Friday, October 9, 2015

Sweet Halloween Swag!

And straight from the publisher! An editor from Penguin Books contacted me a couple weeks ago saying how much he enjoyed this blog and would I be interested in their new horror offerings for the Halloween season? Would I?! These three trade paperbacksThe Case Against Satan by Ray Russell, Perchance to Dream by Charles Beaumont, and Songs of a Dead Dreamer & Grimscribe by Thomas Ligotti— have each been given beautiful new covers that I believe accurately reflect the fictions therein. Thoughtful intros/afterwords are provided by folks like Ray Bradbury, Laird Barron, Jeff Vandermeer, and even William Shatner. These are welcome and affordable editions (the original Ligotti paperbacks from the 1990s are ridiculously expensive today) that will look terrific on your bookshelves. Get ready for some midnight reading...


15 comments:

Brian O'Rourke said...

Oooh, I have to get my hands on these ... particularly the Beaumont!

Kevin F said...

Maybe Beaumont can finally be treated like the god he was.

Cactus Smasher said...

I desperately need that Ligotti reprint.

Ron Clinton said...

Very cool, and very jealous. I've had the Beaumont on my Wish List at Amazon for a while now...glad to see it's pub date is here (or close). Beteween this collection and the newly-released Valancourt Books collection, it's good to see Beaumont finally getting his due (especially so with the Penguin Classics collection, as that lends Beaumont some much deserved literary cred).

I'm not much of one for Ligotti, but I may also check at that Russell reprint...I've read several of his works, but not that one.

highwayknees said...

I have a lot of the original Beaumont PBs or from back in my heyday. They are cherished like the Bradbury's , Matheson's and Browns I read and kept close since then. So glad to see him finally getting some more modern cred he deserves as much as the rest of L.A. group. One of my favorite stories of his is the Capotesque gothic: Miss Gentibelle. It's pretty dang creepy!
That Ray Russell looks cool too! It seems like sort of a template for The Exorcist . It sure does sound similar anyway. I used to love his Playboy ed. horror and scifi anthologies too. Never read Sardonicus but the movie used to scare the pants off me as a kid- like all of those Wm. Castle movies! Incubus is another I think that made a pretty original film, but haven't read the story. So maybe this is a good one to start with...

highwayknees said...

@Ron Clinton: Thanks for reminding me Ron-don't those Valancourt books look great! I'm trying to decide which one I need most but it's too hard!Their website is like a treasure trove of old unsung classics . I just hope they live up to their reps. So far so good with The Bog by Michael Talbot I'm 3/4 through and the monster just made an appearance and it was not a letdown! I'm digging this one. I just got Arch Obler's only novel too and it sounds right up my alley with its' Bad Seed theme.

Ron Clinton said...

I agree...I go to Valancourt's site and I get almost paralyzed with indecision since there're so many titles I want. One of these days I'm going to go binge-shopping.

Jordan Prejean said...

I picked up the Ligotti and the Beaumont just the other day. The Ligotti book is excellent, even with a tiring, and overlong, introduction from Jeff Vandermeer. Nonetheless, the book is a bargain and the cover is great.

Alas, the Beaumont is not so great, mostly because of the ill advised selection of stories. To be fair, about half of the contents are great; the other half not so much. As a huge Beaumont fan I was horrified to find that the editor neglected such seminal, and I mean absolutely essential, stories as "Miss Gentilbelle," "The Hunger," and "Black Country," along with other exceptional stories like "Mourning Song," "The Crooked Man," "Gentlemen, Be Seated," "Elegy," and "A Point of Honor" in exchange for forgettable material such as "Sorcerer's Moon," "Father, Dear Father," "Blood Brother," "The Monster Show," "The Music of the Yellow Brass," and "The New Sound." This book is being marketed as the best stories of Beaumont and about half of it is and half of it is certainly not. I would stick to Roger Anker's 1988 volume "Selected Stories," reprinted in paperback in 1992 as "The Howling Man." I only hope this book gets Beaumont some new readers and maybe the publisher will release a second volume containing the many excellent stories they left out of this "best of" collection. I'm still holding out hope that some publisher will commit to a big "Collected Stories" one day.

