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Showing posts from November, 2013

RIP Joel Lane

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I received the news in an email yesterday evening, and just stared at it for – I don’t know how long. The words didn’t make sense. I spent the rest of the evening in a kind of denial: the universe had made a mistake; there was a glitch in the Matrix. Come the morning the software would have been fixed and we’d all wake up none the wiser. But it didn’t. Joel Lane, a friend for some thirty years, was gone. I first met Joel in the mid-1980s: a quiet, intense young man with a passion for all things Lovecraftian and Ramsey Campbell. He became part of a tiny band of both genuine and honorary Brummies who met up infrequently – often in the bar of the New Imperial Hotel before they pulled it down – to put the world right and swap gossip. Over the years that bunch grew – becoming, informally, the Birmingham Balti Boys. Joel would always join in any conversation – be it on fiction, politics, TV (he was a great fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer) – with thoughtful insights. Yet he was, typically, …

Pulp Heroes: Marion Pitman

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Marion Pitman contributed the Western "Meeting at the Silver Dollar" for THE ALCHEMY PRESS BOOK OF PULP HEROES 2. Here she slaps leather and trades shot for shot in a short interview. Would you like to briefly introduce yourself: what inspired your writing and when you began, and – if possible – of all of your published work could you tell me which your favourites are (and why)? I’ve been telling myself stories ever since I can remember, and writing since I learned to write. I just have a need to tell stories. I think John Ford, asked which was his favourite of his films, said, “The next one.” I perhaps have a fondness for “The Seal Songs”, which I think was my first sale, and so far the most successful! I think it works well, and is well-constructed. Do you have a favourite genre, or sub-genre? What exactly is it that attracts you? I like all genres, and non-genre – it’s all stories, it’s all good. Anything with a sense of the extra dimension to the universe, the spiritual or w…

Pulp Heroes: Adrian Cole

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Adrian Cole contributed the Nick Nightmare story "Kiss the Day Goodbye" to THE ALCHEMY PRESS BOOK OF PULP HEROES 2. Would you like to briefly introduce yourself: what inspired your writing and when you began, and – if possible – of all of your published work could you tell me which your favourites are (and why)? Adrian Cole, born 22nd July, 1949 in Devonport, Plymouth. I guess I was inspired to write through an early love of reading and a natural desire to (literally) put pen to paper. From Primary school onwards I always used to write essays (stories) that took up half an exercise book. I read all sorts as a kid, mostly adventure stuff and my first introduction to “classical” literature was thru reading most of the CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED comics! I started my first book when I was 19 (published five years later as THE DREAM LORDS trilogy) in 1968. My favourite books of my own are MOORSTONES, which captures the mood and atmosphere of Dartmoor (where I grew up), A PLACE AMONG THE F…

Birmingham Tales

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Even though Birmingham is one of Britain’s largest cities, historically it’s never been the setting for fiction (or even drama) in the same way that, say, London, Manchester, Liverpool, Edinburgh or Glasgow have. That may be changing with the success of the BBC’s Peaky Blinders (even though it was filmed elsewhere) and less obvious drama such as Hustle and By Any Means (both set in London, but ironically filmed in Birmingham…). There has been the occasional literary excursion, too, and it recently occurred to me that I have appeared in three of them. First there was Birmingham Noir (Tindal Street Press, 2002, edited by Joel Lane and Steve Bishop). Well before Peaky Blinders, this anthology showed that Birmingham was just as gritty and crime-ridden as any major city. After the building of the ICC and NIA, Birmingham had established itself as a major conference and sports venue, with accommodation to match – from Hilton and Radisson hotels down to the humblest Travelodge. And keeping p…

Pulp Heroes: Pauline E Dungate

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Pauline supplied "Night Hunter" for THE ALCHEMY PRESS BOOK OF PULP HEROES 2. Here she answers a few questions on it and life in general. Would you like to briefly introduce yourself: what inspired your writing and when you began, and – if possible – of all of your published work could you tell me which your favourites are (and why)? I write fiction as Pauline E Dungate but poetry, non-fiction and reviews as Pauline Morgan. My own favourite? If I have to choose I’d go for “In the Tunnels” that first appeared in BENEATH THE GROUND edited by Joel Lane (The Alchemy Press). Stephen Jones liked it enough to put in BEST NEW HORROR 15. Do you have a favourite genre, or sub-genre? What exactly is it that attracts you? I don’t have a favourite genre as so many genres have good practitioners. I like writing that is well crafted. At present I am drawn to Urban Fantasy as that has the capacity for mixing genres together. Some say Pulp is a genre, others a style; which side do you come down o…

Agents of SHEESH (with apologies)

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I’ve been a fan of American comic-book superheroes for decades; in fact one of my earliest memories is of going on holiday, on a coach (we didn’t have a car at the time) reading a Green Lantern comic – over and over, as only young children can. I discovered Marvel comics several years later and became an instant convert to the garish, OTT universe its characters inhabited (at the time DC was definitely in the doldrums – despite having the lion’s share of the market – with repetitive and frequently boring storylines). These days I don’t hold a torch for either company – preferring individual characters (such as the Batman) or artists (like Howard Chaykin) over universes which are becoming mind-numbingly over-complex. When they’re not getting the far too frequent reinvention and clear-out treatment. But when movie technology finally caught up with the visual insanity of the comic-book worlds, I for one was delighted. I think it’s fair to say that, in the movies anyway, Marvel is doing …