We begin this month’s news with a sneak preview of the gorgeous cover to Marie and Paul’s new anthology from PS Publishing, A Carnivàle of Horror: Dark Tales from the Fairground (above). The superb wraparound was done by artist Ben Baldwin, but the contents are just as impressive. The book features contributions from Ray Bradbury, Muriel Gray, John Connolly, Rio Youers, Tom Reamy, Thomas F. Monteleone, Will Elliott, Lou Morgan, Peter Crowther and James Lovegrove, Charles G. Finney, Paul Finch, Andrew J. McKiernan, Robert Shearman and Alison Littlewood, plus it contains Tod Robbins’ controversial ‘Spurs’ – turned into the classic movie Freaks by Tod Browning (of Dracula fame) for MGM – and Joe Hill’s ‘Twittering from the Circus of the Dead’, soon to be filmed as well.
The anthology will be launched at FantasyCon on Saturday 29th at 5pm (with a free glass of wine for every book purchased), alongside books by Ramsey Campbell, Guest of Honour Joe R. Lansdale and MC Tim Lebbon. Paul and Marie will be joined by several of the contributors to sign copies, more details of which can be found here.
In addition to launching A Carnivàle of Horror, Marie will also be doing a pre-launch signing of her other brand new anthology, The Mammoth Book of Ghosts Stories by Women, plus signing for The Mammoth Book of Body Horror at 3pm on the Saturday (there will be a free glass of wine for every book purchased), then the following morning – Sunday 30th – she will also be taking part in the signing of NewCon press’ Hauntings anthology at 11:30am. So, lots of chances to see her and get something signed!
While we’re on the subject of ghosts, just a quick reminder that you can still vote for your favourite ever ghost story in FantasyCon 2012’s poll here. The winner will be announced and read out by Ramsey at midnight on the Saturday of the convention.
The Mammoth Book of Body Horror event (above) at Bolton Library – organised by the library in conjunction with Waterstone’s – was a huge success last month. Below you’ll find a photo of Marie on stage with readers Ramsey Campbell and Conrad Williams (to the left of her) while Paul introduces the proceedings, a photo of Conrad reading, and one of the four of them with members of staff from both the library and Waterstone’s.
Photo credit Clare Maddison
Photo credit Clare Maddison
Photo credit Clare Maddison
And you can read a brand new review raving about the book on Nameless magazine’s site here.
Marie also had a great time as a guest at the first ever Edge-Lit Festival in Derby last month (above), where she did a panel on ‘What Makes A Good Short Story?’ with Games Workshop’s Christian Dunn and Andrew Hook, plus a reading of her story from Hauntings ‘The Cradle in the Corner’ (below).
Finally, a piece Marie did on ‘Gender Parity’ has been published in the online magazine Journey Planet # 12, which you can read by clicking here. More news next month in the run up to FantasyCon 2012!
Lots of photos to begin with this month, as Marie was at three events in June. To begin with the David Gemmell Legend Awards on 15th at the Magic Circle Headquarters in London. Below you’ll find pictures of the Champagne and nibbles party, the auction, Marie with Paul and World Fantasy Convention 2013 Chairperson Amanda Foubister and people like Kim Newman and James Bacon chatting after the awards.
© Mandy Slater
© Martin Roberts and Helen Hopley
The next day, Marie attended the launch of Curious Warnings: The Great Ghost Stories of M.R. James, edited by Stephen Jones – at the BFS Open Day, The Mug House pub, London. Above you’ll find a photo of Stephen (second from right), artist Les Edwards (beside Stephen) with publisher Jo Fletcher (far left) and editor Nicola Budd (far right) which was taken during the signing session.
Lastly, on 30th June, Marie was at the Hauntings signing at Forbidden Planet’s Megastore on Shaftsbury Avenue, as part of their Small Press Expo event. Below you’ll find a few pictures from this, including the poster and NewCon table, Marie and Paul signing, the cupcakes made for the day, Forbidden Planet’s Danie Ware introducing the expo, fellow Hauntings author Adrian Tchaikovskyand copies of Hellbound Hearts Marie also signed.
The full fantastic line-up for Marie’s Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women (see last month’s news for the gorgeous cover) can now be revealed: ‘The Third Person’ – Lisa Tuttle; ‘The Madam of the Narrow Houses’ – Caitlín R. Kiernan; ‘Forget Us Not’ – Nancy Kilpatrick; ‘My Moira’ – Lilith Saintcrow; ‘Dead Flowers by a Roadside’ – Kelley Armstrong; ‘Sister, ssh…’ – by Elizabeth Massie; ‘Return’ – Yvonne Navarro; ‘Freeze Out’ – Nancy Holder; ‘Front Row Rider’ – Muriel Gray; ‘Collect Call’ – Sarah Pinborough; ‘The Ninth Witch’ – Sarah Langan; ‘The Fifth Bedroom’ – Alex Bell; ‘Another One in from the Cold’ – Marion Arnott; ‘The Phantom Coach’ – Amelia B. Edwards; ‘Seeing Nancy’ – Nina Allan; ‘A Silver Music’ – Gaie Sebold; ‘The Shadow in the Corner’ – Mary Elizabeth Braddon; ‘Let Loose’ – Mary Cholmondley; ‘The Old Nurse’s Story’ – Elizabeth Gaskell; ‘Afterward’ – Edith Wharton; ‘The Lost Ghost’ – Mary E. Wilkins-Freeman; ‘God Grant That She Lye Still’ – Lady Cynthia Asquith; ‘Field of the Dead’ – Kim Lakin-Smith; ‘Scairt’ – Alison Littlewood; and ‘Among the Shoals Forever’ – Gail Z. Martin.
