These compelling visions of post-apocalyptic societies and dystopian worlds include short stories by some of the most acclaimed authors of our time. Among the noteworthy contributors and their works are Stephen King's "The End of the Whole Mess," "The Pedestrian" by Ray Bradbury, and Arthur C. Clarke's "No Morning After."
The first-ever apocalyptic fantasy about global warming, "The End of the World," appears here, in translation from Eugene Mouton's 1872 French-language original. "The Pretence," by Ramsey Campbell, questions the nature and structure of everyday life in the aftermath of a doomsday prediction. In addition, thought-provoking stories by Philip K. Dick, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Greg Bear, Erica L. Satifka, and others offer an end-of-the-world extravaganza for fans of science fiction, horror, and fantasy.
"These doomsday tales are highly original, thought provoking, and reality questioning. Recommended as a collection for fans of intriguing and eccentric sci-fi!" — Read Well
Luke Arnold is a successful stage comedian who, with his partner Sophie Drew, is about to have their first child. Their life seems ideal and Luke feels that true happiness is finally within his grasp.
This wasn't always the case. Growing up in a loving but dysfunctional family, Luke was a lonely little boy who never felt that he belonged. While his parents adored him, the whole family knew that due to a mix-up at the hospital, Luke wasn't their biological child. His parents did the best they could to make the lad feel special. But it was his beloved uncle Terence who Luke felt most close to, a man who enchanted (and frightened) the lad with tales of the "Other"--eldritch beings, hedge folks, and other fables of Celtic myth.
When Terence dies in a freak accident, Luke suddenly begins to learn how little he really knew his uncle. How serious was Terence about the magic in his tales? Why did he travel so widely by himself after Luke was born, and what was he looking for? Soon Luke will have to confront forces that may be older than the world in order to save his unborn child.
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
In The Darkest Part of the Woods, Campbell introduces readers to the Price family, whose lives have for decades been snarled with the fate of the ancient forest of Goodmanswood. Here, Dr. Lennox Price discovered a hallucinogenic moss that quickly became the focus of a cult-and though the moss and the trees on which it grew are long gone, it seems as if the whole forest can now affect the minds of visitors.
After Lennox is killed trying to return to his beloved wood, his widow seems to see and hear him in the trees-or is it a dark version of the Green Man that caresses her with leafy hands? Lennox's grandson heeds a call to lie in his lover's arms in the very heart of the forest-and cannot help but wonder what the fruit of that love will be.
And Heather, Lennox's daughter, who turned her back on her father's mysteries and sought sanctuary in the world of facts and history? Goodmanswood summons her as well . . .
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
This anthology - the first in a new series from Comma - offers 15 very different responses to the question. From ancient curses kept alive in internet chat-rooms to malevolent children's TV characters acquiring lives of their own, Phobic shines a torch into the unlit areas of the modern subconscious and suggests the more we know, the more we realise how worried we really should be.
In 1919 Sigmund Freud published an essay that delved deep into the tradition of horror writing and claimed to understand one of its darkest tricks. Like a mad scientist, he performed literary vivisection on a still-breathing body of work, exploring its inner anatomy, and pulling out mysterious organs for classification. His aim: to present to the world a complete theory of ‘das unheimliche’, the uncanny.
In the spirit of this great experiment, 14 leading authors have here been challenged to write fresh fictional interpretations of what the uncanny might mean in the 21st century, to update Freud’s famous checklist of what gives us the creeps, and to give the hulking canon of uncanny fiction a shot in the arm, a shock to the neck-bolts...
'It’s not too great a stretch to see Comma as the literary equivalent of Factory Records.'
- The Herald, 2 Dec.
'Delightful and disturbing'
- The Independent on Sunday, 14 Dec.
'A masterclass in understated creepiness... a deliciously macabre collection that the old Austrian might well have enjoyed.'
- Book of the Week, Time Out, 12 Jan.
'If we need the uncanny – and I suspect we do – then we also need it updating... laudable.'
- Book of the Week, The Independent, 2 Jan.
'A bold idea.'
- The Guardian, 3 Jan.
FANGORIA MAGAZINE REVIEW
"This book is not just your basic horror stories. This is extreme shit...Edited by Cheryl Mullenax, VILE THINGS: EXTREME DEVIATIONS OF HORROR is not for the light horror fan. The stories are not just extreme horror, but also extreme gore and sex…a triple threat of fun in my eyes...This book is a definite for any extreme horror fan. Full of terror, sex, and gore, I don’t recommend this for the faint of heart or for a light read at a beauty salon."
MONSTER LIBRARIAN REVIEW
"Vile Things is one of the stronger horror anthologies I have come across in some time... I would say that while there are definitely some stronger and gorier stories in this collection than in other horror anthologies, Vile Things offers some excellent horror tales and is highly recommended for public libraries."
