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Archive for August, 2008

Paperback Fanatic: The November Relaunch

Posted by demonik on August 26, 2008

Justin writes:

Lots of news! Including I will become a dad in February, although I suspect you’re far more interested in news of my other mutant off-spring The Paperback Fanatic!

The new-look Fanatic will be with you in November 2008

The new-look Fanatic will be with you in November 2008

All issues bar 7 are now sold out (I’ll get to the web-site and update it ASAP).

The Fanatic will be re-launched in November as a quarterly publication from Sequential Media. There will be some changes to make it feel more like a magazine, but it should still very much feel like 95% of the original Fanatic. The new publishers also wanted me to carry on with the design to preserve the look, but bearing in mind the increased workload I’ve turned that over to them.

I’m currently writing Volume 2, Issue 3, so there are two issues currently being proof-read and designed. Maybe you could post the new dummy cover for people to check out?

Volume 2, issue 1 content includes-

Skinhead Revival!
The Fanatic traces the rise and fall of the most notorious and collectible of 1970s paperbacks- the skinhead pulps from New English Library (I had to write this one for FM!)

Jim Steranko, The Ivy League Vampire
The Fanatic takes its regular look at the classic paperback artists – this time it’s the legendary Jim Steranko under The Fanatic microscope

Confessions of a Paperback Fanatic
The full story behind the mag you hold in your very hands!

Edgar Rice Burroughs in paperback
With a Princess of Mars movie in production, The Fanatic digs out its collection of British ERB paperbacks and takes a trip to Mars, Venus and Pellucidar

A Fistful of Pulps!
The Fanatic chats with Terry Harknett, the man behind the George G Gilman pseudonym and the million selling spaghetti westerns in print- Edge and Steele

Fanatical Thoughts
Fanatics from around the world have their say on the letters page

The Paperback Dungeon
Updates and corrections to previous features, as well as the latest news, reviews and gossip

Men’s Adventure
In this first instalment of a regular feature on Men’s Adventure pulps, The Fanatic looks at the Malko super-spy series

Pulp Horror Has Risen From The Grave!
The concluding part to The Fanatic’s study of the classic horror pulps of the 1970s

So there you go! Can’t wait to see it out there. I think the launch event will be at the ABC Fair in London in November, so nearer the time I’ll be looking to drum up some support from various alcoholic members of Vault to turn up and cause mischief!

Posted in Forthcoming Events, Magazines, Paperback Fanatic, small press | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Mark Valentine – The Black Veil

Posted by demonik on August 25, 2008

Mark Valentine (ed.) – The Black Veil And Other Tales of Supernatural Sleuths (Wordsworth Mystery & the Supernatural, July 2008)



Introduction – Mark Valentine

Robert Eustace & L.T. Meade – The Warder of the Door
E. & H. Heron – The Story of Sevens Hall
William Hope Hodgson – The Gateway of the Monster
Arthur Machen – The Red Hand
Allen Upward – The Haunted Woman
Robert Barr – The Ghost with the Club-foot
Vernon Knowles – The Curious Activities of Basil Thorpenden
Donald Campbell – The Necromancer
L. Adams Beck – Waste Manor
John Cooling – The House of Fenris
Mark Valentine – The Prince of Barlocco
Colin P. Langeveld – The Legacy of the Viper
Mary Anne Allen (Rosemary Pardoe) – The Sheelagh-na-gig
A.F. Kidd – The Black Veil
R.B. Russell – Like Clockwork
Rosalie Parker – Spirit Solutions

The Gateway of the Monster… The Red Hand… The Ghost Hunter

To Sherlock Holmes the supernatural was a closed book: but other great detectives have always been ready to do battle with the dark instead. This volume brings together sixteen chilling cases of these supernatural sleuths, pitting themselves against the peril of ultimate evil. Here are encounters from the casebooks of the Victorian haunted house investigators John Bell and Flaxman Low, from Carnacki, the Edwardian battler against the abyss, and from horror master Arthur Machen’s Mr Dyson, a man-about-town and meddler in strange things. Connoisseurs will find rare cases such as those of Allen Upward’s The Ghost Hunter, Robert Barr’s Eugene Valmont (who may have inspired Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot) and Donald Campbell’s young explorer Leslie Vane, the James Bond of the jazz age, who battles against occult enemies of the British Empire. And the collection is completed by some of the best tales from the pens of modern psychic sleuth authors.

Thanks to Alan Frackelton for providing the contents of both this and The Wolf Pack!