The anthology will be the focus of a pre-publication signing at FantasyCon this year, along with another new book Marie co-edited called A Carnivàle of Horror: Dark Tales from the Fairground – more details to follow. You can find details of these events, plus all the other ones lined up so far on the FantasyCon site here.
More FantasyCon news now, as the convention announces two very special media Guests. The first is one quarter of the BAFTA award-winning League of Gentleman, creator of Crooked House, scriptwriter/star of The First Men in the Moon, Dr Who writer and co-creator of Sherlock (below), as well as author of the Lucifer Box trilogy of novels, it is none other than Mark Gatiss (above).
To find out more about Mark, click here.
FantasyCon’s second Guest announcement is writer/director of both the original classic The Wicker Man, and its sequel The Wicker Tree (below), which will be screening at the convention, following an interview and Q&A session with...Robin Hardy (above). Robin is also the author of the novelisation of The Wicker Man (with Anthony Shaffer) and Cowboys for Christ, which The Wicker Tree is based on. To find out more about him, click here.
So book your place at what is surely one of the genre highlights of the year here.
Last but not least, don’t forget Marie will be making two upcoming public appearances in July. The first is at a Mammoth Book of Body Horror event in Bolton, organised by Bolton Library and in conjunction with Waterstones. Marie and Paul will be introducing the event and taking part in the Q&A and signing session, while bestselling and multiple award-winning authors Ramsey Campbell and Conrad Williams will be reading their stories from the critically acclaimed anthology.
The event starts at 1.30pm and runs until 4pm at Bolton Central Library, Le Mans Crescent, Bolton Lancashire BL1 1SE, Saturday 7th July. To book your place, contact email@example.com or call 01204 332209.
Marie will also be at Edge-Lit in Derby a week later – see last month’s news section for details or visit the blog for the event here.
The first major piece of news this month is the reveal of the cover for Marie’s forthcoming Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women, to be released by Constable & Robinson later on this year. We’re sure you’ll agree it’s quite a breathtaking image, but the book also contains top-notch supernatural fiction from the likes of Kelley Armstrong, Muriel Gray, Sarah Pinborough, Lilith Saintcrow, Lisa Tuttle and classics from authors such as Edith Wharton and Lady Cynthia Asquith, to name but a few. Keep checking in for the full table of contents soon, and details of a very special signing and launch event.
Public appearances Marie will be making in June begin with the spectacular David Gemmell Legend Awards champagne and nibbles evening at the Magic Circle Headquarters on June 15th. For more details visit the website here.
Marie will also be around to help celebrate the launch of Jo Fletcher Books’ stunning hardback edition of Curious Warnings: The Great Ghost Stories of M.R. James (above) at the British Fantasy Society Open Afternoon/Night the next day, 16th from 1pm onwards at the Mug House in London. Editor Stephen Jones and artist Les Edwards will be there to sign copies of the book, plus there’ll be other signings and mini events happening throughout the day.
Marie will also be at the launch and signing of Hauntings from NewCon Press, at London’s massive Forbidden Planet superstore on June 30th, so come along and buy a copy!
Moving into July and there will be a Waterstones Mammoth Book of Body Horror event in Bolton, featuring readings from Ramsey Campbell and Conrad Williams. Here’s the official announcement:
‘A mammoth body horror event! Join bestselling and multi-award-winning authors Ramsey Campbell and Conrad Williams in celebrating the sub-genre of Body Horror, including readings from the new critically acclaimed anthology The Mammoth Book of Body Horror (Constable & Robinson). Editors Paul Kane and Marie O'Regan will also be there to introduce the event, plus there will be a Q&A and book signing session afterwards. A must for all horror fans! Signed copies of the book will be available to purchase courtesy of Waterstones. Light refreshments provided. To book contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call Helen Romaniszyn on 01204 332209.
This coincides with a new review of the anthology by Mass Movement magazine in which Ian Pickens commented: ‘“25 stories of Transformation, Mutation and Contagion” runs the tagline for this collection, and it does exactly what it says on the uh… tin. Comprising of a selection of classic tales by established authors (Lovecraft’s ‘Herbert West – Reanimator’, George Langelaan’s ‘The Fly’ & Stephen King’s ‘Survivor Type’) and newer scribes (Neil Gaiman’s ‘Changes’, Barbie Wilde’s ‘Polyp’ & Christopher Fowler’s ‘The Look’), editors Kane and O’Regan have done an excellent job of selecting a variety of intelligent and well written stories which cut to the quick of our deepest fear; that our own bodies can revolt against us, by disease or design.
