot imagine…
With eight reprints from the pages of such publications as Black Static, The Third Alternative, and Supernatural Tales and three original tales, this chilling debut collection by Lynda E. Rucker will fill you with unease and unsettle your dreams.
“Lynda Rucker's great talent is that she is able to carefully build a perceptive portrayal of the real world and in the process of that exploration find that edge where the everyday dissolves and the numinous begins. Her compelling execution of this transition strongly echoes the work of Robert Aickman.” – Steve Rasnic Tem

“Introduction” by Steve Rasnic Tem
“Author’s Note”
“The Burned House” (original to this collection)
“No More A-Roving” (Darkness Rising #1, 2001)
“The Chance Walker” (The Third Alternative #33, 2003)
“The Moon Will Look Strange” (Black Static #6, 2010)
“In Death’s Other Kingdom” (original to this collection)
“Ash-Mouth” (Black Static #2, 2007)
“These Foolish Things” (original to this collection)
“Beneath the Drops” (The Third Alternative #25, 2000)
“These Things We Have Always Known” (Black Static #8, 2008)
“Different Angels” (The Third Alternative #19, 1999)
“The Last Reel” (Supernatural Tales #10, 2006)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Cover art - "Dark Windows" by Louis Greenberg

I’ve managed with the passing of time to restrain my desire to buy books based exclusively on their covers. Not always the pleasure of adding a book with a particular cover in my collection extended into the satisfaction of reading what was in between its covers. One of the artists who revives my almost uncontrollable desire to buy books only by seeing the covers he makes for them is Joey Hi-Fi. The covers made by Joey Hi-Fi for Lauren Beukes“Moxyland” and “Zoo City”, Chuck Wendig’s “Blackbirds”, “Mockingbird” and “The Cormorant”, Tony Ballantyne’s “Dream London” and for the UK and South African editions of Charlie Human’s “Apocalypse Now Now” are stunning. His great talent and style send me into a tailspin with each cover, so much that I tend to submit to a buying spree without any other consideration for the book in question. I experienced another such moment this morning when I could admire at Lauren Smith’s excellent blog, Violin in a Void, the new cover artwork signed Joey Hi-Fi. This time is for a novel by Louis Greenberg, “Dark Windows”. The novel is the first personal project of Louis Greenberg after the writing collaboration with Sarah Lotz that produced, under the pseudonym S.L. Grey, several short stories, three novels, “The Mall”, “The Ward” and “The New Girl”, and two other future ones due to be released by PanMacmillan. “Dark Windows” will be published in South Africa by Umuzi on April 2014 and although my first impulse was to get a copy of the novel as soon as it is released I’ve succeeded in overcoming the desire and got a look at the synopsis too. And though Joey Hi-Fi’s artwork remains the main attraction, the synopsis is interesting enough to make a purchase without many regrets when the time comes for Louis Greenberg’s “Dark Windows” to be published.

If you head to Lauren Smith’s Violin in a Void, where the book cover was revealed, you can also read an interview with Joey Hi-Fi.

Dark Windows is set in an alternative-present Johannesburg. A wave of New-Age belief has radically altered the country’s political landscape, but not everyone buys into the miracle. Gaia Peace, the party which swept to power ten years ago on the back of a miracle cure for crime and a revolutionary social welfare programme, is still firmly ensconced, but the cracks are showing.

Jay Rowan does his job and doesn’t ask questions. He’s already in probationary therapy for a drunk driving accident, and he’s not looking for trouble. Now Kenneth Lang, a veteran political aide, has hired Jay to paint in the windows of apparently random vacant rooms.

Lang has survived a long career of political change, and is not about to start questioning orders, even when they are as misguided as senior minister Meg Hewitt’s latest obsession, project Dark Windows. A mystical charlatan has convinced her that she can attract a world-changing supernatural visitation, the Arrival.

