Announcing a Very Special New Joe R. Lansdale Project!

I’m really pleased to announce a very exciting new project from master storyteller Joe R. Lansdale.

Cosmic_Interruptions_FRONT_v2

Announcing the first book in a four-book set of story collections: COSMIC INTERRUPTIONS. This first collection is science fiction/fantasy and includes rare and rarely collected stories giving you the unique opportunity to collect some of Joe R. Landale’s excellent stories that you may have missed or aren’t familiar with.

Each HUGE collection will be published one book per year, and the following collections will include: crime/mystery, horror/East Texas Gothic, and historical/western.

Each book will feature original dust jacket art by award-winning artist Vincent Chong, and include over TWENTY never-before-seen interior illustrations by award-winning illustrator Nino Cammarata.

Customers who purchase the first book will automatically have the matching number reserved for them for the following books in the series they purchase.

Read more and preorder your copy of this very special project before they’re all gone:

https://sstpublications.co.uk/Cosmic-Interruptions.html

New Bentley Little Signed Limited Hardcover Now Available For Preorder!

It’s my pleasure to announce a very special Signed & Numbered Limited Hardcover edition SST will be publishing this spring:

The Handyman FRONT TEXT

 

The Handyman: A New Novel

“The horror poet laureate.” — Stephen King

 

Daniel Martin has never forgotten his childhood encounters with Frank Watkins, the man who built his family a summer home out of cardboard and plywood.

Frank’s gaze was oddly confusing, as if he was attempting to discern the proper way to behave because he didn’t know how to respond in a human manner, almost like an alien trying to pretend to be human.

Since Frank obviously wasn’t an alien, Daniel thought maybe the man was crazy.

In the end, young Daniel would learn the terrifying truth about Frank Watkins . . .

And as an adult, Daniel is about to discover there are more of them out there . . .

Signed Limited Hardcover Edition:

box Limited to only 450 Signed & Hand-Numbered copies

box Personally signed by the author on a specially designed full-colour signature page

box Larger 6.14″ x 9.21″ trim size

box Printed on 90gsm acid-free paper

box Bound in full-cloth with coloured head and tail bands

box Hot foil stamping on the front boards and spine

box Offset printed and bound with full-colour endpapers

box Sewn binding for increased durability

box Incredible wraparound dust jacket artwork & six interior illustrations by Ben Baldwin

box Extremely limited ONE-TIME printing of SST Publication’s Special Signed Limited Edition — Only 450 copies will be available worldwide!

This is one of Bentley Little’s best novels to date! And due to the very small print run, and the fact that Cemetery Dance Publications’ Signed Limited Hardcover edition sold out in no time, and the trade hardcover edition is also now sold out, we don’t expect these to last very long!

The book is now available for preorder from the link below:

https://sstpublications.co.uk/The-Handyman.html

Thanks so much for all your support!

Announcing a brand new Hellraiser novella HELLRAISER: THE TOLL

I’m really excited to announce a brand-new addition to Clive Barker’s iconic Hellraiser series: HELLRAISER: THE TOLL. This is a brand new Hellraiser novella beautifully written by Mark Alan Miller, story by the legendary Clive Barker.Hellraiser-The-Toll

SST is proud to announce a Signed & Numbered Limited Hardcover edition limited to ONLY 450 copies signed by Mark Alan Miller.

The gorgeous dust jacket artwork is by award-wining illustrator Daniele Serra, and the interior illustrations are by non-other than Clive Barker himself!

Here are the details about our special edition and the synopsis:

Hellraiser: The Toll tells the story of what happened between Clive Barker’s iconic works The Hellbound Heart and its follow up, The Scarlet Gospels.

Thirty years after Kirsty Cotton escaped from the clutches of the Hell Priest, Pinhead, and lived to fight another day, her life has never been the same. Every few years she fashions a new name, a new identity, and a new home for herself; She is a woman who is running from her past at all costs, which is why it comes as such a surprise when she receives a mysterious letter in the mail, addressed to the woman she’s been running from over half her life.

Answering the letter’s query, she begins a descent down a rabbit hole to the ultimate confrontation. Her actions stir something unnamable in the ether, and throw her into a game where nothing—not even what she sees in front of her very eyes—can be trusted.

With equal parts economy and eloquence, author Mark Alan Miller brings to life the beginning of the end as The Toll expands the Hellraiser universe, and shows that before Harry D’Amour’s adventures in The Scarlet Gospels, there was a first witness to Pinhead’s infernal plan.

Signed & Numbered Limited Hardcover Edition:

box Limited to only 450 Signed & Numbered copies

box Specially designed illustrated signature page personally signed by the author

box Printed on 90gsm acid-free paper, with your archive and legacy in mind

box Bound in full-cloth with coloured head and tail bands

box Hot foil stamping on the front boards and spine for the ultimate presentation

box Offset printed and bound with full-colour endpapers

box Sewn binding for increased durability

box Gorgeous dust jacket artwork by Daniele Serra

box Stunning interior illustrations by Clive Barker

box Extremely LIMITED ONE-TIME printing – Your Opportunity To Own One of Only 450 Copies!

