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We've got a pretty much full house at PS Towers this week . . .

. . . with the settling in (for seven or eight days—depending if I throw in the towel before then and kick ‘em all out) of all four grand-daughters and assorted parents, the whole lot hell-bent on keeping me to my promise of showing them various spooky movies over the Halloween break (for the record, the gang ranges 6, 13, 13 (twins) and, 14.) Maybe we need to start a push for a Hornsea Drive-in.

The one problem is they’re not enamoured with b&w movies so THE HAUNTING, WHISTLE AND I’LL COME TO YOU, THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD, IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE, CARNIVAL OF SOULS and other assorted gems. We’re surviving, however, though Nicky is threateningn to expel ME if I don’t pack in my clumsy rendition of HALLOWEEN.

Essential Halloween viewing . . . .

Had a good night last night with SHAWN OF THE DEAD, watched by all ‘cept six year-old C.C.. Maybe we’ll give them all a big treat with THE HILLS HAVE EYES, TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, HOSTEL and—hey, loosen up: I’m kiddin’ ya! I’m kiddin’ ya.

Now, before we move into full thrust with other stuff, I need to fess up with a goof—it might not actually BE me but I’m betting it was so here goes.

Best of Black Wings trade paperback

There are some mistakes on the order page for BEST OF BLACK WINGS including Wade German’s name being misspelled (which Wade pointed out), and Richard Gavin's name being included in the actual title of his work. Also, in a recent newsletter, in the TOC for the same book, Wilum Pugmire and Wade German’s names have been chopped out altogether. It would be greatly appreciated if you could make corrections to these errors.

Hey, Wade, we’ve got it all sorted—thanks for letting us know. I guess I must have had an off-week that week. Sheesh!

On a happier note, we were spoiled rotten in Dublin by Phantasmagoria Magazine's main man in the shape of Trevor Kennedy who not only reprinted my story ‘Leaves’ from a few years back but also reviewed RAMSEY CAMPBELL’S  LIMERICKS OF THE ALARMING AND PHANTASMAL illustrated by Pete Von Sholly. Here’s what he had to say.

Brilliantly Eccentric!

There’s a fine line between comedy and horror. Both are essentially the theatre of the absurd and both are very tricky to do well also. So, it is therefore an even more daunting task to attempt to combine the two mediums with glowing results, as more often than not one or the other (or both) suffers. 

However, when it does work the end result can be something very special indeed. Examples of this that come to my mind straight away are the films AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, directed by John Landis, and Sam Raimi’s EVIL DEAD II. There are more, of course, but they are rare. RAMSEY CAMPBELL’S LIMERICKS OF THE ALARMING AND PHANTASMAL is one of this elite group.
 One of the world’s foremost and prolific authors of horror presents us with a collection of brief verses based upon classic horror literature, a wonderful, fun-filled book aimed at children. Practically all of the historical genre greats are delightfully and macabrely referenced within—Stoker, Shelley, Dickens, Lovecraft, Wells, Le Fanu, Poe, James, Conan Doyle, Wheatley, Bradbury, Bloch, Amis, King and even Campbell himself. Jeez, even Jack the Ripper and my old mate, the charismatic, cannibalistic anti-hero (I don’t care what anyone says, he’s an anti-hero and NOT a villain, to me!) Hannibal Lecter are in there too! The gloriously vivid colour illustrations by Pete Von Sholly are just the icing on the cake.

As a self-confessed comedy snob, it really can take a lot to get me to guffaw (I like my comedy served dark and outrageous—think of a weird three-way hybrid of Rik Mayall, Kenny Everett and Alan Partridge topped with lashings of Little Britain, Father Ted and The League of Gentlemen), but I did indeed laugh out loud at some of the off-the-wall eccentricities contained inside this book.

It’s like a brief history of horror literature for kids, but in verse form, with a huge nudge and a wink to the readers too—we’re in on the jokes with Campbell, we’re a part of it, and that feels pretty cool. The child readers themselves will love it as well, of course!
 I know I’ve said this before recently with another children’s horror book (namely Stephen Jones’ TERRIFYING TALES TO TELL AT NIGHT), but I strongly urge you to buy a copy of this book, enjoy it for yourself for a day or so, and then pass it onto a kid for them to relish too.
 Great fun!

Indeed, Trevor. And in closing, here’s this response from Ramsey himself.

I can only be thankful to Trevor
For his kindness towards my endeavour.

I did hope there were times 

When my horrible rhymes 

Were funny if not merely clever.

Irrepressible and then some. Way to go, Ramsey. You da man.

And now for something completely different . . .

. . . as they say (or USED to say at various sections of the much-missed MONTY PYTHON’S FLYING CIRCUS)—namely, Allister Timms’s THE KILLING MOON.

Allister was born in Carmarthen, Wales, a town known for its connection with the Arthurian wizard Merlin. He has also lived in Ireland and now makes his home in Maine. Clearly this fella gets around.

He earned his MFA in creative writing from Stonecoast at the University of Southern Maine. He is currently a Professor of English at Husson University in Bangor, Maine, where he teaches literature, rhetoric, and composition. 

"I am in awe of Allister Timms. He is an artist of words, and this debut is an exquisite masterpiece. I fell into a transcendent reading dream as soon as I opened to page one . . . and part of me still dwells there. I'm delighted by the prospect of a sequel. Bravo, bravo, Allister Timms. I am in your debt."

