And anyone who knows me will tell you how offensive I can be … but also charming, when I put my mind to it. What is rare is wonderful …
However, it’s not really a charm offensive and it’s not really about me … I just really liked the title … of course, I have a headache so my taste could be off, just a little. But anyway, it’s about Strange Tales III edited by Rosalie Parker from lovely Tartarus Press. T’is available for pre-order now from here http://www.tartaruspress.com/stftthree.htm (why, yes, that is grammatically awful). Tartarus Press books are beautiful things, with hard covers, dust jackets and silk ribbons to mark your place – pretty on the bookshelf and eminently strokeable. I like this quote from Damien G. Walter at The Guardian:
“When first encountered, the publications of Tartarus Press seem almost as numinous as the supernatural tales they contain. The simple elegance of their presentation. . . jacketed in uniform cream covers with only minimal decoration, recall an earlier age when books were as rare and treasured as jewels.
“These are not commodities to be piled high on three-for-two tables, but rarities which remain hidden unless sought out . . . The stories hoarded in their pages are so little known you might be forgiven for wondering if you have dreamed them. The Triumph of Night and Other Tales by Edith Wharton. The Supernatural Tales of HG Wells. The Lost Poetry of William Hope Hodgson. And dozens of other titles by authors both famous and obscure which taken as a whole form a secret library, a catalogue of weird fiction from its roots in Victorian Britain through to the modern day.”
My story in this collection is based on one I used to torment my poor sister with when we were kids – see, even then I was telling stories (and tormenting people).
The strange tale is alive and well and flourishing at the beginning of the twenty-first century. These seventeen brand new stories, representing the very best of contemporary weirdness, range from the mythical terror of Adam Golaski’s ‘The Great Blind God Passing Through Us’, to John Gaskin’s assured ghost story, ‘Party Talk’, in which an elderly lady tells her disturbing tale.
Circus folk take in an abandoned girl with unforeseen consequences in Nina Allen’s Machenian ‘The Lammas Worm’. In ‘Countess Otho’, Reggie Oliver’s actor protagonist finds success after he inherits the manuscript of an unproduced play: but what is the precise cause, and the price, of his new found fame? The curator of a dream museum has an interesting appointment in Mark Valentine’s ‘Morpheus House’, while in ‘Her Father’s Daughter’, Simon Strantzas thoroughly subverts the familiar horror trope of a young woman seeking help at an isolated farmhouse.
These and more await the reader of Strange Tales III:
‘The Lammas Worm’ – Nina Allan
‘Morpheus House’ – Mark Valentine
‘Sanctuary Run’ – Daniel Mills
‘A Woman of the Party’ – Elizabeth Brown
‘The Good, Light People’ – Gary McMahon
‘Countess Otho’ – Reggie Oliver
‘Melting’ – A.J. McIntosh
‘It’s White and It Follows Me’ – Tina Rath
‘Yet No Greater Love of Promise’ – Joel Knight
‘Divan Method’ – Eric Stener Carlson
‘Party Talk’ – John Gaskin
‘The Other Box’ – Gerard Houarner
‘The Great Blind God Passed Through Us’ – Adam Golaski
‘Her Father’s Daughter’ – Simon Strantzas
‘Sister, Sister’ – Angela Slatter
‘A Taste of Casu Marzu’ – David Rix
‘The Solipsist’ – Philbampus