Preorder your copy today:
https://sstpublications.co.uk/Hellraiser-The-Toll.html

Happy New Year & The Listener!

A very Happy & Healthy New Year to you all! Let’s hope 2018 is an incredible one.

I’m delighted to start off 2018 by officially announcing our special Oversized Signed & Numbered Limited Hardcover edition of Robert McCammon’s forthcoming brand-new novel THE LISTENER!

This is one of Robert McCammon’s best works to date and is already receiving starred and rave reviews. Cemetery Dance called it a ‘game changer’, and they’re not wrong. It truly is an incredible book.

This brand-new novel is being published first in the US by Cemetery Dance Publications in February 2018, and their Signed Limited edition sold out in no time. Their trade hardcover edition is still available, and our special Oversized Signed & Numbered Limited Hardcover edition will be published in March/April.

star review McCammon masterfully combines historical thriller and supernatural horror in a compelling and suspenseful tale of race, class, and family… This is a violent and gritty tale, but redemption is always possible.”
Booklist (Starred Review)

The Listener

1934. Businesses went under by the hundreds, debt and foreclosures boomed, and breadlines grew in many American cities.

In the midst of this misery, some folks explored unscrupulous ways to make money. Angel-faced John Partlow and carnival huckster Ginger LaFrance are among the worst of this lot. Joining together they leave their small time confidence scams behind to attempt an elaborate kidnapping-for-ransom scheme in New Orleans.

In a different part of town, Curtis Mayhew, a young black man who works as a redcap for the Union Railroad Station, has a reputation for mending quarrels and misunderstandings among his friends. What those friends don’t know is that Curtis has a special talent for listening… and he can sometimes hear things that aren’t spoken aloud.

One day, Curtis Mayhew’s special talent allows him to overhear a child’s cry for help (THIS MAN IN THE CAR HE’S GOT A GUN), which draws him into the dangerous world of Partlow and LaFrance.

This gritty depression-era crime thriller is a complex tale enriched by powerfully observed social commentary and hints of the supernatural, and it represents Robert McCammon writing at the very top of his game.

A Note From Robert McCammon:
The Listener is about the kidnapping of two children and is set in New Orleans in 1934. This is a book I’ve been wanting to write for several years, since I discovered what an epidemic (a tragic epidemic, at that) kidnapping became during the desperation of the Great Depression. It got to be so bad that the New York Times began running a box at the top of the front page listing who had been kidnapped, and among those victims, which ones had been returned to their families. Desperate times, indeed. The Listener isn’t exactly supernatural, though there is a “strange” element. I understand we all enjoy reading about vampires, werewolves, ghoulies, and other creatures of the night, but the most fearsome and deadly monster is the human being…and I believe I have created two of the most fearsome and horrific human beings in The Listener that you could ever fear to meet. And these people, I think, are likely the kind who would kidnap two children and not have much concern whether the kids lived or died. Grim stuff, but you can be sure there’s someone in The Listener who embodies all the good qualities of the human kind who will move Heaven and Earth to find the children…though he’s probably the last person anyone would think of as a “hero.”

Reserve your copy today! Don’t miss your opportunity to be 1 of just 550 collectors to showcase this Special Oversized Signed Limited Hardcover edition of Robert McCammon’s outstanding new novel The Listener.
https://sstpublications.co.uk/The-Listener.html

Thanks so much to everyone who has already preordered their copy, your support is truly overwhelming.

I really hope you enjoyed your new year celebrations, and may 2018 bring you nothing but good things.

Take care,
Paul.

“I have seen the future of horror…and his name is Clive Barker.” – Stephen King

Tonight-Again-blogIt’s been years since Stephen King declared Clive Barker the future of horror. Today, SST is proud to announce Tonight, Again: Clive Barker’s first collection in over 25 years!

Containing more than thirty short stories and vignettes and several previously unpublished and never-before-seen explicit illustrations by Clive Barker. Bring your imagination to life in this exploration of extremes featuring brand-new cover artwork by Brandon Mahlberg. Tonight, Again will be an erotic collection to go down in history.

Commemorate your passion for horror. Do not miss out on your once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own our deluxe trade hardcover edition – this will sell out as 600 copies is only a small fraction of the number that Clive Barker’s books are usually available in.

The news is being spread to all of our followers – email, blog, and social media – and we are already receiving orders. You do not want to miss out on your once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own this piece of horror history.

