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News
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   2013
 • Universal Orlando Resort, Florida
 • Joel Lane (1963-2013)
 • Steve @ 60
 • RIP Dorothy Lumley
 • Nick Robinson (1955-2013)
 • Richard Matheson (1926-2013)
 • More James Herbert Photos
 • Ray Harryhausen (1920-2013)
 • Book Launch for Sarah Pinborough
 • James Herbert: A Celebration of his Life and Work
 • Film Freak Launch
 • Basil Copper (1924-2013)
 • James Herbert (1943-2013)
 
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2013 News

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December 2013

Universal Orlando Resort, Florida

Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Christmas at Universal Orlando Resort, Florida
Christmas at Universal Orlando Resort, Florida
Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Creature from the Black Lagoon
Creature from the Black Lagoon
Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
House of Dracula
House of Dracula
Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
The Black Cat
The Black Cat

After the rigours of helping to organise World Fantasy Convention and having five new books and various reissues published in 2013, I escaped to Orlando, Florida, for the Christmas holidays. However, I wasn't expecting temperatures to climb up to 87°F, smashing records set back as far as 1951!

Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Hogs Head Pub
Hogs Head Pub
Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Hogsmeade Station
Hogsmeade Station
Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Have You Seen This Wizard?
Have You Seen This Wizard?
Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Frog Choir
Frog Choir
Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Hogs Head Pub
Hogs Head Pub

And so it was off to Universal's Islands of Adventure®, where early in the morning I joined the excited throng rushing towards The Wizarding World or Harry Potter™. Undeniably the theme park's most popular attraction at the moment, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey™ turned out to be a pretty impressive ride—even for those of us who are not particularly overwhelmed by the boy wizard and his pals. Getting there early helped beat the interminable lines, which were still tediously long, and there are some nice touches as you pass through Hogwarts™ waiting to soar above the castle grounds and confront a fire-breathing dragon.

Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Hogwarts Express
Hogwarts Express
Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Hogwarts
Hogwarts
Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Hogwarts
Hogwarts
Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Hogwarts with Palm Trees
Hogwarts with Palm Trees

After predictably exiting through one of the park's abundant gift shops—packed to the fake rafters with overpriced Potter souvenirs—I took a ride on the Flight of the Hippogriff™ family-friendly roller coaster, watched a Frog Choir put on by some Hogwarts™ "students" and had an expensive pint of not very alcoholic beer on the outdoor patio of the Hog's Head Pub.

Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Wizarding World
Wizarding World
Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Wizarding World
Wizarding World

The main problem with The Wizarding World is that although it is beautifully detailed down to the smallest detail—such as smoke rising from the chimney-pots—it is not as extensive as it should be, given the crowds that flock to it daily. Universal is currently remedying this situation by building an impressive new extension that not only includes a row of very realistic looking London townhouses, but also a scale replica of King's Cross Station that will eventually link the two Florida parks!

Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Building Harry Potter
Building Harry Potter
Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
The New King's Cross Station
The New King's Cross Station
Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Not Really London
Not Really London

Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Jurassic Park
Jurassic Park
Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Jurassic Park
Jurassic Park

Perhaps the most disappointing aspect about the Potter Forbidden Journey ride was that, for a relatively new attraction, it wasn't presented in high-definition 3-D. That was not a problem with The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man® situated in Marvel Super Hero Island® , which turned out to be one of the best motion simulation rides I've ever experienced. Over at Seuss Landing™, The Cat in the Hat™ and The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Ride!™ were both akin to what I imagine a 12-year-old's acid trip must look like. The lame Poseidon's Fury® presentation in The Lost Continent area was definitely not worth another long wait, and I learned years ago to stay away from the Jurassic Park River Adventure® and it's plummeting drop into water.

The next day I was back for the adjacent Universal Studios Florida®—the main attraction for me, given the studio's history with the classic Universal Monsters®. Unfortunately, as has been the case too many times in the past, Universal Florida has all-but-ignored its creature feature legacy, instead preferring to concentrate on promoting such family friendly franchises as Despicable Me, Shrek, The Simpsons and Woody Woodpecker.

Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Revenge of The Mummy
Revenge of The Mummy
Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Original The Mummy Display
Original The Mummy Display

Having previously experienced Terminator 2®: 3-D and Men in Black™ Alien Attack™, I instead tried out the new Transformers: The Ride—3-D, which kept breaking down while I was there and wasn't anywhere near as impressive as the popular Despicable Me Minion Mayhem simulation. Kang & Kodos' Twirl 'n' Hurl and E.T. Adventure® are both aimed at younger children yet are still much better than the woefully outdated Twister and Disaster! rides. At least Revenge of the Mummy at the Museum of Antiquities offered some genre chills and thrills, although it is only based around Universal's 1990s Mummy franchise.

Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Creature from the Black Lagoon - Salad
Creature from the Black Lagoon - Salad
Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Monster Cafe
Monster Cafe
Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Wolf Man - Pizza
Wolf Man - Pizza
Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Let's Eat!
Let's Eat!
Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Frankenstein Monster - Maitre d'
Frankenstein Monster - Maitre d'
Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Monstrous Food
Monstrous Food

Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
His...
His...
Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Monster Cafe
Monster Cafe
Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
...and Hers Restrooms
...and Hers Restrooms

Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man
Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man
Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Where He Should Be...
Where He Should Be...
Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Revenge of the Creature
Revenge of the Creature

Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Frankenstein Monster Figure
Frankenstein Monster Figure
Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Frankenstein Monster Bust
Frankenstein Monster Bust

Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Wolf Man Figure
Wolf Man Figure
Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Bride in a Box
Bride in a Box
Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Metaluna Travellers
Metaluna Travellers

Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Creature from the Black Lagoon
Creature from the Black Lagoon
Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Creature from the Black Lagoon
Creature from the Black Lagoon

Thankfully, Universal Studios' Classic Monster Cafe offered up some nice reproduction posters and life-size figures of the Frankenstein Monster, the Wolf Man and, especially, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, although the overpriced cafeteria-style food looked awful. Even better, over at the Pantages theatre, the display windows and foyer for the Universal Studios Horror Makeup Show showcased an impressive history of the studio's monster legacy with exhibits on Lon Chaneys Sr. and Jr., Boris Karloff and the Creature, amongst many others.

Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Universal Studios Horror Makeup Show
Universal Studios Horror Makeup Show
Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Universal Studios Horror Makeup Show
Universal Studios Horror Makeup Show

Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Creature from the Black Lagoon Display
Creature from the Black Lagoon Display
Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Creature from the Black Lagoon Display
Creature from the Black Lagoon Display
Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Creature from the Black Lagoon Display
Creature from the Black Lagoon Display

Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Boris Karloff Display
Boris Karloff Display
Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
The Phantom of the Opera
The Phantom of the Opera
Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Metaluna Mutant
Metaluna Mutant
Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Window Display
Window Display

Another pleasant surprise was a Christmas revival of Beetle Juice's Graveyard Revue™, which I had first seen in Universal's California park back in the 1990s. Updated for the Holiday Season, it featured Count Dracula, the Frankenstein Monster, the Wolf Man and the Bride of Frankenstein in "a spooktacular rock'n'roll revue loud enough to wake the dead". It was a lot better this time around.

Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Beetle Juice's Graveyard Revue
Beetle Juice's Graveyard Revue
Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
The Mummy Speaks
The Mummy Speaks
Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
Introducing the Classic Monsters
Introducing the Classic Monsters
Photo © 2013 Stephen Jones
A Spooktacular Rock'n'Roll Revue
A Spooktacular Rock'n'Roll Revue


Beetle Juice Video Clip #1


Beetle Juice Video Clip #2

However, despite the studio still paying minimal homage to its horror roots, all the souvenir shops in both parks offered only the same ride-related modern merchandise and completely ignored the Universal Monsters. I have a feeling that they are missing a trick here—Mickey Mouse and friends are still going strong over at the Disney theme parks, and you can't help wondering if the ubiquitous Harry Potter or Squarebob Spongepants will still be just as popular as the classic Monsters are in eighty years' time . . .?

—Stephen Jones
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November 2013

Joel Lane (1963-2013)

Photo © 2008 Peter Coleborn
2008 British Fantasy Awards. Left to right (back row): Stephen Jones, Jo Fletcher, Peter Crowther, Ramsey Campbell, Christopher Teague and Joel Lane; (front row) Christopher Fowler, Conrad Williams and Vincent Chong.
2008 British Fantasy Awards.
Left to right (back row): Stephen Jones, Jo Fletcher, Peter Crowther, Ramsey Campbell, Christopher Teague and Joel Lane;
(front row) Christopher Fowler, Conrad Williams and Vincent Chong.

British weird fiction writer Joel Lane died in his sleep sometime during the night of November 25th. He was just 50 years old. Back in September he revealed to me that he had been diagnosed with a sleep disorder that included sleepwalking and nocturnal fits. "Although the problem is partly controlled by medication," he said, "that's not reliable and the effects of an 'episode' could be very problematic."