The anthology covers a variety of styles from the eloquence of Poe’s ‘The Telltale Heart’ to Wilde’s grotesque ‘Polyp’, which borders on black humour, with its notion of a cancerous polyp which gains sentient intelligence and escapes from its host’s body. Other authors pursue a less gory and more indirect approach to mental and physical corruption, such as the aforementioned Fowler’s acerbic take on the world of Fashionista body modification, Axelle Carolyn’s rather beautiful tale of burn induced metamorphosis, ‘Butterfly’, and both Conrad William’s ‘Sticky Eye’ and Nancy A. Collin’s ‘Freaktent’ which for spoiler reasons I won’t say any more on, other than I found these two tales the most disturbing of all.
So if you’re a fan of ancient or alien life forms in hibernation, schizophrenic clown killers or deranged scientists that want to live forever, this collection has something for you...’
To read the full review yourself just click here.
Marie will also be one of the guests at Edge-Lit (above) in Derby on 14th July, alongside the likes of Christopher Fowler, Niki Valentine, Rod Rees, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Sarah Pinborough, MD Lachlan, Juliet McKenna and Justina Robson. She’ll be doing a reading and sitting on two panels over the course of the day. To find out more and to book your place, visit http://edgelitderby.blogspot.co.uk/
Last but not least, FantasyCon has just announced its latest Guest of Honour: media personality, presenter (most famously for The Tube) and hugely talented writer (The Trickster, Furnace and The Ancient (below), Muriel Gray. Muriel joins Joe R. Lansdale, Mary Danby, Brent Weeks and MC Tim Lebbon in Brighton this September. For more details and the book your place click here.
Yet more glowing reviews of The Mammoth Book of Body Horror this month, starting with The Dark Side Magazine. James Whittington had this to say in issue 147 (above):
‘Body horror is the sub-genre of the horror entertainment world that deals with the more gooey and sticky side of things. You know what I mean? Stuff such as John Carpenter’s The Thing, most of David Cronenberg’s output and that classic from Brian Yuzna, Society, are fine examples. Films in which something is happening (usually in full coloured, brightly lit rooms) to you or your friend’s body. Films that take pride in showing every gory, juicy, bloody and gruesome detail of brutal and often very painful metamorphoses. This delicious compendium of 25 of the very best Body Horror stories covers the entire history of the sub-genre in written form by re-introducing us to such respected stories as John W. Campbell’s “Who Goes There?” (which has been filmed as The Thing From Another World (1951), inspired The Thing in 1982 and the prequel effort from last year) as well as truly classic pieces such as Mary Shelley’s “Transformation”. I’ve not read a lot of Clive Barker’s work but his entry “The Body Politic” has inspired me to right this wrong. His story concerns a man whose hands have a life of their own and though it reminded me of some classic B-movie fodder it’s his charismatic style that gives it a polished, witty and dark edge. “Region Of The Flesh” by Richard Christian Matheson is a very short but inventive descent into madness and melancholy. “Tis The Season To Be Jelly”, from his dad Richard Matheson, is just bizarre with some precious moments of dark comedy. Would love to see this one as a 5-minute short.
More comedy arrives in the form of Graham Masterson’s “Dog Days”, which is a bit predictable but huge fun and again one that reminded me of those fabulous monochrome B-movies from the 1950s. Stephen King’s “Survivor Type” is a more straightforward piece of horror and is as detailed as any work that this prolific author has written. Packed with character background, King tells the story from the point of view of Richard Pine who is alone on an island. His descent into madness plus the terror of self mutilation and drug consumption is told with a wicked sense of macabre humour. Stand out is George Langelaan’s “The Fly”. I’m a fan of the cinematic interpretations of this story, but had never read the original piece. This is subtle horror with a neat body horror injection that is subtle yet effective beautifully written and worthy of several readings. The introduction by Stuart Gordon, the man who gave the world Re-Animator (the story that inspired it, “Herbert West – Re-animator” by H.P. Lovecraft is also in this book) tells of his first introduction to the world of Lovecraft, his thoughts on The Thing and the chat he once had with Wes Craven in a toilet. By putting these stories together in one handy volume, Paul Kane and Marie O’Regan have given we horror fans a very welcome present, a collection of memorable and disturbing tales that, thanks to their boldness, will give us many sleepless nights. More please!’
Meanwhile Jenny Barber commented over on Shiny Shorts: ‘With a name like Mammoth Book of Body Horror, you can reasonably expect a high proportion of gruesome to be contained within – and yes, there is. But where this anthology really excels is the variety of horror tales presented – from classics by Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft to more modern fare from the likes of David Moody, Michael Marshall Smith and Nancy A. Collins... “The Body Politic” by Clive Barker delivers a concept that is both creepy and just a bit clever. It tells the tale of what happens when hands develop independent thinking and stage a revolution against their body oppressors. The thought of all those hands scuttling around is likely to stick with you long after you’ve finished reading and Barker’s delivery manages to make you side with the hands against the unpleasant protagonist.