We urge you to reserve your copy now – before it’s too late. Once we sell out, they will be gone forever. Don’t hesitate. Take advantage of your opportunity to own one of only 600 copies – reserve now and you won’t regret it later.

https://sstpublications.co.uk/Tonight-Again.html

“I think Clive Barker is so good that I am literally tongue-tied. He makes the rest of us look like we’ve been asleep for the past ten years.” – Stephen King

“Clive Barker is the great imaginer of our time. He knows not only our greatest fears, but also what delights us, what turns us on, and what is truly holy in the world. Haunting, bizarre, beautiful.” – Quentin Tarantino

We’re offering FREE UK Shipping on this title for the first two weeks. Order today so you don’t miss out!

FILMS & BOOKS THAT HAVE INSPIRED ME BY BARBIE WILDE

5 Invaders From Mars 2

1. Invaders From Mars

What was the first film that made me… paranoid, terrified, scared of my own parents? Yes, it has to be Invaders From Mars, 1953, directed by William Cameron Menzies, starring Helena Carter, Arthur Franz, Leif Erickson and Jimmy Hunt.

The plot: it’s a dark and stormy night. Thunder and lightning wake up a little kid called David, who looks out of his window and sees an alien spaceship landing in a nearby corn field. He tells his Dad, who goes outside to investigate. Dad comes back later and he is WEIRD. He also has a strange tiny wound on the back of his neck. Dad takes Mom to the field to show her what he found. David hears eerie Theremin-like music, spots Mom dropping out of sight (just like she’d been sucked down into the ground by a giant vacuum cleaner!) and realizes that his parents have been taken over by aliens. He runs to the police station to tell the cops, but then he notices that the police chief has been drilled in the back of his neck as well. David is put in a holding cell and that’s when we can start to relax for a bit, because a pretty psychologist wearing amazing high-heeled correspondence shoes believes David enough to summon his friend, who just happens to be a scientist and astronomer from the local university.

The Martians take over more people, the nearby rocket base is compromised and finally, the US Army is called in to blast the aliens back to Mars. But not before our young hero is sucked down into the Martians’ lair to confront the creepy little Martian Leader (charmingly portrayed as a large silvery-green head in a goldfish bowl) and the Leader’s weirdly choreographed, slavish minions, who look like scary big teddy bear monsters with no ears (called “Mu-tants” in the film).

In spite of budgetary constraints, the atmosphere of this movie was quite dreamlike and surreal. Camera angles were set low to give us the feeling that we were seeing everything from David’s perspective and some of the scenery was deliberately distorted and elongated. The ending is ambivalent: David wakes up and does a Dallas-like “was it all a dream” thing. Then the eerie music starts up again, he goes to his bedroom window, looks out and sees the Martians landing. Again. Is he locked in some kind of Star Trekian space-time continuum loop, or was his dream a premonition? Well, to my screaming 10-year old brain, it was the worst way to end a movie.

For film geeks: in the UK, the “was-it-all-just-a-nightmare?” ending was dropped in favor of a more straightforward conclusion. The Brits might have been wimps, but no doubt they saved a generation of children from suffering the resulting paranoia.

Fun set design fact: instead of using balloons to adorn the walls of the Martian underground hideout, which had a tendency to explode when exposed to the hot lights on the set, the ingenious designer used hundreds of inflated condoms, which no doubt caused an immense amount of merriment and bad jokes.

The aftermath: when I was a kid, my father used to go down to the basement to read his science fiction novels during the summer holidays. After seeing this movie, I would ALWAYS check the back of his neck when he came upstairs to see if he’d been drilled by Martians. This wasn’t easy, as I was a very small child and he was 6 feet tall. Much jumping up and back-of-the-shirt-collar-grabbing was involved. Years later, I told him about my obsession and he said: “I always wondered why you pulled the back of my shirt when I came up from the basement!” Yikes! Retroactive embarrassment!

Disclaimer: I would like to point out that my parents were never taken over by aliens (as far as I know anyway) and were absolutely adorable to me. However, they probably should have noticed that my big brother was making me watch inappropriate-for-my-age films on the Saturday Afternoon TV Creature Feature – with diabolical delight at scaring his little sister.

Fast Forward to 1980s London: I took my boyfriend of the time to see this movie when it was playing at the ICA. I told him that it was one of the scariest movies I’d ever seen IN MY LIFE. However, I hadn’t watched it since I was a kid. My boyfriend was not impressed by the Mu-tant costumes (you could clearly see the zippers in the back) and the special effects weren’t that hot, but he could understand why a small child would have been scared by this venerable flick.

2 Botophobia Tara Bush

In the end, I’m grateful to Invaders From Mars (to name just one horror film or book out of many that I loved and loathed over the years) for firing up my imagination to the point where I can use my fears and paranoia to create my horror fiction now. Indeed, my short horror story, “Botophobia” (an irrational fear of basements, not bottoms) is an affectionately creepy homage to Invaders from Mars and it’s featured in my full colour, illustrated collection, Voices of the Damned, published by SST. Each story is accompanied by an artwork or illustration by one of the top artists in the genre, such as Clive Barker, Nick Percival, Daniele Serra, Vincent Sammy, Ben Baldwin, Tara Bush, Steve McGinnis and Eric Gross. “Botophobia” was illustrated by Tara Bush.

