Thursday, 15 June 2017

The Fantastical Art of Jim Pitts

Great progress has been made with The Fantastical Art of Jim Pitts: Rolling Back the Years..., the most ambitious project yet undertaken by Parallel Universe Publications. The book will be approximately 220 pages in length and contain hundreds of black and white and colour illustrations, going back to the very earliest days of Jim's career as a fantasy artist in the 1970s  when he became a mainstay for such legendary fanazines as Shadow, Balthus and the British Fantasy Society's Dark Horizons, right up to today, with books such as Brian Lumley's lavish hard cover from Fedogan & Bremer, Earth, Air, Fire & Water, Spectre Press publications like Cthulhu, The Hyborian Gazette and books from Alchemy Press, Shadow Publishing and PUP.
Above is a rough copy of the cover, though that is still very much a work in progress.
The book is scheduled to be published in August/September as a numbered and signed limited edition hard cover, eight and a half inches by eleven. Details of how to pre-order this book (and the offers being made for any who take up this opportunity) will be given shortly. Copies of the book will also be available at FantasyCon, where Jim will be on hand to personally inscribe any books bought. As this is a signed limited edition copies will only be available though the Parallel Universe website or at FantasyCon.
The book includes articles by Brian Lumley, Ramsey Campbell, Stephen Jones, David A. Sutton, Adrian Cole, Peter Coleborn, Jon M. Harvey, David A. Riley, and Nick Caffrey.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

A Grim God's Revenge accepted by Mythic - a Quarterly Science Fiction & Fantasy Magazine

Just learned that my fantasy tale, A Grim God's Revenge, has been accepted for publication in the fourth issue of Mythic, "a quarterly science fiction and fantasy magazine".

I haven't been doing much writing over the past two years, concentrating instead on publishing books under my Parallel Universe imprint - 26 titles so far, with the massive Jim Pitts artbook taking up much of my time this year, so it was a pleasant surprise to see something I wrote just prior to PUP taking over my life being accepted for publication.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

My review of The Parts We Play by Stephen Volk on BFS Website

My review of Stephen Volk's short story collection from PS Publishing, The Parts We Play, is now on the British Fantasy Society website.
"A satisfyingly varied and well-written collection of stories by screen- and short-story writer Stephen Volk.
"Although I enjoyed reading all of the stories in this collection, these are some that made the biggest impact on me. The opening, Celebrity Frankenstein, is a satirical take on our obsession with reality TV and the cult of the celebrity, with a modern update of the Frankenstein myth..."
To read the rest of the review follow this link

Friday, 28 April 2017

Fearfest - Birmingham - 28th May 2017

Looking forward to Sunday the 28th May when Jim Pitts and I will be motoring down to Birmingham to attend the one-day Fearfest at the Gunmakers Arms. Guests include Norman J. Warren and the actress Aeileem Daly, but the guests we are more interested in meeting are our old friends Steve Jones and Dave Suttons, who will be celebrating four decades of collaboration, starting with the now all but legendary Fantasy Tales.  


Tickets are only £15.00 plus a small handling fee. Which is incredibly cheap consideriung what is on for offer. As well as guest of honour, director Norman J Warren (Satan's Slave, Terror, Inseminoid), there will be appearances from scream queen Eileen Daly (Razor Blade Smile, Cradle of Fear), award-winning editors David A Sutton and Stephen Jones (Fantasy Tales, The Pan Book of Horror Stories) -- plus a special surprise guest who'll be joining us for a Q&A following our screening of classic gorefest Theatre of Blood, starring Vincent Price.

