Archive for “Charles Black”

The Fourth Black Book of Horror: Dark Fiction Review

Posted in Bits and pieces with tags , , on May 23, 2009 by craigherbertson

“The reader is guaranteed to find something to send shivers down the spine.'”

Charles Black’s latest anthology recieved its first review – very favourable. Unable to pick a winner, the  Dark Fiction Review picked out a few random tales including my offering. The reviewer said some nice things:

“…Soup…written by Craig Herbertson. It’s a wickedly dark tale of a secret society and the nefarious goings-on as one society meeting draws near. Reminiscent of traditional ghost stories (with a little dash of M.R.James) in its writing style, it’s a sumptuously told tale that is a fine start to the book

The quality of the contents forces me to adopt a similar policy so here’s a random selection.

Johhny Main’s ‘With Deepest Sympathy’ is a sharply told and cleverly conceived tale which would sit well with the classic Pan Horror anthologies.  Little gems like  ‘ She’s dead? oh well – that is fantastic news!’ contrast with shivery moments of classic terror.

‘A Cry For Help’ by Joel Lane is a creepy, modernist tale with the sentiment of Dickens and a style not unlike P.K. Dick. Had me guessing until the last line.

I admit I was one of the few readers who thought that ‘The Crimson Picture’ by Daniel McGachey in ‘The Second Black Book of Horror’a story which received superlative reviews – was a good rather than great tale. I happily concede that McGachey’s ‘And Still Those Screams Resound…’  is a scorcher of a story; beautifully conceived and constructed. It’s setting, the central concept, the characterisation make it one of those unforgettable classics.

Welll it was a random selection. There are other tales of equal merit but I hope it’s enough to get you out there on the web scrabbling for a copy.

Third Black Book Shortlisted for British Fantasy Awards 2008

Posted in Bits and pieces with tags , , , , , , , on October 13, 2008 by craigherbertson

Third Black Book of Horror reviewed and shortlisted for the British Fantasy Awards 2008

Loads of people have been saying marvelous things about this anthology – which was short-listed  for the British Fantasy Awards 2008.

‘The Black Book of Horror series stands tall as a masterful and most of all enjoyable, collection of some of the best that the field has to offer…’

said Lee Medcalf of Pantechnicon

And I got a bit of a kick from this on my humble offering

“The extraordinary carving of the characters, the smooth narrative style and a touch of black humour make the story a superb piece of fiction to be savoured word by word.”

Mario Guslandi
on Synchronicity in the Third Black Book of Horror

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.’

Coral. “THE THINKING MAN’S CRUMPET”

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
THE OLDER MAN – Gary Fry
POWER – Steve Goodwin
CORDS – Roger B. Pile
THE SOUND OF MUZAK – Sean Parker
SHAPED LIKE A SNAKE – D. F. Lewis
ONLY IN YOUR DREAMS – David A. Sutton
THE WOLF AT JESSIE’S DOOR – Paul Finch
SIZE MATTERS – John L. Probert
SPARE RIB: A ROMANCE – John Kenneth Dunham
FAMILY FISHING – Gary McMahon
SUBTLE INVASION – David Conyers
A PIE WITH THICK GRAVY – D. F. Lewis
LOCK-IN – David A. Riley
LAST CHRISTMAS (I GAVE YOU MY LIFE) – Franklin Marsh
“SHALT THOU KNOW MY NAME?” – Daniel McGachey
TO SUMMON A FLESH EATING DEMON – Charles Black

Cover by Paul Mudie

ISBN 978-0-9556061-0-6