One of the stories I’ve definitely read before is “The Look” by Christopher Fowler, which first saw the light in the Urban Gothic anthology from Telos Publishing. It hasn’t lost any of its appeal since then. In it you get a quite fascinating and very disturbing commentary on the modelling industry as you follow a couple of wannabes sneaking in to see a fashion designer in the hopes of the protagonist being picked to be the star model for the coming year. Except it’s her friend who gets picked instead and the current star model decides to enlighten the protag as to just what nastiness her friend is going to be in for. Whether you’re new to the horror genre or not as well read as you’d like to be, this is definitely a good anthology to dip into as it has a good balance of classic reprints and shiny new stories that showcase a wide range of horror styles and authors. Cracking stuff.’
The full review can be found here.
Marie had a great time Guesting at the Alt.Fiction convention as you can see by the photos below: of the crowds, of Marie doing her Horror panel with The Leaping author Tom Fletcher and The Concrete Grove author Gary McMahon, and The Mammoth Book of Body Horror signing event with Paul, David Moody, Simon Clark and Conrad Williams.
The Un:Bound Video Edition of the Hauntings event, played on the big screen throughout the Alt.Fiction event, is now online, below:
And below is the first glimpse of the cover art for Hauntings, which features stories by the likes of Tanith Lee, Alison Littlewood, Robert Shearman, Adrian Tchaikovsky and Liz Williams, in addition to Marie’s ‘The Cradle in the Corner’. The wraparound cover is by Ben Baldwin who has done a great job of capturing the atmospheric contents.
Recent announcements now about conventions Marie is on the committee of. The latest Guest of Honour at FantasyCon is New York Times bestselling fantasy author of ‘The Night Angel Trilogy’, Brent Weeks, whose latest book is Black Prism (below). Brent joins already announced Guests Joe R. Lansdale and Mary Danby, with Tim Lebbon as MC.
And the World Fantasy Convention 2013 Artist Guest of Honour is none other than Fontana Book of Great Ghost Stories and Pan Book of Horror artist Alan Lee – who has also worked on the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films.
He’s joined by Special Guest, great-granddaughter of acclaimed author Arthur Machen, Tessa Farmer (below), there to help celebrate ‘Machen at 150’.
Fiction news now. Marie’s story ‘Listen’ has just been published in the BFS Spring Journal (above), which also features the likes of Michael Marshall Smith, Sarah Pinborough and Will Hill, and her story ‘Playtime’ has been reprinted in the Terror Scribes anthology (below), edited by Adam Lowe and Chris Kelso.
To end with, a reminder that Marie is one of the Guest Writers at the Derbyshire Literary Festival this year, running from 11th – 20th May. Her first event will be a Genre Writing workshop at New Mills Library, 12th May from 9:45 am, but you can check out what else is going on by visiting the site here.
There have been some more glowing reviews for The Mammoth Book of Body Horror, released on 1st March. SFX (above), for example, have said in their four star review: ‘Oozing sores, wandering hands, sticky eyes and legs that fall off are just some of the gory corporeal glories you can expect from Mammoth’s latest collection. This 25-story compendium gathers tales of “transformation, mutation and contagion” from genre royalty including Clive Barker, HP Lovecraft, Stephen King, Mary Shelley and Edgar Allen Poe, along with writers who though less familiar are often just as compelling. The stories offer icky pleasure for those fascinated with a subgenre concerned with the body turning against itself. Some are funny and disgusting (Richard Matheson’s nuclear fallout nightmare ‘”Tis The Season To Be Jelly!”, Barbie Wilde’s bowel-with-a-brain-of-its-own yuk-fest “Polyp”); some smartly satirical (Neil Gaiman’s excellent cure-for-cancer vision “Changes”, Christopher Fowler’s fashion industry cautionary tale “The Look”); some depressing and disturbing (Nancy A Collins’ horrific, lingering “Freaktent” and Stephen King’s stand-out gross-out “The Survivor Type”).
For horror movie buffs it’s a must-have, pulling together the original stories which inspired The Fly, The Thing and Re-Animator. “The Fly”, a far closer blueprint for Kurt Neumann’s 1958 version than it was for Cronenberg’s version, is poignant rather than repellent, while John W Campbell’s ice station paranoia piece “Who Goes There?” (the longest piece in the collection), is a masterpiece of tension building. Only Lovecraft’s “Herbert West – Re-Animator” – a morbidly humorous necromancy myth – jars in its originally serialised format, with each short chapter beginning with a full recap of the previous ones – though Re-Animator director Stuart Gordon sheds further light on this in a warm and fascinating intro.’
To read the full review click here.
Next comes This is Horror, where John Llewellyn Probert had this to say about the anthology: ‘A good themed anthology, especially one with the word Mammoth in the title, should be a mix of the old and the new, a collection of classic reprints as well as some new material for those of us who need a little bit more than just a re-read of old favourites. Illustrating very nicely indeed the way to do this kind of thing properly is The Mammoth Book of Body Horror, edited by Paul Kane and Marie O’Regan and published by Constable Robinson. The book kicks off with a short, chatty introduction by Stuart Gordon, director of the classic Re-Animator and a number of other fine horror pictures including Dagon and Poe’s The Black Cat for television. Understandably Gordon concentrates mainly on his hunt for, and eventual discovery of, the Lovecraft story that helped make his reputation, but he does take time out to mention some of the other stories in here, as well as a quick anecdote about meeting Wes Craven at a urinal, before we get into the stories proper.
