Unspoken Water 3 available nowComments Off
On sale now, ”Unspoken Water 3“, the little journal of the strange, weird and uncanny editied by BFS poetry editor, Ian Hunter.
Issue 3 is a special music-inspired issue with contributions from:
And four cracking illustrations from Denny Marshall.
Copies on sale here: http://www.ian-hunter.co.uk/
The future of the BFS Journal – new Editorial Team announcementComments Off
We hope you have been enjoying your copy of the Spring BFS Journal and thank everyone for the many messages of support for the new combined publication that we have received from the membership and beyond.
As you are aware, the Journal is put together on a volunteer basis, the contributors and editorial team giving their own time to produce every issue. Over the last year Lou Morgan has been instrumental in helping form the new Journal, combining the three previous BFS Publications into one title. Now, due to her growing writing commitments, Lou has decided to step down as Non-fiction Editor. We’re sure that you would like to join us in thanking Lou for all her hard work and wish her well for her new novel, Blood and Feathers, out 2 August from Solaris.
We are taking this opportunity to look at how we produce the Journal – how the entire process can be streamlined to ensure it is the best it can possibly be; a publication to be proud of, free of publication delays.
In line with this, a new Editorial Team is being assembled. Cavan Scott is to take over as Journal Editor, responsible for the overall feel and direction of the Journal. Cavan has many years experience editing newsstand magazines for such publishers as Future Publishing and BBC Magazines and will also continue to oversee the production process. He is joined by Stuart Douglas, publisher of Obverse Books, who is coming onboard as Non-Fiction Editor. Guy Adams and Ian Hunter are also remaining as essential parts of the Journal team, continuing their sterling work as Fiction and Poetry Editors respectively.
In order to ensure that we can establish a regular publishing schedule, we have made the hard decision not to publish a Summer Edition. This means that we have the entire Summer to make plans, gather second-to-none articles and set out plans for the years ahead. The next edition will be published in the Autumn and will be packed with must-read articles, fiction and poetry. To accommodate the short hiatus, members will automatically have their membership extended, meaning that they still get four issues in their ‘year’ of membership.
We would like to ask for your patience as we run through this process to ensure that the future of the Journal is as smooth-running as possible.
If you have any questions, please contact Cavan Scott on email@example.com. Contributors who have already submitted articles should be assured that their content isn’t going to waste. They will still appear in the Journal.
New submission guidelines are currently being compiled and more news about the Autumn Journal will be posted soon – so, as the saying goes, watch this space.
BFS Journal Spring 2012 edition out now!Comments Off
The contents include:
Plus regular columns from Ramsey Campbell, Mark Morris, Sophia McDougall, and a special feature from Jared Shurin, interviewing Jane Rogers.
For the first time, members will also be able to download the journal as an ePub, mobi or PDF file. Members should watch their email inboxes to find out how to access their digital editions.
Estronomicon eZine Christmas Special now available for downloadComments Off
The current issue is the Christmas Special : December 2011.
Some chilly tales for the festive season! Fiction by Neil Williamson, Neil Davies, Bob Lock, John Forth, Jan Edwards, Marion Pitman, Ian Hunter, Mark Howard Jones, James Bennett, Stuart Young, Stewart Horn, Peter Coleborn and Matt Finucane.
Cover art by Steve Upham.
Download your copy HERE
Unspoken Water 2 now availableComments Off
Little Dead Girl by C. M. Saunders
Cover illustrations by Denny Marshall
Full details and how to purchase HERE. There will be a couple of freebies for buyers while stocks last, including the latest spoof progress report for the 2071 Fantasycon (the 100th event).
Submissions for issue 3 open on 1 January 2012 for a special music-themed issue.
BFS Journal Winter 2011 / 12 … sneak previewComments Off
Ramsey’s Rant – Ramsey Campbell
The Journal is edited by Peter Coleborn (fiction), Ian Hunter (poetry) and Lou Morgan (non-fiction), and is designed by Cavan Scott. The fabulous cover art is by Vincent Chong.