I first started publishing Joel's work back in the early 1980s, when his verse began appearing in Fantasy Tales, the magazine I edited with David A. Sutton. As a fiction writer he soon became a regular contributor to my anthologies—not least The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror series—and his most recent appearance was with a terrific new story in Psycho-Mania!, which was only published last month.

Joel lived in Birmingham, and his distinctive short stories appeared in various magazines and anthologies including Black Static, Weird Tales, Cemetery Dance, Gutshot, The End of the Line, Evermore, Gathering the Bones and The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime. He published an acclaimed novella, The Witnesses Are Gone, along with five short story collections: The Earth Wire, The Lost District, The Terrible Changes, Do Not Pass Go and Where Furnaces Burn.

The latter a book from PS Publishing—a collection of supernatural crime stories set in the West Midlands—was nominated this year for both the British Fantasy Award and the World Fantasy Award. Much to Joel's delight it won the latter prize. However, despite our concerted efforts, Peter Crowther and I were unable to get him down to the Awards Ceremony in Brighton to accept it in person as, at the last minute, he was forced to cancel when his elderly mother (who I had met back in 2010, and who was delightful) fractured her hip a few days before the event. "It is very worrying for me and important for my mother that I am on hand," he explained. "As her only living relative for 300 miles, I'd never forgive myself if anything happened to my mother while I was a long way away."

We last talked a couple of weeks before he died, when I congratulated him on his World Fantasy Award win: "Many thanks!" he replied. "I should emphasize that I was absolutely set to be at the Awards Banquet until my mother's accident changed everything. But I never assumed that I would win an award—I understood it was about sharing the event.

"Pete passed on the statuette to Chris Morgan, who lives in Birmingham and has now given it to me.

  And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting,
On the pallid bust of Lovecraft opposite my chamber door.
And his eyes say, 'You're a winner, now I want my bloody dinner,
Feed me or you'll get much thinner, I will nibble to the core,
Bring me steaks and bring me gammon, make a sacrifice to Mammon,
Life is ever feast or famine and I know which I abhor,
You know what that knife is for.'
 

That's the statement I gave the police yesterday. I know you and Pete will testify on my behalf. ;-)"

There is no doubt that Joel was a complex character, often beset by his own personal demons. But he was also a damn fine writer—one who often allowed his fiction to speak truths that we did not always want to hear. He was also an incisive and knowledgeable critic, and I will miss his letters—neatly hand-written on his distinctive personalised notepaper—in which he would suggest stories he had read for Best New Horror or carefully critique each piece of fiction from my latest anthology.

Joel Lane was one of a new generation of British horror writers that included Nicholas Royle, Michael Marshall Smith, Mark Morris and Conrad Williams, who began their careers in Margaret Thatcher's 1980s and came to dominate the field with stories that combined traditional horror themes with the social, sexual and political upheavals of the time. Perhaps more than any of his contemporaries, Joel's fiction continued to rally against the system and prick our conscience beneath a deceptive veneer of genre fiction. That he is no longer amongst us is madness to me, in a year where the loss to our genre—and my personal circle of friends and colleagues—can at best be only described as brutal.

—Stephen Jones
November 27, 2013

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Steve @ 60

Following the end of World Fantasy Convention 2013 in Brighton on Sunday November 3, Stephen Jones celebrated his 60th birthday (a day early) with a private party for family and close friends held at the Royal Albion Hotel. (All photographs © Peter Coleborn, unless otherwise stated).

Photo © 2013 Mandy Slater
Ready for the guests . . .
Ready for the guests . . .

Backdrop originally painted for Steve's 50th by Les Edwards
Backdrop originally painted for Stephen Jones's 50th by Les Edwards

Steve and his sister, Sara Broecker
Stephen Jones and his sister, Sara Broecker

Jo Fletcher and Stephen Jones
Jo Fletcher and Stephen Jones

Stephen Jones, Nate Smith, Paula Grainger and Michael Marshall Smith
Stephen Jones, Nate Smith, Paula Grainger and Michael Marshall Smith

Sandra Sutton, Stephen Jones, David Sutton and Mike Chinn
Sandra Sutton, Stephen Jones, David Sutton and Mike Chinn

Neil Gaiman, Stephen Jones and Kim Newman
Neil Gaiman, Stephen Jones and Kim Newman

Ellen Datlow, Stephe Jones and Jennifer Brehl
Ellen Datlow, Stephen Jones and Jennifer Brehl


Stephen Jones and Rodger Turner

James Bacon and Stephen Jones
James Bacon and Stephen Jones

Richard Christian Matheson and Stephen Jones
Richard Christian Matheson and Stephen Jones