Ron Clinton said...

Jordan, Centipede Press has come the closest to a Collected Stories collection with MASS FOR MIXED VOICES, but I agree it would be nice to have a definitive edition(s). Btw, I understand that the Valancourt reprint edition of A TOUCH OF THE CREATURE has three unpublished stories in it...I'll likely pick up that volume for just that reason.

Thanks for your take on the new Penguin collection...I'm very familiar with Beaumont's works, so can appreciate the distinction of stories that you're making. It does certainly sound like an odd editorial TOC choice. Perhaps they were trying to include stories that are lesser known, but given that Beaumont is not well-known to the masses to begin with and that this first exposure for many will include such slight stories and ignore his best work, it is unfortunate.

Will Errickson said...

Dang, I just really looked at the Beaumont table of contents and was surprised to not see "The Black Country" and "Miss Gentibelle"! Oh well...

I'm happy about the Ligotti bc I believe the stories are the updated/revised versions and I only own the early '90s paperbacks.

Zwolf said...

I love Ligotti and Penguin so much that I bought the new paperback even though I've got hardbacks of both books included. (For a while you could get remaindered hardbacks of Grimscribe and Noctuary around two bucks, and Nightmare Factory for $4! Not anymore!)

And I'm going to buy those other two as soon as they hit the market. Which I believe is tomorrow... :)

Everything of Ligotti's should remain in print. It's a travesty that it was unavailable for so long, and I know Penguin will do him right, and at a good price. I've probably got most of the Beaumont stories but will happily get the Penguin version, too.

I'm especially psyched about the Ray Russell, since I don't have a copy of that one, and it sounds excellent.

Jordan Prejean said...

Wish I could afford "Mass for Mixed Voices" but looking it up on ISFDB it looked pretty much like Roger Anker's "Selected Stories" with a few unpublished stories. Prices online are absurd. I love Centipede Press but I really wish they would ramp up their mass market publishing arm and release some of these very expensive limited editions in more affordable formats, even digital.

Ligotti seems to revise his work with each new printing. I think "Songs of a Dead Dreamer" has been revised at least three times. I have the Subterranean Press edition, which was the last time it was published before the Penguin Classics paperback. I will have to do a comparison to see if the texts were again revised.

Another note about these editions. I was really disappointed that there were no annotations in the back of the book. I own the Lovecraft, Machen, Blackwood, Ashton-Smith, and M.R. James in the Penguin Classics editions and they all have extensive notes and annotations on the stories in the back. This may be because of S.T. Joshi but it would have been cool to have that kind of treatment on these new books, especially for the Beaumont.

Unknown said...

Have to agree this is a weak Beaumont collection. I am the director of the only documentary on him: CHARLES BEAUMONT: THE LIFE OF TWILIGHT ZONE'S MAGIC MAN. I was just discussing this volume won his best friend, author William F. Nolan, and he agrees.

--Jason V Brock
www.JaSunni.com

Padded Cell said...

The Case Against Satan is definitely along the lines of The Exorcist, except it's nine years older. Also, they have very different endings. It's pretty good, although not as suspenseful as his later novel, "Incubus."

3Fs said...

I rather impulsively picked up the Ligotti after seeing this post, and read it piecemeal—as nearly 500 pp. of 30+ short stories is a daunting proposition.

I found Ligotti’s writing both exhilarating and frustrating. Exhilarating in that, how jaw-dropping is it to find a modern horror writer whose style is so honed he could actually be described as a prose stylist!... But I was also frustrated by his ethereal narratives. There were too many times upon finishing a story that, had someone asked what the story was about, I’d have been hard-pressed to give an answer.

I can totally see how horror-fiction aficionados would consider Ligotti an overlooked genius, though.