Reviews – 11:03:2015

Today we have even more reviews of Spectral/Theatrum Mundi titles plus an interview, so let’s get straight on with it.

"Ricochet" by Tim Dry ©2015 Tim Dry/Theatrum Mundi. Artwork ©2015 John Oakey

“Ricochet” by Tim Dry ©2015 Tim Dry/Theatrum Mundi. Artwork ©2015 John Oakey

From the illustrious Ginger Nuts of Horror we have out first review of Ricochet by Tim Dry, written by Paul M. Feeney which you can find HERE. As soon as you’ve finished that you should go on and read the interview of ‘Renaissance Man’ Tim Dry, also conducted by Mr. Feeney – that one is right HERE.

PRICES INCLUDE POST AND PACKING

UK £10

EU £15

US & RoW $30

Dr. V's Hammer has landed!

Dr. V’s Hammer has landed!

And HERE’S another review from Chris Hall of DLS Reviews, talking about John Llewellyn Probert’s The Hammer of Dr. Valentine. Get your copy of the limited hardback or the unlimited paperback today!

The Hammer of Dr. Valentine: LIMITED SIGNED HARDBACK (100 only). 

UK £21

EU £24

USA & Everywhere Else $45

PAPERBACK EDITION

£12.50UK

£15.00EU

$30.00US & RoW

Reviews and News – 02:02:2015

"The Hammer of Dr. Valentine" ©2014 John Llewellyn Probert/Spectral Press. Artwork ©2014 Nick Gucker. Layout ©2014 Neil Williams.

“The Hammer of Dr. Valentine” ©2014 John Llewellyn Probert/Spectral Press. Artwork ©2014 Nick Gucker. Layout ©2014 Neil Williams.

We begin our week with a new review of John Llewellyn Probert’s The Hammer of Dr. Valentine from Paul Feeney, which has been posted to his Sound and Fury blog – read it HERE.

The Hammer of Dr. Valentine: limited signed hardback (100 only). 

UK £21

EU £24

USA & Everywhere Else $45

NEWS

We are pleased to be able to announce that Brian Hodge’s Spectral Book of Horror Stories tale, ‘Cures for a Sickened World”, has made it into Locus magazine’s annual ‘Recommended Reading’ list – you can see the rest of the list HERE.

We have acquired another book for 2016 since last week which we’d like to tell you about: Andrew Hook will join the Theatrum Mundi roster with his contemporary fantasy conspiracy thriller The Greens - featuring creatures from myth and legend, alien technology, and mad conspiracy stuff, all mashed together with families, parenthood, and genealogy. Intrigued? Then stay tuned for information as it becomes available!

Also, there’s a late addition to the contents of We Are the Martians: The Legacy of Nigel Kneale, edited by Neil Snowdon – The Quatermass Conclusion, a 1980 interview with the man himself, conducted by David A. Sutton, which was originally featured in a magazine called Fantasy Media. The book is due out from Spectral Screen in December this year.

 

News, reviews and stuff – 13:02:2014

Quite a packed little blog entry we have for you today, so without any more faffing let’s get on with the show:

The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine cover image

First we have a review of the British Fantasy Award-winning novella The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine by John Llewellyn , from Paul Feeney on his Sound and Fury blog. That one can be accessed right HERE.

And talking of the good Doctor, fans of John’s mas monstrously malicious medic will be pleased to know that the second chronicle in the trilogy of medical misdeeds, The Hammer of Dr. Valentine, will be available in late April/early May. It won’t take a brain surgeon to figure out which studios’ films are being referenced this time, but we can guarantee that the same level of darkly delicious black humour that entertained readers of the first installment will be present. Once again, JD Busch will be providing the cover image, which he is working on right now. And, just to entice you, we are offering you a chance to get the limited signed hardback of the book at a special price before it reverts to the normal pre-order price next month – see below for details.

THE HAMMER OF DR. VALENTINE

£18 UK

£21 EU

$38 US & RoW

NEWS

"The Christmas Ghost Stories of Lawrence Gordon Clark", Cover image ©  1971 - 2013 Graham Morris. Design by John Oakey.

“The Christmas Ghost Stories of Lawrence Gordon Clark”, Cover image © 1971 – 2013 Graham Morris. Design by John Oakey.

An interview with Lawrence Gordon Clark, the originator of the BBC TV drama series A Ghost Story for Christmas and the subject of the Spectral Screen book The Christmas Ghost Stories of Lawrence Gordon Clark, has just been published at the Smug Film website, which you will find right HERE. If what Lawrence has to say whets your appetite, you can order the book, available in three editions, below.