Beth Talbot, the married woman Jay is seeing, is compelled by the supposed suicides of two students in a residence building. Her growing interest in the case leads her to a seditious student group and back into the past she’s been trying to avoid.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Table of contents - “Terra Nova. Antología de Ciencia Ficción Contemporánea” (Terra Nova. The Modern Science Fiction Anthology) edited by Mariano Villarreal & Luis Pestarini

Back in June I’ve spotlighted a wonderful project of international speculative fiction, Mariano Villarreal’s anthology “Terra Nova. An Anthology of Contemporary Spanish Science Fiction”. Born from the desire to promote speculative fiction without neglecting its literary qualities and with an emphasis on authors who originally write in Spanish “Terra Nova” published its first volume on December 2012, in Spanish, followed shortly by its edition in English. True to their word, Mariano Villarreal and Luis Pestarini, the editors of the first Spanish volume of “Terra Nova”, continued their excellent work and put together a second volume of “Terra Nova. Antología de Ciencia Ficción Contemporánea” (Terra Nova. The Modern Science Fiction Anthology). With a global representation this second volume of “Terra Nova” features works by authors native or originally from Spain, Argentina, Vietnam, Nigeria, Israel, China, Australia and United States and will be released on 21st November by Fantascy. As it was the case with the first volume I hope that an English edition of this anthology would be available as well and by then hopefully I will manage to write my review of the first “Terra Nova” too. Actually, since I am quite behind with this particular review I would like to re-read it first and only then properly review the collection.

“Presentación” (Introduction) by Mariano Villarreal
“La textura de las palabras” (The Texture of Words) by Felicidad Martínez – also available in the English edition of the first “Terra Nova”
“Separados por las aguas del río celeste” (Scattered Along the River of Heaven) by Aliette de Bodard – translated in Spanish by Raúl García Campos
“Las manos de su marido” (Her Husband’s Hands) by Adam-Troy Castro – translated in Spanish by Raúl García Campos
“¿Pueden llorar ojos no humanos?” (Can Inhuman Eyes Cry?) by Germán Amatto
“Juicio Final” (Judgment Day) by Carlos Gardini
“Araña, la artista” (Spider, the Artist) by Nnedi Okorafor – translated in Spanish by Manuel de los Reyes
“La djin” (The Jinn) by Pedro Andreu
“Noches de cristal” (Crystal Nights) by Greg Egan – translated in Spanish by Carlos Pavón
“En el filo” (On the Edge) by Ramón Muñoz
El ultimo Osama” (The Last Osama) by Lavie Tidhar – translated in Spanish by Raúl García Campos
“El hombre que puso fin a la historia: documental” (The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary) by Ken Liu – translated in Spanish by Pilar san Román

Monday, October 14, 2013

2013 Méliès d’Or awards winners

Since 1996 when the European Fantastic Film Festivals Federation was established this film organization based in Brussels, Belgium and dedicated to the promotion and support of European fantasy, horror and science fiction films awarded the annual Méliès d’Or, the prize for the best European fantastic feature film and short film. The awards, named after Georges Méliès, the French illusionist and filmmaker and a great innovator in special effects, was created in 1995. The competing featured films for the Méliès d’Or, also receiving the Méliès d’Argent, are the winners of the competitions held by the festivals affiliated members of the EFFFF throughout a yearly cycle and the winner is announced in a ceremony held at the last festival in the award cycle calendar. For the short film competition the cycle is basically the same, except that it is optional and opened to both affiliated and adherent members of the EFFFF.

The 17th Méliès d’Or ceremony was hosted at the 46th edition of the Sitges Festival Internacional de Cinema Fantàstic de Catalunya (Sitges International Film Festival of Catalonia) on October 11th.

