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We were at FantasyCon last year (Glasgow, wonderful city) where, amongst many delights, Nicky had arranged for a cracking launch for Rob Shearman (and folks, that is for sure the perfect word to describe Rob), and the momentous (another fine word) WE ALL HEAR STORIES IN THE DARK which Rob had painstakingly agreed to unveil, all six hundred thousand words of it.

You’ll know by now that I’m building up to this week’s Newsletter which—I always get into ramble-mode so you must excuse me. It always happens. Anyway, I threw open the task to my colleagues—sharing the joy, moreover, as Nicky would have it—thus interrupting all manner of entertainments with the weekend fast approaching . . . DVD-watching, pool games aplenty, comic-reading, skateboard practice on the promenade, Nicky paddling in the North Sea, Mike and Sheryl building sandcastles on Hornsea beach, and Nick Gevers continues with the soon-to-appear PS-style NEW WORLDS anthology magazine and who knows what other arcane pursuits they all of them might employ when their offices quieten down a mite.

In other words, as Mr. Holmes might have it, the game is certainly afoot.

Skipping back to today . . .

(neatly sidestepping the pandemic, thank goodness), Tamsin stepped up the batter’s plate (alongside Parker and Oakley wielding racquets and bats . . . wielding 'em as only one-year-olds can wield) and volunteered the indefatigable Jim McLeod of GINGER NUTS OF HORROR with a surprise.

Take it away, Jim.

"It was a cold and bitter morning in the weirdest hotel I have ever stayed in . . ."

(It was part of a hospital), and true to form I was nursing a severe hangover from the traditional Fantasy Convention Friday night blow out. At this point of the day, I am either nursing the hair of the dog or sitting in a corner telling myself never again. I decided to go to the launch of pre-launch of Robert Shearman's collection We All Hear Stories in the Dark, where he was pre-releasing five chapbooks from it.

Sitting there in the front row, I thought to myself "I better try and stay awake, no falling asleep here." As Rob started his launch, I sat there and thought Ok this sounds interesting. With each passing minute, my level of excitement increased and increased; this was going to be something special I could feel it in my bones.

I was so taken by the concept of the book, and Rob's fantastic launch, if you ever get a chance to see him do a reading or a panel, go to it, he is a force of nature, with his unbridled enthusiasm and passion, I couldn't get it out of my head.

On the Sunday while waiting on my daughter. Cthella, to make her appearance, I was struck with a flash of inspiration, and the 101 Club was born.

I came up with the idea to get as close to 101 reviewers to each review one story from the book, then post the reviews in a random order to fit in with the concept of the book.

I was keen to get as many people who attended the launch to be a part of this so when I got home, I looked through my photos and started contacting as many of the people that I recognised. Everyone I contacted loved the idea and jumped on board. I decided to go for a random approach as to how the stories were shared out. Apart from a handful of stories which were either published by specific publishers or as was the case of Alison Littlewood who appeared in one of the stories the reviews were handed out in a random selection process
Six months later, after countless hours of emails, formatting the reviews and figuring out how to present the reviews, we had an article that spanned 23,000 words of pure unadulterated love for Mr. Shearman.

I want to express a huge thank you to Rob for getting behind the project, to Penny Jones for all of the help breaking the massive master doc into individual stories and to Steve J Shaw for creating a spreadsheet robust enough keep track of this enormous project, and to every single member of the 101 Club for their fantastic reviews. Without their help, this project would never have seen the light day.

Here is a selection of some of the reviews to give you a feel for the love and sheer genius of the book:

A time machine would only complicate matters further, and this story is a TARDIS, way bigger on the inside, travelling through dimensions of experience, and leaving us with an impression of Shearman's genius, his tenderness, and the frightening depths of his capacity for love.

–Georgina Bruce

Rob Shearman is a grinning ghost of a storyteller. By that I mean you are enticed by what seems strange and perhaps unsettling but also whimsical and surely not malevolent. His stories are funny, until they are not, or they are funny and upsetting at the same time.

–Lynda Ruckner

I'll tell you. It will make Covid-19 look like a children's tea party. It could be worse than Ebola. That amount of virulent, unadulterated insanity being let out into the world could be the end of everything. Is that really what you want?

–Sean Hogan

Digits is both bonkers and heartbreaking. It's about the things we can prove with science and the things we absolutely cannot. It's also one of the closest in tone to a Thousand and One Arabian Nights, its parabolic storytelling style right at home here.

–Dan Carpenter

Nicky's Newsround

I've jokingly referred to them as 'sighing' sheets in the past. They seem to cause such a kerfuffle. But at last, I can gleefully report that the signing sheets for four titles have been tipped in by Nigel and completed copies are winging their way to the warehouse as I write this.

  • WARTS AND ALL by Mark Morris

The fourth title is THE COMPLETE RYNOSSEROS by Terry Dowling, which of course is the first volume in a three-book set. We now have all three volumes complete but we are not quite there yet, as we are still awaiting the slipcase from McCarthy's.

Now here’s a suggestion:

Whilst still homeschooling, our six-year-old granddaughter’s school has been celebrating Pyjamarama today, a Book Trust event ( The idea being that you spend time reading in your pyjamas. It’s certainly got our vote . . . Nicky's in particular. In fact, the problem is getting her into her street clothes!

But pyjamas or nighties, it's reading that's most important so keep at it, you warriors! There's been a mild rain shower most of the day and it's a blessed relief after the heat wave. Look after each other, stay well and follow orders. Hugs to you all from the seaside.


PS : Here's something special for the weekend. Brought to you by Tim Crowther and not to be missed!

Seven strangers take refuge from flesh-eating ‘ghouls’ in an isolated farmhouse. As the night draws in, their situation becomes desperate, hope turns to despair, and the picket-fence American dream is smashed apart.

Seven performers enter the stage armed with cameras. Can they recreate the film, shot-for-shot before our eyes, using whatever they can lay their hands on?

50 years after the release of George A. Romero’s politically charged zombie movie, imitating the dog and Leeds Playhouse create a love-song to the original 1960s film, retelling it as a searing story for now.

NIGHT of the LIVING DEAD is ™ and © Image Ten, Inc. All Rights Reserved / Filmed by Sodium Films / AGE GUIDANCE: 15+ / RUNNING TIME: 1hr 38mins

PS Publishing

Grosvenor House, 1 New Road, Hornsea
United Kingdom

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