Alan Kelly weighs in on a pair of recent releases.
HOUSE OF SMALL SHADOWS
Riffing on Peter Weir’s 1975 mystery Picnic at Hanging Rock and blending elements of hag horror with the killer-doll trope, Adam Nevill’s fourth novel, House of Small Shadows, is a far more self-contained and playful story than the author’s previous efforts, while still managing to maintain his signature grim tone throughout.
[Alan Kelly drops in with a new chapter of his column, Hell’s Shelves.]
With The Venus Complex (out now from Comet Press), cult favourite and horror personality Barbie Wilde (Hellbound: Hellraiser 2) has bloodily redefined the serial-killer story. Wilde’s gruesome debut novel doesn’t employ the traditional multi-character, third-person perspective that is so popular in the subgenre; instead, the actress-turned-author uses a first-person POV to narrate the story via diary entries written by her serial-killer antihero, omitting many of the usual procedural tropes in the process.
The novel revolves around art professor Michael Friday, after a heated argument results in a car crash and the death of his nagging wife. Wilde expertly charts Michael’s diabolical descent into voyeurism, stalking and murder in a transgressive tale that would make Patrick Bateman blush.
Black Labyrinth, an imprint of Dark Regions Press, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the second in a series of psychological horror titles. Joe R. Lansdale’s Black Labyrinth Book II will be published on November 11, 2014, with illustrations by surrealist artist Santiago Caruso. The book will be offered in three limited, signed hardcover editions, as well as trade paperback and eBook formats. You can pledge as little as $1 or as much as $8000; no matter how much you contribute, you’ll get some version of the novella at least one month before the publication date.
The crowdfunding campaign went live today; check it out here.
[Columnist Alan Kelly checks in with a new edition of Hell’s Shelves.]
Monster Kids with a soft spot for B-grade, creature-packed pulp tales should have a copy of Apocalypse Now Now (Century) on their bookshelves. The debut novel by South African writer Charlie Human (pictured above) is a seriocomic supernatural odyssey that would be perfectly at home sandwiched somewhere between David Wong’s John Dies at the End and the most dangerous adventures of Doc Savage.
The faithful among you have no doubt seen the name Brian J. Showers in the Ninth Circle section of the magazine, where he’s a regular contributor. Brian has his own genre imprint called SWAN RIVER PRESS that specializes in “literature of the Gothic, fantastic, strange, and supernatural, with an emphasis on Ireland’s past and present contributions to the genre.”
Swan River Press is currently in the running for a Guinness Arts Grant in Ireland, and you can help them win it…
[Only a few days left to pick up the March issue of Rue Morgue, which features a cover story on horror legend Arthur Machen! To give you a primer on one of the pioneers of horror fiction, Michael Doyle talks Machen with author Laird Barron (who's featured in our April issue, on stands Monday.)]
Few writers have preserved the spirit of Arthur Machen and H.P. Lovecraft with such unerring aptitude as Alaskan-born author Laird Barron. With a critically acclaimed novel, The Croning, and two award-winning collections to his name (a third collection, The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All, will be published by Night Shade Books this April), the 42-year-old scribe has already established himself as the most exciting and powerful new voice in horror literature. Feted as the heir apparent to Machen and the other great masters of weird fiction, Barron shares his profane passion for The Laureate of Evil with Rue Morgue.
[Alan Kelly dusts off Hell’s Shelves for the column’s first installment of 2013. To win a copy of the featured book, check out the contest at the end of the post!]
Later this month, Jo Fletcher Books will publish celebrated poet and playwright Naomi Foyle’s daring debut cyberchiller Seoul Survivors. It’s a novel that manages to transcend the boundaries of sci-fi, noir, erotica and horror – often to dizzying, vertiginous, terrifyingly transgressive effect – while remaining faithful to both its cyberpunk roots and alt-cult literary heritage.
In the neon-soaked, ultra-violent, sexually charged and technologically advanced near-future cityscape of Seoul, a trio of characters – Canadian good-time girl turned model Sydney, British drug-smuggling drifter Damien and North Korean village girl Mee Hee – are about to discover the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. With an asteroid strike imminent, London decimated by nuclear terrorism and nowhere left to run, bioengineer Dr. Kim – a Tarantino-worthy glamour cat of a villain – extends an invitation to Sydney and Damien: become the King and Queen of her gaming park Virtuworld and help her create a new breed of human beings, a community that will rebuild in the aftermath of Lucifer’s Comet…
They’ve invaded our cities, our shopping malls and our graveyards, but there is one place that has so far escaped the inevitable onslaught of ravenous skinbags: our coffee tables. What may be the last bastion of civilization has fallen, though, with the publication of The Zombook, a glossy, 250-page, full-colour art book, featuring all manner of creative depictions of the zombified undead.
RM writer and copy editor extraordinaire Claire Horsnell gets the skinny on the horror art tome that sends a beastiary of shamblers straight into your living room…
[Alan Kelly checks in with a new edition of his horror fiction column Hell's Shelves. This time, Alan interviews South African writing duo S.L. Grey.]
From the collective mind of S.L. Grey (the pseudonym for South African writing duo Sarah Lotz and Louis Greenberg) comes The Ward, an ingeniously perverse sequel to the alternate-reality shocker The Mall, in which two misfit teenagers – tough addict Rhoda and emo wimp Daniel – found themselves at the mercy of monsters, grotesque automatons and an evil corporate entity in a mirror realm known as the Downside. This time, more is revealed about the Downsiders and their brutal bureaucracy via a one-way ticket to the Ward, a place even more chilling.
[In the latest installment of Hell's Shelves, Alan Kelly reviews short-form fiction from a trio of British presses.]
Issue #29 of celebrated British horror magazine Black Static (formerly known as The Third Alternative) is still available through TTA Press’ website, and the issue is packed with great content, including brand new commentary/essays from genre luminaries and lots of fiction that is exclusive to Black Static. Packaged in a cool new glossy format – check out the excellent Trickster cover art by Ben Baldwin – this is a must-have for fans of both high-end pulpy weirdness and creepy literary fare.
Edited by Andy Cox and published bimonthly, the British Fantasy and International Horror Guild award-winning Black Static has always done things a little differently and has never been afraid to take a few risks along the way, showcasing some awesome fiction from the best writers in the genre, not to mention an exhaustive overview of what’s hot in horror right now. A new issue (#30) has been published since the last installment of Hell’s Shelves hit the RM site, but I couldn’t pass up the chance to write about the gruesome goods on offer in #29.