Monthly Archives: October 2016

A Sampling of Texas Horrors

road killRoad Kill
E. R. Bills & Bret McCormick, eds.
Eakin Press
Paperback $16.95
ebook $5.99

I’d like to thank Bret McCormick for sending me a review copy of Road Kill.  Most anthologies have two or three (or more) stories that aren’t my flagon of ale.  There was only one story in this one that fits that description.  All of the others I liked, some a lot.  And not just because of the Texas theme.

The variety in Road Kill is impressive.  The type of horror ranges from quiet to grisly to Lovecraftian to science fictional.  Here were a few of my favorites. Continue reading

What Do H. P. Lovecraft and John W. Campbell, Jr. Have in Common?

Things From Outer SpaceThings From Outer Space
Hank Davis, ed.
mass market paperback $7.99
ebook $6.99 Amazon, $8.99 publisher’s website

This book came out at the end of August.  I’m still reading it, so this isn’t going to be a review of the whole book.  That will come after I finish reading it.  I am going to discuss John Campbell, Jr.’s classic “Who Goes There?”, which is the lead story and the inspiration for the anthology.

I’m also going to discuss H. P.. Lovecraft’s “At the Mountains of Madness”.  That’s not the Lovecraft story in the book, btw.  Davis chose “The Colour Out of Space”.  Probably because it fit the theme better than AtMoM.

I have read somewhere, and it was long enough ago that I don’t recall where, that Campbell may have been inspired to write “Who Goes There?” after reading “At the Mountains of Madness” in Astounding Stories in 1936.

I don’t know if this is true, but there are some strong similarities between the stories.  There are some key differences as well. Continue reading

A Short Collection by Karl Edward Wagner

Little-Ochre-Book-596x596A Little Ochre Book of Occult Stories
Karl Edward Wagner
Stephen Jones, ed.
Borderlands Press
hardcover, 136 p., $30

I’ve been reading this slim volume this week.  Not that it should have taken me a week, but with the hours I’ve been keeping, a few minutes a night is the best I can do.

It’s been a while since I’ve read Wagner.  This collection reminded me why I like his work.

In addition to an introduction by Stephen Jones, there are four poems, three stories, and a brief, never published article. Continue reading

Halloween Tricks and Treats

dark hallowsDark Hallows: 10 Halloween Haunts
Mark Parker, ed.
Scarlet Galleon
paperback $14.99, 161 p.
ebook $6.99

This book came out last fall, but my copy didn’t arrive until after Halloween, so I waited until this year to read it.  There’s a second volume, but given that I’m writing this on the 27th, it will probably be a next-year-read as well.

Many of the names aren’t authors I’m familiar with.  Obviously I know who Richard Chizmar, Norman Partridge, and Brian James Freeman are, as well as Lisa Morton and Al Sarrantonio.   I’ve heard of a couple of the others, I think.

I’ve got the print version, and it’s a nice production.  The cover art is perfect.  Aaron Dries provided an original illustration for each story, which was a nice touch.

As with most anthologies, some stories were more to my taste than others.  Here are a few of my favorites: Continue reading

Halloween Reading

book jack o lanternI had hoped to have more read and reviewed by now.  There should be some posts coming in the next few days.  Once again there are several books I’ve been intending to read for the last few years that I won’t get read by Halloween.  This year I’m just going to read them no matter what, even if Halloween is over when I do.

The picture is from the blog Displays for Small Academic Libraries.  Check them out.  They have some impressive Halloween themed displayed made of books, including a skull and Dracula.

Meet The Winter People

The Winter PeopleThe Winter People
Jennifer McMahon
Anchor Books
MMPB, $7.99
ebook  $7.99

If you’re in the mood for a creepy ghost story that provides plenty of chills, and who this time of year isn’t, then you might want to check out The Winter People. You may have the book. It’s on sale at a lot of the big box stores, such as Wal-Mart. Don’t let that stop you.

Set in the countryside near a small town in Vermont called West Hall, this is the story of Sara Harrison Shea, who died under mysterious circumstances 1908, not long after her daughter was found at the bottom of a well.  Sara’s ghost is said to haunt the area, and she’s something of a local legend.  Her secret diary has even been published.

Or what pieces people have been able to find of it.  But don’t worry.  The missing pieces are included here.  Much of the story takes place in modern times and concerns 19 year old Ruthie.  She lives off the grid with her mother and younger sister in what used to be Sara’s farmhouse.  Ruthie returns home late one night to find the lights on and her mother missing.  This isn’t typical of her mother, especially not in the dead of winter.  While trying to find some clue about where her mother could have gone, Ruthie discovers a copy of Sara’s diary in a secret compartment of her mother’s room. Continue reading

Three Classic Pulps Begin Publishing Again

argosy-front fall 2016There will be a review of a really good ghost story novel posted in the next day or so, but I wanted to pass this tidbit of information along to you.

Mike Chomko announced earlier today via his email list that three classic pulps, Argosy, Black Mask, and Famous Fantastic Mysteries will resume publishing next month.  Mike will have the first new issues premiering at Pulp Adventurecon in November.

Here’s the press release:

Argosy, Black Mask, and Famous Fantastic Mysteries will be returning to magazine format featuring NEW stories by Frederick Nebel, Paul Bishop, and Kimberly B. Richardson. That’s right! Three of the most historic pulp fiction magazines of the Twentieth Century are set to return to magazine format.

This November, Altus Press will relaunch full-length magazines of Argosy, Black Mask, and Famous Fantastic Mysteries in periodical format. These three pulp magazine titles were renowned for the high level of quality fiction which they published for decades.

blackmask-front fall 2016Argosy, Black Mask, and Famous Fantastic Mysteries will be composed of classic fiction from the backlog of The Frank A. Munsey Company, Pro-Distributors Publishing Company, Inc., and Popular Publications, Inc., along with all-new stories and articles.

The first issue of the new Argosy features an ALL-NEW story by Frederick Nebel, along with stories by H. Bedford-Jones, Berton E. Cook, Ralph R. Perry, W. Wirt, Murray R. Montgomery, and Norbert Davis. Argosy’s focus will remain primarily on adventure fiction.

The first issue of the new Black Mask is highlighted by a brand new story by award-winner Paul Bishop, as well as classic hard-boiled detective stories by Carroll John Daly, Frederick Nebel, Raoul Whitfield, T.T. Flynn, Merle Constiner, Richard Sale, and Norbert Davis.

ffm-front fall 2016The first issue of the new Famous Fantastic Mysteries is highlighted by a new short story by Kimberly B. Richardson. It’s rounded out by stories from G.T. Fleming-Roberts, Arthur Leo Zagat, Frederick C. Davis, Hugh B. Cave, Paul Ernst, Wyatt Blassingame, and Wayne Rogers, among others. Famous Fantastic Mysteries will focus on the weird fiction genre.

Each of these magazines enjoyed decades-long publications by a variety of publishers, comprising several thousand total issues. Now owned by Steeger Properties, LLC, these titles will be published on a regular schedule and in print format. These new magazines will be printed in black & white and each is heavily illustrated.

The cover price of each is $15.

Mike is taking orders now, so if you want to make sure you snag a copy, contact him at mikechomko at gmail dot com.

I’m hoping this venture is a wild success.  The magazines have a long and important history