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Enter the Shadow Booth... in Chester

On 19 October, The Shadow Booth made a rare appearance in the physical realm. Manifesting at FantasyCon 2018 - the convention of the British Fantasy Society - rumours abounded of its presence in and around the city of Chester. What happened that day may or may not have looked something like this...

Before he even stepped off the train, Phil was dreading the weekend. There was a reason why he'd spent the last ten years avoiding Sandra, Curtis, Ranesh and the others, and with each mile that the train had trundled out of London that reason had become starker and starker.

Brushing crumbs from his belly, Phil reached up to gather his bag and his jacket from the parcel shelf. He was a mess, and he knew it. While the others had become fitter, happier - richer - as the years passed, he had grown fat and confused. He felt something had passed him by, but he couldn't say exactly what.

Stepping out onto the platform at Chester, he wrinkled his nose. What was that? Cowshit? He'd barely …

5 Weird Horror Books You Won't Have Read For Halloween!

Last year we ran a 'Top 5 Weird Horror Books' list for Halloween, and it was so popular that we thought we'd do it again. After all, who really wants to read yet another list of Stephen King books this All Hallows Eve?

As before, we're celebrating the weird and the unusual for our list. We've asked some of the contributors to The Shadow Booth: Vol. 2 to recommend something strange, unsettling, and not widely read for Halloween. This is what crawled out of the swamp...
The Hawkline Monster by Richard Brautigan
Recommended by Aliya Whiteley A monster has been created. In the basement of his huge house atop a network of ice caves, Professor Hawkline made something unspeakable from a mysterious bottle of Chemicals, and then he vanished. His daughters have enlisted the help of two guns-for-hire to explore the caves and kill the monster, and nothing I’ve just told you is exactly accurate about that situation. This sounds like horror in a Western setting, which is unusual …

Light Amid the Risen Dark: an interview with artist Michael Heslop

LIGHT AMID THE RISEN DARK An interview with artist Michael Heslop  by Andrew Wallace 

Michael Heslop was one of the most prolific book cover artists working in the heyday of the industry from the 1970s to 1990s. His reliability with deadlines, total involvement in every project and ability to create powerful, evocative imagery meant he worked for all the major publishers, including Corgi, Futura, Pan and Mayflower. His work is characterised by precision and innovative use of strong graphic elements, particularly the ability to blend images and create a unique collage effect within a single frame.

He trained at Somerset College of Art, in Brighton & University College, and earned his living during the mid-1960s by teaching art in Devon. His artistic breakthrough came in 1967, when his illustrations of the history of postal services for the GPO led to work with publishers who wanted new talent for the burgeoning book cover market. Michael created over sixty covers during this time, …

The Shadow Booth: Vol. 2 - OUT NOW!

The booth juts at an angle from the sand, the canvas taut beneath the weight of the drifting dunes. Janet almost passes it by. But it’s the sign that snags her attention. Painted in rust-red onto three pieces of driftwood, the sun-bleached planks lashed together with lengths of twisted blond twine, it looks surprisingly fresh. Enter the Shadow Booth, it says, and you will never be the same again.

The Shadow Booth, a journal of weird and eerie fiction, returns for Volume 2! Drawing its inspiration from the likes of Thomas Ligotti and Robert Aickman, The Shadow Booth explores that dark, murky hinterland between mainstream horror and literary fiction.
Volume 2 contains new stories by:

Chikodili Emelumadu
Dan Grace
Kirsty Logan
Johnny Mains
Ralph Robert Moore
Mark Morris
Gareth E. Rees
Giovanna Repetto
George Sandison
Anna Vaught
Aliya Whiteley

Enter the Shadow Booth, and you will never be the same again…

Buy The Shadow Booth: Vol. 2 -
Paperback
Ebook

'Feasting; Fasting', 'Cave Venus et Stellas' and a note on 'The Shadow Babies'

'FEASTING; FASTING', 'CAVE VENUS ET STELLAS' AND A NOTE ON 'THE SHADOW BABIES'  by Anna Vaught
These two (short) short stories are included in Volume 2 of The Shadow Booth, and here’s a little about what I was thinking when I wrote them.

You may already have seen my memoir piece ‘The Shadow Babies’ on this site; here - and aren’t you glad it’s not you having to face these terrifying sawdust people whose crimes go hidden and whose auspice is deflected by graciousness? - and in the short stories, I am thinking about what lies beneath or within. We may associate the weird or eerie with gothic tropes and, thereby, with something fantastical, and so remote; my point, though, is that they are everywhere. All around us - yes, in a lovely Victorian house open to neighbours and tea parties - is a compaction of horror that people refuse to see. That is what I was exploring in the ‘The Shadow Babies’.