The Dead of Winter — book reviewComments Off
Reviewed by Ian Hunter
I confess, I am a huge fan of Chris Priestley’s previous work, namely his short story collections Uncle Montague’s Tales of Terror, Tales of Terror from the Black Ship and Tales of Terror from the Tunnel’s Mouth, and there was also a little World Book Day title concerning more tales of terror in a school. I think these are the children’s literary equivalent of the films Dead of Night, or Tales from the Crypt, and that ilk, where we have a central character – a nephew, a brother and sister left alone in an old inn, or a passenger on a train, who are listening to stories being told to them by their mysterious uncle, or an unstable sailor or a strange female passenger.
The stories that are being told are eerie, creepy, shocking, gruesome, and may even have a sting in their tale, and between the tales there is a framing narrative being revealed which is building to a nasty climax. Seek them out, I recommend them, but as for Priestley’s first novel The Dead of Winter?
Well, I’m not the target audience for this book which is aimed for the age-group slightly under the young adult market, so I have to say that I was slightly disappointed in a story that comes across as a mixture of M.R. James (a major influence on Priestley if you read the ‘extras’ at the end of the book, along with Poe, Lovecraft and Dahl) and a Susan Hill book, probably her novel The Woman in Black given the remote country setting of this book.
The Dead of Winter tells the story of young Michael Vyner whose mother has died, leaving him an orphan, his father previously having died in action in Afghanistan, killed saving the life of Sir Stephen Clarendon, who has never forgotten that debt and thus makes Michael his ward, summoning him to the remote Hawton Mere which ‘does not take kindly to strangers’. Sir Stephen is recently widowed, and of a nervous disposition, spending most of his time in a locked tower room being nursed by his sister. Left to his own devices Michael soon realises that things are not as they seem and there is an undercurrent of evil pervading the house. Is it to do with the death of Sir Stephen’s wife, or the strange knocking he hears, or the fleeting glimpse of something in the mirror?
Reading the book with an adult eye, I felt that the ideas and situations were a bit rushed and underdeveloped, and the book could have been slightly longer, also the first person narrative slightly detracted from the suspense and ultimate feeling of ‘danger’ given that Michael is an adult at the start of the novel and looking back at his life. Having said all that, The Dead of Winter is a welcome change from the usual first person children’s fare concerning girls who have fallen for a vampire/ werewolf/ angel/ other, or the slam bang antics of Darren Shan novels; so if it introduces that age group to the classic ghost story and creepy, unsettling, quieter horror then it can be no bad thing.
Bioshock Rapture — book reviewComments Off
Reviewed by Ian Hunter
Popquiz, has there ever – really – been a decent movie made out of a computer game? I don’t think so, and apart from Mark Morris’ recent foray into the world of books based on computer games with his novel based on the game Dead Island, the same could probably be said for books inspired by computer games; except, of course, for John Shirley’s Bioshock Rapture. But then this is a bit of a cheat, on two fronts. First, Shirley is a master craftsman, so this is a solid, nay, excellent piece of work; and secondly, it’s actually a prequel to the games featuring the iconic Big Daddies and Little Sisters and the sunken art-deco city of Rapture which was supposed to be a utopia but became something else entirely, something a whole lot more sinister.
Apart from being an award-winning writer Shirley has previous form in the adaptation stakes by writing the novel of the film Constantine, but this book goes way beyond mere adaptation as its prequel nature allows him to lovingly, painstakingly flesh out the world of the games, but from a pre-game stance, and populate the pages with familiar well-rounded characters that the gamers will know all too well. Truth be told, it could even have been longer (says one of the world’s most reluctant readers, so believe me this is high praise indeed). Here the plot is told from the viewpoint of engineer (and soon to be bar owner) Bill McDonagh who is down on his luck but shortly becomes caught up in a dream that becomes a nightmare.
If you are a Bioshock fan then this book is essential, and if this is your introduction to the dark mind of John Shirley then other treats await you, especially Wetworks, a horror novel for grown-ups in every sense of the word.