One of the things that many long-time readers wonder about as they grow older is whether the stories that thrilled them as youths will remain available to be discovered by today’s young horror readership. Volumes go out of print, stories are forgotten or neglected, and an entire generation can miss out on, say, W W Jacob’s “The Monkey’s Paw”. It is therefore with some delight that Kane and O’Regan have reprinted some classics here that have been away from our shelves for too long. After stories by Mary Shelley, Poe and of course H P Lovecraft’s “ReAnimator”, all of which can be found in collections in any high street bookshop, The Mammoth Book of Body Horror begins to show its real worth with reprints of John W Campbell’s “Who Goes There?” and George Langelaan’s “The Fly”... A tiny funny by Richard Matheson “Tis the Season to be Jelly” is next, followed by Stephen King’s “Survivor Type”, the tale of a surgeon stranded on a desert island and having to resort to increasing acts of self-mutilation in order to stay alive. Stories by Robert Bloch, Ramsey Campbell and Brian Lumley follow. Lumley’s “Fruiting Bodies” is a deservedly award-winning tale of rot and decay in a crumbling seaside village, while Bloch’s story concerns a man who finds he has bought the secret residence of silent actor Lon Chaney (which comes complete with makeup case and haunted mirror) and Campbell’s is the tale of an unhappy teacher who keeps seeing the figure of a dancing clown on the other side of the river to his flat. Needless to say, when he decides to investigate further the consequences are (bodily!) horrific, and it could have led to the inspiration for a famous J K Potter illustration, but you’ll have to read the end of the story for yourselves to find out which one.
In his introduction Stuart Gordon recommends that you read the next story “Freaktent” by Nancy A Collins, at the end. It’s certainly very effective, although the theme (which won’t be revealed here as it would spoil the ending) has been touched on by authors as far back as Charles Birkin in the 1930s. Michael Marshall Smith’s contribution, “Walking Wounded”, was originally published in Gollancz’s Dark Terrors 3 – it’s a fine tale of suburban body horror. Richard moves into a new flat with his new girlfriend. Pretty soon small cuts are starting to appear all over his body and rather than healing up they’re getting bigger and bloodier. Good stuff and a nice ending to this one. Neil Gaiman’s “Changes” is more science fiction, but that doesn’t harm the story at all. In a future not so far away cancer has been cured, but the treatment has had some very unusual side-effects. James Herbert’s “Others” is an extract from his novel of the same name and is a brief catalogue of hideous malformations. “The Look” by Christopher Fowler, first published in Telos’ Urban Gothic anthology, is next. It’s body horror as fashion (or should that be the other way around) and again, while the subject has been dealt with by other authors (most notably in the far futuristic science fiction novels of Iain M Banks) Fowler’s story is very much a horrific satire set in an almost contemporary world.
The book concludes with a number of stories that have been specifically written for the volume. These are by a mixture of authors both familiar and unfamiliar. Of the eight stories it came as no surprise that one of the stories was by old hand Graham Masterton, “Dog Days”, who delivers a deliciously outrageous tale of one man and his dog (not to mention the girlfriend). However, no more will be said about it so as not to spoil the surprise. David Moody was another surprise with his very well written and entertaining EC comics-style story “Almost Forever”. The following tale, Alice Henderson’s “Residue”, starts off a bit unsurely, but as it goes on it evolves into a whole bundle of alien-style fun and it comes highly recommend. Overall, then, Kane and O’Regan’s Mammoth Book of Body Horror is a very fine read indeed. There were only a couple of stories that didn’t work, and the only real criticism is that the book ends on a rather grim downer of a story that really isn’t in keeping with the tone of the rest of the book at all. Otherwise, it’s a book that works beautifully as an introduction to the genre for those who aren’t that familiar with it, offering a fine selection from many of the very best writers the genre has ever had, as well as a decent mix of new tales... if one were to recommend a good horror anthology to a friend who wanted to see what good horror stories were like, this would instantly come to mind. It does our beloved genre proud and there’s no greater praise than that.’
You can read the review in full here.
The Ginger Nuts of Horror site also loved the book and stated: ‘A gripping collection which offers for the first time a chronological overview of the popular contemporary sub-genre of body horror, from Edgar Allan Poe to Christopher Fowler, with contributions from leading horror writers, including Stephen King, George Langelaan and Neil Gaiman. The collection includes the stories behind seminal body horror movies, John Carpenter's The Thing, David Cronenberg's The Fly and Stuart Gordon's Re-Animator. When you consider just how many of these Mammoth Books are published each year, it really is amazing that the quality of the stories presented in this edition are of such a high standard. It is a testament to both the writers and the editors... The table of contents reads like a dream team of authors. How the editors decided on which six authors names were featured on the front cover I don't know... I normally have two ways in which I attack an anthology, the first is to go to my favourite author, and the second is to start at the beginning, I usually do this when there are no authors that I am familiar with. TMBODH threw a spanner into the working of this process, I just didn't know where to start...