CONTENTS:

DELUXE EDITION (50 only- 20 left(available late February):

Foreword by MARK GATISS

Introduction by TONY EARNSHAW

Seven short stories by M. R. JAMESThe Stalls of Barchester CathedralThe Treasure of Abbot ThomasA Warning to the CuriousThe Ash TreeLost HeartsCasting the RunesCount Magnus

Exclusive new introductions to each story by LAWRENCE GORDON CLARK

Count Magnus teleplay by BASIL COPPER

Lost Hearts short stage play by LAWRENCE GORDON CLARK

Q&A with LAWRENCE GORDON CLARK by TONY EARNSHAW

Filmography, awards, of LAWRENCE GORDON CLARK by TONY EARNSHAW

Illustrated with unseen behind the scenes photographs, chapter heading vignettes by Nick Gucker,  as well as examples of storyboards by Lawrence Gordon Clark.

SIGNED, SLIPCASED DELUXE EDITION:

£85 UK

£87 EU

$145 US

UNSIGNED HARDBACK (100 only) (available late January/early February):

Foreword by MARK GATISS

Introduction by TONY EARNSHAW

Seven short stories by M. R. JAMESThe Stalls of Barchester CathedralThe Treasure of Abbot ThomasA Warning to the CuriousThe Ash TreeLost HeartsCasting the RunesCount Magnus

Exclusive new introductions to each story by LAWRENCE GORDON CLARK

Q&A with LAWRENCE GORDON CLARK by TONY EARNSHAW

Illustrated with photographs as well as chapter heading vignettes (by Nick Gucker)

UNSIGNED HARDBACK EDITION

£45 UK

£47 EU

$80 US

PAPERBACK (Unlimited) (available now):

Foreword by MARK GATISS

Introduction by TONY EARNSHAW

Seven short stories by M. R. JAMESThe Stalls of Barchester CathedralThe Treasure of Abbot ThomasA Warning to the CuriousThe Ash TreeLost HeartsCasting the RunesCount Magnus

Exclusive new introductions to each story by LAWRENCE GORDON CLARK

Filmography, awards, of LAWRENCE GORDON CLARK by TONY EARNSHAW

Basic edition – text only plus chapter heading vignettes by Nick Gucker.

PAPERBACK EDITION:

£17.50 UK

£19.50 EU

$30 US

More soon!!

New review 19:08:2013

Soul Masque by Terry Grimwood. © 2013 Terry Grimwood. Cover concept ©  2013 Neil Williams/Spectral Press. All rights reserved.

Soul Masque by Terry Grimwood. © 2013 Terry Grimwood. Cover concept © 2013 Neil Williams/Spectral Press. All rights reserved.

It’s been fairly quiet around these parts lately, so let’s change that by bringing you the latest review of Terry Grimwood’s chapbook story, Soul Masque. This one is from subscriber Paul Feeney, and was posted to his Facebook timeline:

“The world is on the brink, demons are rife and those that purport to do God’s (yes, God, with the capital…) work seem as corrupt as those they fight. Within this dark, grimy war revolves the separate yet tangled lives of Sian, a facilitator and handler of sorts and dispenser of mingled pain and pleasure; Jon, the wielder of the Glory and slave to chemical dependence; Meg, Jon’s lover and companion; Rennie, who loves Meg but carries his own dark secrets; and The Singer, an angel whose appearance and motivations somehow seem less than holy…

Twenty three pages of short story and there’s enough here for an entire novel. I don’t just mean the idea, I mean the thing itself reads like a novel. It’s mind boggling to think how much Terry Grimwood has managed to squeeze into this small chapbook. It’s a testament to the writing which is spare and fractured, yet incredibly detailed. In fact, the whole structure is disjointed, adding to the fragile, brittle world the characters inhabit – and also themselves. In a few scant words, Grimwood gives full flesh to his people, covers the bones of his story in rich detail with light strokes of his writing. It’s an incredible feat, only slightly marred for me by the use of present tense in places. At least at first. It made it difficult for me to break into the story at first, which is already dense and layered. I feel, and this is purely a personal thing, that it would have been better to start with past tense and introduce the present later, because, as the story races towards its end, it really doesn’t distract at that point.

Still, a minor quibble. The story is epic, beautiful, tragic and very dark, with little hope of redemption for any of its protagonists. There’s enough here to sustain a whole series of novels and I’d love to see more. The scene with Sian and The Singer in her room…well, it sent shivers up and down my spine.

Gorgeous, brutal stuff. Look forward to more.”

Many thanks, Paul – more soon!

New reviews – 30:04:2013

A bumper selection of review to browse through today, so let’s get down to it straightaway with the first one:

Whitstable cover image

This one is the latest for Stephen Volk’s Whitstable, courtesy of The Zone – thanks to Tom Johnstone for the write-up! You’ll find it right here.

PLEASE NOTE: there are now just THREE copies of the limited signed and numbered hardback left – those wanting a copy should get to the Spectral Shop NOW to secure their copy before they all go. The book will NOT be reprinted in this format again!

****

Paul Feeney has been a regular supporter of Spectral Press since its launch nearly 2 1/2 years ago, and he posts mini-reviews on Facebook after reading each publication. The reviews below are of the latest three chapbooks:

What Gets Left Behind cover image

“OK, number 7 in the Spectral Press chapbook series.

