A ways back, or so it seems, Pete’s good friend Andy Richards, of the respected Cold Tonnage Book dealership here in the UK had been approached by US book dealer/publisher Mark Ziesing to put together an anthology of UK writers. Andy didn’t think he’d be able to fit the editorial bill when Mark approached but he thought maybe he just might be able to come up with an alternative . . . and Pete was approached.
Back then, Pete was a regular purchaser from Andy’s shelves and catalogues so he jumped at the chance and thus, NARROW HOUSES was born, a collection of tales loosely based around the theme of superstition, devised in collaboration with Nicky, who, as everyone knows, is Pete’s constant companion.
At the time—we’re talking 1990 with the resulting volume appearing just before Christmas 1992—Pete was expanding his interviews and reviews and even an occasional piece of fiction. It wasn't long before Pete’s story output exploded and shifted up a few gears as he started to spread his wings in any direction embracing styles and ‘voices’. Working with many household names in the field, Pete approached Cemetery Dance’s Richard Chizmar whom he had discovered by reading the fledgling magazine of that same name, and would you believe it, Rich turned in a fine tale, also called 'Cemetery Dance.'
Following on from there, Rich got right back in touch and asked Pete if he might have a tale or two that might fit the Cemetery Dance bill. So far, so good . . . and it’s coming kind of like an urban myth bandied around the musty dank walls and underfoot cobbles of PS Towers. The pair of them have stayed chums with Rich publishing three Crowther yarns—'Eater’, ‘Rustle’. 'Even Beggars Would Ride (with James Lovegrove), and the popular novella, FOREVER TWILIGHT . . . not to mention adapting ‘Eater’ for US TV starring Elisabeth Moss (of Madmen fame).
And now, of course, we have this beautiful Cemetary Dance volume:
THINGS I DIDN'T KNOW MY FATHER KNEW: The Best Short Stories of Peter Crowther.
Here’s how it stacks up, illustrated by PS’s good friend, Tomislav Tikulin. I think you may like it, a somewhat bold mix of rockets and Revenants . . . and they’re crying out to say Hi to you.
Here's the line-up:
Things I Didn't Know My Father Knew: An unusual visitor rolls into town one day under cover of a thick fog . . . just to touch base with someone he maybe once knew.
All We Know of Heaven: A small boy finds the answer to his and his father's dilemma in the legend of King Arthur and his mystical sword, Excalibur.
Tomorrow Eyes: A Runyonesque gambler discovers the strangest set of dice you ever saw being rolled on a cloth.
Some Burial Place, Vast and Dry: The lonely survivor of a long-ago space mission receives a visit from a hauntingly familiar UFO.
The Musician of Bremen, GA: Cal Williston, who can play the best version of 'Moonlight In Vermont' since Chet Baker teamed up with Gerry Mulligan.
Boxing Day: A small-town crook about to fall under the spell of London rediscovers his wife.
Keepsakes: PI. Koko Tate pays his mom a visit on Mother’s Day.
Too Short A Death: A modern-day poet meets the long-deceased Weldon Kees's greatest literary creation.
Eater: The cops at an off-the-beaten-track late-night precinct house have got more than they bargained for in one of the cells.
Sitting Pretty: An armchair fashioned out of the wood from the original cross provides a comfort of sorts down the ages.
Dark Times: Two old men tamper with the dark arts and open a gateway that threatens the destructions of the world.
Jewels in the Dust: A couple jaded with their life together are visited by their collective histories.
And, in Songs of Leaving, the imminent impact of a county-sized piece of space debris brings to the remnants of humanity a multitude of old friends to witness the fall of mankind.
And for those folks who wouldn’t know Pete if they fell over him when he was slumped by the water cooler, here’s a biographical note:
Peter Crowther is the recipient of numerous awards for his writing, his editing and, as publisher, for the hugely successful PS Publishing—now including Drugstore Indian Press (trade paperbacks), Electric Dreamhouse (Midnight Movie Monographs), PS Australia (showcasing Australian writers), Stanza Press (poetry), Absinthe Books (up and coming talent) and PS Artbooks (a specialist imprint dedicated to the comics field).
As well as being widely translated, his short stories have been adapted for TV on both sides of the Atlantic and collected in THE LONGEST SINGLE NOTE, LONESOME ROADS, SONGS OF LEAVING, COLD COMFORTS, THE SPACES BETWEEN THE LINES, THE LAND AT THE END OF THE WORKING DAY and JEWELS IN THE DUST. He is the co-author (with James Lovegrove) of ESCARDY GAP and THE HAND THAT FEEDS, and author of the FOREVER TWILIGHT SF/horror cycle and BY WIZARD OAK. He lives and works with his wife and business partner, Nicky on the Yorkshire coast of England in the shade of the monolithic manse of PS Towers where the PS team have produced almost one thousand books and a million dreams weaved.
But what the hey, you know all that.