Be sure to check back soon for more posts from Barbie Wilde!

3 Voices of the Damned Cover

Can’t wait for more? Don’t Miss VOICES OF THE DAMNED featuring artwork and illustrations by:

Clive Barker
Nick Percival
Steve McGinnis
Daniele Serra
Eric Gross
Tara Bush
Vincent Sammy
Ben Baldwin

“In this impressive collection of short stories, actor Wilde (who played the Female Cenobite in the film classic Hellbound: Hellraiser II) reveals a world of beautiful fear. The most delightfully terrifying entries form the Cilicium Trilogy, which reveals the complex origin and destiny of Sister Cilice. This character-focused exploration is sensual in its brutality. In “Writer’s Block,” Wilde combines the psychological torture of an unknown artist with the erotic egotism of fandom to create a fascinating sexual horror. She creates a dreadful family legacy in “Botophobia,” in which there are not merely skeletons in the closet but unworldly powers hidden in the basement. Wilde’s mastery of shocking violence is given full rein in subjects ranging from reclusive self-imprisonment to the exploration of European nightmares. As much a chilling collection of frightful fiction as a delight for the darker senses, this is a satisfying triumph in a befitting, unforgiving, style.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Barbie Wilde is best known for playing the Female Cenobite in Clive Barker’s classic British cult horror movie, Hellbound: Hellraiser II. Before moving to the UK, Wilde attended Syracuse University in New York State, majoring in Drama and Anthropology. She continued her education in London, studying Drama, Classical Mime and Art History.

Wilde has danced professionally at the top nightclubs and rock venues of New York, London, Amsterdam and Bangkok with her group, SHOCK; robotically danced in the Indian blockbuster, Janbazz; was a vicious thug in Michael Winner’s Death Wish 3; and played a drummer in the so-called “Holy Grail of unfinished and unreleased 80’s horror”: Grizzly II: The Concert, which also featured then unknowns George Clooney, Laura Dern and Charlie Sheen.

Wilde wrote and hosted eight music and film review TV programs in the 1980s and 1990s and interviewed Iggy Pop, The Sisters of Mercy, The B-52s, Johnny Rotten, Nicolas Cage, Hugh Grant and many more.

In 2009-2017, Wilde contributed short stories to 16 different horror or crime anthologies and publications. In 2012, Comet Press published Wilde’s debut diary-of-a-serial-killer novel, The Venus Complex. Fangoria called Wilde “one of the finest purveyors of erotically charged horror fiction around.”

In late 2015, SST Publications published an illustrated collection of Wilde’s short horror stories called Voices of the Damned. Each story is accompanied by an artwork or illustration by one of the top artists in the genre, such as Clive Barker, Nick Percival, Daniele Serra, Vincent Sammy, Tara Bush, Steve McGinnis, Ben Baldwin and Eric Gross. Publisher’s Weekly gave Voices of the Damned a starred review, saying: “As much a chilling collection of frightful fiction as a delight for the darker senses, this is a satisfying triumph in a befitting, unforgiving style.”

In 2017, Wilde returned to acting in the horror short, The Offer, which also featured former Hellraiser and Hellbound alumni Ken Cranham, Simon Bamford, Nicholas Vince and Oliver Smith. Wilde is also co-writing and co-producing a horror feature film called Blue Eyes with director, writer, producer and composer Chris Alexander (Blood for Irina, Female Werewolf, Queen of Blood, Blood Dynasty). Blue Eyes is based on a short story by Wilde.

EVIL EYES, BLACK FEATHERS – THE APPEAL OF BIRDS IN DARK FICTION

Time and time again, I find I’m working on something new, only to discover that birds have somehow fluttered their way into the manuscript. Sometimes I’m not even sure how they manage it. My next novel is about a mad-doctor in nineteenth century Yorkshire, increasingly obsessed with a patient with strange hypnotic powers. Near the asylum is a graveyard for unclaimed patients, which I ended up naming the crow garden because of its avian residents. And those crows, the portents of death, started to take over. They grew in importance, in fact, until the book demanded to be called The Crow Garden.

Another novel, Path of Needles, is where fairy tales and a police procedural meet. And yet the characters are caught up in a fairy tale of their own, heralded by another bird, a blue bird, which they may choose to follow into the woods – at their own peril, of course.

Then there is Five Feathered Tales from SST, a collection of short stories involving birds, gorgeously illustrated by my good friend Daniele Serra.

So why this interest in birds? I’m not a bird spotter. I wouldn’t say I’m especially obsessed with our feathered friends. And yet there they are, strange and even rather alien, and working their magic.

Birds often appear in fairy tales too. They help or hinder: they peck up Hansel and Gretel’s trail of breadcrumbs, yet later help them escape across a lake. They can be princes in disguise, agents of vengeance, symbols of transformation, bad omens, or the dead returning to this world. And I’ve always loved fairy tales; perhaps that’s why birds lurk at the back of my own mind too.

