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2010 News

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November 2010

REMEMBERING INGRID

Photo © 1999
Ingrid Pitt and Stephen  Jones at James Herbert launch party (London 1999 Ingrid Pitt and Stephen Jones
at James Herbert launch party (London 1999)
I had never seen Sound of Horror (about an invisible dinosaur running amuck in Spain) or Where Eagles Dare (I was never a big fan of war films), so I first encountered Ingrid Pitt in Hammer Film's The Vampire Lovers in a darkened cinema at the age of seventeen.

Although even then I thought that she was too old to play J. Sheridan Le Fanu's bisexual vampire, there is no doubt that she had genuine screen presence, which she subsequently brought to Hammer's historical Countess Dracula as the blood-bathing noblewoman.

Over the next few years I caught her again in The House That Dripped Blood (already sending up her vampire persona in an adaptation of Robert Bloch's 'The Cloak', opposite Jon Pertwee) and the cult classic The Wicker Man (who can forget her memorable bathtub scene?).

Even though I went down on set for the 1985 Clive Barker adaptation, Underworld (aka Transmutations), I never encountered Ingrid, and so it was that the first time that I met her in person was when James Herbert introduced us at a book launch he was having at the top of the OXO Tower on London's South Bank.

The Mammoth Book of Vampire Stories By Women (2001)
Cover by Les Edwards
The Mammoth Book of Vampire Stories By Women (2001)
Cover by Joe Roberts
When I was commissioned by Robinson in 2001 to edit The Mammoth Book of Vampire Stories by Women, I approached Ingrid to see if she would be willing to do an Introduction to the book. Much to my surprise, she invited me out to lunch at her club in Chelsea, and we immediately hit it off. Not only was she happy to write the Introduction, but she also insisted that she contribute a new short story to the anthology as well! She was wonderful to work with, and the least we could do was put her image on the cover of the book (a fine Les Edwards portrait in the UK and a fanged photograph on the US edition). The volume did remarkably well in America—going through multiple printings in paperback and book club hardcover, and in more recent years the title has repeated that success in hardcover in Russia.

Following our collaboration on the Mammoth book, Ingrid seemed to "adopt" me. She and her husband Tony invited me out to lunch again to discuss me helping her with a history of Hammer Films that she had been commissioned to write. Although we worked on it together on-and-off over a couple of years, nothing eventually came of the project. However, during that time I would regularly receive phone calls out of the blue when she would shout down the line how much she loved me, and I recall a wonderful Sunday afternoon at her small apartment in Richmond where she served tea and the biggest slices of a Russian cake I have ever seen!

Countess Dracula Special Edition (2006)
In 2006, Kim Newman and I were asked to join Ingrid on the commentary track for the UK DVD of Countess Dracula. It was perhaps a good thing that she and I got on so well, as she was hilariously forthright about the production and her co-workers. Even when the recording session was finished, she continued to entertain us with salacious stories for a couple of hours while we had lunch in a nearby Soho restaurant.

After that our contact became more infrequent, although I would still get the unexpected phone call in the middle of the afternoon, and we saw each other at the occasional film memorabilia fair in London. However, a series of medical problems were obviously taking their toll, and she was apparently in and out of hospital quite a bit.

I had suggested her for a small voice cameo in an animated monster movie that Michael Marshall Smith and I were scripting, and the director contacted her. This resulted in her calling me up to tell me how much she would love to be involved, but perhaps we could introduce Countess Dracula as character and thus increase the size of her role! I assured her that if the film ever got made, we would definitely keep that in mind for the sequel. Alas, she never got to record her part.

Still, when I became involved in organising World Horror Convention 2010 in Brighton, there was only one person I wanted as our Media Guest of Honour. When I contacted her and Tony, she was immediately enthused and despite her health problems we worked out a way that we could limit her participation to one day while still making her appearance a Big Deal.

However, as the convention approached, her health worsened and just a week before the event it looked unlikely that she would be able to attend. Of course, nobody had told Ingrid that, and she once again insisted that she travel down to the coast and not let her fans down. And so she arrived in Brighton, noticeably frail and confined to a wheelchair, but still full of boundless exuberance.

For the next few hours she held court in the convention bar, talking to anybody who came up to her and signing anything they wanted her to. Tony and I were dubious about her doing her programmed interview in the afternoon, but she would have none of it. Her fans expected her to appear, and so she would do the interview. In the end we could do nothing but shrug our shoulders and let her go on, although we did convince her to limit the interview to just half-an-hour.

We need not have worried. Like the professional she always was, she quickly rallied and gleefully entertained a standing-room-only crowd with more outrageous and inappropriate stories about her life and career. They loved her.