Barbie Wilde's story “Polyp”... is a wonderfully disgusting story, that manages to both shock the reader and make them giggle. Barbie has created a brilliant twist on the creature feature genre. I really enjoyed how the tale went from being a very personal story into an apocalyptic cliff hanger. After reading this story which in all reality was chosen at random, I knew this book was going to be great read. I'm going to skim over most of the first half of the book, the stories here are all classic of the genre...One thing I will say, is having these stories altogether in one volume is brilliant Of the other stories my personal highlights were Christopher Fowler's “The Look”, this really was a chilling, and uncomfortable read into the darker side of fashion, and just how far a fashion designer will go to get the look. Simon Clark's, “The Soaring Dead” reaffirmed my love for his writing, the twist ending of this story about greed, property, and an ancient mysterious plague was brilliant piece of story telling. Honourable mentions must go to David Moody's “Almost Forever”, and “Black Box”, by Gemma File.... The Mammoth Book of Body Horror is a must buy for any horror fan. You would be hard pushed to find a more comprehensive, and satisfying anthology of horror stories this year.’
Read the full review here.
Finally, genre expert and writer Johnny Mains (above) gave the anthology a 9.5/10 rating on his Occasionally Horrific blog, saying: ‘It's surprising that a history of body horror in literature hasn't been done before now – so thanks to Marie O' Regan and Paul Kane for this treasure trove of stories, ranging from some classics in the genre, “The Tell-Tale Heart”, “Survivor Type” and “The Body Politic” to some stories that will almost certainly become classics of their time – the absurdist, very entertaining shocker “Polyp” to the brilliantly executed “Sticky Eye” - one of my favourite new stories in this anthology... A corker of an anthology - always a pleasure to read “Survivor Type” again and an honour to finally read “Who Goes There?” by John W. Campbell – the basis for The Thing and, if I'm not mistaken, this is one of the very first appearances of this short story in an anthology.’
Pictures now from the local launch of the Body Horror anthology, which was held at Chesterfield Library and featured bestselling authors Simon Clark and David Moody. The event was a huge success, with many books sold and signed. Below you can see the books on sale, Paul Kane giving his introduction, Simon reading, then Marie, Dave and Simon signing, and finally everyone posing for a group shot.
Photo credit: Amanda Thompson BBR
The next Body Horror event will be a signing at Alt.Fiction on 15th April at 11 am; see last month’s news update for details on this and for Marie’s other appearances that weekend. In the meantime, Marie is their author of the month (at the Writing East Midlands site) so to read her interview and her story ‘The Real Me’ click here.
But the Body Horror launch wasn’t the only event Marie took part in last month. She also did a filmed reading in front of a live audience for the Hauntings event, at Market Harborough (you can see her reading above) and her story ‘The Cradle in the Corner’ went down very well indeed. Photograph courtesy of Selina Lock.
Finally, Marie is also one of the Guest Writers at the Derbyshire Literary Festival this year, running from 11th – 20th May. She’ll be doing workshops, giving author talks and doing signings. Below are her pages from the Festival booklet, but to find out more details online click here.
Word has been spreading about The Mammoth Book of Body Horror – details in last month’s news section. This has included appearing on Fangoria here, the Stephen King site (above) here , Graham Masterton’s site here, Clive Barker’s ‘Revelations’ site here, Barbie Wilde’s site here, Alice Henderson’s site here, Conrad Williams’ site here and The Horror Channel’s site here to mention just a few.
News of the anthology’s release was also reported on The Thing fansite, Outpost #31 (above) here, and there’s scheduled to be more coverage, including an interview with Marie and Paul soon.
The anthology was also reviewed by Starburst who gave it 10/10. They said: ‘Here we have an anthology that squeezes the best out of body horror the way that puss can be squeezed from a necrotic wound, and all for our perverse enjoyment of this disturbing and oh so dark craft. Each story has been exquisitely crafted by the undisputed masters of the genre. And, to be frank, it’s impossible not to like. From the poetic prose of Mary Shelley, the drug induced hysteria of Poe, the wild, paranoid ramblings of Lovecraft, to the brutal honesty of David Moody. This book will drag up feelings of dread, shock and revulsion upon its reader. Even to hardened horror fans such as ourselves, the Mammoth Book of Body Horror still manages a nasty surprise or two.
So who’s in it? Short answer: everyone. It opens with Mary Shelley’s Transformation, a tale of body swapping with a twisted dwarf-like creature destined to go wrong. Starting off with the likes of Shelley – better known as the creator of Frankenstein, as if you needed telling – reminds us where the concept of body horror has its roots. Although earlier myths and legends of bodily dismemberment abound, Shelley is one of the first to get it down in short story form. From here we’re introduced to Edger Allen Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart and from there we jump to Lovecraft’s Reanimator. The next stopping point is Who Goes There by John W. Campbell and its worth pointing out that this is the tale that inspired three films, most notably John Carpenter’s The Thing and finding it here is like running into an old friend from out of town. A real treat.