Posted in *Wordsworth" | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Mark Valentine – The Werewolf Pack

Posted by demonik on August 25, 2008

Mark Valentine (ed.) – The Werewolf Pack (Wordsworth Editions, June 2008)



Introduction – Mark Valentine

Captain Frederick Marryat – The White Wolf of the Hartz Mountains
Sir Gilbert Campbell – The White Wolf of Kostopchin
Count Stenbock – The Other Side
B. Fletcher Robinson – The Terror in the Snow
Mrs Hugh Fraser – A Werewolf of the Campagna
Andrew Lang – The White Wolf
Andrew Lang – The Boy and the Wolf, or The Broken Promise
F.J. Harvey Darton – William and the Werewolf
Barry Pain – The Undying Thing
Saki – Gabriel-Ernest
Saki – The She-Wolf
Bernard Capes – The Thing in the Forest
Vasile Voiculescu – Among the Wolves
Ron Weighell – The Shadow of the Wolf
Steve Duffy – The Clay Party
Gail-Nina Anderson – The Tale Untold
R.B. Russell – Loup-garou


The wolf has always been a creature of legend and romance, while kings, sorcerers and outlaws have been proud to be called by the name of the wolf, it s no wonder, then, that tales of transformation between man and wolf are so powerful and persistent. This original collection offers some of the greatest, rarest and most unusual werewolf stories ever. From the forests of Transylvania to the ordered lawns of an English country estate, here are all the classic aspects of the tale. You will encounter shadows that lope under the moon, chilling howls, family curses, crimson feasts, the desperate chase and the deathly duel. But you will also find the werewolf in less expected guises as an adversary for Sherlock Holmes, as a myth of the Wild West, and as a figure restored to its origins in folk and fairy tales. With an informative introduction by Mark Valentine that follows the traces of the werewolf in literature, and its links to Dracula, Jekyll & Hyde, and The Hound of the Baskervilles, this superb collection will make you fear the full moon.

Another welcome addition to the Mystery & Supernatural series. Mark Valentine’s judicious selection is a neat mix of the classic, the downright obscure and the contemporary. This one will sit nicely against Brian J. Frost’s wonderful Book Of The Werewolf (Sphere, 1973)!

Posted in *Wordsworth" | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Christopher Fowler – Old Devil Moon

Posted by demonik on August 18, 2008

Christopher Fowler – Old Devil Moon (Serpent’s Tail, 2007)


Cover designed by Harriman Steel

Foreword: The Sinister Life

The Threads
The Lady Downstairs
The Luxury Of Harm
Cupped Hands
The Night Museum
Take It All Out, Put It All Back
The Twilight Express
Exclusion Zone
Identity Crisis
Red Torch
The Uninvited
The Spider Kiss
Let’s Have Some Fun
Forcibly Bewitched
All Packed
Old Friends
Unnatural Selection
That’s Undertainment!

Afterword: Q & A with Christopher Fowler


A geologist trapped in a town without water is lured into a desperate escape plan. A boy plans a murder in an eerie funfair. A cop witnesses an inexplicable plague of madness. A teenager learns a deadly trick with his mobile phone. A woman unlocks a childhood secret with the aid of old comic books. A secret museum opens only at night… Old Devil Moon is Christopher Fowler’s tenth collection of uniquely disturbing short stories, and contains the blackest humour and the darkest fears, set in worlds we walk through each day but rarely see.


The Threads: Holidaying in North Africa, obnoxious English tourists Alan and Verity Markham learn the hard way that you don’t steal an expensive tapestry from the local shopkeepers and then insult their Religion into the bargain. No sooner has he slipped the item under his coat than Markham endures the most appalling toothache. He’s a long way from Harley Street so there’s nothing else for it: he’ll have to put his trust in one of the street dentists who sit cross-legged in a row before their medieval surgical instruments and mounds of removed teeth …. Arguably, this is even more squirm inducing than the classic On Edge. Splendid choice of opener.

The Luxury Of Harm: The narrator persuades Simon, his old school friend and partner in mayhem, to attend a Horror Convention at Silburton, Somerset. This year’s theme is “Murderers On Page And Screen” and our man makes sure the conversation turns toward who in the room would make the most likely serial killer.

There’s a lovely pop culture moment in this one, too.

“And through the mist I gradually discerned a splendor figure, his head lolling slightly to one side, one arm lower than the other, like the skeleton in Aurora’s ‘Forgotten Prisoner’ model kit, or the one that features on my copy of The Seventh Pan Book Of Horror Stories.”

That reference to the Pan’s is apt: this would have suited one of the Van Thal’s just so.