—Nancy Holder, New York Times bestselling author, THE WICKED SAGA (with Debbie Viguié).

Here’s the lowdown on what is truly a tour de force

I know, I know . . . much over-used but NOT in this case, folks.

Young Max Schumann’s mother, Isolde, has been stolen away by the malevolent Erlking, a trickster spirit of death out of German legend. Alone and scared in a chicken coop with only three hens and nightmarish sketches to keep him company, Max realizes he must embark on an odyssey into the dark, violent heart of war-torn Europe if he is to save his mother. But first he must find his father, Oscar Schumann, a captain of the elite Wehrwolf, a band of guerrilla fighters and shape-shifters out of folklore.

Through the blood-streaked and ravaged twilight of the Third Reich, father and son begin a hunt through a world transfigured by terror and strangeness, an atavistic world where magical history collides with actual history and where sacrifices must be made for those we love. THE KILLING MOON is a novel of fantasy and myth-making that forges a link between ultimate destructiveness, desperate tenacity, and moments of tenderness that keep people alive in the face of total devastation and loss.  

And already, the plaudits are lining up . . .

And from Elizabeth Hand, author of WYLDING HALL which appeared from PS a couple of years ago, comes this lavish praise.

"Set against the backdrop of Nazi Germany,  Allister Timms's extraordinary THE KILLING MOON unfolds like a childhood dream that explodes into adult nightmare, in a haunting synthesis of European folklore and myth, fairy tale and history, family saga and ancient epic. A beautifully written, fearlessly ambitious first novel."

"Set against a vividly evoked backdrop of war, chaos and supernatural terror, THE KILLING MOON is an astonishing—and very welcome—debut. Allister Timms brings a distinctive voice and a fresh perspective to the ancient Germanic myth of the Erl-King. The result is something special: an intricate, absorbing narrative that lures the reader into a dark, savage, wholly convincing world. THE KILLING MOON is the real thing, and Allister Timms is clearly a writer to watch." 

—Bill Sheehan, author of AT THE FOOT OF THE STORY TREE

Yeah, OK Bill, but didja like it?!

Well maybe you need a little sumpin extra—nobody’s gonna say you’re greedy or anything. So how’s about this from the man himself. The soundtrack of songs that are part of the whole ambiance of the novel.

The following songs make a soundtrack for the novel. They are its “sound and vision.” It’s the music I listened to while writing and editing, procrastinating and wildly imagining what was to come next in the story. The music wasn’t predetermined, songs either found a way to get under the record player’s needle or else my fingers were guided to my CD collection. They are not in any particular sequence (except for Bauhaus), because I will leave that up to the readers, to shape their own soundtrack when it comes to reading the book and what songs will help them to further “see” the novel.

Gary Numan “My Name Is Ruin"

  • Fluke “Glidub”

  • David Bowie “Moonage Daydream”

  • Roxy Music “In Every Dream Home A Heartache”

  • The Walker Brothers “The Electrician”

  • New Order “Your Silent Face”

  • Echo & The Bunnymen "The Killing Moon"

  • David Sylvian “Maria”

  • The Stranglers “La Folie”

  • Lakme “Flower Duet”

  • Massive Attack “Black Milk”

  • Christian Scott “Ruler, Rebel”

  • Joy Division “Heart & Soul”

  • Kitchens of Distinction “Drive That Fast”

  • Nick Cave “Red Right Hand”

  • The Police “Spirits in the Material World”

  • Peter Murphy “Dragnet Drag”

  • Killing Joke “Love Like Blood”

  • The Smiths "Barbarism Begins At Home"

  • Radiohead “Staircase”

  • Burial “Dog Shelter”

  • The Cult “She Sells Sanctuary”

  • PWEI “Dance of the Mad Bastards”

  • The The “Beyond Love”

  • She Wants Revenge “Take the World”

  • Orange Juice "Rip It Up"

  • The Cure, “A Forest”

  • DIIV “Dopamine”

Bonus Track/Final Track When Book Is Read and Closed 

  • Bauhaus “Third Uncle”

I’ve already started putting together the playlist so that I can drink it in in one hit. Now go and buy the book.

Nicky's Newsround

As we told you last week, copies of the three STAND volumes are all done and dusted—any they look wonderful; now we’re just waiting for the slipcases (and then the completed signing sheets from Don Maitz);

  • The two-book FANTASTICAL FICTIONEERS will be going out to Pete Von Sholly (who will be mailing US comps and customers this coming month);
  • the next Stephen King reissue will be THE DEAD ZONE, illustrated by Tomislav Tikulin (order sheet will be going up before Christmas with a pub date of summer 2020); and
  • following that will be NEEDFUL THINGS illustrated by John Picacio—hopefully for autumn 2020.

On another matter, a customer got in touch saying we've not said anything about the deluxe edition of R IS FOR ROCKET and I promised I’d mention it this week. We're making this priority, top of the pile and we’ll get it sorted out pronto.

Now back to Pete.

Thanks, Nicky. 

The clocks are back and winter is threatening lock-in any day now. But enjoy the weekend that’s coming, look after each other and happy reading. There are lots more goodies getting lined up.

Best wishes from the frozen wastes of the Yorkshire seaside . . .


PS Publishing

Grosvenor House, 1 New Road, Hornsea
United Kingdom

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