Stephen Jones and Paul McAuley
Stephen Jones and Paul McAuley

Stephen Jones and Peter Atkins
Stephen Jones and Peter Atkins

Greg Ketter and Stephen Jones
Greg Ketter and Stephen Jones

F. Paul Wilson, Stephen Jones and Thomas F. Monteleone
F. Paul Wilson, Stephen Jones and Thomas F. Monteleone

Angela Slatter, Robert Shearman and Stephen Jones
Angela Slatter, Robert Shearman and Stephen Jones

Lynda E. Rucker and Stephen Jones
Lynda E. Rucker and Stephen Jones

Stephen Jones, Mandy Slater and James Bacon
Stephen Jones, Mandy Slater and James Bacon

Stephen Jones and Lisa Tuttle
Stephen Jones and Lisa Tuttle

Mark Morris, Rio Youers, Stephen Jones and Conrad Williams
Mark Morris, Rio Youers, Stephen Jones and Conrad Williams

Stephen Jones and Robert S. Knowlton
Stephen Jones and Robert S. Knowlton

William F. Nolan and Stephen Jones
William F. Nolan and Stephen Jones

Stephen Jones and Bob Eggleton
Stephen Jones and Bob Eggleton

Randy & Sara Broecker and Stephen Jones
Randy & Sara Broecker and Stephen Jones

Vincent Chong, Nancy Kilpatrick and Stephen Jones
Vincent Chong, Nancy Kilpatrick and Stephen Jones

Stephen Jones and Barry Forshaw
Stephen Jones and Barry Forshaw

Maura McHugh and Stephen Jones
Maura McHugh and Stephen Jones
Photo © 2013 Terrence McVicker
Stephen Jones, David Sutton & Terrence McVicker
Stephen Jones, David Sutton & Terrence McVicker

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October 2013

RIP DOROTHY LUMLEY

Steve's long-time agent and friend, Dorothy Lumley, died of cancer on October 5th.

Photo © 2003 Cheryl Morgan
Stephen Jones celebrates his 50th birthday with his agent, Dot Lumley, at FantasyCon in Stafford, 2003
Stephen Jones celebrates his 50th birthday with his agent, Dot Lumley, at FantasyCon in Stafford, 2003

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September 2013

NICK ROBINSON (1955-2013)

Photo © Andrew I. Porter
Michael Moorcock, Nick Robinson and Stephen Jones
Michael Moorcock, Nick Robinson and Stephen Jones
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July 2013

RICHARD MATHESON (1926-2013)

Photo © 2009 Diana Matheson
Stephen Jones, Richard Christian Matheson, Peter Atkins and Richard Matheson, Calabosas, California, June 14, 2009
Stephen Jones, Richard Christian Matheson, Peter Atkins and Richard Matheson, Calabosas, California, June 14, 2009

I was privileged to meet Richard Matheson on a number of occasions. Although the first time was when he attended the 1977 World Fantasy Convention in Los Angeles (where he signed my movie tie-in of The Omega Man), it wasn't until 1992 when—thanks to my long friendship with his son Richard Christian—I got to hang out with them both following the 1992 World Horror Convention in Nashville, Tennessee, where they were co-Guests of Honor.

We subsequently worked together on a number of publishing projects (a couple of which still have to see the light at the time of this writing), and in recent years—thanks to my involvement in this year's World Fantasy Convention in Brighton (www.wfc2013.org)—I was twice honoured to be a guest in his home.

It is of course impossible to overstate Richard Matheson's importance as a short story writer, novelist and scriptwriter. However, I prefer to remember the quiet man whose humanist and political compass was very similar to my own—and especially one particularly magical night in June 2009 having drinks on the veranda overlooking his swimming pool, when the two of us just chatted away about some of his movie credits (particularly The Last Man on Earth and The Comedy of Terrors) as we basked in the twilight afterglow of a fine dinner and good company.

I loved his writing, but that will be how I always remember him.

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June 2013

MORE JAMES HERBERT PHOTOS

While going through some boxes of photographs the other day, I found a whole bunch of me attending various James Herbert launches during the 1990s and early 2000s that I thought would make a nice supplement to those shown below (March 2013).

