Submissions call: Industrial Horror anthology

Spectral Press logoYou know how chance remarks made by someone often spark off ideas? This is just such a case. Over the weekend, horror writer extraordinaire Adam Nevill posited the idea of industrial horror, which set off a chain-reaction in the sparking brain matter of Simon Marshall-Jones and, after his twitching, writhing body had stilled, he proclaimed that he was going to put together and publish an anthology of such stories. But, be warned, we don’t want the usual – no, we want stories that will push boundaries (not in terms of extreme gore and violence, necessarily), the entwining of flesh and stark machinery, techno-industrial dystopias, twisted conceptions of body and enhanced beauty, Cronenbergian nightmares, Kafkaesque metamorphoses, posthuman realities, the decay of body, mind, spirit and reason, innumerable sexualities. We want illogical extrapolations of present social realities, re-envisioning of industrial pasts, where factory and humanity become indistinguishable, where both lines and flesh are blurred. We certainly don’t just want the usual tired old tropes, if possible: what we want is the disturbing, the challenging, the absurdist, the blackly comedic, the infuriating, the horrific, the abnormal. Here, flesh is reshaped, both voluntarily and involuntarily, a world where gods and demons have assumed corporeality, where humans have either integrated fully into a seething mass of metal, electonics and skin, or have been rejected as the parasitic lifeform it is. In other words, just let your imagination run wild, be experimental with word and structure, and go into areas where the warning lights constantly flash an angry red and life is always a breath away from being extinguished.

Stories should run approximately anywhere between 8,000 to 12,000 words. The submission period is open now, and there is no deadline as such: Spectral will close to submissions when there are enough stories of sufficient quality to fill a good-sized anthology. It may take two months or it may take two years (and it will depend entirely on publishing schedules – Spectral is currently booked up until at least the beginning of 2015). This will be a paying market – we do not expect writers just to do this ‘for the love’ or just ‘for exposure’. Payment structure still to be decided – but, rest assured, it will be fair.

If interested or want to submit or even just submit a pitch for a story, contact us at spectralpress[AT]gmail[DOT]com

Get writing!!

The Unspoken


In a change to the scheduled programming, instead of promoting publications from Spectral, we would like to point you in the direction of a charity anthology called The Unspoken. It’s edited by Willie Meikle and has been published by Karoshi Books. In case you’re wondering, it’s an anti-cancer anthology, with proceeds going to cancer research charities. Why are we telling you about this?  Simply because it is full of some of the best writers around, plus Simon Marshall-Jones, the editor of Spectral, has provided the cover painting (image above) – just take a look at this:

“Cancer is a monster. It hides, it lurks, and it pounces when you think it’s down and defeated. In these 17 stories, established horror writers take the attack to the beast, fighting it the only way they know how.

Ramsey Campbell – Introduction
Tim Lebbon – Just Breathe
Simon Kurt Unsworth – Photographs of Boden
Steven Savile & Steve Lockley – The Last Gift
John Shirley – Where the Market’s Hottest
Anna Taborska – Underbelly
Stephen James Price – Pages of Promises
Scott Nicholson – Heal Thyself
Stephen Laws – Harbinger
William Meikle – The Unfinished Basement
Nancy Kilpatrick – Alien Love
David Riley – A Girl, a Toad and a Cask
Barbie Wilde – Polyp
Johnny Mains – The Cure
Guy N Smith – The Big One
Pete Crowther – Cankerman
Steve Duffy – X for Henrietta
Gary McMahon – Bitter Soup

Edited by William Meikle
Cover art by Simon Marshall Jones”

You can buy The Unspoken here.

Musing darkly on The 13 Ghosts of Christmas

The 13 Ghosts of Christmas cover image

Just a very short blog entry on this overcast and foggy morning here at Spectral Towers, to let you know about the latest review of Spectral’s very first anthology, The 13 Ghosts of Christmas. This one’s been written by Anthony Watson and appears on his Dark Musings blog. If you want to read what he’s written about it, all you need to do is click here.

More soon!

Christmas Ghost Story Annual: an update

Spectral Press logoJust a tiny update for all those who submitted to Spectral’s first annual Christmas Ghost Story anthology and are awaiting responses – due to an encounter with kidney stones, in which Spectral’s editor came off quite the worse for wear, as well as having to get ourselves prepared for FantasyCon coming up at the end of next month, reading all the submissions has been delayed somewhat. However, the process has now started and the book will be out on time, so responses will start to be sent out very soon.

Apologies for any inconvenience caused!

The Ghosts of Christmas Future

As you know, Spectral Press is all about looking forwards to the future – but, sometimes, taking a glance backwards can be just as thrilling and inspirational. And that’s what Spectral will be doing next year, inspired by an almost throwaway remark Tweeted by my good friend, the writer Scott Harrison.

At one time, there was a tradition of publishing ghost stories based around the Christmas festivities. The Victorians were particularly fond of ghost stories and, since they bequeathed to us the ‘traditional’ Christmas (less the rampant consumerism) by more or less ‘inventing’ what we now come to understand as Yuletide festivities, the marriage of the two ideas seems somehow inevitable. And so, we now have the image of scary tales being told to rapt audiences sitting by the hearth, with the burning Yule log crackling gently in the background.

Equally inevitably, the Christmas ghost story became a regular inclusion in annuals published around that time of year. One of the most famous examples of this type of story is Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (1843), a tale of greed, parsimony, ghostly visitations and redemption, and finally painting for us the perfect image of what Christmas eventually came to mean in later years. Dickens also wrote four other Christmas stories: The Chimes (1844), The Cricket on the Hearth (1845), The Battle of Life (1846), and The Haunted Man (1848). Many other authors, including MR James for instance, wrote tales specifically based around the Christmas celebrations.

Spectral wants to revive the tradition of the Christmas ghost story. Starting in December 2012, an annual anthology of such tales will be published, in a format yet to be determined (but my immediate thoughts are that it will be an unlimited e-book, with a special limited hardback edition also being available). Unlike the chapbooks, which are invite-only affairs, I will most likely throw open the doors for submissions – and submissions will be open from January 1st to June 30th in any particular year.


Already, the response has been quite encouraging, so it looks very promising for this venture. I’d like to think that maybe, just maybe, this could be the start of something that will eventually become a regular feature of the genre publishing landscape, in however small a way. I, for one, am very much looking forward to see what happens.