There are far too many stories to go into in much depth for the purpose of this review. Highlights include, Stephen King’s Survivor Type: how much a man is prepared to sacrifice when washed up on a desert island. The Body Politic by Clive Barker: guaranteed to ensure you will never look at your hands the same way again. Ramsey Campbell’s The Other Side dips into a surrealist horror that has the trademarks of an acid trip gone horribly wrong – or, cough, so we’re told. Brian Lumley’s Fruiting Bodies will stay with you long after the lights have gone out. Neil Gaimen injects a dark sense of humour with his short story Changes. And so the stories go, each exploring the fear of what can go wrong with our bodies: the unseen menace of a brain tumour, the creeping doom of cancer, the fear of being different, and the secret pleasure of standing out from a crowd.
The Mammoth book of Body Horror deserves a place on your bookshelf, but make sure it’s well away from kids and those of a fragile disposition.’
To read the review online click here and it will be published in issue # 375 of the print magazine.
Over on Goodreads, TMBOBH has also got a five star rating and has been collecting some great comments, which you can read here.
The book is being launched locally at Chesterfield Library (above) on March 10th at 2pm – 3:30pm, where bestselling authors and contributors to The Mammoth Book of Body Horror, Simon Clark and David Moody (below) will be joining Paul and Marie for readings, a Q&A and signing. The event is free, but to book your ticket contact the library by phone on Tel: 01629 533 400 or email email@example.com
Next month sees Marie also doing a signing of the book at Alt.Fiction in Leicester, on the Sunday 15th April at 11am. Joining her will be Paul, Simon and David once again, plus Conrad Williams and horror legend Ramsey Campbell. Marie is also on two panels over the course of the weekend, ‘Horror Favourites’ on Saturday 14th April at 3pm, and ‘Return of the Short Story’ on the Sunday at 1pm. Visit the Alt.Fiction site for more details, and to buy your tickets: http://altfiction.co.uk/
Before that, though, on Sunday March 11th Marie will be reading a brand new story from the anthology Hauntings (above) at 5.30pm at the Staff of Life pub in Mowsley village, near Market Harborough in Leicestershire. Also appearing are Ian Whates, Paul, Mark West and Amanda Hemmingway. The event will be filmed for Un:Bound’s next Video Editions and the anthology is due out later on this year as a hardback limited edition from NewCon Press. Tickets are £3 including snacks, available via Paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more details on the event, visit the Un:Bound site: http://unboundve.blogspot.com/
Finally, another new story ‘Listen’ has been accepted by the British Fantasy Society’s magazine, Dark Horizons. You can read Marie’s tale in the Spring edition of the publication.
The major news for February is the release of the full line-up for Marie’s Mammoth Book of Body Horror anthology, co-edited with Paul Kane. The book – which weighs in at about 170,000 words – is due for publication now much earlier, on March 1st, so expect a number of events and a marketing campaign to be announced in the coming weeks. But for now, here’s the official press release:
The Mammoth Book of Body Horror:
Editors of the bestselling and British Fantasy Award-nominated
A very special and unique anthology celebrating the sub-genre of ‘Body Horror’, tracing its origins right up to the most modern exponents of the form. Featuring a veritable ‘who’s who’ of horror literature, and including the stories those classic Body Horror movies – The Thing, The Fly and Re-Animator – were based on, this promises to be a groundbreaking and landmark release in the history of the genre.
Full Table of Contents below:
TRANSFORMATION by Mary Shelley; THE TELL-TALE HEART by Edgar Allan Poe; HERBERT WEST: RE-ANIMATOR by H.P. Lovecraft; WHO GOES THERE? John W. Campbell; THE FLY by George Langelaan; TIS THE SEASON TO BE JELLY by Richard Matheson; SURVIVOR TYPE by Stephen King; THE BODY POLITIC by Clive Barker; THE CHANEY LEGACY by Robert Bloch; THE OTHER SIDE by Ramsey Campbell; FRUITING BODIES by Brian Lumley; FREAKTENT by Nancy A. Collins; REGION OF THE FLESH by Richard Christian Matheson; WALKING WOUNDED by Michael Marshall Smith; CHANGES by Neil Gaiman; OTHERS by James Herbert; THE LOOK by Christopher Fowler; RESIDUE by Alice Henderson; DOG DAYS by Graham Masterton; BLACK BOX by Gemma Files; THE SOARING DEAD by Simon Clark; POLYP by Barbie Wilde; ALMOST FOREVER by David Moody; BUTTERFLY by Axelle Carolyn; STICKY EYE by Conrad Williams.
Introduction by Stuart Gordon (Director of Re-Animator and From Beyond))
Marie was over the moon to learn that FantasyCon 2011 had come second place in the ‘This is Horror’ awards last month, in the events category. FCon was just beaten at the finishing line by Film4’s FrightFest, a very worthy opponent. To check out the site and see who else made it through the voting, click here and you can sign up for this year’s FantasyCon by clicking here.