Photo © 1999 Mandy Slater
Jo Fletcher, James Herbert and Stephen Jones at <I>Others</I> Launch, London April 8, 1999
Jo Fletcher, James Herbert and Stephen Jones at Others Launch, London April 8, 1999
Photo © 2001 Mandy Slater
Stephen Jones and James Herbert <I>Once...</I> publication dinner, London, September 19, 2001
Stephen Jones and James Herbert,
Once... publication dinner, London, September 19, 2001
Photo © 1992 Caroline Forbes, Hodder & Stoughton
James Herbert and Stephen Jones, <I>Portent</I> Launch, London, November 4,  1992
James Herbert and Stephen Jones,
Portent Launch, London, November 4, 1992
Photo © 1992 Caroline Forbes, Hodder & Stoughton
Stephen Jones and James Herbert, <I>Portent</I> Launch, London, November 4,  1992
Stephen Jones and James Herbert,
Portent Launch, London, November 4, 1992
Photo © 1992 Caroline Forbes, Hodder & Stoughton
 Stephen Jones and James Herbert, <I>Portent</I> Launch, London, November 4,  1992
Stephen Jones and James Herbert,
Portent Launch, London, November 4, 1992

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May 2013

RAY HARRYHAUSEN (1920-2013)
Photo © 2004 Mandy Slater
Stephen Jones and Ray Harryhausen (Dark Delicacies, Burbank, California, April 18th, 2004)
Stephen Jones and Ray Harryhausen (Dark Delicacies, Burbank, California, April 18th, 2004)

Although I had been a fan of his films since the mid-1960s, my first meeting with Ray Harryhausen was at an event organised by London's Gothique Film Society in April 1971. (For those who may be interested in such things, here is a photo of my seventeen-year-old self inspecting the original models from Jason and the Argonauts from the third and final issue [Summer, 1972] of the American fanzine Special Visual Effects Created by Ray Harryhausen, or FXRH for short.)

17-year-old Stephen Jones holds a skeleton from <I>Jason and the Argonauts</I> for the first time. The Gothique Film Society, London, April 1971
17-year-old Stephen Jones holds a skeleton from Jason and the Argonauts for the first time. The Gothique Film Society, London, April 1971

We met up again at various events over the years—including a BFS Open Night in Holborn, London, that Jo Fletcher and I organised; the 1987 World Science Fiction Convention in Brighton, where he was a Guest of Honour; and the Famous Monsters of Filmland convention in Los Angeles—it was not until 1993 that I had the pleasure of getting to know him personally, after he kindly contributed the Introduction to my reference book, The Illustrated Dinosaur Movie Guide.

Photo © 1980s Jo Fletcher
Ray Harryhausen, BFS Open Night, Holborn, London, circa 1980s
Ray Harryhausen, BFS Open Night, Holborn, London, circa 1980s
Photo © 1993 Jenny Boyce
Ray Harryhausen and Stephen Jones signing at Forbidden Planet, London, August 14, 1993
Ray Harryhausen and Stephen Jones signing at Forbidden Planet, London, August 14, 1993

Not only was I invited to his London home to view his remarkable stop-motion models and bronze sculptures, but we also undertook a brief signing tour together to promote my volume and the reissue of his Ray Harryhausen Film Fantasy Scrapbook from Titan Books.

Photo © 1993 David Barraclough
Ray Harryhausen and Stephen Jones, signing at the National Film Theatre, London, August 23, 1993
Ray Harryhausen and Stephen Jones, signing at the National Film Theatre, London, August 23, 1993
Photo © 1993 David Barraclough

Ray Harryhausen and Stephen Jones, signing a book for Steve's Mum at the National Film Theatre, London, August 23, 1993

The last time I saw Ray was in April 2004, at Dark Delicacies bookstore in Burbank, California (where he was signing with his old friend, Forrest J Ackerman), and at FantasyCon in 2008 I had the honour of accepting on his behalf the British Fantasy Society's Karl Edward Wagner Special Award for his many contributions to fantastic cinema.

Photo © 1993 David Barraclough

Ray Harryhausen & Stephen Jones Signing at London's National Film Theatre August 23, 1993
Photo © 2004 Mandy Slater
Stephen Jones and Ray Harryhausen (Dark Delicacies, Burbank, California, April 18th, 2004)
Stephen Jones and Ray Harryhausen (Dark Delicacies, Burbank, California, April 18th, 2004)

Now childhood chums Ray, Forry and Ray Bradbury are reunited again, and our world feels a little less animated without them. As Randy Broecker so eloquently observed upon the news of the death of King Kong's #1 Fan: "I've a feeling that when Ray stands before those Pearly Gates he will have seen them before on an island, where no island should be..."

I couldn't have said it any better myself.