Guests

GUEST OF HONOUR
Norman J Warren
NORMAN J WARREN

Although he made his debut as a feature director with the gritty drama Her Private Hell (1967), Norman J Warren is known best for the string of British horror and science fiction movies he launched with Satan’s Slave (1976, aka Evil Heritage), followed by Prey (1977, aka Alien Prey), Terror (1978), Inseminoid (1981) and Bloody New Year (1987, aka Timewarp Terror). In 2016, he announced his first movie in 30 years, a thriller set within London’s Chinese community (you can watch him discussing it here); it’s currently in post-production, but Norman is generously taking time out to join us at the Birmingham FearFest.
Eileen Daly
EILEEN DALY
A generation of British horror fans grew up with Eileen as the face of the Redemption video label, but it was her acting talents on display when she took the lead role in Razor Blade Smile (1998), as vampire assassin Lilith Silver. Eileen’s extensive film career also includes Demonsoul (1995), Cradle of Fear (1998), Monsters of the Id (2007), Unrated: The Movie (2009), Braincell (2010), The Turning (2011, aka Zombie Lover) and The Amityville Asylum (2013). More recently, Eileen’s stepped behind the camera and will be presenting one of her own productions.
Stephen Jones David Sutton
STEPHEN JONES and DAVID SUTTON
Back in 1977, in this very city, Steve and David launched Fantasy Tales, one of the most influential magazines in horror history and a showcase for fresh and veteran talents alike, such as Ramsey Campbell (the Birmingham Horror Group‘s own honorary president), Clive Barker, Dennis Echison, Joel Lane and Thomas Ligotti, plus an array of artists which included Jim Pitts, Dave Carson and JK Potter. Since then, they’ve co-edited the legendary Pan Book of Horror Stories and worked on many projects independently, but they’ve chosen the inaugural Birmingham FearFest to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of that very first collaboration.
David Hastings
DAVID HASTINGS
Co-director, The House of Screaming Death; Lightbeam Productions
Carl Timms
CARL TIMMS
Director, Still; Dark Matter Films

SPECIAL SURPRISE GUEST APPEARANCE AND Q&A
The FearFest weekend coincides with the 106th anniversary of the birth of a true horror legend, the Merchant of Menace, Vincent Price. Not only are we marking the occasion by screening the 1973 gorefest Theatre of Blood, there’ll be a special appearance by someone directly connected to this classic movie. Whilst we cannot disclose his – or her – identity at this stage, we can guarantee you’re in for a real treat.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Hard cover version of Fishhead: The Darker Tales of Irvin S. Cobb

Parallel Universe Publications is pleased to announce that we have now published a hard cover version of Fishhead: The Darker Tales of Irvin S. Cobb, which is available direct frrom us for £20.00, including postage and packing within the UK. Overseas purchasers, please contact us for details.

paralleluniversepublications@gmx.co.uk



Saturday, 22 April 2017

Horror Express - full film in HD

Thanks to Robert Essig I am watching the best copy I have ever yet seen of that classic 1970s horror movie, Horror Express. I have a couple of DVDs of this film but they're awful - worse than poor quality VHS tapes! This, though, is true HD.


Friday, 7 April 2017

Enthusiastic review of Shades: Tales of Supernatural Horror by Joseph Rubas on hellnotes

There's a great review for Joseph Rubas's collection Shades: Tales of Supernatural Horror on the hellnotes website (Journalstone):
"This an excellent book by an author who surprised me in a positive way. Joseph Rubas’ writing reads like that of an older, more seasoned professional even though he is pretty young guy. It feels a little like he is channeling the writers of the old horror pulps in the 22 stories that make up Shades. Think of a young Richard Matheson and early episodes of The Twilight Zone and you’ll have the vibe. Good stuff!"
To read the full review go to:
http://hellnotes.com/shades-book-review/

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

First book of poetry to be published by Parallel Universe Publications: Standing on the Threshold of Madness by Benjamin Blake

We are pleased to announce that Benjamin Blake's acclaimed collection of poems, Standing on the Threshold of Madness, is now available as a trade paperback.

Respected Lovecraftian scholar S. T. Joshi had this to say about Benjamin Blake's collection:

"I was most impressed with Standing on the Threshold of Madness. These dark, brooding vignettes do far more than send a shudder up one's spine (although they do that again and again, with elegance and panache). Benjamin Blake has found a way to infuse into his horrific lyrics a keen sensitivity to human emotions, an understanding of the fragility of life, and a bleak portrayal of the evanescence of all existence. This is a volume that aficionados of weird poetry will want to read over and over." S. T. Joshi.

