Stephen Jones: 2014 News
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News
   2014
 • The Great Hallowe'en Horror Signing
 • Network releases "The British Film" Collection
 • In Memoriam: Graham Joyce (1954–2014)
 • Lunching with Friends
 • FantasyCon 2014
 • Loncon 3, 72nd World Science Fiction Convention
 • California Dreaming
 • London Film and Comic Con
 • Best British Horror 2014 Launch
 • The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains
 • Kim Newman's Birthday, July 31
 • A Visit to PS Publishing
 • The David Gemmell Awards for Fantasy
 • Best New Horror Celebrates 25th Anniversary
 • London Book Fairs and Film Convention
 • Neil Gaiman and Tori Amos
 • 24th Annual World Horror Convention
 • 2014 Windy City Pulp & Paper Convention
 • Birmingham Independent Book Fair
 • HWA Lifetime Achievement Award Winners
 • Innsmouth Trilogy Available
 
   2013
   2012
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2014 News

October 2014

The Great Hallowe'en Horror Signing, Forbidden Planet London Megastore, October 25, 2014

Photo © 2014 Peter Coleborn
The Great Hallowe'en Horror Signing, Forbidden Planet London Megastore

From left to right: Lavie Tidhar, Laurence Staig, Les Edwards, Robert Shearman, Mark Samuels, Lynda E. Rucker, Paul Kane, Amanda Foubister, Alison Littlewood, Christopher Fowler, Stephen Gallagher, Thana Niveau, John Llewellyn Probert, Reggie Oliver, Sarah Pinborough, Joe Roberts, Mark Morris, Kim Newman, Gary McMahon, Adrian Cole, Lou Morgan, Peter Crowther, Stephen Jones, Paul McAuley, Stephen Volk, Conrad Williams, Pat Cadigan, Michael Chislett, Jo Fletcher and Ramsey Campbell.

Photo © 2014 Peter Coleborn
The Great Hallowe'en Horror Signing, Forbidden Planet London Megastore
Photo © 2014 Peter Coleborn
The Great Hallowe'en Horror Signing, Forbidden Planet London Megastore
Photo © 2014 Peter Coleborn
The Great Hallowe'en Horror Signing, Forbidden Planet London Megastore
Photo © 2014 Peter Coleborn
The Great Hallowe'en Horror Signing, Forbidden Planet London Megastore
Photo © 2014 Peter Coleborn
The Great Hallowe'en Horror Signing, Forbidden Planet London Megastore
Photo © 2014 Peter Coleborn
The Great Hallowe'en Horror Signing, Forbidden Planet London Megastore

Photo © 2014 Peter Coleborn
British Fantasy Society Open Day Raffle Prizes
British Fantasy Society Open Day Raffle Prizes

Forbidden Planet Signing!

 

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September 2014

Network releases "The British Film" Collection

Photo © Peter Coleborn
Network's The British Film collection
Network's "The British Film" collection

On Monday, September 15, 2014, Network released "The British Film" collection of classic movies in new Blu-ray editions with extra special features, including four with audio commentaries by Kim Newman and myself in conversation with director Jack Gold (The Medusa Touch), the late actresses Ingrid Pitt and Angharad Rees (Hammer's Countess Dracula and Hands of the Ripper, respectively) and ourselves (The Shout). All these releases also include illustrated Programme Notes by one or the other of us, and we collaborated on the booklet for Hammer's Twins of Evil. For more information see #TheBritishFilm on Twitter and facebook.com/TheBritishFilm.

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In Memoriam: Graham Joyce (1954–2014)

Photo © Peter Coleborn
Neil Gaiman, Jo Fletcher, Joe Hill, Stephen Jones and Graham Joyce at FantasyCon, Nottingham, England, September 24, 2006
Neil Gaiman, Jo Fletcher, Joe Hill, Stephen Jones and Graham Joyce at FantasyCon, Nottingham, England, September 24, 2006

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Lunching with Friends, Islington, London, September 8, 2014

Photo © 2014 Cat Sparks
At La Petite Auberge, Upper Street: Lynda E. Rucker, Sean Hogan, Stephen Jones, Cat Sparks, Lisa Morton, Robert Hood, Kim Newman and Barry Forshaw
At La Petite Auberge, Upper Street: Lynda E. Rucker, Sean Hogan, Stephen Jones, Cat Sparks, Lisa Morton, Robert Hood, Kim Newman and Barry Forshaw

Photo © 2014 Cat Sparks
Stephen Jones looking pensive
Stephen Jones looking pensive
Photo © 2014 Cat Sparks
Stephen Jones laughing
Stephen Jones laughing

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FantasyCon 2014, September 5-7, York, North Yorkshire

Photo © 2014 Stephen Jones
Royal York
Royal York

For the first time since FantasyCon began back in 1975, I wasn't invited to be on any programming or do a signing this year. Everything I heard and experienced leads me to believe that this was one of the most incompetently organised FantasyCons ever, but none of that mattered once you got there, as this gathering is invariably the friendliest in the convention calendar. However, it seems odd that some people were on multiple programme items while others—including some overseas attendees who had travelled a long way to attend, such as Lisa Morton (California) and Robert Hood and Cat Sparks (Australia)—were totally ignored. I also heard from several other people that although they were featured on programme items, they missed their slots because nobody had bothered to tell them! Whoever was in charge of programming should never be allowed to do it again. Ever.

Photo © 2014 Stephen Jones
Royal York
Royal York
Photo © 2014 Stephen Jones
Royal York Lobby
Royal York Lobby

This year—possibly due to a perceived Southern bias in recent years—the venue was moved to the city of York, in North Yorkshire. York is a beautiful city—not least for its world-famous Cathedral—and a perfect venue to hold a convention, with plenty of bars and restaurants within easy walking distance. The convention decided to hold their event in The Royal York Hotel, a rambling Victorian pile situated opposite a 19th century Cholera Burial Ground and adjacent to the railway station, which charged more for its rooms than the Hilton did in Brighton last year for World Fantasy Convention! Their drink prices were also a little eye-watering, and although the convention had negotiated a 10% discount with the hotel, this was only applied if you specifically asked for it (and then if your server knew about it). As a result, most people stayed in alternate hotels and drank at nearby venues, which resulted in a somewhat fragmentary feel to the weekend. The organisers claimed an attendance of more than 400, but you would never have known it from walking around the hotel's labyrinthine corridors.

Photo © 2014 Stephen Jones
Cholera Burial Ground
Cholera Burial Ground

I arrived early Friday afternoon after a long but enjoyable train journey from London. After checking into my own hotel just across the road, on the other side of the city's ancient wall, I made my way over to The Royal York. The Registration desk was an unbranded area set up in a corridor. For my £30.00 membership (others paid significantly more for joining later) I received a badge I had to write my own name on with a Sharpie (in fact, I was erroneously given a dealer's badge), a 24-page programme booklet (which featured a page-an-a-half of a ludicrously OTT 'Harassment Policy' and another page about "panel parity" and "tokenism"), and a paper carrier bag over-branded by Rebellion Publishing (who seemed, to me, to have more than necessary involvement in all aspects of the convention). There was also a pile of free paperbacks, but it was unclear how many you could take and, anyway, none of them interested me.

Photo © 2014 Stephen Jones
Royal York Main Bar
Royal York Main Bar

There were two programme guides (both listing contradictory information), but after sharing a bottle of wine and some good conversation with Ramsey and Jenny Campbell, I managed to make it to the only panel I really wanted to see all weekend. It was supposed to be about "building an anthology and why stuff gets rejected" (yes, that was how it was actually billed!), and I think I can safely say that it was not only the worst panel about anthologies that I have ever attended in my life, but also one of worst panels I have ever sat through. The participants repeatedly strayed off-subject (much of the discussion was about how to sell a novel!) and the moderator tried to wrap it up after just 25 minutes (which would have been a blessing for everyone!). I then decided to try out the commemorative "Joel Lane Bar" in the hotel's basement, but one visit to this dark and dreary area convinced me that there was no need to return for the rest of the weekend. (Apparently a tribute to Joel held down there a little later was marred by a number of technical problems and the poor acoustics.)