—Stephen Jones
London, May 8, 2013

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April 2013

MAYHEM LAUNCH, April 30, 2013

It was off to East London for Sarah Pinborough's third book launch event in less than a fortnight! This was a more exclusive affair to celebrate the publication of Mayhem from Jo Fletcher Books, which kicked off at The Prospect of Whitby—the city's oldest riverside pub dating back to 1520—and then moved over to The Wapping Project, an overly pretentious restaurant/art gallery situated in the old Wapping Hydraulic Power Station.


Photo © 2013 Mandy Slater
Amanda Foubister and Stephen Jones
Amanda Foubister and Stephen Jones

Photo © 2013 Mandy Slater
Stephen Jones and Jo Fletcher
Stephen Jones and Jo Fletcher

Photo © 2013 Theresa Derwi
Sarah Pinborough and Stephen Jones at the launch of her new book, Mayhem
Sarah Pinborough and Stephen Jones at the launch of her new book, Mayhem – 30 Aprli 2013

Photo © 2013 Mandy Slater
Sarah Pinborough and Stephen Jones
Sarah Pinborough and Stephen Jones

Photo © 2013 Mandy Slater
Barry Forshaw and Stephen Jones
Barry Forshaw and Stephen Jones

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JAMES HERBERT: A CELEBRATION OF HIS LIFE AND WORK, April 25, 2013

Before his untimely death in March, James Herbert had agreed to be interviewed by Ramsey Campbell for an event called 'Terror in the Tunnels' as part of In Other Words: Liverpool Literary Festival, organised by Liverpool City Council and Writing on the Wall. As a tribute to the late author, Ramsey, Jim's biographer Craig Cabell, Adam Nevill and Stephen Jones got together at the city's famous Williamson Tunnels for an evening discussion about the man and his work, and to read extracts from his writings. About sixty people showed up, and afterwards Waterstones hosted a book signing.


Photo © 2013 Madeline Henegham-WoW
Stephen Jones, Craig Cabell, Ramsey Campbell, Adam Nevill – James Herbert Celebration, Liverpool, 25 April 2013
Stephen Jones, Craig Cabell, Ramsey Campbell, Adam Nevill – James Herbert Celebration, Liverpool, 25 April 2013

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FILM FREAK LAUNCH, London, April 10, 2013

And so off to London's King's Cross Station for Christopher Fowler's second book launch of the year -- so far! Among the multitude helping the author celebrate his latest biographical memoir, Film Freak, were Barry Forshaw, Amanda Foubister, Maxim Jakubowski, Paul McAuley, Kim Newman, Mandy Slater, Stephen Volk and actress Victoria Jeffrey, the daughter of late and great character actor Peter Jeffrey (The Abominable Dr. Phibes and If...). Thanks to publicist Kate Green from Transworld for supplying the wine!


Photo © 2013 Mandy Slater
Paul McAuley, Christopher Fowler, Stephen Jones and Kim Newman
Paul McAuley, Christopher Fowler, Stephen Jones and Kim Newman

Photo © 2013 Mandy Slater
Stephen Jones, actress Victoria Jeffrey and Barry Forshaw
Stephen Jones, actress Victoria Jeffrey and Barry Forshaw

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BASIL COPPER (1924-2013)


Photo © 2011 Mandy Slater
Stephen Jones & Basil Copper, Kent, July 2011
Stephen Jones & Basil Copper, Kent, July 2011

I first met Basil Copper more than thirty-five years ago. Neither of us really remembered much about the encounter, which is probably a blessing.
Photo © 2000 Mandy Slater
launch of Dark Detectives in London. February 4th 2000
Left to right: (standing) Basil Cooper, Jay Russell,
Brian Lumley and editor Stephen Jones.
(sitting) Kim Newman and artists
Les Edwards & Randy Broecker
at the BFS launch of
Dark Detectives in London (February 4th 2000)

I had almost certainly already read his story 'The Spider' in Herbert van Thal's The Fifth Pan Book of Horror Stories (1964) while still a teenager in my school's library, and I had admired Rod Serling's adaptation of his story 'Camera Obscura' on TV's Night Gallery in the early 1970s; but at the time we first met I knew him best for his classic tale 'Amber Print', which I had discovered in Peter Haining's anthology Dr. Caligari's Black Book (1968).

Photo ©
Basil Copper, Mandy Slater and Stephen Jones at the 1994 World Horror Convention in Phoenix, Arizona
Basil Copper, Mandy Slater and Stephen Jones at the 1994 World Horror Convention in Phoenix, Arizona
It was 1977, and I was attending Fantasycon 3 in Birmingham, England. Basil was the Guest of Honour that year and, according to the programme booklet that I have before me (for which, incidentally, I contributed the cover illustration), he gave an hour-long lecture on the Saturday afternoon. I know I was there (I used to attend all the programme items at conventions in those days-I was keen), but more than three decades later the only memory of the entire weekend that I can recall is being in the same room party as Basil on the Saturday night, surrounded by crates of beer and a well-known book dealer dancing around with a pair of ladies knickers on his head!