Let’s close off with a nod-cum-riff from some folks who appeared in that very first Crowther tome and some of whom are sadly no longer with us. Ray Bradbury, Rob Holdstock, Rex Miller, Ed Gorman, and Rick Hautala.
"Peter Crowther's 'Other Trains' is evocative, haunting, sad, beautiful and chilling. A Huge order to bring off and he did it." —Ray Bradbury
"Peter Crowther is a man who can spin a tale and put words together so they make you care." -Neil Gaiman
"Put simply, Pete Crowther is one of the best. I think that says it all." —Stephen King
"Anything that has Pete Crowther's fingerprints on it is evidence of quality. Snap it up." —Joe R. Lansdale
"Amid a genre strewn with dim exertions, Peter Crowther's work pirouettes. Hi sly grace disturbs invisibly, blueblood voodoo." —Richard Christian Matheson
"Open a Crowther collection and you'll find a cornucopia, an Imaginarium, a cabinet of curiosities, and a hall of mirrors, all rolled into one glorious constellation of words and ideas . . ." —Angela Slatter
"Crowther has the readability and approachability of the best H.G. Wells stories. His work had the freshness which readers must have felt when Well's stories first began to appear . . . I have not read a collection of stories as entertaining and as stimulating for a very long time." —Michael Moorcock
And absolutely the total end . . .
A heartfelt note of appreciation to the guv’nor, Richard Chizmar and Cemetery Dance and the rest of the CD gang over the water who without question kicked off the American side of Pete's writing career when first he bought ’Eater’ and ‘Rustle’ and then, secondly, when it came time for Rich to put together THE BEST OF CEMETERY DANCE, for him to ask if it was OK with him putting both stories in that magnificent volume—"Ï couldn’t decide,” he told Pete on the telephone on one of their very rare chats.
Both of those yarns are in this book. So you see . . . Pete couldn’t decide either.
And now, here's Nicky with her weekly round-up.
Another busy week here at PS Towers.
TJ Books did collect our copies of THE DEAD ZONE by Stephen King and they are in the process of sorting out the printing error. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before they are back with us. The other copies that are over in the US are very close to being collected and brought back to the UK. It’s a slow process but it will happen.
All the signed editions that I mentioned last week that should have been arriving on Monday 18th have been delayed and Nigel at Biddles has just been in touch to say that on Monday 25th Januarythey plan to deliver the signed editions of:
MR SANDMAN by SJI Holliday
ON THE SHOULDERS OF OTAVA by Laura Mauro
WAITING FOR THE END OF THE WORLD by R.B. Russell
the deluxe edition of GASLIGHTS, GHOSTS, AND GHOULS edited by Stephen Jones
And then on Wednesday 27th January, we'll be getting:
BROKEN THINGS: A Tale of Durston by George Mann
THE BIG BLIND by Lavie Tidhar
THROUGH THE STORM by Rosalie Parker
MacCarthy’s are working on the slipcases for the deluxe DANIELE SERRA ARTBOOK and BEST NEW HORROR #30 edited by Stephen Jones (the signed edition of which will also be arriving on Wednesday 27th January).
I’ve just checked the tracking information for Cemetery Dance’s shipment of NIGHT SHIFT and it looks as if it is due to land in London around the 27th January. So we reckon that by the time they’ve been unloaded and passed through customs and then transported up to us we should be seeing them around the second week of February.
NEEDING GHOSTS AND OTHER NOVELLAS
To finish off I need to clarify the information that I put in the newsletter last week about Ramsey’s new novella called THE VILLAGE KILLINGS. Yes, this is a brand new novella and will be part of a novella omnibus which will be a continuation of the PHANTASMAGORICAL STORIES series. The other novellas in the collection will be NEEDING GHOSTS originally published by Century; THE PRETENCE which PS published as a stand-alone novella; THE BOOKING published by Dark Regions in the USA and the ENIGMA OF THE FLAT POLICEMAN which was originally published by Borderlands Press.
Well, after this week and in preparation for whatever is facing us next week, it’s time for me to go and light a candle and do some mindful breathing. Ahummmmmmm!
Here’s Mike to sign off.
For many reasons, it's been a strangely hectic week. Keith is, this very minute, feverishly man-handling six pallets of Rob Shearman's WE ALL HEAR STORIES IN THE DARK books into an already stuffed Unit 1 in readiness for however many pallets of the books Nicky mentioned's arrival on Monday. Whilst at the other end, Carol is soon to be swamped with a mountain of wrapping and packaging. In these troubled times, I suppose we can only be thankful that we are all gainfully employed in the pursuit of something we all love. Books!
And please, Mr. Biden, I know your gonna be a busy bee, but please get the US back into the Universal Postal Union so we can try and get spiraling worldwide postal charges back under control.
Stay safe and look after each other.
PS: Pete sends hugs from the greensward!
Grosvenor House, 1 New Road, Hornsea United Kingdom
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