Monday, June 18, 2007

More from The 2nd BHF Book of Horror Stories edited by Christopher Wood

In the Pipeline by Paul Newman: Jess returns to the scene of his childhood adventures – and fears. The pipeline under the children's playground was The Dare. Jess's friend Richard had entered it long ago. Great status awaited those who braved its terrors to emerge on the other side of the ring road. But the pipe line is the lair of the Trash Man, and Richard had not come out. The inspiration for this story is obvious, but Paul Newman puts his own stamp on it, and his Trash Man is a grim creation.

Romero and Juliette by Gareth Hopkins: Research scientist George Romero is a dull and grey man, and aside from his research, the only two things of any interest about him are his pet frog Perseus and his seduction of the sexy Juliette (or perhaps she seduced him, which would be equally interesting and incomprehensible). His work interests him, involving watching rats race around mazes under the influence of new barbiturates until their hearts burst. Then comes the day when he absent-mindedly drops some of the mystery serum into Perseus's food. What happens then reminds me of the chapter where Philip Wylie's scientist in Gladiator feeds a trial serum to his pet kitten. This very black zombie comedy comes close to being a contender for Best New Horror. Really.

The Blood Field by Derek Johnston: Two walkers following the public footpaths in north Norfolk lose their bearings and find themselves in the middle of a large grassy area. The rustling and movement of the grass is weirdly hypnotic and soon Martin begins wondering if they have walked through here before – are they walking in circles? All they can see is the tall grass thrashing in the wind - but what wind? This one would provide a perfect plot for someone making a short film subject.

The Morris Men by Franklin Marsh: Billy is getting tired of the Little Dampton Carnival, the usual stalls and squalling kids, when "Ten scarecrows walked into view. Big but somehow decaying men." So begins this story which Franklin has probably grown tired of hearing cited as his best. Normality viewed through a distorting mirror, his usual humour kept well under control, this one's a winner with not a wrong word in it - it also reminds me oddly of Ramsey Campbell's writing.

The Stone Fountain by Billy Turner: "For many years Frank had wondered what it would be like to stare into the eyes of a killer, and now he knew. As far as he could tell, his eyes were no different to anyone else's...

You can : get the book here

Cover Painting by Paul Mudie

You can : get the book here

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