I believe that it was more than a decade before Basil was sufficiently recovered from the ordeal to attend another fantasy convention.

Photo ©
Basil Copper and Stephen Jones at Knole House, Kent, circa mid-1990s
Basil Copper and Stephen Jones at Knole House, Kent, circa mid-1990s
In the meantime I had become a big fan of his work. My shelf of Basil's books now included his two excellent collections for Arkham House, From Evil's Pillow (1973) and And Afterward, the Dark (1977), and the novels Necropolis (1980) and The House of the Wolf (1983). I had also managed to pick up a copy of his earlier novel, The Curse of the Fleers (1976), and our mutual friend at Arkham House, James Turner, had sent me some of Basil's Solar Pons collections as they were published in paperback by Pinnacle Books during the late 1970s.

Photo ©
Stephen Jones, Basil Copper and Randy Broecker, London, England, January 1997
Stephen Jones, Basil Copper and Randy Broecker, London, England, January 1997
I was going to say that our next meeting was under more sober circumstances, but that is not entirely true. It was in 1988, at the lunchtime opening of a new crime and mystery bookstore in London's West End named after one of his Mike Faraday novels. In the course of admiring the new shop fittings and drinking the indifferent white wine usually served at these occasions, we got to talking, and I think Basil was genuinely surprised to meet someone who was such a fan of his work and who could quote title and publication date from memory (at least before we began drinking!).

Whatever the reason, when the party started to wind down, I suggested we move on to a small all-day drinking club I happened to know in Soho. Basil readily agreed. Over several hours-and many, many more glasses of wine-we talked about the art of writing and bemoaned the state of the horror field (some things never change), and when we finally reeled out into the dark night to make our bleary journeys back to our homes, a lasting friendship had been forged over alcohol and good conversation.

Photo ©
Stephen Jones, Dixon Smith and Basil Copper on the
Stephen Jones, Dixon Smith and Basil Copper on the "Basil Copper on Film" panel,
October 30, World Fantasy Convention 1993, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Photo © 1993
Basil Copper and Stephen Jones at World Fantasy Convention 1993, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Basil Copper and Stephen Jones
at World Fantasy Convention 1993, Minneapolis, Minnesota

In the quarter-century since then we met up on numerous occasions-often at conventions and gatherings on both sides of the Atlantic, sometimes sharing the same panel discussions and signing sessions, and I had the honour of interviewing him in depth about his fascinating life and career at Fantasycon XX in 1996. I was his guest, and that of his beautiful French wife Annie, on many occasions at their charming home in Kent. As an editor, I was proud to work with Basil on numerous anthologies and non-fiction books, and (with his help) I even managed to fill almost all of those gaps in my Basil Copper shelf as the years passed.

Photo © 2002 Roger Robinson
Stephen Jones, Basil Copper and Sarob Press publisher Robert Morgan
Stephen Jones, Basil Copper and Sarob Press publisher Robert Morgan
at the launch signing for Basil Copper's new collection from Sarob,
COLD HAND ON MY SHOULDER: TALES OF TERROR & SUSPENSE,
at London's Fantasy Centre bookshop on March 22nd, 2002.
Photo © 2008 Peter Coleborn
Basil Copper and Stephen Jones at the launch of Basil Copper: A Life in Books, London, England, February 23, 2008
Basil Copper and Stephen Jones at the launch of
Basil Copper: A Life in Books, London, England, February 23, 2008

In more recent times, as Basil's health began to deteriorate, I have been able to help bring much of his work back into print with the assistance of PS Publishing and others, and a high point was getting him to the World Horror Convention in Brighton in 2010, where he received the convention's inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award.

With the passing of years, my memory of our first meeting may now be getting a little hazy, but to any new readers who are just beginning to assemble a collection of his books, I can guarantee that like me, you will find Basil Copper's fiction distinctly . . . unforgettable!

