Archive for the Tales of Horror Category

Filthy Creations 6#

Posted in Tales of Horror with tags , on July 14, 2010 by craigherbertson

As if the editor Rog Pile had nothing else to do but astound, this edition of Filthy Creations 6# begins the serialisation of two novels. Sendings by David A Riley and The Death Tableau by, yours truly, Craig Herbertson: Both ‘Pan Books of Horror’ authors. Both novels set up in the north. Both their first appearance in print. Both about to be serialized in full. There’s ominous signs in both tales already. Let’s see how they develop.

The issue is packed with poisoned goodies.

The Devil At Your Heels by Robert Mammone deals with that unconscious horror – the hit and run accident. Who is the victim here, the driver who was hit or the driver who ran? Mammome is a sharp writer with a strong style and a sound balance between the beauty of metaphor and the progression of story. He creates some lovely lines: ‘The engine’s dull throb matched his heart’s jerking rhythm,’ and he’s a writer who can draw you in and leaves you hurt: ‘A terrible truth flowered in Arthur’s mind. With sharp edged petal’s, this realisation scoured all other thoughts away and sent him staggering onto the road’

Mammone is one to watch.

In Easy Money by Penni McLaren Walker we move from a car to a house that has its own particular attitude to its incumbents. Penni is a well known song writer and I was gratified to see her talents in the field of horror. They are apparent. Penni writes more like a lady who has hundreds of stories under her belt rather than a couple. All the signs of a writer with a voice. More to come I hope.

D F Lewis has two short tales Rage and The Fat Shrike in here. Both betray the unmistakable marks of genius. Rage deals with the solution to a macabre jigsaw puzzle and the The Fat Shrike simply abounds with unforgettable lines some beginning in mildly prosaic observation before ending in a word feast carnival ‘Maternity in the old days, was a combination of mutual back-slapping and career gossiping: starting as soon as the womb could warm sufficient spaghetti connections into autonomous life and continuing until it was cold enough to keep plasma as well as pasta indefinitely.’ I ask myself who else could have written that?

We move to the face in Bad Manners by Colin Leslie. It’s a well told, enjoyable tale with a sinister theme that Ray Bradbury would have enjoyed writing and no doubt, reading.

There’s a Riot Going On by Franklin Marsh is short, sweet and wonderful. A touch of pathos a touch of humor as the old colonel goes down.

Grey by Charles Black takes residence at the beach but not for a suntan. It’s a dark almost Panesque tale of revenge with a woman at the heart of it but unfortunately, ‘her beauty had been long since vanquished.’ Good to see that the notorious editor of the Black Book of Horror has picked up the quill again.

Crocodile Tears by James Stanger, is a tale of an old demolition worker and a doctor who suffers his apparent hypochondria. But is it all in the old man’s mind or did something crawl up from the blitz-damaged London buildings? I think it might have but it’s not what you expect.

A Solace of Winter Rain by Stephen Bacon leaves us in the comfort of the Club’s leather chairs but we’re not comfortable for very long as Dr Trevelyan explores Mr Farnsworth’s ‘paralysing nightmare.’ I’m a sucker for a smoking room tale and this delivers the disquieting goods.

Night Tide by Rog Pile has a pilot survive his plane crash only to endure greater horrors from the past. It’s a story which balances realism with a shadow world of memory, containing believable characterization which makes you instantly empathetic and horror which battles with pathos. Rog Pile has also managed five interior illustrations and a cover. The illustrations are a high point of this edition of Filthy Creations. Rog Pile has slowly developed as a fine illustrator with an improving technique and that elusive – and often undiscovered in lesser artists – eye for perspective. His illustration of Easy Money in the two corbies is a beauty.

Filthy Creations 6# is an incredible £2.25 including postage. For the small press it’s a plush looking little thing and, more importantly, it’s full of enjoyable stuff. Purchase it together with issue 4# of The Thinking Man’s Crumpet, edited by Coral King for just £3.50

This issue is dedicated to D F Lewis

World Horror Conference

Posted in Tales of Horror with tags , , on April 7, 2010 by craigherbertson

World Horror Conference 2010

I’ve just about recovered from this marvelous event, held in the UK for the first time in Brighton where the chips are normally good and there is a pier.

