Author and Scriptwriter

'Among the most important writers of contemporary British horror.' -Ramsey Campbell

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Feast On Our Souls!

(It's funny if you say it fast.)

Yes, today's the day - The Feast Of All Souls is out now! You can buy it on Amazon UK or US, or direct from the Rebellion Store.

And there's loads of stuff to go with it.

Here, just fr'instance, I am over at Sci-Fi Bulletin, talking about the overlap between Horror and SF (Hodgson and Lovecraft and Kneale, oh my!):

How do you tell a ghost story when you don’t believe in ghosts? Or when you don’t believe in everything that the existence of a ghost would normally imply – God, religion, an afterlife?

There’s always been an overlap between horror and science fiction; if they emerged as distinct genres in the nineteenth century, it was as different branches of the same tree. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, although rooted in the Gothic – and one of horror’s most instantly recognisable ‘brands’ – was nonetheless a vehicle for Shelley’s political and moral speculations on the possibilities of technology – which is about as science fictional as you can get. It wasn’t unique among her work, either – her later novel The Last Man prefigures dozens of other post-apocalypse novels (including M.P. Shiel’s The Purple Cloud (1901) and Richard Jefferies’ After London (1885).)

Meanwhile, and on a lighter note, I'm over there at Civilian Reader, talking about the fun process by which I've come up with titles:

...I stopped banging my head against the desktop, picked splinters out of my forehead, poured a large whisky and started throwing out potential titles.
Twenty or thirty of them.
None of which seemed right.
I can’t remember why I settled on The Faceless, but sheer exhaustion may have played a part.
Jon loved it, and so do I. I now can’t imagine the book being called anything else...

Coming up: I'll be blethering away further in an interview, then donning the interviewer's hat myself to talk to a real-life ghost-hunter...

Meanwhile, in Canada, library staff vote every month for their favourite upcoming books, via BookNet Canada’s Loan Stars readers-advisory program. Their picks for December are:

  1. Books for Living, Will Schwalbe (Knopf)
  2. Small Admissions, Amy Poeppel (Atria/Simon & Schuster Canada)
  3. The Twilight Wife, A.J. Banner (Touchstone/Simon & Schuster Canada)
  4. Kill the Next One, Frederico Axat (Little, Brown and Company/Hachette)
  5. In Sunlight or In Shadow, Lawrence Block (WW Norton/PRH Canada)
  6. The Gardens of Consolation, Parisa Reza (Europa Editions/PRH Canada)
  7. The Ice Beneath Her, Camilla Grebe (Ballantine/PRH Canada)
  8. The Feast of All Souls, Simon Bestwick (Solaris/Simon & Schuster Canada)
  9. Last Year, Robert Wilson (Tor Forge/Raincoast Books)
  10. Out of Bounds, Val McDermid (Grove Atlantic/Publishers Group Canada)
Have I mentioned lately that I love Canada?

And finally, the first advance reviews have come in...

Mallory Heart at The Haunted Reading Room: "an expansive horror novel constructed on a tautly plotted framework, delving into history, quantum physics, and the space-time continuum... not a story for the easily upset, [but] a novel with powerful impact."

"Don't confuse this with a simple ghost story," warns Tony Jones at Ginger Nuts Of Horror. "It has layers that go much deeper... The Feast Of All Souls certainly did not disappoint."

"Very well-written and atmospheric," says The Story Collector. "Spooky... plain disturbing... what horror should be."

Lora at Lora's Rants and Reviews, however, felt "It doesn't take long for Alice's experiences to become truly frightening. However... I felt let down by later chapters in the book. The story was an interesting read in itself, but suspension of disbelief didn't really happen and there were too many changes in scene or direction for it to flow smoothly." (Can't win 'em all!)

The review that affected me most, however, was by Lilyn G at Sci-Fi and Scary: "I’m always nervous when I go into a book where the main character has lost a child. As a child loss mom myself, I’m sensitive to how it’s handled. I’m also afraid (especially in horror reads) of the needless detailed almost graphic depictions that some authors like to include in their books of dead children. Luckily, The Feast of All Souls has a talented writer who handled the child loss angle well and didn’t need to stoop to depictions of dead kids to get his point across. Simon Bestwick did a fantastic job of illustrating how even though it feels like your whole life can be overcome by grief, you still manage to go on."

As someone who has no children and probably never will, it meant a great deal to hear from someone who'd gone through what Alice has been through that the portrait of her loss rang true.

There are more reviews on Goodreads - most of them good! - so you now hopefully have lots of good reasons to buy The Feast Of All Souls. And if none of the others work, you can just buy it for that brilliant cover by Ben Baldwin...

I'll also soon have some news on the delayed release of Devil's Highway. Watch this space!

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