The Eighth Black Book of Horror — book reviewComments Off
Reviewed by Ian Hunter
Okay, I’m slow, but I got it finally, when I was looking at all those heads pressed together on the cover of TEBBOH and thought ‘That looks a bit like Paul Finch,’ and ‘Wait a minute, that looks like His Lordship, John Llewellyn Probert,’ and ‘Isn’t that Reggie Oliver?’ Ah, now I get it. Artist Paul Mudie has jammed together the heads of the contributors on the cover. Very neat, and very disturbing. But, horrific heads are all very well, but what about the contents?
Well, we start off with a Reggie Oliver tale called ‘Quieta Non Movere’, which I would call standard Oliver fare, very well written and reminiscent of MR James and Ramsey Campbell. What follows that opening story is various degrees of horror – hey, the book delivers what it says on the tin, or the cover, ranging from the shocking to the disturbing to the just plain nasty.
While there are good solid stories by the likes of David A Riley, David Williamson, Gary Fry, Mark Samuels and Paul Finch, and a deliciously darkly humourous piece by John Llewellyn Probert, I’d have to give the writing honours to the ladies, although I shouldn’t forget a highly original story from Tina and Tony Rath, and the always reliable Anna Taborska delivers despite a slightly distracting framing device. Marion Pitman’s ‘Music in the Bone’ is also very original and very, very readable, the equivalent of drinking pear cider. Very nice and addictive, until you fall over, or race to the end of the story in this case. Thana Niveau’s creepy and atmospheric ‘The Coal-Man’ is probably the highlight of the collection, which is rounded off nicely by Kate Farrell’s sting in the tail tale ‘Mea Culpa’. At £5.50 this is a steal. Roll on book number nine.
Rumours of the Marvellous. Book ReviewComments Off
Reviewed by Ian Hunter
I didn’t have a great raffle at this year’s FantasyCon, no big prizes, just a load of books, some I kept, some I left on that table next to the lift for freebies, but amongst all the books was a gem, a treasure as they say, in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. What was it? It was a CD made by The Rolling Darkness Review. Who they? you ask. Well, they just happen to be Peter Atkins, Dennis Etchison and Glenn Hirshberg, reading a story each, in between a tense framing device, and some eerie, driving music that gets on your nerves, as if the stories don’t manage that all by themselves.
Hirshberg reads his modern classic, ‘American Morons’, a story I had encountered in Steve Jones’ Best New Horror, Etchison reads ‘One of Us’, a story unfamiliar to me, so that’s a real treat, and Atkins reads ‘The Cubist’s Attorney’ told laconically from the viewpoint of a world weary lawyer, and this was another story I had encountered in the pages of the very essential Best New Horror.
I say all that because ‘The Cubist’s Attorney’ features in Rumours of the Marvellous, which brings together 14 of Atkins’s stories under one roof. It’s a nicely put together package with a great cover illustration of Atkins by Les Edwards, and some quotes by the likes of Neil Gaiman, Michael Marshall Smith, Ramsey Campbell, Nancy Holder, Kim Newman, his old mate Clive Barker, Jo Fletcher and Paul Kane among others, all telling you how good the man is, and why you should by this book. I’m not going to argue with any of them and have to confess to being a fan of Atkins ever since I bought his novel Morningstar when it was launched at FantasyCon back in the day (okay, make that some time last century – was it really that long ago?), and Big Thunder is also one of my favourite reads of his.
He doesn’t write enough novels or short stories for my liking — too busy doing other things in the land of movie making, I reckon — so it’s a real treat to have these stories side by side as they stretch back from 2011 to 1992. I won’t spoil your enjoyment by highlighting particular ones, suffice to say that you are in the hands of one of the best and most original writers of horror and dark fantasy to come along in the last twenty years; but Atkins is also a great stylist with a truly original voice, so be prepared to be entertained, enlightened and educated in the fine art of short story writing. Oh, and be scared, really, really scared.
RotM, published as a numbered limited edition hardcover, is signed by Peter Atkins, Glen Hirshberg (Introduction) and Les Edwards (Cover art).