It’s something I’ve puzzled over and never really come to any conclusion, which is why it was so lovely when the question was answered – not by me, but by another good friend, Peter Tennant of TTA Press, when I asked him to pen the introduction to Five Feathered Tales.

Look up the word feather in a thesaurus, he says, and you will find the word quill. ‘And so the stories are identified with the act of writing itself, with creativity in its purest distillation.’ He associates birds not only with flight in the literal sense but with the flight of the imagination, with storytelling, with the longing to escape the bounds of this world and learning to soar.

Aha, I thought, So that’s it.

Which is a rather roundabout way of saying I’m lucky, not only to have worked with such talented people on the book, and indeed to have them as friends, but that they have the insight to pinpoint exactly what it was all about in the first place.

 

Alison Littlewood’s latest novel is The Hidden People, published by Jo Fletcher Books. Set in Victorian rural society, it is about the murder of a young girl suspected of being a fairy changeling. Her first book, A Cold Season, was selected for the Richard and Judy Book Club and described as ‘perfect reading for a dark winter’s night.’ Her sequel, A Cold Silence, has recently been published, along with a Zombie Apocalypse! novel, Acapulcalypse Now. Her other books are Path of Needles, a dark blend of fairy tales and crime fiction, and The Unquiet House, a ghost story set in the Yorkshire countryside. The Crow Garden will be published in October 2017.

Alison’s short stories have been picked for Best British Horror, The Best Horror of the Year, The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror and The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror anthologies, as well as The Best British Fantasy and The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime. They have been gathered together in her collections Quieter Paths and in Five Feathered Tales, a collaboration with award-winning illustrator Daniele Serra. She won the 2014 Shirley Jackson Award for Short Fiction.

Alison lives with her partner Fergus in Yorkshire, England, in a house of creaking doors and crooked walls. She loves exploring the hills and dales with her two hugely enthusiastic Dalmatians and has a penchant for books on folklore and weird history, Earl Grey tea and semicolons. You can talk to her on Twitter: @Ali__L, see her on Facebook or visit her at http://www.alisonlittlewood.co.uk.

 

https://sstpublications.co.uk/Five-Feathered-Tales.html

GWENDY’S BUTTON BOX by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar

GWENDY'S BUTTON BOX by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar

We are beyond excited to announce our biggest publication to date! GWENDY’S BUTTON BOX by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar

World’s First Special Slipcased Gift Edition

Return to Castle Rock and commemorate your love for horror with the World’s First Special Slipcased Gift Edition of GWENDY’S BUTTON BOX by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar featuring 7 NEVER BEFORE seen illustrations by Vincent Sammy. Limited to just one printing of 600 copies—This is a must-have for collectors!

Six weeks on the bestsellers list, GWENDY’S BUTTON BOX is a must read and an instant classic for fans of the genre. For the first time in years, a new Castle Rock story awaits. Amazon.com noted “MOST ANTICIPATED. There were more pre-orders for Gwendy’s Button Box than any other book released this week on the Most Sold Fiction Chart.”

Brought to you by SST Publications and Extremely Limited to Just 600 Copies Worldwide, this is your once-in-a-lifetime chance to be amongst the few who own a piece of horror fiction history. Don’t hesitate: We expect to sell out fast!

Featuring cover art and 7 never before seen illustrations by the masterful Vincent Sammy (The Damage Museum.)

This is the World’s First Special Slipcased Gift Edition & a 2017 must-have for collectors and fans of the genre:

Experience the story and artwork in a way previously unimagined with a stunning oversized 7″x10″ trim size
Printed on 60# acid-free paper with your archive and legacy in mind
7 full colour plates tipped into the book—NEVER BEFORE seen illustrations by Vincent Sammy to bring the story to life in a whole new way
Bound in full-cloth with coloured head and tail bands and full-colour embossed endpapers
Hot foil stamping on the front boards and spine for exceptional quality and longevity
Smyth sewn to create a more durable binding
Sewn-in ribbon page marker so you can continue to experience the novella exactly where you left off
Wrapped in a full-colour dust jacket with artwork by Vincent Sammy
Two colour interior printing for quality, vibrant pages
Extremely limited ONE-TIME printing of SST Publication’s Special Gift Edition—Only 600 copies will be available worldwide. This opportunity will never be presented again!

Reserve your copy today! Don’t miss your opportunity to be 1 of just 600 collectors to showcase this Gift Edition of GWENDY’S BUTTON BOX by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar.

