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Posts Tagged ‘horror’

Yes, we made another Gloaming at the end of last year, and I forgot to put it on the blog. Here, then is episode 5: Ruttington Perish Council…

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When I first sat down over the summer to start doing some serious work on In The Gloaming I didn’t know what a chapbook was. I had never heard of Michael Marshall Smith. I thought horror was all shiny, fat, black books with skulls on the front, wedged into the pockets of teenagers’ school blazers. I didn’t know anything about modern horror, and I wasn’t expecting to find much that I was missing much.

Still, I settled into a Costa with a pot of tea, and The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror: No. 19. Half an hour later, my tea was cold, the book was closed in front of me, and I had been staring into space for so long the Costa staff were beginning to worry. I had been punched in the gut by the very first story. I had been punched in the gut by Michael Marshall Smith.

I was stunned. Where I had been expecting pointless gore and bad prose, I had found something strangely beautiful and utterly nasty. I had found ‘The Things He Said’, a vicious tale with a killer ending. I wanted to read more. I was hooked.

Almost the whole anthology was great (it had a much higher hit rate, in my opinion, than this year’s effort: the 20th book in series), and, in one book, it changed my opinion of a genre.

Truth be told, I’m still not exactly sure what a chapbook is, but they seem to be books containing just one or two stories. When I saw that Nightjar Press were selling one by Michael Marshall Smith for just £3, I decided to buy it. (I thought of it as being like buying a single, rather than a novel’s album; but that dates me horribly, too, I’m not sure what analogy the kids today would understand. “I thought of it as a happy-slapping, rather than a full-blown knife-crime.”)

Front Cover

The cover for WHWYWUITN

What Happens When You Wake Up In The Night is another great story, although it seems unassuming as first. It still creeps up on me when I’m not thinking about it. It’s controlled, cool, masterful in the way it doles out information, and slowly gets more deranged. It’s a nightmarish story, and I mean that as a compliment…

In short, if you’ve £3 you would otherwise have spent on the gaming tables, loose women, or intoxicating beverages, why not pop on over to Nightjar Press, and spend it on a signed, limited-edition chapbook (whatever that may be). You’ll get chills, the satisfaction of supporting a small publishing effort, and an actual collectible thing.

Sweet screams…

(PS – Nicholas Royle, who runs Nightjar Press, also has an excellent story in The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror: No. 19 )

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