My adventures were mainly concerned with two publications

John Mains (ed.) – Back From The Dead: The Legacy Of The Pan Book Of Horror Stories (Noose & Gibbet, March 2010)
Les Edwards
Shaub Hutson – Foreword
David A. Sutton – The Influence Of The Pans
Christopher Fowler – Locked
Tony Richards – Mr. Smythe
John Burke – Acute Rehab
Basil Copper – Camera Obscura
David A. Riley – The True Spirit
Jack Wainer – Angel
Myc Harrison – A Good Offence
Roger Clarke – Gallybagger
John Ware – Spinalonga
Jonathan Cruise – The Forgotten Island
J. P. Dixon – Dreaming The Dark
Septimus Dale – The Little Girl Eater
Christina Kiplinger – Mr. Golden’s Haunt
John Burke – The Stare
Nicholas Royle – The Children
Ken Alden – The Moment Of Death
Jane Louie – A Carribean Incident
Craig Herbertson – The Waiting Game
Francis King – School Crossing
Harry E. Turner – Sounds Familiar
Conrad Hill – An Outing With H.
John Mains – ‘Lest You Should Suffer Nightmares’. Herbert Van Thal: A Biography


Charles Black (ed.) – The Sixth Black Book Of Horror (Mortbury Press, March 2010)
6th Black Book of Horror: artwork; Paul Mudie
Paul Mudie
John Llewellyn Probert – Six Of The Best
Simon Kurt Unsworth – Traffic Stream
Steve Lockley – Imaginary Friends
R. B. Russell – An Unconventional Exorcism
Paul Finch – The Doom
Gary Fry – Keeping It In The Family
Craig Herbertson – Spanish Suite
Reggie Oliver – Mr. Pigsny
Alex Langley – The Red Stone
Stephen Bacon – Room Above The Shop
David A. Riley – Their Cramped Dark World
Mick Lewis – Gnomes
Anna Taborska – Bagpuss
David Williamson – The Switch
Mark Samuels – Keeping Your Mouth Shut

It was a chance to meet two editors who have revitalized my ailing career as a horror writer: Charles Black who has now published me in five of his critically acclaimed horror series and John Mains, the man who knows more about Pan Horror than Pan Horror.

The nucleus, I suppose, of the interest began with the Pan horror series which was an immense dark influence on the youth of my day – running to 30 volumes of unadulterated nastiness; a nastiness which beckoned me in Pan 29 where my novella The Heaven Maker (which I state now, contrary to the received view, had nearly no blood and gore in it) was published. It was series that saw stories by the greatest writers and the quickest hacks of weird tales, from Lord Dunsany to John Lennon and many more.

I am very very grateful to both of these fine editors for recovering my body from the abyss.

You will gather from the wealth of talent in these two books, launched at the conference, that it was a somewhat humbling experience. One clear highlight was beating my brother at chess for a change, but the other was certainly sitting on a panel with names who chilled the blood of several generations: Christopher Fowler, Tanith Lee, Tony Richards, David A Riley, David A Sutton, Basil Copper, Nicholas Royle and Les Edwards to name but a few. We tried to explain what we had done to the current generation in the way of nightmare and fear. All hosted by the sinister, John Mains.

At one point John asked the audience who had been turned to horror by the Pan books. Nearly everyone held up their hands. I realized then that we had become an institution -anyone who knows me knows I hate institutions but if I have to belong to one I think I’ll go with that.

Tales from the Smoking Room

Posted in Bits and pieces, Tales of Horror with tags , , on June 23, 2009 by craigherbertson

I’m delighted to announce the publication of a 40 page A4 Homebrew Zine of Victoriana horror and steampunk by the Hand of Danjou press. Edited by Benedict J Jones and V C Jones and with cover art from Will Jacques


The Strangled Garden – Stephen Bacon

Room Three – Matthew Crossman

The Iron Ape – Mike Harding

The Decent Thing – VC Jones

Parlour Games – Mike Chinn

Serendipity – Trudi Topham

and a happy little Daniel Mulholland story:

A Game of Billiards – Craig Herbertson

Available here Tales from the Smoking Room

Second Black Book of Horror

Posted in Tales of Horror with tags , , , , , , , on April 11, 2008 by craigherbertson

Charles Black unleashes some more late night reading for those who prefer nightmares to dreams. This collection includes my first story in a paperback horror anthology since 1989.