Reserve My Copy Now

10 Throwback Horror Books You Don’t Want To Miss This Summer!

10 Throwback Summer Reads You Don't Want To Miss

 

My Ten Favourite Books – In No particular order…

1) Clive Barker’s Books of Blood

I’m cheating a little by including this as one book, but then I do have the hardback Stealth edition which gathers all the six volumes together in a single gorgeous tone. Anyone who knows me and my work will know how much of an impact and influence Clive’s fiction (films, paintings…you name it) has had on me. This is where, like many people, I came across his stuff for the first time in my teens and it simply blew me away. At the risk of repeating myself, this collection turned things around and made me realise just what could be done with the horror genre. You could make people laugh (in tales like ‘The Yattering and Jack’) make them think (in stories like ‘Human Remains’), make them question their very humanity (‘The Skins of the Fathers’) or sanity (definitely in ‘Age of Desire’). You could also put your own spin on stories from the past, as Clive did with ‘New Murders in the Rue Morgue’ (which I was proud to include years later in my own anthology Beyond Rue Morgue). Little did I also know, when I was reading these and the comic adaptations of the same – in Tapping the Vein – that I would end up adapting one of them into a motion comic myself, for Seraphim/MadeFire: the iconic ‘In the Hills, The Cities’. Simply put, eighteen stories: one big inspiration.

2) The Hellbound Heart

You only have to look at the titles of some of my books (Hellbound Hearts, The Hellraiser Films and their Legacy, last year’s award-winning sellout Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell) to understand the impact this one had on me in my youth. So much so that the novella and the subsequent movie based on it, spawned a lifelong obsession with the mythology. But The Hellbound Heart, first published in Night Visions, was the one that started it all. It’s hard to remember now, but I think I read this around the same time as the Books of Blood, or not very long afterward anyway, then just fell in love with the story – and, of course, the Cenobites. Well, they’re just such lovable creatures, aren’t they. To me, one of the most interesting things about the original story, though, is the relationship between Julia and Frank, dealing with the theme of their twin obsessions. I read this again not long ago, as I often do periodically, and it’s lost none of its impact.

3) Cabal

Yes, I’m including three Barker books in my list – and I make no apologies about that. The mythology surrounding the Nightbreed, first seen in this short novel – and then expanded upon in the movie – is almost as fascinating as that of Hell and the Cenobites to me. In fact, one of my favourite crossovers of all time, unsurprisingly, is Jihad: the two-part comic which saw the ‘breed pitted against Leviathan’s armies. But the main reason I like Cabal so much is not because of the variety of monsters, nor where they came from, it’s the clever reversal of having them be the heroes and the humans as the real monsters; whether it’s the psychopathic Decker (played to disturbing perfection by David Cronenberg in the film), or the sadistic policeman Eigerman determined to wipe out the inhabitants of Midian. As a side note, I’m delighted that there’s a now Director’s Cut of the movie, as I had been wanting to see that since I learned about the footage that was taken out.

4) Dune

The first of the non-Barker books I’ve chosen. For me Frank Herbert’s Dune is a massively important book. I first read it during my ‘absorb everything genre-related’ period which began when I was about nine or ten and finished… well, it hasn’t yet really. I was just blown away by the scope of the story, which included its very own glossary at the back! This was a totally immersive depiction of the future and I was in there, with the sandworms and ‘thopters, with all the different Houses and the Fremen. Most importantly, I was captivated by the story of this young man – Paul Atreides – who, like Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, had this destiny to be a kind of superhuman. It’s the story of an underdog who comes good, an outsider who not only wins round people that don’t understand him and can’t relate to his background, but also goes on to lead them. Superb.

5) The Rats

I’ve long been an admirer of James Herbert and his work, and feel very privileged that I got to know him before his untimely death; my last abiding memory of him was the signing he did for us at FantasyCon in 2012, where he took time to chat to everybody and was telling tall tales – what else would you expect? What Jim did here with his first chiller (a term he coined himself) The Rats was take a tired horror genre and create something fresh within it that was copied again and again. The Rats was probably the first full on horror book I ever read, and I loved it! The terrifying notion of these giant killer rats plaguing London made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. It still does, frankly. When it was reported a while ago that giant rats the size of dogs had actually been found, I said to myself: Jim was right all along! There was also the sense that when you were reading The Rats you were doing something forbidden. To be fair, I probably was – reading gore and sex scenes at such a tender age – but boy was it a ride. I can’t mention The Rats, though, without including Lair and Domain, which raised the bar even higher.

6) The Silence of the Lambs

For me, the serial killer, crime thriller, whatever you want to call it, has always been as terrifying as any horror novel. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy the more mystery-based ‘whodunnit?’ type of book (Colin Dexter’s Morse novels, for example, hugely influenced my own Gemini Factor…), but I also have a soft spot – if that’s the right word – for more extreme crime fare. I came to John Connolly’s work late in the day (shame on me!) and love his stuff so I could have chosen Every Dead Thing, his stunning debut, or I could have picked books by Mo Hayder, Boris Starling, Tess Gerritsen, Mark Billingham, Tania Carver… The novel I have gone for in this vein is what I consider to be the pinnacle of the police procedural/serial killer sub-genre. I have to say, I read this – back to back with Red Dragon – after seeing Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster strut their Oscar-winning stuff, so it was always them saying the lines, but there was so much more to the novel than the movie. More character background, more about Lecter and Starling’s relationship, more about the investigation, more… if you’ll pardon the expression considering Hannibal’s appetites, meat on the bones. Thomas Harris doesn’t write many books, but when he does he turns out belters.