2013 Méliès d’Or Award - Best European Fantastic Feature Film

“In the Name of the Son” (Vincent Lannoo / France/Belgium 2012) - Méliès d’Argent winner at Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival (Switzerland)

The other shortlisted films (additional information):

“May I Kill U?” (Stuart Urban / UK 2012) - Méliès d’Argent winner at Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival (Belgium)

“Thale” (Aleksander Noraas / Norway 2012) - Méliès d’Argent winner at Espoo Ciné International Film Festival (Finland)

“Eddie the Sleepwalking Cannibal” (Boris Rodriguez / Denmark/Canada 2012) - Méliès d’Argent winner at Fanomenon – Leeds International Film Festival (United Kingdom)

“Cockneys vs. Zombies” (Matthias Hoene / UK 2012) - Méliès d’Argent winner at Trieste - ScienceplusFiction (Italy)

“Borgman” (Alex van Warmerdam / The Netherlands 2013) - Méliès d’Argent winner at Strasbourg European Fantastic Film Festival (France)

“The End” (Jorge Torregrossa / Spain 2012) - Méliès d’Argent winner at Imagine: Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival (The Netherlands)

“Holy Motors” (Leos Carax / France 2012) - Méliès d’Argent winner at Sitges International Film Festival of Catalonia (Spain)

“Stalled” (Christian James / UK 2013) - Méliès d'Argent winner at Lund International Fantastic Film Festival (Sweden)

2013 Short Film Méliès d'Or - Best European Fantastic Short Film

“Voice Over” (Martín Roseta / Spain 2011) - Méliès d'Argent winner at FanCine Málaga (Spain) (movie I had the pleasure to feature here on my blog too)

The other shortlisted films (additional information):

“8” (Raúl Cerezo / Spain 2011) - Méliès d'Argent winner at Razor Reel Fantastic Film Festival (Belgium)

“M.O.” (Jakub Kouřil / Czech Republic 2012) - Méliès d'Argent winner at Lund International Fantastic Film Festival (Sweden)

“Eat” (Moritz Krämer / Germany 2012) - Méliès d’Argent winner at Sitges International Film Festival of Catalonia (Spain)

“Chambre Double” (Mathieu Mortelmans / Belgium 2013) - Méliès d’Argent winner at Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival (Belgium)

“The Trap” (Alberto Lopez / Belgium 2012) - Méliès d’Argent winner at Haapsalu Horror & Fantasy Film Festival (Estonia)

“The Tale of the Wall Habitants” (Andrej Boka / Serbia 2012) - Méliès d’Argent winner at Grossman Fantastic Film & Wine Festival (Slovenia)

“Entre Ange et Demon” (Pascal Forney / Switzerland 2013) - Méliès d’Argent winner at Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival (Switzerland)

“Mystery” (Chema García Ibarra / Spain 2013) - Méliès d’Argent winner at Espoo Ciné International Film Festival (Finland)

“The Gravedigger” (André Gil Mata / Portugal 2013) - Méliès d’Argent winner at MotelX - Lisbon International Horror Film Festival (Portugal)

“Not Funny” (Carlos Violadé / Spain 2012) - Méliès d’Argent winner at Strasbourg European Fantastic Film Festival (France)

“The Fright” (J.J. Marcos / Spain 2011) - Méliès d’Argent winner at Fanomenon – Leeds International Film Festival (United Kingdom)

“Perfect Drug” (Toon Aerts / Belgium 2012) - Méliès d’Argent winner at Imagine Film Festival (The Netherlands)

“Bendito Machine IV – Fuel the Machines” (Jossie Malis / Spain 2012) - Méliès d’Argent winner at San Sebastian Horror & Fantasy Film Festival (Spain)

“Nostalgic Z” (Carl Bouteiller / France 2012) - Méliès d’Argent winner at Abertoir Horror Festival (Wales)

“Employee of the Month” (Olivier Beguin / Switzerland 2012) - Méliès d’Argent winner at Trieste - ScienceplusFiction (Italy)

Congratulations to all the winners!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Cover art - "Still Life" by Tim Lebbon & "Ghosts" by Paul Kane

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.