Afterwards, as I escorted her to the car to take her home, she once again kept telling me how much she loved me. It was the last time I saw her.

I was on my way back from a meeting with a Hollywood producer in Soho yesterday evening when I got the news that Ingrid had died while on her way to attend a dinner in her honour. Her heart simply gave out. Although it was not entirely unexpected, I was still surprised how much it affected me during my journey home.

Whether you liked her acting or not, there is no doubt that Ingrid Pitt was a true icon of British horror cinema during the 1970s (and her career continued for three decades after that). I feel fortunate that our paths intersected over the years, and I will always recall our meetings with great pleasure. She was definitely unique, and I am glad that I was instrumental in bringing her to one of her last public appearances in front of her many fans.

So long as her Hammer films and other movies continue to be revived, she will never be forgotten. And I will never forget those magical times we spoke on the telephone or got together in person. She was always an absolute delight to be with.

Goodbye, Ingrid.

—Stephen Jones
November 24, 2010

NEIL GAIMAN'S 50TH BIRTHDAY

And so, to New Orleans, to celebrate Neil Gaiman's 50th birthday (along with, apparently, anybody in his address book!), at a party held at Rosy's Jazz Hall on November 10, 2010. Here are some pictures of me with old friends . . .

Photo © 2010 Mandy Slater
Stephen Jones in New Orleans
Stephen Jones in New Orleans
Photo © 2010 Mandy Slater
Stephen Jones and HarperCollins editor Jennifer Brehl
Stephen Jones and HarperCollins editor Jennifer Brehl
Photo © 2010 Mandy Slater
Paul Cornell, Chris Claremont and Stephen Jones
Paul Cornell, Chris Claremont and Stephen Jones
Photo © 2010 Mandy Slater
Stephen Jones and Peter Nicholls
Stephen Jones and Peter Nicholls
Photo © 2010 Mandy Slater
Shawna McCarthy, Ellen Datlow and Stephen Jones at The Old Absinthe House
Shawna McCarthy, Ellen Datlow and Stephen Jones at The Old Absinthe House

October 2010

THE TIMES CHELTENHAM LITERATURE FESTIVAL

On the evening of Tuesday, October 12, 2010, Stephen Jones stood in for Kim Newman on a panel discussion about "Frankenstein" held at the prestigious The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival. Arguably the world's most famous work of horror fiction, Frankenstein remains an extraordinary exploration of the limits of human creativity. Mary Shelley's biographer Miranda Seymour, horror editor Stephen Jones and Daisy Hay, author of Young Romantics, explored the book behind the myth and why it still mesmerises us today with former Festival Director Richard Cohen. The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival


GOREZONE SIGNING

On the evening of October 3rd, Stephen Jones was interviewed on stage by "cult film and TV babe" Emily Booth at Gorezone Magazine's International Film Festival 2010, held at the Prince Charles cinema, just off London's Leicester Square. Afterwards, Stephen Jones signed copies of Zombie Apocalypse!, The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror Volume 21 and The Mammoth Book of the Best of Best New Horror along with Pat Cadigan, Christopher Fowler, Paul McAuley, Mark Samuels, Mandy Slater and Michael Marshall Smith.

Photo © 2010 Pat Cadigan
Stephen Jones interviewed by Emily Booth
Stephen Jones interviewed by Emily Booth
Photo © 2010 Chris Fowler
Stephen Jones signing books with Paul McAuley and Pat Cadigan
Stephen Jones signing books with Paul McAuley and Pat Cadigan
Photo © 2010 Jamie-Lee Nardone
Back Row: Paul McAuley, Michael Marshall Smith, Mandy Slater and Mark Samuels; Front Row: Stephen Jones, Pat Cadigan and Christopher Fowler.
Back Row: Paul McAuley, Michael Marshall Smith, Mandy Slater and Mark Samuels; Front Row: Stephen Jones, Pat Cadigan and Christopher Fowler.

September 2010

PREVIEW OF "LET ME IN"

Photo © 2010 Mandy Slater
John Ajvide Lindqvist, Stephen Jones and Mia Lindqvist
John Ajvide Lindqvist, Stephen Jones and Mia Lindqvist
On September 29, 2010 I was invited by Quercus publicist Lucy Ramsey to London's Charlotte Street Hotel for the launch of John Ajvide Lindqvist's third novel, Harbour, and a preview screening of Let Me In, the UK/USA remake of the Swedish version of his first book, Let the Right One In. The new film was almost as impressive as the original, but in a slightly different way. Among those also at the screening were Val and Les Edwards, Jo Fletcher and Ian Drury, Amanda Foubister, Ali Karim and Mandy Slater.