7) The Hound of the Baskervilles

I’m a huge fan, as most people will have read when I did the publicity for Servants of Hell last year, of Sherlock Holmes in all his incarnations – though for me the definitive screen Holmes will always be Jeremy Brett. I came across the original Conan Doyle stories at around the same time as Clive’s work, which is probably why the two were forever linked in my mind, but my very favourite tale from the original canon is The Hound of the Baskervilles. It’s the definitive ‘horror’ Holmes really, with a huge supernatural dog running around killing people… even if it did have a more earthly explanation at the end. It certainly fired my imagination and I was delighted to be able to bring the hound in question back to roam the corridors of Hell in my own novel. It was probably also in part responsible for RED (published with the sequel Blood RED by SST), as well as the obvious fairy tale influence.

8) Smoke and Mirrors

For my money Neil Gaiman’s Smoke and Mirrors is one of the finest genre collections ever written. It’s definitely up there with Christopher Fowler’s wonderful Flesh Wounds, Simon Clark’s Salt Snake and Other Bloody Cuts and Joe Hill’s 20th Century Ghosts. I absolutely adore Neil’s work: I love his comics, his novels, his ‘children’s’ books (which are tons better than some adult books I’ve read)…but I especially love his short stories and poems. I don’t think I could pick a favourite out of the collection, but the ones that really made me go, wow this guy is something else, are ‘Murder Mysteries’ (angels investigating the first ever killing) and ‘The Wedding Present’ (a kind of Dorian Gray deal, tucked away in the introduction – I’d never seen that done before). I also love it when writers give an insight into why they wrote a story and luckily Neil’s one of those… It’s probably why I did the same thing at the end of Touching the Flame and The Butterfly Man.

9) Brother in the Land

I read this one, by Robert Swindells, for the first time in English lessons at school. To say it had an impact on me – and later my fiction – would be a massive understatement. The post-apocalyptic story of Danny, who finds his hometown of Skipley has been destroyed and has to deal with the consequences, is for me at least as terrifying as something like Threads. These were people I could relate to, in a place similar to where I lived, going through the harshest of times. Draw whatever parallels you will with my Hooded Man stories… It was also a YA book before that marketing term ever existed, and one of the reasons why I turned my hand to that form with The Rainbow Man.

10) The Shining

No genre book list would be complete without an entry from the King. Stephen King that is. I always thought of King, Barker and Herbert as the unholy trinity when I was growing up, and read everything by this man I could get my hands on. As much as I love Carrie, ‘Salem’s Lot, The Stand, It and so many of his others, I’m going to go with The Shining for this, as I read it practically in one sitting and it gripped me from page one. There was just something about the location, the isolation of the Overlook, which spoke to me – surely one of the most terrifying places ever.

 

Paul Kane is the award-winning, bestselling author and editor of over seventy books – including the Arrowhead trilogy (gathered together in the sellout Hooded Man omnibus, revolving around a post-apocalyptic version of Robin Hood), The Butterfly Man and Other Stories, Hellbound Hearts and The Mammoth Book of Body Horror. His non-fiction books include The Hellraiser Films and Their Legacy and Voices in the Dark, and his genre journalism has appeared in the likes of SFX, Rue Morgue and DeathRay. He has been a Guest at Alt.Fiction five times, was a Guest at the first SFX Weekender, at Thought Bubble in 2011, Derbyshire Literary Festival and Off the Shelf in 2012, Monster Mash and Event Horizon in 2013, Edge-Lit in 2014, HorrorCon, HorrorFest and Grimm Up North in 2015, The Dublin Ghost Story Festival and Sledge-Lit in 2016, plus IMATS Olympia in 2017, as well as being a panellist at FantasyCon and the World Fantasy Convention, and a fiction judge at the Sci-Fi London festival. His work has been optioned and adapted for the big and small screen, including for US network television, and his latest novels are Lunar (set to be turned into a feature film), the Y.A. story The Rainbow Man (as P.B. Kane), the sequel to REDBlood RED – the award-winning hit Sherlock Holmes & the Servants of Hell and Before. He lives in Derbyshire, UK, with his wife Marie O’Regan, his family and a black cat called Mina. Find out more at his site www.shadow-writer.co.uk which has featured Guest Writers such as Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Charlaine Harris, Dean Koontz and Guillermo del Toro.

Don’t Miss The Latest From Simon Clark and Paul Kane: Collaborating for the first time in horror fiction history, two brilliant award-winning and bestselling authors, come together to bring you a truly terrifying tale, complete with cover art by the legendary Steve Crisp!

