Coming Soon -

The Terror by Dan Simmons
Strange Tales Vol III ed by Rosalie Parker
In The Courts Of The Sun by Brian D'Amato
Creatures Of The Pool by Ramsey Campbell

Friday, 5 February 2010

News From The Abyss - 05/02/10

First up and I now have a custom domain name so you can access this site using (thought I would go for something snappy) of course the old feed will still be working.

SFX magazine tends to be too SF (clue in the title) and TV oriented for my liking normally. This time out though, they have a Horror special which is definitely worth a look. More details here.

Included in the above special is an excellent article by Johnny Mains on the Pan Book Of Horror series. As I mentioned in the Black Book of Horror review the Pan book recently celebrated its posthumous 50th birthday. The great news is that there are stirrings from the grave. Back From The Dead edited by Johnny Mains will be published in time for the World Horror Convention in March. You can get more details here. Pan Macmillan are also to reprint the first in the series of Pan books later in the year.

Among the new publications announced on the PS publishing site is a new collection from Ray Russell called Literary Remains, given the quality of Ray's previous work this should be good. More info here. PS have also announced some other stunning releases to tie in with World Horror Con (aw, I wish I was going). You could get Darkness Mist and Shadow: The Complete Macabre Short Fiction of Basil Copper or how about Black Wings: New Tales Of Lovecraftian Horror edited by S.T. Joshi. All the news on the PS Publishing site here.

Angry Robot have finally done something the entire book industry needs to be doing, linking ebooks and hard copies. Kaaron Warren's Walking The Tree was released yesterday and includes a 20,000 word novella as an ebook extra. The first two chapters are included in the actual book along with a secret code to access the ebook. I think this is the beginning of a merger between ebooks and good old 'real' books that provides the reader with the best of both worlds. More info from Angry Robot here.

Coming in March from Gollancz is A Matter Of Blood by Sarah Pinborough .A dark supernatural conspiracy and a serial killer, sound like it could be good. More info here.

Something Wicked is an excellent South African Genre mag but it has just released it's final issue. Good news is it contains The Blue Hag by William Meikle and Graeme Hurry. More news here.

And more book news from Gary Fry who has teamed up with Simon Maginn to release a double novella, Feral Companions which should be available at WHC but for those who (like me, grrr) can't make it, it's available here.

One of the finest creations of Robert E. Howard is finally on the big screen as Solomon Kane gets it's UK release. Only trouble is it doesn't seem to be coming to Inverness. I will just have to make do with the trailer here.

Finally thanks to Rick Hautala for an ARC of his new novella Reunion. More info here.  And to Johnny Mains for an ARC of the aforementioned Back From The Dead. Reviews of both soon.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Vardoger by Stephen Volk

by Stephen Volk
Published by: Gray Friar Press, 2009.

No Vardoger isn't a romantic fishing village at the head of some wild Norwegian fjord, it is Norwegian word but I would suggest you refrain from looking it up until after you have finished Stephen Volk's powerful novella.

When Sean and Alison manage to save up enough special offer vouchers for a weekend at the upmarket Shewstone Hotel, it seems like the perfect opportunity to relax and luxuriate in each others company for a while, even if the surroundings are a bit above their normal standard.

On arrival, however, things start to go wrong right from the start. It appears the hotel is double booked and there is no reference to the couples booking. It then transpires that Sean Merritt actually had a room booked for the previous weekend and had stayed in the hotel, paying by credit card, Sean's credit card. A series of bizarre encounters with staff who recognise Sean leads to even more confusion and then things take a much darker turn when Alison goes missing. It soon becomes clear that there is more at stake here than simple identity fraud.

And so Stephen Volk leads us down a twisting, dark, pathway as the plot spirals into something quite unexpected and very powerful. It's a short tale but little time is wasted in developing the paranoia, schizophrenia and genuine sense of helplessness that Sean feels, feelings that the readers share and empathise with.

Stephen Volk is probably best known for his screenplay work for television and movies (Afterlife, Ghostwatch, Gothic etc) but clearly he is also a very talented and imaginative fiction writer. His writing has a great British quality that gives him an interesting and unusual voice. I thoroughly enjoyed Vardoger.

You can read more about Stephen Volk here or Gray Fiar Press here.

Rating 4 out of 5