Finally, Marie was out and about at a few events last month. The first was the launch of Richard and Judy Book Club choice, Alison Littlewood’s A Cold Season, at Waterstone’s in Leeds (above is a very proud Alison with her books). More photos below.
And Marie also attended the ‘double whammy’ PS Showcase events organised by Twisted Tales, at Waterstone’s Branches in Liverpool and Lancaster. These included readings by Peter Crowther, Paul, and horror legend Ramsey Campbell. Pictures from these are below.
Happy New Year! We start as we mean to go on in 2012, with news that one of Marie’s stories – ‘Touch’ – is part of the line-up for an anthology launching at the World Horror Convention in March in Salt Lake City. Slices of Flesh edited by Stan Swanson and published by Dark Moon Books, also features tales by such writers as Ramsey Campbell, Simon Clark, Gary Braunbeck, Nancy Kilpatrick and Tim Lebbon, plus cover art by Mike Mignola, creator of Hellboy. For more about this, visit the Dark Moon site here.
Time for a few major Guest announcements for conventions where Marie is part of the organising committee. FantasyCon 2012 to begin with, which recently revealed its inaugural Guest of Honour as Joe R. Lansdale, author of such bestselling books as Act of Love, Dead in the West, Magic Wagon and The Nightrunners (above). FantasyCon’s first Special Guest is well-respected editor of The Fontana Book of Great Horror Stories series and author, Mary Danby. And the con’s MC is New York Times bestselling author of books such as The Everlasting, Fallen and the forthcoming Coldbrook, Tim Lebbon.
To find out more and book your place at the FantasyCon 2012 site, click here.
The first two Guests of Honour of the World Fantasy Convention 2013 have just been announced, as well. They are Richard Matheson and his son, Richard Christian Matheson. Below is the official press release:
“Richard Matheson is a master of modern science fiction, fantasy and horror, and Stephen King credits him with single-handedly regenerating a stagnant genre. His best known novels include the influential I Am Legend, The Shrinking Man, A Stir of Echoes, Hell House, The World Fantasy Award-winning Bid Time Return and What Dreams May Come, all of which have been turned into movies. His latest novel, Other Kingdoms (2011), is about witchcraft and fairies in a rural English village. Not only did Richard Matheson script fourteen episodes of Rod Serling’s iconic The Twilight Zone TV series (including the classic ‘Nightmare at 20,000 Feet’), but his produced movie scripts include The Fall of the House of Usher, Pit and the Pendulum, Tales of Terror, The Raven, The Comedy of Terrors, The Devil Rides Out (aka The Devil’s Bride), Duel, The Legend of Hell House, Somewhere in Time, Jaws 3-D and the two ‘Kolchak’ TV movies, The Night Stalker and The Night Strangler, amongst many other credits Richard Matheson was awarded the World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1984 and the World Horror Convention’s Living Legend Award in 2000. In 2006 he was presented with The Legend Award by Ray Bradbury in Los Angeles.
Richard Christian Matheson began his career in the late 1970s. At twenty, he became the youngest writer ever signed to an overall deal with Universal Studios and he wrote scripts for a number on network TV shows. He moved quickly into feature film writing, working with Steven Spielberg on Harry and the Hendersons and Three O’Clock High. To date, he has written, co-written and sold over twelve spec screenplays – considered a record.
He has scripted three mini-series, including Sole Survivor for the Fox network, based on Dean Koontz’s best-selling novel; The Chronicles of Amber, for the Syfy Channel based on Roger Zelazny’s best-selling fantasy series, and the original Dragons, a six-hour for Matheson’s producing partner Bryan Singer and the Syfy Channel. Richard Christian Matheson is considered a master of the short-short story and has published more than seventy stories of psychological horror in magazines and major anthologies. Thirty of his critically acclaimed stories are collected in Scars and Other Distinguishing Marks with a Foreword by Stephen King and an Introduction by Dennis Etchison. His second collection, Dystopia, gathers sixty stories with an Introduction by Richard Matheson and an Afterword by Peter Straub. The volume also includes tributes about RC’s writing from Clive Barker, Ellen Datlow, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Ray Bradbury, Stephen Jones, Ramsey Campbell and many others. Matheson’s debut novel, Created By, was a Bram Stoker Award nominee and his magic-realism novella, The Ritual of Illusion, will soon be available from PS Publishing.
For more information visit the WFC site here.
Produced in association with Derbyshire County Council and Writing East Midlands, Write Here, Write Now (above) features an abridged version of Paul and Marie’s workshop on Monsters, as well as fiction inspired after their visit.
Above and below are photos from the British Fantasy Society Christmas Open Night which Marie attended at the Mug House in London. Immediately below is Marie with Paul plus ‘Female Cenobite’ and Phobophobia contributor Barbie Wilde, there for the launch of the anthology all three are in.
The next event Marie will be at is the launch of Alison Littlewood’s A Cold Season (below) at Waterstone’s in Leeds. Published by Jo Fletcher Books. Alison’s debut novel is already a Richard & Judy Book choice here. There’ll be photos from this event next month, so check back then.
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