Photo © 2012 Stephen Jones
Basil Copper, Sevenoaks, September 25, 2012
Basil Copper, Sevenoaks, September 25, 2012
Photo © 2009
Basil Copper with the 2009 British Fantasy Award for Non-Fiction awarded to Basil Copper: A Life In Books (2008)
Basil Copper with the 2009 British Fantasy Award for Non-Fiction
awarded to Basil Copper: A Life In Books (2008)

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March 2013

JAMES HERBERT (1943-2013)

Photo © 1992 Bob Knight
James Herbert's 25th Wedding Anniversary Celebration,  Brighton, August 29 1992
James Herbert's 25th Wedding Anniversary Celebration, Brighton, August 29 1992

I knew James Herbert since the 1980s—first as a young book reviewer and then as a friend. Although he basically created the modern mass-market horror genre with the publication of his first novel, The Rats, in 1974 (for the record, Stephen King's Carrie was published a few months later), he was always wary of the "fandom" aspects of the genre (although not of the fans themselves, who he embraced with genuine enthusiasm and affection).

It was therefore something of an achievement when I convinced him to be a Guest of Honour at the World Fantasy Convention in London in 1988. As always, he was friendly and garrulous with everyone he met and, over the years I managed to persuade him (albeit always with some initial scepticism on his part) to participate in several other such events, most notably World Horror Convention 2010 (where we presented him with the convention's Grand Master Award—which he was incredibly proud of) and, more recently, FantasyCon in Brighton just last September (where he insisted on buying Ramsey Campbell and myself drinks in the bar after his very successful signing session).

While I was researching my 1992 book about him, James Herbert: By Horror Haunted, I was a guest in his Sussex home on a number of occasions, and I was lucky to attend several events in his honour over the years, not least his 25th Wedding Anniversary to his lovely wife, Eileen.

Jim was born on April 8, 1943, in the East End of London, the son of street traders. His family lived at the back of Petticoat Lane in Whitechapel—once the stalking ground of Jack the Ripper. At the age of ten he passed the Eleven-Plus exam and won a scholarship to St. Aloysius Grammar School in Highgate. At sixteen he went to the famous Hornsey College of Art, where he studied graphic design. This led to him joining a leading London advertising agency, where he worked his way up to the position of Group Head/Associate Director.

Feeling there was more he could do, at the age of twenty-eight he started secretly writing a novel. Ten months later he had completed The Rats—inspired by his childhood upbringing and depicting a London overrun by monstrous, flesh-eating rats of unknown origin. He submitted the manuscript to six publishers on the same day. Within three weeks he had received three replies. Two publishers turned the novel down, while the other enthusiastically accepted it.

New English Library published The Rats in 1974 with a first printing of 100,000 paperback copies. Within weeks that first printing was completely sold out. The book has never been out of print, and since then he has reigned as Britain's undisputed #1 author of horror fiction, with more than twenty novels to his credit.

Jim's list of best-selling titles includes The Fog, The Survivor, Fluke, The Spear, Lair, The Dark, The Jonah, Shrine, Domain, Moon, The Magic Cottage, Sepulchre, Creed, Portent, '48, Others, Once, Nobody True and The Secret of Crickley Hall. His final novel, Ash (2012), was the third in a trilogy featuring psychic investigator David Ash, which began with Haunted and The Ghosts of Sleath.

Alongside the full-length works, The City was a graphic novel in The Rats sequence illustrated by Ian Miller, while James Herbert's Dark Places: Locations and Legends was an atmospheric collaboration with photographer Paul Barkshire.

One of the world's most popular novelists, his books have sold more than fifty-four million copies world-wide and have been translated into more than thirty-five languages, including Russian and Chinese. The Rats (aka Deadly Eyes), The Survivor, Fluke, Haunted and The Secret of Crickley Hall have all been filmed, the latter as a BBC mini-series last year. He was awarded an O.B.E. in 2010.

James Herbert died peacefully in his bed on March 20, aged 69. It was far too early. He had more books in him (although he recently admitted to me that he was beginning to slow down—not surprisingly, since he wrote them all in long-hand), and we had already made plans to meet up again later this year in Brighton.

Jim was one of the genuine nice guys in the genre. I'll miss him more than I can say—but so too will his millions of fans around the world.

—Stephen Jones
March, 2013

Photo © 1989 Peter Coleborn
James Herbert and Stephen Jones, Fantasycon XIV, Birmingham, Oct 7, 1989
James Herbert and Stephen Jones, Fantasycon XIV, Birmingham, Oct 7, 1989
Photo © 1990 Forbidden Planet–Dick Jude
James Herbert and Stephen Jones, DARK VOICES signing, London, April 7, 1990
James Herbert and Stephen Jones, DARK VOICES signing, London, April 7, 1990
Photo © 1989 Seamus A. Ryan
James Herbert Interview, Fantasycon XIV, Birmingham,  October 7 1989
James Herbert Interview, Fantasycon XIV, Birmingham, October 7 1989

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