RUE MORGUE MAGAZINE REVIEW
"The most striking fiction is often rooted directly in reality, and this is especially true for the stories found in Vile Things. Most of these tales, collected by editor Cheryl Mullenax, begin with plausible, everyday situations and then darken quickly to trap the reader in twisted supernatural plotlines that teem with the imagination's most repulsive creations, including parasitic mutations, a spate of festering fungal rashes and many other rancid and, well, vile things...But dismembered members aside, there are no cheap gross-outs here; even though the focus is clearly on the vile and unpalatable these don't feel like stories that were written with the sole purpose of being labeled "extreme horror" or to merely revel in their graphic, gory descriptions. Simply put, Vile Things is every deviant horror fan's wet dream."
--H. P. LOVECRAFT, "Supernatural Horror in Literature"
Howard Phillips Lovecraft forever changed the face of horror, fantasy, and science fiction with a remarkable series of stories as influential as the works of Poe, Tolkien, and Edgar Rice Burroughs. His chilling mythology established a gateway between the known universe and an ancient dimension of otherworldly terror, whose unspeakable denizens and monstrous landscapes--dread Cthulhu, Yog-Sothoth, the Plateau of Leng, the Mountains of Madness--have earned him a permanent place in the history of the macabre.
In Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos, a pantheon of horror and fantasy's finest authors pay tribute to the master of the macabre with a collection of original stories set in the fearsome Lovecraft tradition:
¸ The Call of Cthulhu by H. P. Lovecraft: The slumbering monster-gods return to the world of mortals.
¸ Notebook Found in a Deserted House by Robert Bloch: A lone farmboy chronicles his last stand against a hungering backwoods evil.
¸ Cold Print by Ramsey Campbell: An avid reader of forbidden books finds a treasure trove of deadly volumes--available for a bloodcurdling price.
¸ The Freshman by Philip José Farmer: A student of the black arts receives an education in horror at notorious Miskatonic University.
PLUS EIGHTEEN MORE SPINE-TINGLING TALES!
From the Trade Paperback edition.
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
For Michael Marshall Smith, this was one of those stories that dropped straight into his head, but the problem was that he didn't want it: "It wasn't an idea I liked. It was clearly some part of my brain serving up a notion simply because it could, and because it knew it could frighten me with it.
"It did frighten me, and so I did what I always do when that happens - which is write it down, in the hope it will go away."
Respects - Ramsey Campbell
"'Respects' was suggested by a local incident in which a car thief in his early teens killed himself while fleeing the police," recalls Campbell. "A lamp standard at the site of his demise is still decorated with flowers years after the incident, and the tributes on the obituaries page of one Wallasey newspaper were at least as grotesque as the ones I've invented - the romanticisation of a petty criminal.
Cold to Touch - Simon Strantzas
"Stories often find their origins in unexpected ways," Strantzas reveals. "I was inspired in this case by a photograph of a Zen garden I once used as my computer's desktop background.
"There was something there in the coldness of the photograph, something that brought to mind the barren vistas of the Canadian Arctic, which ended up being the perfect setting for my tale of tested faith."
The Reunion - Nicholas Royle
"'The Reunion' is based on actual events," reveals the author, "but the story only really came into focus for me when I was invited to contribute to Ellen Datlow's Poe anthology.
"Poe is brilliant. I was at a conference recently where a teacher revealed that she had read Poe's 'The Black Cat' to a lecture theatre full of schoolchildren. She switched off all the lights and used a torch to read by. A number of parents lodged complaints, which she took as a measure of the event's success. My tale is inspired by a different Poe story."
Granny's Grinning - Robert Shearman
"I love Christmas," says Shearman. "Always have done, and always a bit too passionately. The intensity with which I loved Christmas was delightful when I was eight years old, slightly unusual by the time I was eighteen, and increasingly disturbing thereafter.
"I was the last one to grow up. It suddenly dawned on me one year, looking into the faces of my parents, and of my sister, that they were all older, and fatter, and less and less festive. And that they were trying so hard to keep me happy each Christmas, pretending they wanted all those presents I'd bought, all those sausage rolls and Quality Street chocs. That what I was trying to do, each December, was somehow reach back into the past and resurrect a time that was dead, that was long dead.
"I still love Christmas. But now I recognize - as I still make them perform party games, as I still make them open their gifts and smile and say thank you - that they're zombies now. All of them, zombies. I'll never get my childhood back again, not really, or the innocence of that family get-together. So I'll make do with the dead, and pretend.
"This is a story all about that."
In The Garden - Rosalie Parker
"'In the Garden' was written after I challenged myself to write a horror story about gardening," explains the author. "It emerged more quickly and easily than anything I've ever written. I think of it more as a prose poem than a story."