Other comments about Benjamin Blake and his poetry:


“Benjamin Blake relishes funereal lyricism with a spice
of surrealism.” - Ramsey Campbell 
 
"Language and imagery rule in this collection of dark visions. Blake has a distinctive voice, rich in surrealism, and he uses it to considerable effect." - Bruce Boston, SFPA Grandmaster Poet 
 
“A plethora of dark and haunting poems that could be likened to a bone chilling symphony overall! Mood enhancing language that will curdle the blood, and excellent, original imagery!” - Marge Simon, Bram Stoker Award winning poet
amazon.co.uk  £9.99 
amazon.com  $12.99

Friday, 10 March 2017

S. T. Joshi on Benjamin Blake's Standing on the Threshold of Madness

Respected Lovecraftian scholar S. T. Joshi had this to say about Benjamin Blake's forthcoming collection of poems from Parallel Universe Publications, Standing on the Threshold of Madness:
"I was most impressed with Standing on the Threshold of Madness. These dark, brooding vignettes do far more than send a shudder up one's spine (although they do that again and again, with elegance and panache). Benjamin Blake has found a way to infuse into his horrific lyrics a keen sensitivity to human emotions, an understanding of the fragility of life, and a bleak portrayal of the evanescence of all existence. This is a volume that aficionados of weird poetry will want to read over and over."

Other comments about Benjamin Blake and his poetry:

“Benjamin Blake relishes funereal lyricism with a spice of surrealism.” - Ramsey Campbell 
 
"Language and imagery rule in this collection of dark visions. Blake has a distinctive voice, rich in surrealism, and he uses it to considerable effect." - Bruce Boston, SFPA Grandmaster Poet 
 
“A plethora of dark and haunting poems that could be likened to a bone chilling symphony overall! Mood enhancing language that will curdle the blood, and excellent, original imagery!” - Marge Simon, Bram Stoker Award winning poet

England 'B': Ninety Minutes of Hell reviewed on The Vault of Evil

Franklin Marsh wrote a tongue-in-the-cheek yet perceptive review of Richard Staines' England 'B': Ninety Minutes of Hell on The Vault of Evil - and has kindly given us permission to reprint it here.



"Thanks to the insane generosity of the good Mr Riley on this young person's social media thingy (Facebook), I've managed to blag a copy - and, hurling a host of anthos, Goth compilation CDs and Shaun Hutson's The Skull to one side, hurtled through Mr Staines' first two soccer cautionary tales at high speed, being projected back in time to when attending a football match could be classed as an extreme sport (for fans and players alike), to when men weren't confused and women were glad of it, to when England still hadn't realised it was somewhere below the Third World in terms of significance, when a trilby was the height of sartorial elegance for one positioning themselves as a football manager and when Crystal Palace turned from The Glaziers into The Eagles (and released Hotel California to widespread acclaim and disgust in equal measure. The Sex Pistols had to happen.)

*SPOILERS*

No Such Thing as A Friendly was even better second time around, the psychotic Nigel-Green-In-Zulu Mad Mickey Clinch's all too soon demise had tears (of mirth) springing to my eyes.

A Game of Two Halves upped the ante with cartoon Russkies eclipsing Michael Moorcock's The Russian Intelligence and any spy film from the 1960s. The actual make up of the Soviet opposition was unprecedented and brilliant. Vince's match unfitness and desperate hip flask swigging was all too real.

Utter genius! You can almost smell the grease and burnt onions pre-match atmosphere, and am looking forward to fear...the fear of becoming lost in unfamiliar side streets...hearing a roar go up... is it us or is it them...? Or failing that, some Satanic Haunted House shenanigans.

The Ref's Decision Is Final - if the portrayal of Russians in the previous story was somewhat stereotypical, this is taken to the nth degree with Caledonians (although as an Englishman I found it very truthful) and perhaps proscribes sales of the book north of the border. But I don't think anyone will worry as The Smuggler's Arms is as good a den of iniquity as you could wish for, Class War is alive and well and once again Vince and his merry band of handy reprobates face a life and death struggle in pursuit of the not-so-beautiful game. However far from grass roots the Premier League, the Champions League and the obscene amounts of money now involved in football take us, Richard Staines can furnish a timely reminder of how it once was. And there's an axe-wielding psychopath and Moira Anderson.
Get Your Fritz Out For The Lads - There's only two ways this is going to go - women and Germany. Our rag, tag and bobtail hard-drinking, chain-smoking, skirt-chasing rogues have no sooner escaped death at the blade of a crazed Scotsman than their excessively air-conditioned coach has broken down in the grounds of a remote stately home in Northern England. If a blood-lusting pack of Doberman Pinschers aren't clue enough, the strangely Teutonic (not to mention vaguely feminine) Lord soon has the lads locked up in a cellar with unlimited Blue Nun and the real aristocrat, before releasing them to face a cloned team of Nazi Amazons. Will their nightmare never end? Not just yet. Arguably the greatest 70s signpost yet is the shoehorning in of the Bermuda Triangle. Some clues to the real identity of the man behind the Staines can be glimpsed via a (censored?) thesis on Catholicism and a disturbing familiarity with Leslie McManus' WWII melodrama Jackboot Girls.