I have a story in this collection but I’m happy to admit that in all honesty mine felt like the runt of the litter.

I haven’t read any horror book in a while that gripped me so much from the start. The stories seem to have an uncanny balance with each other while being very different.

Rog Pile’s ‘The Pit’ was a special favourite, evoking something sinister and deep, with an almost indescribable overtone of pathos. I was profoundly stuck by David Sutton’s ‘Amygdala’, which offers an image that will rest for a long and uneasy time in my head.

Having said this I have a strong feeling that I am going to immediately reread The Second Black Book of Horror and reveal that the preceding stories were not quite up to the ones I left out.

This little gem puts paid to the ‘their first album was great but the second one was duff’ theory.

‘The sheer quality of the writings within stand on their own merit, with nothing but the gloriously nasty Pan-style back cover blurbs to distract one from the true pleasure of the anthology – the stories.’


The Second Black Book of Horror – Charles Black (editor) Mortbury Press 2008

Black Glass – Gary McMahon
Amygdala – David A. Sutton
Now and Forever More – David A. Riley
The Cold Harvest – Steve Goodwin
On the Couch – Craig Herbertson
All Under Hatches Stow\’d – Mike Chinn
The Crimson Picture -Daniel McGachey
Squabble – D. F. Lewis
The Eye in the Mirror – Eddy C. Bertin
The Meal – Julia Lufford
In Sickness And… – John L. Probert
Onion – L. H. Maynard & M. P. N. Sims
The Pit – Rog Pile

The Second Black Book of Horror edited by Charles Black. Mortbury Press paperback, 200 pages. Retail price is £7-00. Available from various online outlets, including Amazon UK

The Black Book of Horror

Posted in Tales of Horror with tags , , , , , on April 4, 2008 by craigherbertson

Horrified there are not more collections like this.

If you remember the old Pan Books of Horror and you liked them you will like this more. The reason: there are echoes of the old masters, (in fact there are some old masters, notabley David A. Riley with his chilling LOCK-IN – told with all the macabre inuendo of P.K. Dick.) – But also horror has moved in time, become more surreal and fuller in metaphor and image. At times these stories move with a Daliesque brush stroke, chilling, overlit and very scary.

Difficult to pick a favourite from this bunch. I might go for “Regina vs. Zoskia” which seems Ballardian in its style but more menacing. Gary Fry’s creepy zombie-love tale “The Older Man” still gives me the shivers or perhaps “Cords” by Roger B. Pile…but it would be churlish to pick a best amongst so much good stuff.

If you like your nights dark, buy it.The Black Book of Horror – Charles Black (editor) Mortbury Press 2007

CROWS – Frank Nicholas
REGINA vs. ZOSKIA – Mark Samuels
POWER – Steve Goodwin
CORDS – Roger B. Pile
SIZE MATTERS – John L. Probert
SPARE RIB: A ROMANCE – John Kenneth Dunham
LOCK-IN – David A. Riley
“SHALT THOU KNOW MY NAME?” – Daniel McGachey

Cover by Paul Mudie

ISBN 978-0-9556061-0-6

Filthy Creations 3

Posted in Tales of Horror with tags , , , , , on March 3, 2008 by craigherbertson

Filthy Creations 3#

The third issue of Filthy Creations is on the market, stories by Franklin Marsh, Coral King…

The third issue of Filthy Creations is available for a giveaway

£2.50 (inc. p&p) from:

Rog Pile
46 Trenoweth Estate
North Country
TR16 4AH

Edited by Steve Goodwin and Rog Pile and illustrated by Rog, it includes stories by Franklin Marsh, Coral King, Daniel McGachey, Noah Brown, Peter Coady and Craig Herbertson