Three decades into his career, Campbell paused to review his body of short fiction and selected the stories that were, to his mind, the very best of his works. Alone With the Horrors collects nearly forty tales from the first thirty years of Campbell's writing. Included here are "In the Bag," which won the British Fantasy Award, and two World Fantasy Award-winning stories, "The Chimney" and the classic "Mackintosh Willy."
Campbell crowns the book with a length preface which traces his early publication history, discusses his youthful correspondence with August Derleth, illuminates the influence of H.P. Lovecraft on his early work, and gives an account of the creation of each story and the author's personal assessment of the works' flaws and virtues.
In its first publication, a decade ago, Alone With the Horrors won both the Bram Stoker Award and the World Fantasy Award. For this new edition, Campbell has added one of his very first published stories, a Lovecraftian classic, "The Tower from Yuggoth." From this early, Cthulhian tale, to later works that showcase Campbell's growing mastery of mood and character, Alone With the Horrors provides readers with a close look at a powerful writer's development of his craft.
And things keep going wrong. No matter how often the shelves are put in order before the doors are locked at night, when the staff returns in the morning, books are lying all over the floor, many damp and damaged beyond repair. The store's computers keep acting up-errors appear in brochures and ads and orders disappear completely. And even when the machines are turned off, they seem to glow with a spectral gray light.
The hit-and-run death of an employee in the store's parking lot marks a turning point. One employee accuses another of making sexual advances and they come to blows. Between one sentence and the next, one loses his ability to read. The security monitors display half-seen things crawling between the stacks that vanish before anyone can find them.
Desperate, Woody musters his staff for an overnight inventory. When the last customers reluctantly depart, leaving almost-visible trails of slime shining behind them, the doors are locked, sealing Woody and the others inside for a final orgy of shelving.
The damp, grey, silent things that have been lurking in the basement and hiding in the fog may move slowly, but they are inexorable. This bookstore is no haven. It is the doorway to a hell unlike any other.
Graham Wilde is a contentious, bombastic host of the talk radio program Wilde Card. His job, as he sees it, is to stir the pot, and he is quite good at it, provoking many a heated call with his eccentric and often irrational audience. He invites Frank Jasper, a purported psychic, to come on the program. He firmly believes that the man is a charlatan, albeit a talented one. When Jasper appears on his show, Wilde draws upon personal knowledge about the man to embarrass him on air, using patter similar to that which Jasper utilizes in his act.
Wilde's attack on Jasper earns him the enmity of his guest and some of the members of his audience. He next encounters Jasper when the psychic is hired by the family of a missing adolescent girl to help them find her. Wilde is stunned and then horrified when Jasper seems to suggest that he might be behind the girl's disappearance.
Thus begins a nightmarish journey as circumstantial evidence against Wilde begins to mount, alienating his listeners, the radio station, and eventually, his lover. As Wilde descends into a pit of despair, reality and fantasy begin to blur in a kaleidoscope of terror....
Tubby's work carries the unmistakable stamp of the macabre. People literally laughed themselves to death during his performances. Soon, wherever Simon goes, laughter—and a clown's wide, threatening grin—follow. Is Simon losing his mind? Or is Tubby Thackeray waiting for him to open the door back to the world?
Ramsey Campbell has won a dozen British Fantasy and World Fantasy Awards and three Bram Stoker Awards. A new Campbell novel is an opportunity to delight in the craftsmanship of an extraordinary writer.
What you really are is a writer. A brilliant one, too, though like any writer, you sometimes have a dry spell. Your imagination is dark, your inspiration the terrible things that can happen to a young woman traveling alone . . . .
Suddenly, success! You win a magazine contest—first prize is publication for your terrifying short story about a horrible murder on an underground train. A director wants to make a movie of your award-winning story and wants your input on the script. A pretty young journalist seems to be taking a personal interest in you and your career.
The family of a girl murdered on the underground threatens to sue you and the magazine for glorifying the grisly details of their daughter's death, despite your insistence that you didn't read the news coverage of the murder. The magazine asks you to supply a different story.
The film director wants you to make a few changes in your story. Especially with the lawsuit hanging over everyone's head.
The journalist's interest turns out to merely be professional.
You've been fired.
And, worst of all, your imagination has run dry. You don't have another story in you.
You'll just have to kill someone new . . .
In Nazareth Hill, Campbell focuses on a small, highly dysfunctional family--a teenage girl and her father. The emotional turmoil of the girl's adolescence is matched by her father's midlife crisis, and as the novel unfolds, it becomes clear that this battle is only one stage in a centuries-old war between authority and rebellion, suspicion and innocence.