FANTASYCON 2010, NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND

Photo © 2010 Mandy Slater
Lunch at Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, Nottingham: Amanda Foubister, Stephen Jones, Val Edwards and Robert Shearman
Lunch at Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, Nottingham: Amanda Foubister, Stephen Jones, Val Edwards and Robert Shearman
Photo © 2010 Peter Coleborn
How Not to Get Published (An Idiot's Guide) panel: Marc Gascoigne, Jo Fletcher and Stephen Jones
"How Not to Get Published (An Idiot's Guide)" panel: Marc Gascoigne, Jo Fletcher and Stephen Jones
Photo © 2010 Peter Coleborn
Reggie Oliver and Stephen Jones after the British Fantasy Awards
Reggie Oliver and Stephen Jones after the British Fantasy Awards
Photo © 2010 Peter Coleborn
Robert E. Howard panel: Mike Chinn, Les Edwards, Stephen Jones, Ramsey Campbell and Joel Lane
Robert E. Howard panel: Mike Chinn, Les Edwards, Stephen Jones, Ramsey Campbell and Joel Lane
Photo © 2010 Abaddon Books
Stephen Jones and journalist Sandy Auden
Stephen Jones and journalist Sandy Auden

April 2010

STEPHEN JONES IS GUEST AT ALT.FICTION 2010

STEPHEN JONES is one of the announced Guests at ALT.FICTION—Derby's Festival of Horror, Fantasy and Sci-fi on SATURDAY JUNE 12.

The other Guests are RAMSEY CAMPBELL, MIKE CAREY, PAUL CORNELL, PETER CROWTHER and ROBERT SHEARMAN.

Derby's festival for alternative fiction is a one-day event featuring some of the top authors, editors, agents and publishers in the field. The day is made up of a number of different types of sessions, including author talks, Q&A sessions, readings, discussion panels, workshops and a mass book launch.

In addition, Alt Fiction 2010 will have a new and second-hand bookfair running in parallel to the other events of the day, and there will also be some improvised comedy in the bar in the evening. If comedy is not your thing, then there is always the option of a late-night movie double-bill showing in cinema 2 that will be programmed and introduced by Stephen Jones!

Tickets cost £25.00

FOR MORE INFORMATION:Visit the Alt.Fiction website: www.altfiction.co.uk
Follow the festival on Twitter: www.twitter.com/altfiction
E-mail: catherine@writingeastmidlands.co.uk

March 2010

WORLD HORROR CONVENTION 2010, BRIGHTON, ENGLAND

Although I was one of the co-organisers, I had a wonderful time at the convention catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. I didn't get time to attend as many programme items as I wanted to (I was only on one panel myself), but I did participate in a few book launches (for Robinson Publishing and PS Publishing) and ended the weekend by hosting a private party for close friends and colleagues as a belated "thank you" for last year reaching a total of 100 different books. Thanks again to everyone who helped make the convention such a huge success!

Photo © 2010 Ali Karim
Michael Marshall Smith, Stephen Jones and Neil Gaiman in the bar (where else?)
Michael Marshall Smith, Stephen Jones and Neil Gaiman in the bar (where else?).
Photo © 2010 Peter Coleborn
The Robinson Publishing launch of <I>The Best of Best New Horror</I>. Some books did eventually show up for the contributors to sign!
The Robinson Publishing launch of The Best of Best New Horror. Some books did eventually show up for the contributors to sign!
Photo © 2010 Mike Chinn
Ian Alexander Martin and a very tired Stephen Jones on the Sunday morning panel about successors to <I>The Pan Book of Horror Stories</I>
Ian Alexander Martin and a very tired Stephen Jones on the Sunday morning panel about successors to The Pan Book of Horror Stories.
Photo © 2010 Peter Coleborn
Taking a bow at The Bram Stoker Awards with Amanda Foubister
Taking a bow at The Bram Stoker Awards with Amanda Foubister.
Photo © 2010 Nancy Kilpatrick
Scott Edelman, Lisa Morton, Lisa Tuttle and Ian Watson at the 100 Books party
Scott Edelman, Lisa Morton, Lisa Tuttle and Ian Watson at the 100 Books party.
Photo © 2010 Nancy Kilpatrick
Michael Marshall Smith, Martel Sardina, Lisa Tuttle, Nicky Crowther, Dennis Etchison and Peter Crowther at the 100 Books party
Michael Marshall Smith, Martel Sardina, Lisa Tuttle, Nicky Crowther, Dennis Etchison and Peter Crowther at the 100 Books party.

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