Photo © 2014 Stephen Jones
Mark Morris and Lisa Morton
Mark Morris and Lisa Morton

On the Friday night World Fantasy Convention 2013 hosted a "thank you" dinner at the Rustique French restaurant for around twenty people who had helped make the event such a success last year. We had spent four months trying to get FantasyCon to allow us to hold a party at the convention to not only thank everybody for coming to Brighton, but also to honour former British Fantasy Society President Ramsey Campbell for his many decades of service. However, despite repeated requests for information, nobody ever bothered to get back to us. So, in the end, we held a terrific dinner for staff and friends. I know it must have been terrific, as I had to have some help finding my hotel in the early hours of the morning when I finally realised (never having walked around York before) that I had no idea where it actually was . . .!

Photo © 2014 Stephen Jones
Adrian Cole, Stephen Jones and Jim Pitts
Adrian Cole, Stephen Jones and Jim Pitts

Saturday was my "working" day. After an impromptu meeting with Gillian Redfearn of Gollancz about a possible project for next year, I started my schedule with a coffee meeting with Pete and Nicky Crowther and Mike Smith of PS Publishing, where we discussed more than a dozen books we are working on together over the next couple of years. I then had time to pop upstairs to the launch of Mark Morris' anthology The Spectral Book of Horror Stories, which was hugely successful, before meeting up with Joanne Harris in the lobby bar to discuss an upcoming anthology for Jo Fletcher Books. Before I knew it, it was time to head back upstairs for the Alchemy Press books launch, which included Adrian Cole's Lovecraftian noir collection Nick Nightmare Investigates, which I co-published under the Airgedlámh Publications imprint.

Photo © 2014 Stephen Jones
Adrian Cole, Mike Chinn & Jim Pitts Pre-Signing Copies of <I>Nick Nightmare Investigates</I>
Adrian Cole, Mike Chinn & Jim Pitts Pre-Signing Copies of Nick Nightmare Investigates

I stayed for the launch of Helen Marshall and Rob Shearman's new collections from ChiZine Publications, before I had to head downstairs again to meet Alison Littlewood in the bar to discuss a forthcoming novel project. Then it was back upstairs for the PS Publishing launch, which included my co-editor Ramsey Campbell and contributor Stephen Gallagher signing PS' updated and corrected edition of Best New Horror #1. (A number of people asked me over the weekend why we weren't launching The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror: 25th Anniversary Edition or Zombie Apocalypse! Endgame, and my only response was that was a question for the new Robinson Publishing, not me.) Anyway, after also getting contracts signed by Ramsey Campbell and Reggie Oliver, I headed back into the basement for the "Mass" Signing, as I wanted Charlene Harris to sign her short story collection. The room was almost empty, and the dais area reserved for the Guests of Honour was noticeably deserted. After hanging around for a while, I asked one of the ever-helpful "Red Cloaks" if they could find out when Charlene and the other GoHs were arriving. She came back several minutes later to apologetically explain that somebody had forgotten to schedule them for the event and, as a consequence, they had all gone out to dinner! I decided to join them, and I headed out for a quiet meal at the Krakatoa York Indonesian restaurant before ending the evening being guested into the private members bar of the York Brewery.

Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Amanda Foubister, Stephen Jones, Less and Val Edwards Celebrating Les' 65th Birthday
Amanda Foubister, Stephen Jones, Less and Val Edwards Celebrating Les' 65th Birthday

Sunday started off with the British Fantasy Society AGM. It was incredibly poorly attended for such an important event. The convention Chair admitted things could have been done differently and a number of resolutions were passed before it was nearly time for the British Fantasy Awards Banquet. (Master of Ceremonies Graham Joyce was unable to attend the convention and, tragically, died a couple of days later.) Despite being nominated for Fearie Tales, I pretty much gave up on awards a few years ago and, depressingly, I guessed correctly how most of these would turn out. So instead, a small group of us headed back to the Rustique to celebrate artist Les Edwards' 65th birthday. It was a fun afternoon, and the food and wine were once again excellent. And the great thing was that, just as I was about to leave the hotel, Charlene Harris turned up and I managed to finally get my book signed! There was just time for a quick beer in the station bar (which appeared to be a rallying point for the entire British horror community) before it was time to catch the train back to London. And there was Charlene Harris again, waiting on the platform. We even travelled back in the same carriage.

Photo © 2014 Stephen Jones
York Beer
York Beer
Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Stephen Jones and Vincent Chong (with Adam Nevill in background)
Stephen Jones and Vincent Chong (with Adam Nevill in background)
Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
The Cream of British Horror at the Bar
The Cream of British Horror at the Bar

The Dealers' Room was a nice mix of used books (including a selection of volumes from Joel Lane's collection), titles from the independent presses, and some self-published work. What there was not was anyone selling new mass-market books, which may be an indication of how things are going. There also wasn't an Art Show (which must have come as a bit of a surprise to Artist Guest of Honour Larry Rostant!), although veteran illustrator Jim Pitts managed to put together an impressive display of his work at the back of the Dealers' Room. Despite the chaotic nature of the entire event, in my experience the "Red Cloaks" were unfailingly helpful and polite, as were the hotel staff. I just wish that the organisers had tried harder to follow what had been achieved at previous FantasyCons or, at least, had reached out for some help when they realised that they needed it.

Photo © 2014 Stephen Jones
Dealers' Room
Dealers' Room
Photo © 2014 Stephen Jones
Dealers' Room
Dealers' Room

I am very aware that the above is just my own, personal impression of how the weekend went. Other people probably had—and enjoyed—a very different experience. If they did, then I'm glad. It just wasn't my mine. Too many people have worked for too many years to ensure that FantasyCon became the one constant in the convention calendar that I always tried to attend. Next year it is on the outskirts of Nottingham. Whether I decide to go or not will depend on the lessons the organisers have hopefully learned from this year's poorly conceived event. Maybe they'll even consider putting me on programming next time . . .?

—Stephen Jones
September 10, 2014

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August 2014

Loncon 3, 72nd World Science Fiction Convention, London, August 16-18, 2014

Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Kim Newman, Stephen Jones and Paul J. McAuley, Titan Books Party
Kim Newman, Stephen Jones and Paul J. McAuley, Titan Books Party

I'm not a big fan of the World Science Fiction Convention, so I usually only attend when it's either held in the UK or somewhere that I'm interested in visiting. This year it was at the ExCel centre in London's Docklands, so I went along from the Friday until the Monday.

Seventeen years after I co-chaired the World Fantasy Convention out there, Docklands still looks like it's only half-finished. However, the DLR (Docklands Light Railway) is a terrific transport system (much better than the London tube) and the London Marriott West India Quay was one of the few hotels I've stayed in that I think deserves its five-star rating, thanks to the amazing staff.

I hadn't even yet checked-in when I bumped into Mike Walsh (the co-chair of this year's World Fantasy Con in Virginia) and Val and Les Edwards in the lobby! Having quickly dropped off my bags in the suite, I had only just joined Val and Les in the bar for lunch when we saw Jo Fletcher and Ian Drury also checking-in. In typical Jo fashion, she could only stay for a moment before she had to dash off to a meeting at the ExCel (that's what happens when you're a successful publisher!).

After a leisurely lunch (I could have simply stayed there all day), I thought I'd better head over to the convention and register. I already knew from social media that membership had reached more than 10,000 and that there had been complaints the previous day about long queues checking-in. I had no problem whatsoever. In fact, it was probably the quickest and most efficient convention registration I have ever experienced, and I had my badge and registration pack in less than a couple of minutes. My only disappointment was that, given the money at their disposal, the convention should have produced a much better souvenir book than the usual, lazy softcover they handed out.

I was really looking forward to a spectacular Art Show and hoped to find some older illustrations for sale. Unfortunately, my first disappointment was that the display was stuck away in the corner of the cavernous Dealers' Room, behind some very unclassy metal barriers, and the second was that it wasn't particularly great. There were some nice paintings and prints, but the only work that really stood out for me was a small display of Bruce Pennington's art. However, I'm glad that I got to see it when I did, as the Art Show closed down far too prematurely the following night.

Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Nicky Crowther, Peter Crowther, Stephen Jones, Sheryl Smith and Michael Smith at the PS Publishing tables
Nicky Crowther, Peter Crowther, Stephen Jones, Sheryl Smith and Michael Smith at the PS Publishing tables
Photo © 2014 Stephen Jones
Brian Aldiss and Paul McAuley signing at the PS Publishing tables
Brian Aldiss and Paul McAuley signing at the PS Publishing tables

I also stopped by the PS Publishing tables in the Dealers' Room to say hello, and it basically became my meeting point over the weekend. PS has just published my Fearie Tales anthology in a stunning signed and traycased edition. They brought six copies to the convention and sold five of them.

Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Kim Newman and Stephen Jones
Kim Newman and Stephen Jones
Photo © 2014
Titan Party
Titan Party
Photo © 2014
Titan Party
Titan Party
Photo © 2014
Titan Party
Titan Party

And then it was time for the publisher parties . . . As I wasn't invited to the Harper Voyager or Orbit gatherings held earlier in the week, the Titan Books party at a nearby pub became my first event of the con. There was plenty of food and drink available all evening, and the lively crowd could purchase a special advance copy of An English Ghost Story signed by Kim Newman and have their Tarot cards read. Downstairs at the same venue, Jo Fletcher Books was celebrating its fourth birthday in conjunction with Tor Books and SFX magazine. As befitting any four-year-old's party, there were goodie bags handed out, along with face-painting, a magician and an impressive birthday cake. Unfortunately, the alcohol ran out in under an hour and I had to keep popping back upstairs to the Titan party to get a refill. The high point was when old friend George R.R. Martin dropped by to say hello to Jo. Afterwards, a small group of us ate al fresco at the Italian restaurant next door, then we headed back to the Marriott to sample their cocktail menu until the early hours of the morning.

Photo © 2014
Jo Fletcher Books cake
Jo Fletcher Books cake
Photo © 2014 Stephen Jones
Jo Fletcher with JFB Birthday Cake
Jo Fletcher with JFB Birthday Cake
Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Jo Fletcher, George R.R. Martin and Stephen Jones
Jo Fletcher, George R.R. Martin and Stephen Jones

Saturday was a workday for me. But first there was a gentle wander around the Dealer's Room, which was also a disappointment. Much of the space was taken up by various exhibits (including a wonderful display of earlier Hugo Award statuettes) and, when you took out all the other things that were being sold (remote-control drones, jewellery, T-shirts, comics, autographs, newspaper subscriptions etc.), then there were not many actual book dealers—especially those selling vintage print material. I still managed to pick up a few interesting items, but there was a noticeable lack of pulps and magazines, which I've never experienced at a World SF Con before.

Photo © 2014 Stephen Jones
Val Edwards on the Iron Throne
Val Edwards on the Iron Throne

The good thing about the ExCel Centre was that it was almost too large a venue to hold the convention in, despite the record-breaking numbers attending. This meant that you never felt crowded (except on the busy escalators), as the event was spread out over four floors. My favourite area was the Fan Village, located on the lower level. Filled with tents promoting all kinds of fan and children's activities and events, along with an area for practical displays, this was the place to hang out and talk with people, get some food, or buy a reasonably-priced pint of real ale at the fan bar (which always offered exceptionally fast service but not enough tables and chairs). It was also the place where you could get yourself photographed with not one, but two Tardis' (Tardi?), or pose on the Iron Throne from Game of Thrones before it was wheeled away on the Saturday afternoon. The Fan Village hosted numerous bidding and launch parties during the evenings, but I was never able to make it to any of them.

Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Stephen Jones and John Picacio
Stephen Jones and John Picacio
Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Stephen Jones signing
Stephen Jones signing
Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Stephen Jones with Otto Granath from Sweden at the Kaffeeklatsch
Stephen Jones with Otto Granath from Sweden at the Kaffeeklatsch

My first event on the Saturday afternoon was a Kaffeeklatsch. Unfortunately, it was in a windowless anteroom and—as with all the other programme items—there was nothing to drink (not even water, let alone coffee). When I realised that we were also sharing the cramped space with another group at the same time, we decamped to the Fan Village, where I bought beers for everyone (hello Otto!) and enjoyed a pleasant hour chatting about myself and various acquaintances. This was followed by an autographing at the back of the Dealers' Room. I didn't need the hour-and-a-half that had been allocated, but at least I found myself sitting next to my old friend, artist John Picacio, and Kim Newman joined me as he is in so many of my books. We signed for about half-an-hour before calling it quits, although one woman told me that she had lots of my titles at home and would have brought them along if she had known that I was going to be there . . .!!!

Photo © 2014 Stephen Jones
Jo Fletcher Books dinner
Jo Fletcher Books dinner

That evening I had been invited out to an author dinner with Jo Fletcher Books. Generously hosted by Jo, Nicola Budd and publicist Andrew Turner on the impressive Lotus Floating Restaurant in Oakland Quay, it turned out to involve expensive cab rides there and back, and the food wasn't as good as it should have been. Still, it was an entertaining gathering, but it also unfortunately meant that I missed the two other publishing parties (from Gollancz/Bragelonne and Del Rey UK) that I had been invited to. I therefore consoled myself with more drinks back at the Marriott bar with friends.

Photo © 2014 Stephen Jones
Helen Marshall and Robert Shearman signing
Helen Marshall and Robert Shearman signing
Photo © 2014 Stephen Jones
Helen Marshall and Robert Shearman signing
Helen Marshall and Robert Shearman signing

Sunday kicked off with a meeting with one of my editors at Titan Books, Natalie Laverick (I had another with Steve Saffel the following morning), and a proper look around the Dealers' Room. Then it was down to the Fan Village, where Robert Shearman and Helen Marshall were launching their latest story collections—They Do the Same Things Differently There and Gifts for the Ones Who Come After—with a champagne reception sponsored by ChiZine and Clarion West. Immediately afterwards I had my final programme item: As a "Master of Dark Arts", Lynda E. Rucker was interviewing me about "An Insight into Editing for Writers"! In my usual cynical way, I didn't expect many (if any) people to show up, given the multiple programming tracks. I couldn't have been more wrong. The room was full when we arrived, and security had to turn people away (no standing—elf and safety!). Lynda did a terrific job, and I think the audience liked what I had to say. In fact, after a con person with a sign ordered us to STOP, I continued to answer questions in the corridor outside for another half-an-hour once the event was officially over.

Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Stephen Jones being interviewed by Lynda Rucker
Stephen Jones being interviewed by Lynda Rucker
Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Stephen Jones being interviewed by Lynda Rucker
Stephen Jones being interviewed by Lynda Rucker

Then it was up to the Green Room with Mandy Slater and Amanda Foubister to collect my free glasses of wine for being a programme participant. We were joined by Kim Newman, and the lovely James Bacon (who had put me on programming in the first place) generously brought us a top-up. Unfortunately, soon afterwards, the officious fan who was apparently in charge of the area told us we all had to leave as they were expecting a large influx of people in half-an-hour's time. We weren't the only ones who were kicked out—he told Brian Aldiss and Artist Guest of Honour Bryan Talbot that they had to leave as well! As I've always said—when you're relying on volunteers, then you get what you pay for.

Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
#NotAtTheHugoAwards -- Amanda Foubister, Stephen Jones, Maura McHugh, Katya Pendill, Kim Newman and Paul McAuley
#NotAtTheHugoAwards -- Amanda Foubister, Stephen Jones, Maura McHugh, Katya Pendill, Kim Newman and Paul McAuley

It was no big deal, as we had dinner plans anyway. A group of us had decided to boycott the Hugo Awards ceremony—partly out of a lack of interest and partly in protest at the shabby way the whole Jonathan Ross fiasco had been handled—and go out to dinner instead. We were glad that we did. I'm sure we had a lot more fun, and we still followed the awards on social media as they were announced.

Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
George R.R. Martin, Stephen Jones and Robert Silverberg
George R.R. Martin, Stephen Jones and Robert Silverberg

After a leisurely breakfast on the Monday and packing, there was just time for one final circuit of the Dealers' Room before my lunch appointment with Robert Silverberg. After his heart attack last year prevented him from attending World Fantasy Convention in Brighton, I had a number of items that I wanted him to sign. We had decided on the same Italian restaurant I had eaten at on Friday evening, and were on our way out of the ExCel when we ran into George R.R. Martin, who was—unusually—without his "minions". So for the next fifteen or twenty minutes we just stood around and chatted. In fact, George told us exactly how he plans to end The Game of Thrones series, but unfortunately Bob and I enjoyed a very nice bottle of red wine over lunch and we've now totally forgotten what he said!!!

Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Joe Haldeman and Stephen Jones
Joe Haldeman and Stephen Jones
Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Stephen Jones and Debbie Daughetee
Stephen Jones and Debbie Daughetee

And finally it was all over. One last quick circuit of the ExCel saying goodbyes to whoever was around, then back to the Marriott where the car was already waiting to whisk me home through the rush-hour traffic. Despite what I said at the beginning of this piece, I enjoyed myself immensely—not only because of the convention, which was absolutely fine, but because of all the other people I got to meet and briefly chat with over the four days I was there—Stephen Baxter, John Berlyne, George Budge, Jim Burns, Steve Crisp, Ellen Datlow, Debbie Daughetee (good luck with the Gates of Midnight comic series!), John R. Douglas, Scott Edleman (loved your favourite foods display!), Joe and Gay Haldeman, Peter F. Hamilton, Jon Harrison (appreciated the kind comments about last year's WFC!), Sean Hogan, Jane Johnson, Greg Ketter (thanks for getting the Creature book signed for me!), Snorri Kristjansson, Vivian Landau, Paul McAuley, Maura McHugh, Mike and Debbie Moir, David Nickle, Bella Pagan, Katya Pendill, Sarah Pinborough (nice face-paint!), Marion Pitman, Andrew Porter, David Pringle, Sue Tingey (congratulations on the three-book deal with Jo Fletcher Books!), Lisa Tuttle, Danie Ware and Terri Windling, amongst numerous others. My thanks to Mandy Slater, Jo Fletcher Books, Lynda Rucker, PS Publishing and, especially, James Bacon, for looking after me so well and for helping to make it so much fun.
Photo © 2014 Stephen Jones
Loncon 3, 72nd World Science Fiction Convention at ExCel Centre in London's Docklands
Loncon 3, at ExCel Centre in London's Docklands
Photo © 2014 Stephen Jones
Loncon 3, 72nd World Science Fiction Convention at ExCel Centre in London's Docklands
Loncon 3, at ExCel Centre in London's Docklands

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California Dreaming, July 23 - August 6, 2014

Photo © 2014 Stephen Jones
Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz

Desperately in need of a vacation, it was off to California for two weeks to meet up with some old friends and recharge the batteries. After bumping into Dave McKean at the British Airways check-in at Heathrow (he was heading to San Diego's Comic-Con International with some big pieces of artwork), for the first time I flew on an Airbus A380, the world's largest passenger airliner. As it was, I rarely moved from my seat and slept most of the way to Los Angeles, waking up in time to catch a couple of episodes of The Walking Dead before we landed.

Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Stephen Jones signing at Mystery and Imagination
Stephen Jones signing at Mystery and Imagination

Southern California was going through something of a heatwave, with temperatures in the high 90Fs. As usual, Peter Atkins very kindly chauffeured me around (I don't drive) and, although I wasn't able to see everybody I had hoped to, I did manage to link up with such friends in LA as Richard Christian Matheson, Harlan Ellison, Lisa Morton and Glen Hirshberg. I also signed a bunch of my old titles at Mystery and Imagination b ookshop in Glendale.

Owned and operated by Malcolm and Christine Bell, Mystery and Imagination on N. Brand Blvd. is the kind of bookstore I love—an Aladdin's cave of used books and magazines (covering all genres, but specialising in science fiction, fantasy and horror), literally stacked wherever space can be found. Even better, their prices have remained very reasonable over the years, and much of their stock is signed. They had quite a few of my titles, the oldest being a copy of Dark Horizons dating back to 1974!

Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Stephen Jones outside Illiad Bookshop
Stephen Jones outside Illiad Bookshop
Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Stephen Jones and Peter Atkins outside Creature Features
Stephen Jones and Peter Atkins outside Creature Features

Even better prices were to be found in the equally wonderful Illiad Bookshop on Cahuenga Blvd. in North Hollywood, where I not only picked up a number of genuine bargains, but I also discovered an American hardcover Book Club edition of A Book of Horrors that I had no idea even existed!

Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Stephen Jones and Peter Atkins at Bob's Big Boy
Stephen Jones and Peter Atkins at Bob's Big Boy
Photo © 2014 Stephen Jones
Bob's Big Boy
Bob's Big Boy

Photo © 2014 Peter Atkins
Stephen Jones and Richard Christian Matheson
Stephen Jones and Richard Christian Matheson
Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Stephen Jones and Harlan Ellison®
Stephen Jones and Harlan Ellison®

And when I wasn't exploring bookstores or the displays of monster toys and collectibles at Creature Features (on West Magnolia Blvd. in Burbank), then I was invariably eating or drinking (or both). Some of the more memorable meals included my first visit with Pete to the iconic Bob's Big Boy on Sunland Blvd., lunch with Richard Christian Matheson at Geoffreys on Malibu's Pacific Coast Highway (above where they shot some of the AIP Beach Party movies), and a lively dinner with Harlan and Susan Ellison at Il Tiramisu Ristorante & Bar on Ventura Blvd.

Photo © 2014 Stephen Jones
Pete and Dana Atkins
Pete and Dana Atkins
Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Stephen Jones and Lisa Morton
Stephen Jones and Lisa Morton
There was more food with Lisa Morton (whose Zombie Apocalypse! Washington Deceased is just hitting the shelves now) at Mo's Restaurant on W. Riverside Drive, Burbank, and with Glen Hirshberg at one of my all-time favourite Glendale restaurants, Foxy's, on W. Colorado Street, before it was off to LAX to catch a flight to Monterey. While having a beer at LAX waiting for my flight, who should I encounter but my old friend from Evanston, Illinois, renowned genre collector Richard Kaminsky, who was coming into town on business!

Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Stephen Jones, Peter Atkins and Glen Hirshberg
Stephen Jones, Peter Atkins and Glen Hirshberg

Dinner that night was in The Crown and Anchor "British" pub on W. Franklin Street, Monterey. Not only was the food and drink plentiful and reasonably priced, but this was the very same venue that I had hired on behalf of Pumpkin Books back in 1998 for a private party to launch their inaugural titles at World Fantasy Convention! In fact, there is a great photo of me with the Fedogan & Bremer boys standing at the bar from that time.

Photo © 2014 Stephen Jones
The Smiths at Home
The Smiths at Home
Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Steve, Mike, Debs and Tad
Steve, Mike, Debs and Tad

The next day, Michael Marshall Smith and his wife Paula arrived to collect me. After a terrific lunch at The Fish Hopper on Cannery Row, from where we watched sea otters and seals while we ate, we then headed down to their lovely home in Santa Cruz, where I spent the next week as their guest. In between trips into town (I found some nice bargains at Logos Books & Records on Pacific Avenue, including a copy of The Vampire and Other Poems by Rudyard Kipling) and dips in their spectacular pool, Mike and I got a lot of Smith & Jones design work done and we visited many of their favourite bars and restaurants. On the Saturday night, neighbours Tad Williams and Deborah Beale came over for a barbeque, and the drinks and conversation lasted late into the night.

Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Drinking in Santa Cruz with Michael Marshall Smith
Drinking in Santa Cruz with Michael Marshall Smith
Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
More drinking in Santa Cruz with Michael Marshall Smith
More drinking in Santa Cruz with Michael Marshall Smith

Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Still drinking in Santa Cruz with Michael Marshall Smith
Still drinking in Santa Cruz with Michael Marshall Smith

But it finally had to end. Mike and Paula drove me up the scenic route to San Francisco, where we stopped at the award-winning Sam's Chowder House in Half Moon Bay for lunch. Then after an overnight stay at the Marriott Waterfront hotel with its spectacular views of the airport runway, it was time to catch the flight home. Although this time I didn't meet anybody I knew as I was leaving SFO, I did notice actor Ian McNeice having a Costa coffee while I waited for my cab at Heathrow. That's surely got to count . . .?

Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Stephen Jones outside Davenport CA's 1914 Jailhouse
Stephen Jones outside Davenport CA's 1914 Jailhouse
Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Stephen Jones and Michael Marshall Smith outside Sam's Chowder House
Stephen Jones and Michael Marshall Smith outside Sam's Chowder House

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July 2014

Kim Newman's Birthday, July 31

Photo © 2014
Greetings from California!
Greetings from California!

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London Film and Comic Con, London, July 12-13

I had arranged to meet up with Johnny Mains at the London Film and Comic Con on Saturday, July 12. From amongst a bewildering array of guest actors, film-makers, writers and artists, I wanted to get legendary Marvel editor Stan Lee to sign some of my most-prized comics from the mid-1960s (at £45.00 a pop, I should add). Stan is getting on in years, and not only was this his first UK appearance that I knew of, but also the only time I have ever had the opportunity to meet him.

Photo © 2014 Stephen Jones
The signing area
The signing area

So I headed over to Earls Court around mid-day only to be confronted with an astonishing line that not only looped around the entire circumference of the exhibition centre, but also out and down into the street! Literally thousands of people—many in spectacular costumes—were still lined up in the sweltering heat, including people with obvious physical disabilities and small children with their parents. As the line crept very slowly forward, information and crowd control was basically non-existent. After talking with Johnny on the phone (he had arrived earlier than me, queued for four hours to get in, and was now in yet another queue for George R. Romero), I realised that there was no way that I could possibly get into the building before the event closed for the day. So, after wasting more than two hours in the blazing sunshine, I headed home. As it turned out, Stan Lee had left around 4:00 p.m., so my waiting any longer would have been pointless anyway!

Still, not to be defeated, I was up bright and early on the Sunday morning and back at Earls Court before 8:30 a.m. Even then, the line stretched a long way, but once the doors opened at 9:00, it moved much faster than the day before. Of course, I had to pay twice as much than I expected for the "Early Bird" rate (which got me nothing but entry), but I soon found myself in the line for Stan Lee, which appeared to be moving quite quickly. Unfortunately, it turned out that it was just to get a ticket to see Stan later in the day. Even though it was now only around 9:30, my ticket number was over 700 (and I was nowhere near the back of the queue)! We were told to keep checking back throughout the day to see how the numbers were going.

Photo © 2014 Stephen Jones
The queue for George R. Romero
The queue for George R. Romero

So, seeing that I was obviously going to be stuck there all day, I took the opportunity to look around the event. It was basically one giant dealer's room with an area at the back where numerous B and C actors for Game of Thrones, Star Trek and other media franchises were signing for a hefty price. I couldn't make out what was happening with the Carrie Fisher queue (she was the other big draw alongside Stan for the weekend), but I had brought an original pressbook for Daleks Invasion Earth—2150 A.D. for Bernard Cribbins to sign, so that it wouldn't be a completely wasted weekend. But I couldn't find the actor anywhere! After asking three events stewards if they could tell me where he was signing, the third person I asked finally looked up a list and informed me that he was only signing on the Saturday! (It would have been helpful in the convention publicity had stated that.)

Photo © 2014 Stephen Jones
The queue for Carrie Fisher
The queue for Carrie Fisher

So, after lunch, another wander around the main hall and a careful look at Loncon 3 tables—where they were generously giving away huge numbers of vintage books and magazines for free—I went back to the Stan Lee area to see how the numbers were going. When I had left in the morning, the sign had said "0-25". When I got back in the afternoon it hadn't changed! In fact, there was quite a crowd now gathering, and they were not happy. Eventually, the organisers called everybody together and admitted that Stan had gone for a little lie-down and they weren't sure if he would be coming back. Although he had met most of his high-priced commitments (special pass tickets, premium photo opportunities etc.), he apparently never signed for any of the many hundreds of people who had just paid a daily or weekend rate to see him.

Photo © 2014 Stephen Jones
Waiting for Stan Lee
Waiting for Stan Lee

So the whole weekend had been a complete waste of time and money for me! I had looked at some cool dealers' tables, picked up a few free books, and had a brief chat with artist Bryan Talbot, and that was it. There was no doubt that the event was a huge success and made a great deal of money for the organisers, but it was poorly run and hugely expensive for what it was. Unless you had paid for one of the many premium tickets available, then there wasn't a chance in hell that you would ever meet Stan Lee, and the people running it should have been honest about that up front.

Still, I'm glad to report that, after all that waiting on the Saturday, Johnny did finally get the signatures he wanted from George Romero. He just missed his train home.

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Best British Horror 2014 Launch, London, July 11

Photo © 2014 Stephen Jones
Reggie Oliver and Mark Samuels at the Best British Horror 2014 Launch, July 11, 2014
Reggie Oliver and Mark Samuels at the Best British Horror 2014 Launch, July 11, 2014

On July 11, I went along to Waterstones in Covent Garden to support the launch of Salt's new anthology series, Best British Horror, edited by the indefatigable Johnny Mains. I have never been a big fan of author readings, so I disappeared off to the pub next door, returning in time to catch the end of a panel discussion conducted by Johnny with such contributors as Thana Niveau, Reggie Oliver, John Llewellyn Probert, Robert Shearman and Stephen Volk. The publisher then hosted an excellent launch party where I got to chat with, amongst other attendees, Lynda R. Rucker and the usually reclusive Mark Samuels.

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The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains, London, July 4

Photo © 2014 Stephen Jones
Neil and FourPlay on stage
Neil and FourPlay on stage

On July 4, Neil Gaiman invited me along to the London Barbican centre for an almost sold-out "synchronised multimedia storytelling event". In front of a live audience, Neil read his gruesome revenge tale 'The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains'—along with other stories and poems—with musical accompaniment from Australia's FourPlay String Quartet (their interpretation of the Doctor Who theme went down extremely well with the enthusiastic crowd) and illustrations by Eddie Campbell projected onto a large background screen. Following a mercifully brief on-stage interview with the various participants by the artist's daughter, Hayley Campbell, I popped into the surprisingly dry After Show event to congratulate Neil before having to rush off to catch a tube train home.

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June 2014

A Visit to PS Publishing, Hornsea, East Yorkshire, June 27-29

Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Pete and Steve enjoying bacon butties by the sea
Pete and Steve enjoying bacon butties by the sea

For only the second time, I travelled up to Hornsea in the East Riding of Yorkshire, to visit with Peter and Nicky Crowther of PS Publishing over the weekend.

Photo © 2014 Stephen Jones
Peter Crowther in the Hornsea Museum
Peter Crowther in the Hornsea Museum
I'd been meaning to go visit again for some time, plus we had a number of upcoming projects to discuss, so it made sense to do it over a few (okay, many) glasses of wine in the comfort of their delightful home/office, which is situated only a short walk from the seafront.

Photo © 2014 Stephen Jones
Peter Crowther with bear
Peter Crowther with new junk-shop bear
Photos © 2014 Stephen Jones
Creepy Mannequins  in the Hornsea Museum
Creepy Mannequins  in the Hornsea Museum
Creepy Mannequins in the Hornsea Museum
The weather couldn't have been better, and although Hornsea suffers from a lack of good pubs (which was surprising), there are some fine restaurants (Pete loves his food) and a number of charity shops and antique emporiums in the area that we just had to check out. We also visited the quaint Hornsea Museum, situated in a 18th century farmhouse and two adjacent cottages and featuring some creepy-looking mannequins, and we listened to a ukulele(!) recital in an English country garden while having tea and cake.