BENEATH THE SURFACE is now available as a signed, numbered, and limited edition. With just 250 copies worldwide, collectors will be able to showcase these 1st edition copies! This will sell out!

Don’t Miss Your Chance To Own A Piece Of Horror Fiction History. Reserve Your Copy Today… https://sstpublications.co.uk/Beneath-the-Surface-Signed-Numbered-Hcvr.html

Own a piece of horror fiction history!

Cover art by Steve Crisp

Collaborating for the first time in horror fiction history, two brilliant award-winning and bestselling authors will come together to bring you a truly terrifying tale, complete with cover art by the legendary Steve Crisp.

Simon Clark, author of Vampyrrhic, and The Night of the Triffids, and Paul Kane, author of Blood RED, Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell are working together for the first time to bring you Beneath the Surface.

Signed, numbered, and limited to just 250 copies worldwide, they bring to collectors an epic story of terror, heroism, survival, and many horrors.

For the first time, collectors will be able to showcase these 1st edition copies, signed, hand-numbered, and extremely limited. This will sell out! Featuring four-colour laminated dust jacket, cover art by Steve Crisp, and printed on acid-free paper for your archive and legacy.

Commemorate your love for horror and add this must-have to your collection today for just £49.95 for the Signed & Lettered Remarqued Hardcover or only £24.95 Signed & Numbered Limited Hardcover.

Brought to you by SST Publications, this is one 2017 release you don’t want to miss…

The Second World War, and in the aftermath of a bloody desert skirmish survivors from both sides find themselves facing yet another battle: a battle just to stay alive. Not simply because they are in the middle of nowhere, with hardly any supplies, but because they are being hunted by something that has made the desert its home. A monstrous thing with a taste for human flesh, that will not stop until either they are dead or it is. As the soldiers begin to discover that they are not so dissimilar beneath their uniforms, they are also starting to realise that there is something else beneath the surface of the sand. Something no-one has ever seen before. Something deadly, dangerous and extremely hard to kill. . . From the imaginations of award-winning and bestselling authors Simon Clark (Vampyrrhic, The Night of the Triffids) and Paul Kane (Blood RED, Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell) writing together for the first time, comes a tale of terror and heroism, of survival and horror. A tale that will stay with you, get under your skin and remain beneath the surface for a long time to come. Complete with cover art by the legendary Steve Crisp (who provided the covers for Simon’s first books, such as Nailed by the Heart and Blood Crazy) this is one collectors’ item you won’t want to miss!

Special and Exclusive Features For SST Publications’ Beneath the Surface Signed & Lettered Remarqued Hardcover

• Original and Unique Remarque by Artist Glenn Chadbourne – Making Each Copy Highly Desirable and Unique To Your Personal Collection
• Be 1 of Just 52 Collectors Worldwide To Own This Exclusive Edition – No More Than 52 Copies of This Edition Will Ever Be Printed Again
• Each Copy Is Lettered By Hand, Exclusively For SST Publications’ Top Collectors
• Personally Signed By Authors Simon Clark and Paul Kane and Artist Steve Crisp On A Unique Signature Page Dedicated Specifically For This Highly Limited Edition
• Visually Stunning Cover Art by Steve Crisp
• Including An Exclusive, Never-Before-Seen Interview with Simon Clark and Paul Kane – Answers To Your Most Asked Questions, Insights, Insider-Only Information, And More…
• Four-Colour Laminated Dust Jacket To Preserve The Original Artwork
• Printed On Acid-Free Paper With Your Archive and Legacy In Mind

SST EXCLUSIVE: When You Purchase the Lettered Edition Directly From SST Publications, You Will Receive A Collectable SST Bookmark SIGNED by Simon Clark, Paul Kane and Steve Crisp!

Special and Exclusive Features For SST Publications’ Beneath the Surface Signed & Numbered Hardcover:

• Personally Signed By Authors Simon Clark and Paul Kane and Artist Steve Crisp On A Unique Signature Page Dedicated Specifically For This Highly Limited Edition
• Visually Stunning Cover Art by Steve Crisp
• Including An Exclusive, Never-Before-Seen Interview with Simon Clark and Paul Kane – Learn All The Insider Details and Answers To Your Most Pressing Questions
• Be 1 Of Just 250 Collectors Worldwide To Showcase Beneath The Surface In Your Collection – No More Than 250 Copies of This Edition Will Ever Be Printed Again
• Each Copy Is Numbered By Hand – Please Note: Numbers Are Given In The Order In Which Collectors Reserve Their Copies. If You Would Like To Receive A Lower Number, Please Do Not Hesitate In Placing Your Order
• Four-Colour Laminated Dust Jacket To Preserve The Original Artwork
• Printed On Acid-Free Paper With Your Archive and Legacy In Mind

https://sstpublications.co.uk/Beneath-the-Surface-Signed-Numbered-Hcvr.html