Friday, July 16, 2004
Just got back (literally) from a British Fantasy Awards showcase in central London, at which loads of authors and editors and other interested parties were viewing and discussing this year's British Fantasy Awards. Telos has three books in the running, as well as Telos itself, and it was great that Daniel O'Mahony managed to get along to keep the Telos flag flying. Steve Jones MC'ed the event and gave a great talk on the Awards and the importance of them before having a kind of open discussion about what the Awards meant to people and why they are an integral and key part of the genre in this country. It was nice to meet and chat with fellow Telos author Christopher Fowler, as well as other folks like artist Les Edwards, and publisher Andrew Hook. As is always the case I drank a little to much, but it was a tremendously fun evening with some stunning books to see, and to take for free in some cases :)
Saturday, July 10, 2004
I finished watching ZOMBIE FLESH EATERS 3, a film which seems to have been called AFTER DARK in a previous life as this was how it was credited on the cast biogs ... a strange tale combining voodoo ritual with opening the gates of hell which seems to bring the dead back to life as rather speedy zombies with the usual taste for chowing down on anyone close, and spewing green slime from their mouths when not eating ... The acting was down to the usual terrible standard, and all the zombies had sacks on their head - maybe to disguise the fact that they were all Portuguess extras or something. There were a couple of nice moments there ... an early attack by zombie birds made me smile, there's a loony gun-obsessed chap there who's good for a laugh, and also a woman who seems to have a total recall memory of things that happened when she was about two years old - including exact details of what her parents were working on. The end of the film has perhaps the best effect as a girl is 'zombified' as she looks in a mirror, but overall it seemed to be the usual mix of running about pursued by the undead and backing towards open doorways ... I love these films though ...
One of the great sadnesses of recent years has been the move away from every mainstream publisher in the UK from horror fiction in any form. Previously admired horror writers have either had to change genres - into crime or fantasy - or have found themselves publisherless. Imagine my surprise then when, in the same week, two horror collections are promoted by two major publishers! The 'accepted wisdom' from the editors at the major houses is that horror doesn't sell, and also that collections don't sell ... and yet here are two books which are both. First up is a book by John Connolly called NOCTURNES and this arrived in the form of a blad (a prepublication pamphlet containing a selection of stories from the finished book) and a rather neat t-shirt which will be called into use over the summer. Connolly seems to be going the other way: he's a crime writer who now has a collection of short horror stories out. Hodder and Stoughton seem to be putting quite a push on this one, which is of course excellent news indeed. The other book is an anthology of short horror stories edited by Ramsey Campbell, Jack Dann and Dennis Etchison called GATHERING THE BONES. This contains 34 original stories and is a chunky paperback. It seems to have originated in Australia as far as I can tell as the copy I've been sent is from HarperCollins in Australia ... and it was first published in 2003 ... It's superb to see some major clout being put into horror fiction again by at least two of the main publishers. Hopefully this will help to enliven the horror field and increase sales for some of the small presses which never gave up the flame and which have been keeping horror alive for the last 10 years, as well as nurturing much new talent along the way.
Saturday, July 03, 2004
I'm at least starting this new Howeswho blog with the intention of posting things regularly. We'll see how it works out. I watched ZOMBIE FLESH EATERS 2 the other night. What a strange film. I saw the original ZFE when I was a kid when it first came out, and that was fun - I *hated* the splinter in the eye scene though. But this one wasn't even a Zombie film as far as I could tell. More an infection that makes people go mad. I thought it was hilarious the way it was meant to be LA and Malibu but looked like somewhere in the wastes of Mexico, and all the zombies looked like Chinese or Thai people. I guess it was filmed in Italy somewhere ... and these were all the locals appearing as zombies. I sort of enjoyed it, but it wasn't what I was expecting. I've just started watching ZFE3 now and that looks wierd and wacky as well ... David