Photo © 2014 Stephen Jones
Peter Crowther, where he belongs!
Peter Crowther, where he belongs!
Fellow PS staff members Mike and Sheryl Smith popped in for a quick drink on the Friday night and stayed for dinner as we discussed the next Basil Copper Collection, the upcoming Weird Tales anthology, the Best New Horror reprints and various other PS projects that will all be revealed in good time. As always, Pete and Nicky were perfect hosts, and it was a lovely break from book deadlines for me.

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The David Gemmell Awards for Fantasy, London, June 13

After last year's presentation at the World Fantasy Convention in Brighton, the David Gemmell Awards for Fantasy were back at their "spiritual" home, at The Magic Circle in London.

It may have been Friday the 13th, but nothing appeared to go wrong thanks to Stan and Anne Nicholls' usual excellent organisation, and the hard work of the volunteer staff.

It was also a perfect opportunity for writers, artists, editors, publishers and agents to mingle with each other over drinks and canapés. Having attended the dire British Fantasy Society Open Night the previous week, this was a perfect example of how to get people together in a fun and relaxed manner. Would that all genre events were this well managed.

Photo © 2014 Peter Coleborn
Marie O'Regan, Stephen Jones and Lou Morgan, Gemmell Awarsds
Marie O'Regan, Stephen Jones and Lou Morgan, Gemmell Awarsds

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Best New Horror Celebrates 25th Anniversary with PS Publishing

Every now and again, something comes up that just pushes me over into a state of utter fevered excitement. No, hold it there . . . just wait a minute, right? The truth is that I spend most of my life in utter fevered excitement cos that's the type of guy I am, but you know what I mean, right? A time when something crops up and pushes the jump-up-and-down button so hard you can't sit still. The latest one involves my chum Stephen Jones.

Best New Horror (1990)
Cover by Lee Elias
Cover design by Smith & Jones
Best New Horror 2 (1991)
Cover by Ken Bald
Cover design by Smith & Jones

Sometime last year, Steve mentioned in passing (I think we may have been in a bar—can't be certain, of course) that 2014 will be the 25th Anniversary of Best New Horror. "And wouldn't it be neat," he went on with that slightly wicked glint in his eye, "if this stuff were to be made available again for new readers." Twenty five years! A quarter century! Wow! Where the heck did THAT go, huh? But I got thinking about how much the series meant to me—and meant to anyone who has even the most passing of loves for horror fiction. A pleasant hour or two flicking through the volumes on my own shelves (and, alas, I do not have a complete collection!) pretty much took my breath away. And then I went back to Steve and said, "So let's make 'em available again." The smile said it all. He'd figured that out for himself already, of course.
Best New Horror 3 (1992)
Cover by Al Avison
Cover design by Smith & Jones
Best New Horror 4 (1993)
Cover by Lee Elias
Cover design by Smith & Jones
The Best New Horror Volume Five (1994)
Cover by Lee Elias
Cover design by Smith & Jones

So we sorted out an agreement—that's me, Steve and Ramsey Campbell (co—editor for the first five volumes)—and then set about making the series uniform. Being immersed in the world of pre-Comics Code comic books, I suggested splashing the glorious palette of fangs and claws, corpses and vampires, aliens and ghouls all over the covers. Without further ado, Steve picked out five illustrations to start us off and then set to designing the initial quintet. Here are volumes 1 and 2 and their respective line-ups (and note that the books will contain the full summary of that particular year in the field of horror).

BEST NEW HORROR #1
PIN Robert R. McCammon
THE HOUSE ON CEMETERY STREET Cherry Wilder
THE HORN Stephen Gallagher
BREAKING UP Alex Quiroba
IT HELPS IF YOU SING Ramsey Campbell
CLOSED CIRCUIT Laurence Staig
CARNAL HOUSE Steve Rasnic Tem
TWITCH TECHNICOLOR Kim Newman
LIZAVETA Gregory Frost
SNOW CANCELLATIONS Donald R. Burleson
ARCHWAY Nicholas Royle
THE STRANGE DESIGN OF MASTER RIGNOLO Thomas Ligotti
...TO FEEL ANOTHER'S WOE Chet Williamson
THE LAST DAY OF MISS DORINDA MOLYNEAUX Robert Westall
NO SHARKS IN THE MED Brian Lumley
MORT AU MONDE D.F. Lewis
BLANCA Thomas Tessier
THE EYE OF THE AYATOLLAH Ian Watson
AT FIRST JUST GHOSTLY Karl Edward Wagner
BAD NEWS Richard Laymon

BEST NEW HORROR #2
THE FIRST TIME K.W. Jeter
A SHORT GUIDE TO THE CITY Peter Straub
STEPHEN Elizabeth Massie
THE DEAD LOVE YOU Jonathan Carroll
JANE DOE #112 Harlan Ellison
SHOCK RADIO Ray Garton
THE MAN WHO DREW CATS Michael Marshall Smith
THE CO-OP Melanie Tem
NEGATIVES Nicholas Royle
THE LAST FEAST OF HARLEQUIN Thomas Ligotti
1/72ND SCALE Ian R. MacLeod
CEDAR LANE Karl Edward Wagner
AT A WINDOW FACING WEST Kim Antieau
INSIDE THE WALLED CITY Garry Kilworth
ON THE WING Jean-Daniel Breque
FIREBIRD J.L. Comeau
INCIDENT ON A RAINY NIGHT IN BEVERLY HILLS David J. Schow
HIS MOUTH WILL TASTE OF WORMWOOD Poppy Z. Brite
THE ORIGINAL DR SHADE Kim Newman
MADGE D.F. Lewis
ALIVE IN VENICE Cherry Wilder
DIVERTIMENTO Gregory Frost
PELTS F. Paul Wilson
THOSE OF RHENEA David Sutton
LORD OF THE LAND Gene Wolfe
AQUARIUM Steve Rasnic Tem
MISTER ICE COLD Gahan Wilson
ON THE TOWN ROUTE Elizabeth Hand

Steve is going to go through and edit the supporting notes to bring them a quarter-century up to date and the plan is to have certainly the first volume on hand for FantasyCon in September, with maybe the second volume as well. We'll see. Volumes #3, #4 and #5 will follow as soon as inhumanly possible.

—Peter Crowther
PS Publishing
June 6, 2014

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May 2014

London Book Fairs and Film Convention, May 2014

My brother-in-law, artist Randy Broecker, was in town with my sister from Chicago, so it was a week of attending book fairs and the London Film Convention.

Photo © 2014 Sara Broecker
Stephen Jones and Randy Broecker, The London International Antiquarian Book Fair, May 22, 2014
Stephen Jones and Randy Broecker, The London International Antiquarian Book Fair, May 22, 2014

On Sunday 18th, we were off to the Royal National Hotel in Bloomsbury, followed by The London International Antiquarian Book Fair and a side-event at a nearby pub the following Thursday. Amongst the many choice items we saw that were well out of my price-range were a copy of The Cell by David Case (£150), three different copies of The Creature from the Black Lagoon in dust-jacket (£900–£1,500), one of only three known first editions of The Phantom of the Opera in original dust-jacket (£24,000) and—my favourite—a copy of M.R. James' A Thin Ghost and Others once owned by H.P. Lovecraft and signed by him (£2,500). An original herald for Fritz Lang's classic silent SF movie Metropolis wasn't even priced, and we were afraid to ask. Part of the fun was bumping into veteran dealer George Locke at all three locations!

Photo © 2014 Sara Broecker
Randy Broecker & Stephen Jones, Hand and Flower Book Fair, May 22, 2014
Randy Broecker and Stephen Jones, Hand and Flower Book Fair, May 22, 2014

Randy did another book fair at Earls Court on his own on the Friday (I have to work sometime!), then we met up again at the London Film Convention at Central Hall Westminster on Saturday 24th. Having got some horror film tie-ins and movie memorabilia signed by Hammer horror starlets Yvonne Romain (The Curse of the Werewolf) and Suzanna Leigh (The Lost Continent), I had just enough cash left over to make it to the pub with Randy and David "Baz" Barraclough.