Football's Dark Arts - America's on the receiving end this time. Glorious stuff, with Vince discovering that the wide-open spaces of Texas look just like a long episode of Rawhide (except in colour) and small town America can be a frightening place, but not as frightening as the Astral Plane where a most unique game of football takes place. Weird dreams, sinister monk-like apparitions and Jack Parsons namechecked. Huzzah!

They Think It's All Over - Sadly we come to the end of this odd but howlingly accurate glance at a different world. The transposition of homosexuality with vampirism skewers both targets (even though the dartboard keeps falling off the wall). Vince's puzzled assertion that gays didn't exist before 1967 apart from Oscar Wilde (who had the decency to get married and father a couple of kids) and the parody of the laborious Dracula AD 1972 anagram working out had me laughing out loud.

Nothing like this exists elsewhere. Thank goodness."

Five-star review of Tough Guys by Adrian Cole on the Slaughtered Bird website

There is a truly brilliant 5-star review of Adrian Cole's collection Tough Guys on the Slaughtered Bird website by David Bubrow.

"If you’re familiar with Adrian Cole’s body of work, what I’m about to say about his collection of novellas TOUGH GUYS won’t come as a surprise. If you’re not familiar, then thank me, because I’m going to tell you about an amazing read. Simply put, TOUGH GUYS is the best old-school horror I’ve read in many, many years. In it, Cole reaches deep into your soul to elicit atavistic terrors, making the stories timeless, while mingling them with a feeling of adventure reminiscent of the finest works of Robert E Howard and Michael Moorcock."

To read the full review click on this link

Next Book from PUP will be a collection of poems by Benjamin Blake: Standing on the Threshold of Madness

The next book from Parallel Universe Publications will be a collection of poems by Benjamin Blake: Standing on the Threshold of Madness.

Benjamin Blake was born in the July of 1985, and grew up in the small town of Eltham, New Zealand. He is the author of the poetry and prose collections A Prayer for Late October, Southpaw Nights, and Reciting Shakespeare with the Dead. His debut novel, The Devil's Children, was published in October of 2016.  

Find more of his work at www.benjaminblake.com 
 
Praise for Standing on the Threshold of Madness and Benjamin Blake:
 
“Benjamin Blake relishes funereal lyricism with a spice of surrealism.” - Ramsey Campbell 
 
"Language and imagery rule in this collection of dark visions. Blake has a distinctive voice, rich in surrealism, and he uses it to considerable effect." - Bruce Boston, SFPA Grandmaster Poet 
 
“A plethora of dark and haunting poems that could be likened to a bone chilling symphony overall! Mood enhancing language that will curdle the blood, and excellent, original imagery!” - Marge Simon, Bram Stoker Award winning poet

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

My first story in hardback - First World Fantasy Awards edited by Gahan Wilson in 1977


This was the first hardback I ever had a story in, First World Fantasy Awards edited by Gahan Wilson for Doubleday in 1977. I received regular cheque payments for royalties over the next several years, till the final one, which I never cashed because it would have cost more in bank charges than what it was worth: $1.19.

Monday, 6 March 2017

A Great Review for Jessica Palmer's Other Visions of Heaven and Hell on the British Fantasy Society website

There's yet another great review for a PUP book on the British Fantasy Society website. This time it's the turn of Other Visions of Heaven and Hell by Jessica Palmer.

"With Parallel Universe Publications, readers always get their money’s worth as Jessica has over 20 short stories to interest the discerning horror reader. Some have been published in anthologies such as Last Laugh for Weirdbook #28, Cinderella Revisited, Weirdbook #29 and What the Dickens in Substance."

For the rest of the review follow this link.