"Shocking surprises, alarming horrors, and believable characters--all expertly blended in a fresh, deft shocker." - Kirkus Reviews
A woman embarks on a long-term obsession with a city landmark, abandoning her lover for the Liver…
A bricklayer working on the foundations of a never-built cathedral becomes its evangelist, its full splendour soaring only in his mind…
Bringing together fiction from some of the city’s most celebrated writers, The Book of Liverpool traces the unique contours that decades of social and economic change can impress on a city. Set against key historical moments from the Second World War to the Capital of Culture year, these stories question what ‘belonging’ and ‘home’ mean in the Liverpudlian context, from the regenerated city centre to satellite suburbs, from the sparring cathedrals to the no-go concrete housing estates. Liverpool emerges in these short stories as a city in constant flux: haunted by ghosts, buoyed up by myths, and shifting with an ebb and flow like the Mersey itself.
"A literary gem that will share a niche in my library with M.R. James and E. F. Benson..." - Metapsychology online Read review.
"Words thrive here, carried on the saline breeze of the Mersey and twisted round agile tongues into sentences as resilient as the sandstone blocks in the Town Hall walls..." - The Liverpool Daily Post, 11 Jul 08 Read review.
Once upon a time, Leslie had a happy marriage, a happy son, and a happy life. Now divorced, she is trapped in ongoing battles with her ex-husband, Roger, especially over their newly-adolescent son, Ian.
When Ian and his young stepsister disappear, Roger insists the boy kidnapped the girl, while Leslie thinks Ian might have run away. She prays that her son is near and will come home soon.
Ian is near-right next door, just on the other side of a shared wall. Ian can hear his parents fighting and his mother's desperate weeping, but he can't call for help. Hector Woollie has him and his stepsister, and if either child makes a peep, the madman will slit both their throats.
"The pier exists," explains Thana Niveau, "and yes, it is decorated with strange plaques and cryptic memorials, although none are quite as morbid as I've invented.
"It's mostly Clevedon Pier, which is where the story was born. I was reading the plaques one day and a couple of the quirkier ones made me wonder. What if they weren't written by the living to remember the dead at all, but were instead a channel for voices from somewhere else?
"Somerset is the original Wicker Man country, after all. It's a place rich in pagan tradition and many of its strange rituals are lost to time. Or are they?"
Fallen Boys - Mark Morris
"Porthellion Quay, which features in this story, is a real place - only the name is different," says Morris. "My family and I spent a lovely, sunny day there one summer a few years ago during a Cornish holiday.
"I love Cornwall not only because it's breathtakingly beautiful, but also because it is wild and rugged and desolate, and because past echoes and ancient legends seem to seep out of the very rock. It's a landscape which lends itself perfectly to the kinds of ghost stories I love, of which it seems there are far too few these days - stories which are not cosy and comforting and familiar, but which are dark and insidious, and evoke a crawling sense of dread."
Lavender and Lychgates - Angela Slatter
"'Lavender and Lychgates' is the second last story in Sourdough and Other Stories," recalls Slatter. "I had ideas I wanted to continue to explore - consequences of actions in an earlier story in the collection - and I had a picture in my head of a young girl in a graveyard.
"Many years ago, a friend had told me a garbled tale of lilacs and lychgates, the details of which I cannot remember. I managed to garble it even more, and I couldn't get the words 'lavender and lychgates' out of my head, nor the image of shadows swirling in the apex of a lychgate roof above the heads of people passing out underneath. I also wondered what happens when you hang onto a memory too tightly."
With the Angels - Ramsey Campbell
"My fellow clansman Paul Campbell will remember the birth of this tale," he reveals. "At the Dead Dog party after the 2010 World Horror Convention in Brighton, someone was throwing a delighted toddler into the air. I was ambushed by an idea and had to apologise to Paul for rushing away to my room to scribble notes. The result is here."
This spine-tingling, international anthology contains contributions from the critically acclaimed online horror magazine, The Horror Zine, and features bestselling authors such as Bentley Little, Graham Masterton, Ramsey Campbell, Joe R. Lansdale, Elizabeth Massie, Ronald Malfi, Cheryl Kaye Tardif, Melanie Tem, Scott Nicholson, Piers Anthony, Conrad Williams, and many more.
Edited by Jeani Rector of The Horror Zine and featuring a foreword by award-winning, bestselling author Simon Clark, it also contains deliciously dark delights from morbidly creative writers, poets and artists who have not yet made it big―but will very soon.
Come and discover…
WHAT FEARS BECOME
The original publication of Scared Stiff almost created the sub-genre of erotic horror. Never had sex and death been so mesmerizingly entwined. Clive Barker, in his Introduction, says, "One of the delightfully unsettling things about these tales is the way Ramsey's brooding, utterly unique vision renders an act so familiar to us all so fretful, so strange, so chilling. Sex . . . is the perfect stuff for the horror writer, and there can be few artists working in the genre as capable of analyzing and dramatizing [this] as Campbell."
For this edition, Campbell has added three new stories which have never before appeared in book form.