Photo © 2014 David Barraclough
Randy Broecker and Stephen Jones at the London Film Convention, May 24, 2014
Randy Broecker and Stephen Jones at the London Film Convention, May 24, 2014

This collecting thing can be expensive at times!

 
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Neil Gaiman and Tori Amos: Comic Connections, British Library, London, May 16, 2014

Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
John Harris Dunning, Neil Gaiman, Tori Amos and Paul Gravett
John Harris Dunning, Neil Gaiman, Tori Amos and Paul Gravett

Neil invited me along to this sold-out conversation between singer Tori Amos and himself, held as part of the British Library's exhibition 'Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK', running until from May 2 until August 19.

I have to admit that I was not overly impressed with the exhibition itself, which is grandly billed as "The UK's largest ever exhibition of mainstream and underground comics, showcasing works that uncompromisingly address politics, gender, violence, sexuality and altered states". I didn't like the way that the items were presented in thematic instead of chronological order, and I felt that the whole thing lacked a sense of fun and wonder that comics should inspire (perhaps not so surprising, given the subject matter). That said, the high point for me was seeing an incredibly rare (if slightly battered) copy of the British reprint edition of EC's Tales from the Crypt. For some inexplicable reason, they also had Aleister Crowley's spell book and what purported to be a sound recording of Crowley muttering some kind of incantation.

Neil and Tori are old friends and very comfortable with each other on stage. As a result, this led to a fascinating and entertaining 90 minutes in which the topics ranged from specific projects to the role of the creator and the plight of the Sudanese refugees in Jordan (where Neil had just returned from a UNHRC-sponsored tour).

It was followed by 'Late at the Library', an evening cabaret of music and words, in which artist Dave McKean sung three of his own songs and played the piano, then skilfully improvised the musical accompaniment to the first of two short stories and a poem read by Neil. This duo were so good, they should take the show on the road. I'd pay good money to see them perform together in a more intimate venue.

Also amongst the enthusiastic audience were Judith Clute, Roz Kaveney, Bryan Talbot and Helen Marshall.

 

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24th Annual World Horror Convention, Portland, Oregon, May 8-11, 2014

Photo © 2014 Beth Gwinn
Guests of Honor
Guests of Honor

Another weekend, another American city. This time it was Portland, Oregon, where the World Horror Convention was being held in conjunction with the Horror Writers' Association Bram Stoker Awards.

The HWA had generously invited me to attend the Saturday evening Banquet to collect a Life Achievement Award.

Although the weather ranged from hailstorms to nearly eighty-degree sunshine, Portland is full of great restaurants and brewpubs, with a multitude of micro-beers and fine wines that are produced locally.

Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Alan M. Clark, Stephen Jones and Brian Keene
Alan M. Clark, Stephen Jones and Brian Keene
Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Nancy Holder and Stephen Jones
Nancy Holder and Stephen Jones

I had barely arrived at the slightly shabby Double Tree hotel on the Thursday evening when I found myself at the Opening Ceremonies alongside fellow guests (and old friends) Nancy Holder, Jack Ketchum, Norman Partridge, Paula Guran, Brian Keene and Alan M. Clark. Bizarrely, after waiting nearly twenty minutes for someone from the convention to turn up, Toastmaster Alan took things into his own hands and proceeded to introduce us all.

Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Norman Partridge and Stephen Jones
Norman Partridge and Stephen Jones
Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Paula Guran and Stephen Jones
Paula Guran and Stephen Jones

And that pretty much set the tone for the rest of the weekend. We had to clean up tables and find our own water before panels, while information seemed to be on a need-to-know basis. It was basically a convention of two halves—one involving the HWA and most of the professional guests, and the other catering to the WHC crowd, who seemed more interested in the non-literature programming. In fact, I never met anybody involved in the actual organisation of the event all weekend, although most of the staff members who introduced themselves were perfectly pleasant.

Oddly, the Artist Reception was also held on the Thursday (before most people had even arrived). Although the small display was somewhat lost in a cavernous hall, I did get to meet British Artist Guest of Honor Greg Staples (whose work was the highlight of the show), and everybody received a drinks ticket that was redeemable at the full bar.

Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Stephen Jones and Stephen Graham Jones
Stephen Jones and Stephen Graham Jones
Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Michael Marshall Smith and Stephen Jones
Michael Marshall Smith and Stephen Jones

Michael Marshall Smith had come up from Santa Cruz to support me, so Friday morning we headed out to the legendary Powell's Books, which was every bit as impressive as people had said (they had a lot of my titles). That evening Mike and I participated in the Mass Autograph Signing, which started at 6:00 pm. Confusingly, because of lack of space, the main signing area was separated into two shifts, while all the guests were hidden away from everybody else in a side room. It wasn't ideal, and although I signed plenty of books, it was mostly for dealers. Personally, I managed to get some 1950s SF digest magazines signed by the legendary William F. Nolan, and Special Guest Victoria Price signed her biography about her father, Vincent, for me. Afterwards, Fedogan & Bremer held a nicely old-school room party to launch their latest titles from S.T. Joshi and Scott Nicolay, although I stayed a little too long due to the single malt publisher Dennis Weiler kept plying me with.

Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Michael Marshall Smith interviewing Stephen Jones
Michael Marshall Smith interviewing Stephen Jones
Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Stephen Jones signing
Stephen Jones signing

Saturday morning I was interviewed by Mike in front of a disappointingly small audience, although we still managed to have fun (the HWA have filmed it for their online archive). That afternoon I participated in a lively panel about 'How to Put Together a Great Anthology' along with moderator Ellen Datlow, R.J. Cavender, Paula Guran, Jennifer Brozek and Nick Mamatas. This was much better attended, and the audience seemed to enjoy the discussion as much as the panellists did.

Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
HWA Lifetime Achievement Award
HWA Lifetime Achievement Award
Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Stephen Jones and William F. Nolan show off their Bram Stoker Awards
Stephen Jones and William F. Nolan
show off their Bram Stoker Awards

Saturday night was The 27th Annual Bram Stoker Awards Banquet. Due to some miscommunication between the convention and the hotel, this had to be pulled together at almost the last minute by the HWA. Unfortunately the buffet food was not very good and the hotel staff was even worse. However, the awards ceremony itself—comically hosted by regular MC Jeff Strand—was a mostly slick affair. I could have done without the knockabout humour between the presenters (this is World Horror, not Necon, after all) and there were some minor problems with the sound and video streaming, but overall it was an enjoyable evening, although I still have some problems with the quality of material that gets on to the Stoker ballot.

Photo © 2014 Beth Gwinn
Bram Stoker Award Winners, 2014
Bram Stoker Award Winners, 2014

This year's Life Achievement Awards came, strangely, between the presentations for Long Fiction and Graphic Novel. Following a very funny acceptance video from R.L. Stine, the hard-working Lisa Morton gave me a glowing introduction and even managed to get in a plug for our new Zombie Apocalypse! novel. As I headed towards the stage, I received the first standing ovation of my life. And I can tell you it felt great. I had prepared my thank-you speech on a series of index cards so that I wouldn't forget any names, and that seemed to work as people were very complimentary about it afterwards (despite the fact that I was starting to lose my voice by then). You can see the whole awards ceremony below. After the requisite winners' photos, we retired to the Bram Stoker Awards After-Party, sponsored by the HWA and Samhain Publications, where Leslie Klinger made sure that I kept my throat suitably lubricated for a couple of hours while chatting with people.


Bram Stoker Awards 2014

Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
'In Memoriam' panel
'In Memoriam' panel

My final convention event on the Sunday afternoon was an 'In Memoriam' panel moderated by Jason V. Brock and also featuring Anya Martin, Sunni Brock and Bill Nolan. It turned into a wide-ranging discussion that overran its time slot and meant that I missed the Closing Ceremonies. The rest of the day was spent hanging out with friends. It was not a great World Horror Convention. The well-stocked Hospitality Suite had some annoyingly complicated rules about serving alcohol in the evenings (which didn't apply to any of the other on-site parties) and I gave up going there after the first night. Although the Souvenir Book looked superficially nice, it was frankly an embarrassment for a WHC, with all the guests represented solely by their biographical notes. The Pocket Programming Guide was neatly laid out, but in teeny tiny type and filled with numerous errors and omissions. At least the Art Show and Dealers' Room were better than I had expected, and there was an impressive spread of new and used titles on sale in the latter.

Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Nancy Holder, Steve Rasnic Tem, Douglas E. Winter and Stephen Jones
Nancy Holder, Steve Rasnic Tem, Douglas E. Winter and Stephen Jones
Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Stephen Jones and Kami Garcia, WHC 2015 Party
Stephen Jones and Kami Garcia, WHC 2015 Party

Overall, though, I had a terrific time—but that was mostly despite the convention. Receiving the award was a high point in my career, and people were extremely kind and generous to me throughout the weekend. I also got to spend time with a lot of old friends—including Scott Edelman, Cody Goodfellow, Beth Gwinn, Del Howison, Roberta Lannes, Nancy Kilpatrick, Yvonne Navarro, Weston Ochse, John Skipp, Steve Rasnic Tem, F. Paul Wilson, Douglas E. Winter and many others—which made the trip more than worthwhile. I finally got to meet my charming namesake, Stephen Graham Jones, along with the very talented Tim Waggoner.

I'd like to thank Rocky Wood, Lisa Morton and Leslie Klinger for looking after me so well, and Michael Marshall Smith for not only a great interview, but all the drinks in the bar. Next year's World Horror Convention is the 25th Anniversary, and is being held in Atlanta, Georgia, in association with The Bram Stoker Awards Weekend.

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April 2014

The 2014 Windy City Pulp & Paper Convention (#14)
Chicago, Illinois, April 25-27, 2014

Photo © 2014
Dealers' Room at 2014 Windy City Pulp & Paper Convention
Dealers' Room at 2014 Windy City Pulp & Paper Convention
Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Dealers' Room at 2014 Windy City Pulp & Paper Convention
Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Dealers' Room at 2014 Windy City Pulp & Paper Convention
Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Dealers' Room at 2014 Windy City Pulp & Paper Convention
Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Dealers' Room at 2014 Windy City Pulp & Paper Convention

It was off to Chicago for the weekend (book deadlines wouldn't allow me to go longer) for one of my all-time favourite conventions. Windy City is basically a giant dealers' room packed full of pulps and magazines, books, movie memorabilia and original artwork. For three days it is a veritable Aladdin's Cave of collectible paper material ranging in price from one dollar to many, many thousands.

Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Stephen Jones with legendary collector and editor Robert Weinberg
Stephen Jones with legendary collector and editor Robert Weinberg
Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Dealer George Hagenauer, Stephen Jones and Phyllis and Bob Weinberg
Dealer George Hagenauer, Stephen Jones and Phyllis and Bob Weinberg

This year's nominal themes of the "Detective Pulps and the 85th Anniversary of The Maltese Falcon" and the "Western Pulps and the 95th Anniversary of Western Story Magazine" were most obviously celebrated in the extensive Film Programme and Tom Roberts' always excellent programme book. The Art Show not only included some impressive Western pulp and paperback art, but a special section celebrating the 100th(-ish) Anniversaries of Virgil Finlay, Hannes Bok and Edd Cartier boasted some terrific black and white illustrations along with rarely-displayed cover paintings. This was worth the price of admission alone.

Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Designer/distiller Michael Waltz, Stephen Jones and editor Dwayne H. Olson at the Fedogan & Bremer table
Designer/distiller Michael Waltz, Stephen Jones and
editor Dwayne H. Olson at the Fedogan & Bremer table
Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Stephen Jones and legendary Whispers editor Stuart David Schiff
Stephen Jones and legendary Whispers editor Stuart David Schiff

There were also a number of panel discussions and two major auctions. Although I battled to stay awake during both thanks to jet-lag, the Saturday night auction featured a special section devoted to The Shadow as well as more general items. But it was the Friday night event that I was most interested in. With items offered from the Jerry Weist Estate and Robert Weinberg's collection, some of the more desirable pieces included two issues of the rare UK digest Weird and Occult ($140); the one-shot Canadian pulp Eerie Tales ($375); an original preliminary illustration by Lee Brown Coye ($650); items signed by Weird Tales editors Farnsworth Wright and Edwin Baird ($325); letters from author Henry S. Whitehead ($425); an archive of materials relating to fantasy author Francis Stevens ($300), and the night's star item—the original signed manuscript for C.L. Moore's Weird Tales story 'Black God's Kiss' ($4,500). Despite my enthusiastic bidding, I failed to win anything, but it was still great fun.

Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Stephen Jones and publisher Robert T. Garcia at the American Fantasy table
Stephen Jones and publisher Robert T. Garcia at the American Fantasy table
Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Stephen Jones with dealers Larry Hallock and Dave Willoghby
Stephen Jones with dealers Larry Hallock and Dave Willoghby

As always, Windy City allowed me to not only pick up some nice pieces for my collection, but also provided me with the opportunity to catch up with a lot of old friends. And I signed a lot of books. Organisers Doug Ellis, John Gunnison and their team of volunteers are to be congratulated for once again putting on a first-rate convention, and I hope that it'll not be too long until I am able to make it back there again.

Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Stephen Jones and artist Randy Broecker
Stephen Jones and artist Randy Broecker
Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Stephen Jones and artist Tom Gianni
Stephen Jones and artist Tom Gianni

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Birmingham Independent Book Fair, April 12

Photo © 2014 Sandra Sutton
Left to right: Peter Coleborn, Mike Chinn, Johnny Mains, Stephen Jones and David A. Sutton
Left to right: Peter Coleborn, Mike Chinn, Johnny Mains, Stephen Jones and David A. Sutton
Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
David A. Sutton and Stephen Jones
David A. Sutton and Stephen Jones
Photo © 2014 Mandy Slater
Johnny Mains and Stephen Jones
Johnny Mains and Stephen Jones
Sponsored by Writing West Midlands, the Birmingham Independent Book Fair was a one-day event held at the city's Ikon Gallery. Offering the public the opportunity to buy books directly from the publishers, around twenty tables showcased everything from self-published fiction and poetry, to established genre presses such as Shadow Publishing and The Alchemy Press.

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February 2014

HWA Lifetime Achievement Award Stephen Jones and R.L. Stine Announced as HWA Lifetime Achievement Award Winners

The Horror Writers Association has chosen two long-time icons of the genre to receive the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award this year. The award, given in recognition of the recipient's overall body of work, will go to Stephen Jones and to R.L. Stine.

HWA President Rocky Wood said, "This is the second year in three we have recognized an Editor with the Lifetime Achievement Award-editing is a crucial skill in our genre, where anthologies regularly showcase the best of horror writing. Stephen Jones, in his capacity as editor of both the annual Best New Horror series and as editor of dozens of stand-alone anthologies and author of non-fiction titles, has had a profound impact on the genre and we are pleased to recognize him with our genre's highest award."

The Lifetime Achievement Award is the most prestigious of the Bram Stoker Awards, given by the HWA in acknowledgment of superior achievement not just in a single work but over an entire career. Past Lifetime Achievement Award winners include such noted authors as Stephen King, Anne Rice, Joyce Carol Oates, Ray Bradbury, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Ramsey Campbell and Peter Straub. Winners must have exhibited a profound, positive impact on the fields of horror and dark fantasy, and be at least sixty years of age or have been published for a minimum of thirty-five years. Recipients are chosen annually by a committee.

The LAAs will be presented on May 10th as part of the Bram Stoker Awards Banquet at the World Horror Convention 2014 in Portland, Oregon.

For more information, go to: www.stokers2014.org/laa.html


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Innsmouth Trilogy Available at Special Priced Set while Stocks Last

Shadows Over Innsmouth (1994) Weird Shadows Over Innsmouth (2005) Weirder Shadows Over Innsmouth

While stocks last of Shadows Over Innsmouth (there are fewer than 100 copies still available), Fedogan & Bremer is offering all three "Innsmouth" trade hardcovers at the special set price of $72.00 USD plus single-book shipping and handling charge. For full information and ordering, please go to: www.fedoganandbremer.com/products/innsmouth-3-book-set-sale-price

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