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.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Book Review: The Parts We Play by Stephen Volk




THE PARTS WE PLAY by Stephen Volk
PUBLICATION DATE September 2016
COVER ART Pedro Marques
INTRODUCTION Nathan Ballingrud
PAGES 339

EDITIONS
Unsigned Jacketed Hardcover — ISBN  978-1-786360-20-5  [£20]
200 Slipcased JHC signed by Stephen Volk, and including the chapbook "Supporting Roles" featuring two additional stories — ISBN 978-1-786360-21-2  [£50]

Reviewed by David A. Riley

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. Bless, on the other hand, is a psychologically disturbing tale of a mother’s longing for a daughter and her inability to differentiate between what she wishes and what is actually happening. Where the story is ultimately heading is not exactly unexpected, but it is nonetheless heartrending for all of that. A confessional from a highly unreliable narrator who has lost contact with reality. I had already heard of The Arse-licker before reading it here and perhaps therefore was almost prepared for it – almost but not quite! I can easily understand how this story has gained the reputation it has. Gruesomely, even stomach-churningly nasty, it’s a story only a writer as accomplished as Stephen Volk could get away with – which he does with deceptive ease!  After this, it was almost a relief to embark on The Peter Lorre Fan Club, which starts off as a brilliantly knowledgeable dialogue about Peter Lorre between two old friends whose paths had diverged dramatically over the intervening years. It has the kind of Nazi horrors that used to be the hallmark of some of Charles Birkin’s darker tales, though he never succeeded in making you like the victim quite so much as here, nor whose fate is quite as excruciatingly drawn out and cruel. Another highlight was The Shug Monkey, a Professor Challenger story. I am not usually a big fan of pastiches like this, but The Shug Monkey works and has a deeply disturbing twist at the end which I am sure Conan Doyle would never have imagined. The Magician Kelso Dennett is a wonderfully narrated story of a magician’s dangerously crazy publicity stunt in a down-at-heel seaside town, filled with strands of undercurrents that head towards what you know is going to be a grim finale. As with all of the tales in this collection, Stephen Volk fills it with believable characters and a strong sense of place. Seagate may not be real, but I feel like I have been there before – I probably have! Although I have read a few disturbing tales set around Bonfire night, they never fail to excite a certain amount of trepidation, undoubtedly because, of all our annual celebrations, this is the only one involving fires and explosives and the burning of effigies, and, in reality, an awful lot of potential danger to life and limb. Newspaper Heart centres around a lonely boy who befriends the Guy he and his mother create out of old clothes, stuffed with newspapers rolled into balls, and a cheap plastic mask. But there is more than just loneliness behind the boy’s friendship, and the climax is a dark mixture of longing, horror, and family secrets. 
There are no poor stories in this collection. Consistently well-written and absorbing, it is one of the best single-author collections I have read in recent years. Stephen Volk is one of the best practitioners of the horror story active today. A true master of the genre!

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Fantastic review for Ezeiyoke Chukwunonso's collection Haunted Grave and Other Stories

David Dubrow gave a fantastic review of Ezeiyoke Chukwunonso's collection Haunted Grave and Other Stories on The Slaughtered Bird:
"Some books just tell you what they’re all about from the title, like Haunted Grave and Other Stories: Eight Tales of Horror, Fantasy and Science Fiction from the African Continent by Ezeiyoke Chukwunonso. With a name like that, you’d think you would know what you’re going to get when you first crack the book, but you’d be wrong. There’s some strange, original stuff in here, between the thematic elements and the style of writing: Chukwunonso combines Western story structure with vivid descriptions of the raw, aching difficulties of life in Africa in his own inimitable fashion."
To read the full review follow this link

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Mike Chinn's collection Radix Omnium Malum out in paperback

Mike Chinn's collection Radix Omnium Malum is now available from amazon in paperback.

amazon.co.uk  £9.99
amazon.com  $12.99

Mike Chinn lives in Birmingham, UK, with his wife Caroline and their tribe of guinea pigs. In 2012 he took early retirement so he can spend more time writing (and not housework). Over the years he has published over sixty short stories, as well as editing three volumes of THE ALCHEMY PRESS BOOK OF PULP HEROES, and SWORDS AGAINST THE MILLENNIUM, also for The Alchemy Press. His own contribution to the Pulp Adventure genre, THE PALADIN MANDATES garnered two nominations for the British Fantasy Award in 1999. A second Damian Paladin book, WALKERS IN SHADOW, is to be published by Pro Se Productions; as is a Western: REVENGE IS A COLD PISTOL. In 2015, his Sherlock Holmes steampunk mash-up, VALLIS TIMORIS (Fringeworks), sent the famous detective to the Moon.

Radix Omnium Malum and Other Incursions includes the following stories:
“Radix Omnium Malum” originally published in THE GRIMORIUM VERUM ©2015
“Two Weeks Saturday” originally published in DARK HORIZONS 23 ©2004
“Kittens” originally published in READ RAW ©2009
“Blood of Eden” originally published in THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF DRACULA ©1997
“Suffer a Witch” originally published in SALVO 7 ©2003
“Cheechee’s Out” originally published in SECOND CITY SCARES ©2013
“The Owl that Calls” originally published on WikiWorm ©2013
“The Pygmalion Conjuration” originally published in THE TENTH BLACK BOOK OF HORROR ©2013
“To Die For” originally published in BFS JOURNAL 10 ©2014
“Sons of the Dragon” originally published in kZINE 1 ©2011
“Only the Lonely” originally published in DARK VALENTINE 4 ©2011
“Rescheduled” originally published in FINAL SHADOWS ©1991
“Considering the Dead” originally published in DARK MUSES, SPOKEN SILENCES ©2013 “Wednesday Morning at Five O’Clock” originally published in PHOBOPHOBIAS ©2014
“The Streets of Crazy Cities” and “The Mercy Seat” are original to this collection. ©2017


 Author photo ©Peter Coleborn

Monday, 13 February 2017

Shades: Dark Tales of Supernatural Horror reviewed on The Haunted Reading Room

Shades: Dark Tales of Supernatural Horror, published by Parallel Universe Publications, received a great five-out-of-five review on The Haunted Reading Room website.
" An exceptional short story collection, SHADES showcases author Joseph Rubas' strong literary talent and extensive imagination. For me, it also served as an introduction to Mr. Rubas' writing, and an invitation to extend my interest in his work. I was impressed by the consistency of the high quality of this collection.

The collection is subtitled "Dark Tales of Supernatural Horror" and well demonstrates its truth. All are frightening; some are terrifying. Starting with the initial offering, each story impacted me even while I reveled in the writing, plots, and characters [who too often give up common sense and suffer accordingly]. am unashamed to admit that after several of the stories I had to pause and take deep breaths and wait for the impact of the story to settle. I predict nightmares, and tales that will take root in the imagination and linger long-term."

Thursday, 9 February 2017

FantasyCon 2017 - Peterborough

We have now booked for this year's Fantasycon, which will be held at the Bull Inn, Peterborough between the 29th September and the 1st October.

We'll be arriving the night before the convention starts so we can get our Parallel Universe Publications table set up in good time for when guests arrive.

This is me showing off our full-page advert in the programme book at last year's convention in Scarborough. We intend to book another full-page ad in this year's programme.