Let’s Have Some Fun: Computer software designer Steve has seen his business plummet into terminal decline and now he’s slumming it as a temp at Penning-Karshall, the most boring firm in Christendom. Learning of his passion for online gambling, Gabriel, the despised office geek puts him on to Hot Targets a virtual paintball game which requires the player to tag a pair of top-heavy, bikini clad Essex Girls as they run giggling through a forest in real time. It takes him a while to crack it, but soon Steve is winning big. So big, in fact, that he’s invited to the Dockland’s launch of Hot Targets‘ ambitious new service …

Turbo-Satan: “Tower Hamlets, toilet of the world, arse-end of the universe … no money, no dope, no fags, no booze, nothing to do, nowhere to go, no-one who cared if he went missing for all eternity … I have absolutely nothing to look forward to … I hate my life …”

My first thoughts on reading this was “some bastard’s been reading my diary!”, but then I remembered I don’t keep one and besides, this is well written. It’s Fowler’s updating of the Deal with the Devil motif for the digital age with phony art student Mats discovering a hot-line to Satan on his mobile. At first, he makes a few sensible requests – “make the bus driver give me £10″, etc. – but blows it when he starts trying to be clever.

Red Torch: He finally plucks up the courage to approach the stunning, skimpily dressed blonde usherette at the Greenwich Granada during a James Bond double-bill and, to his astonishment, she immediately leads him straight into the office for a quickie. Only when the utterly joyless fuck is over does he realise that, outside the darkened theatre, she ain’t quite the looker he’s been fantasising over these past weeks and her “youthful” charms are more far-fetched than anything in You Only Live Twice

That’s Undertainment!: Mr Fowler has previous in the imaginary films department (Soho Black, Plague Of Terror, etc.) but he outdoes himself with this vitriolic state-of-the-industry address, although you may argue that there’s nothing very “imaginary” about these blockbusters at all, or at least, there won’t be very shortly. Jade Goody makes her big screen debut alongside Ray Winstone in Guy Ritchie’s latest mockerney gangland caper Who Are You Calling A Tosser? (a sequel to the surprise flop Did You Call My Pint A Poof?): Hugh Grant brings his bumbling ‘romantic’ presence to Antiques Roadshow – The 3-D Movie, and – they really should show this in Primary School – a child dobs in her heretic schoolteacher mom to Republican Senator Jude Law in the cautionary My Mom’s A Darwinist.

Posted in *Serpents Tail* | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Herbert Van Thal – Striking Terror

Posted by demonik on August 12, 2008

Herbert Van Thal – Striking Terror (Arthur Baker, 1963)

Jack Finney – Contents of the Dead Man’s Pockets
Peter Fleming – The Kill
Angus Wilson – Rasberry Jam
Philip McDonald – Our Feathered Friends
Geoffrey Household – Taboo
Carl Stephenson – Leiningen Versus The Ants
Charles Lloyd – Special Diet
Lord Dunsay – The Two Bottles of Relish
Sidney Carroll – A Note For The Milkman
H G Wells – The Cone

A selection from thee first three Pan Book Of Horror Stories selections. Thanks to Johnny Mains for providing the cover scan and contents.

Posted in *Arthur Baker*, Herbert Van Thal | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

John Llewellyn Probert – Coffin Nails

Posted by demonik on August 8, 2008

John Llewellyn Probert – Coffin Nails (Ash Tree Press, June 2008)


Jacket art by Keith Minnion


The Moving Image
Nefarious Assortment
Of Music and Mayhem
The Brook
The Ossuary
Final Act
Between the Pipes
The Sacrifices We Make
The Measure of a Man
Keeping It In the Family
Taking Over
Don’t Look Back
Guided Tour
A Matter of Urgency
The Topiary Patch
An Absence of Malice

Afterword and Story Notes


THE FILM-MAKERS who unleash a curse from an ancient abbey . . . The teenager who murders the sister he never had . . . The care-home whose attic harbours a monstrous secret . . . A schoolbook of poetry that means death for its readers . . . The witch’s familiar unleashed by church organ music . . .

Welcome to the sinister, scary, and sometimes outrageous world of John Llewellyn Probert. A place filled with troubled schoolchildren, overbearing theatre producers, brilliant surgeons, and nervous billionaires. Where a walk in the country can lead to a mansion filled with beautiful women, or a trap from which you can never escape. Where a picture on the wall of a primary school classroom can come to life with appalling consequences, and a rugby match can be the scene for a burned witch’s revenge. Meet the parents who think they know what is best for their son—until he returns from the grave to show them otherwise. Learn about the girl who found solace in a burial chamber near Prague; and discover the real reason why West-End musicals succeed or fail.

Ash-Tree Press is proud to present award-winning author John Llewellyn Probert’s Coffin Nails—eighteen tales designed to make you gasp with horror and shudder with delight: a volume so gripping that, as you read it, you may well fail to notice the twisted, taloned creature that escaped when you opened the book creeping up behind you to do its dreadful work. Once you’ve satisfied yourself that there is nothing there, please feel free to read the rest of the book. But remember—we never said that it was visible.


PRICE: Cdn$49.00 / US$49.00 / £28.00

Limited to 400 copies: order yours from Ash Tree Press

Watch the Promo video

Contact the author: John L. Probert

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