Mike returns to the town he grew up in through the 70’s and 80’s, hoping to lay some personal ghosts to rest, and finally say goodbye to his childhood friend Geoff.

It’s a well written story, with some nice touches and clear descriptions and dialogue. The structure is essentially the tale from the past, bookended with passages form the present. Whilst it’s pretty clear what is probably going to happen, more so towards the end, and thus slightly robs the story of some of the surprise, the telling is fine. There are also a few nice creepy moments in the finale, that really get the hairs standing up.

However…

There was something I just didn’t engage with in the story and it took me two reads to figure it out. It doesn’t feel long enough. This is an entirely personal thing for me, because I love the sense of nostalgia this sort of story can conjure, especially when it’s well done and I felt this was where the story most came alive.It just should have been more. For me, it needed more immersion in the past, in order to resonate more with the present. But that’s my perception, not a failing of the writing.

As always, the book itself is lovingly created, and is a nice addition to the Spectral line up. I look forward to more from Mark.”

The Way of the Leaves cover image

“And on to Spectral chapbook number 8.

Two lonely youngsters, who have become drawn to each other through their similar natures, spend their time exploring the woods around their village. They come upon a barrow (old burial mound) and what happens there sets in chain events that will affect them forever.

Great atmospheric story. It’s extremely well written and the narrative flowed very well. Tallerman has the enviable ability to draw a full canvas from only a few words, to create powerful images with minimal description. I found the setting very evocative and there was something ancient and timeless about it (not just because of the subject).

There’s a strong sense of foreboding throughout, a feeling of sad and tragic inevitability. although it’s not really about scares as such, there is room for a couple of nice little creepy moments, such as when the kids are crawling into the entrance to the barrow, at night, in near dark… However, it’s all about the overall atmosphere, which is maintained throughout the tale.

Another solid entry in the Spectral line-up.”

Creakers front cover by Neil Williams

And finally:

“Number 9 in the Spectral chapbook series (yay, I’m now up to date! :-D).

Ray’s mother has passed away and it’s his ‘happy’ task to clean up her home to sell on. However, while he’s staying there, odd sounds and strange visions assault him…the ominous ‘creaking’ sound.
OK, I may be picking this up wrong, but I found this to be quite an amusing tale, despite the dark undertones that pop up as it progresses. When the first round of ‘creaks’ start to sound, I was chuckling away to myself and the prose was light and amusing. Or so it seemed to me. Maybe I was picking it up wrong. I hope not. Of course, this light tone doesn’t last and soon there are hints of darker goings on.I found the story moved easily between these different tones and in fact, the lighter moments helped to define more clearly the darker turns. I really hope this was deliberate.There’s some very solid writing on display here and each reveal is handled deftly and with subtle ease.

A great story and a name I’ll have to look out for in the future. I only hope the parts I found humorous were intentional…”

Many thanks to Paul for taking the time to write these!
More reviews soon!

The Respectable Face of Tyranny: a quotable quote and a mini-review

The Respectable Face of Tyranny cover image

So, to return to a semblance of normality after the euphoria of being nominated for some awards, here are a couple of nice things people have said about Gary Fry’s Spectral Visions novella. First a quote:

“An excellent novella from Gary Fry. The Respectable Face of Tyranny is set on the North Yorkshire coast, and the author shows us a place at once familiar and strange, beautiful and threatening . . . His characters are caught up in vast, uncontrollable events, responding as best they can in a world where the unexplained hovers just beyond the visible and the mundane.”
Alison Littlewood, author of A Cold Season

And now, a mini-review, posted by Paul Feeney on his Facebook page:

“The first of Spectral Press’s original novellas, and leading the charge is Gary Fry’s  The Respectable Face Of Tyranny. This is a beautifully written piece of work, and although only 40 pages long, manages to cram enough ideas and detail in it for a full length novel. The book itself is beautifully put together, and the cover photo is amazing and really sets the tone for the story inside.

Although ostensibly about a father, Josh, who has lost his financial security in the recent crisis, and is forced to relocate to a caravan near Whitby with his teenage daughter, it is also about the general fears we experience in an uncertain world, especially since the economic crash, and also about concerns specific to Josh as a father. He mulls over the recent past, while also contemplating world changing events from WW2 to the big bang. He is also prone to seeing odd things as he walks the eerie beaches, but tries to put these visions down to stress. Like a lot of the stories Spectral Press has put out so far, there is an uncertainty as to the reality of the supernatural overtones. This lends an air of discordance in the story, which works well within its confines. The possibility that Josh has inherited his mother’s mental illness is alluded to, but there are also other scenes which appear to confirm the existence of what Josh is experiencing. Inevitably it is up to the reader to make their own judgement on these things, and like most good horror/supernatural stories, it is not really about that anyway. It’s about becoming displaced from a once secure position, it’s about change, it’s about realising that some things are completely out of our control and it’s about sometimes facing up to the mostly insignificant part we play in the world. There is a sense that the universe we inhabit is illusory, and all attempts at control are futile. A very well written story, and a great way to begin Spectral Visions.”

More reviews soon!