In all three pieces, I am using gothic to satirise, for satire has al…

The Shadow Booth: Vol. 2 - London Launch & Readings!

We'll be celebrating the launch of The Shadow Booth: Vol. 2 on Thursday 5 July, with an evening of readings, conversation, and maybe a drink or two! This is a FREE event, but space is limited so please mark yourself as attending on our Facebook event page to guarantee entry.

Reading on the night will be:

ALIYA WHITELEY - author of The Beauty and The Arrival of Missives, whose story 'Ear to Ear' appears in Vol. 2

DANIEL CARPENTER - whose story 'Flotsam', from Vol. 1, was recently selected for this year's volume of The Year's Best Weird Fiction

GEORGE SANDISON - publisher, editor, and all-round deity at Unsung Stories, whose story 'Keel' appears in Vol. 2

Readings will start at 7.30pm, so please make sure you're at the venue in plenty of time. The event will take place in The Scullery, the private room at Old Marys, 24 Craven Terrace, Lancaster Gate, London. Closest Tube is Lancaster Gate.

Just a reminder - we have a limit on numbers, so PLE…

Essay: Frankenstein, Dracula and the Uncanny

FRANKENSTEIN, DRACULA AND THE UNCANNY  by Mark Mayes The novels Frankenstein (Mary Shelley, 1818) and Dracula (Bram Stoker, 1897) have been much adapted since they were written, as countless films, plays, literary reworkings, and even as cartoons. Their central protagonists – the Creature and the Count – have been used in advertising to sell anything from Heineken to Apple computers. The result of all this can be a distancing from and distortion of their original characters, so much so that, for example, the name of Frankenstein, the hubristic doctor and creator of the ‘Creature’, is used to denote the Creature himself. The creator and created have become synonymous, further blurring the Creature’s individual essence – effacing him. I wanted to take a look at the original texts from which these many spin-offs emanate and show how they demonstrate a crisis of faith and an anxiety about the loss of absolute truths, with particular regard to manifestations of the uncanny. In his essay, ‘…

The Shadow Booth: Vol. 2 - COMING THIS JUNE!

We're thrilled to announce that The Shadow Booth: Vol. 2 will be launched this June. Once again, we'll be publishing as an ebook and a mass-market paperback (which should match your copy of Vol. 1 perfectly on the shelf...)

This time we're using Indiegogo to crowdfund the project, soplease order your copy here. There are also a number of perks/bundles for those of you who want more Booth for your money.

But we haven't told you the most exciting part. The lineup is now finalised for Vol. 2, and the Table of Contents reads as follows:
Buddy by Mark MorrisWe are the Disease by Gareth ReesWaves by Dan GraceMy Father’s Face by Giovanna RepettoEar to Ear by Aliya WhiteleyFeasting, Fasting by Anna VaughtKeel by George SandisonWhat to do When Your Child Brings Home a Mami Wata by Chikodili EmelumaduGood Good Good, Nice Nice Nice by Kirsty LoganMonkeys on the Beach by Ralph Robert MooreCave Venus et Stellas by Anna VaughtThe Joanne by Johnny Mains Sound good? We think so. In fa…

Books: The Dark is Rising

A DARK AND TIMELESS BEAUTY The Dark is Rising: Book Two of The Dark is Rising sequence by Susan Cooper (1973)by Andrew Wallace I had this novel as a boy, but didn’t read it because the cover was too frightening. It was the Puffin UK second edition, with art by Michael Heslop, and featured Herne the Hunter as an owl-eyed, antlered figure with an uncomfortably human face. Herne is riding the white horse, which through a curious use of negative effect and collage appears to be black. The picture is dynamic, even threatening; due to the colouration, it looks as though we are seeing Herne through a rifle sight. It is not clear whether this menacing figure is friend or foe; he looks like trouble, but there is something about his eyes that is not so much evil as uniquely focused.
I’ve dwelt on this cover for two reasons: one is that the combination of familiar and uncanny elements makes it one of the most enduring images of the weird I know; the other is that it so perfectly captures the …

The Shadow Booth is now open for Submissions!

WE ARE NOW ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS OF SHORT STORIES, UNTIL 31 MARCH 2018. PLEASE READ THE GUIDELINES BELOW BEFORE SUBMITTING.

We will be opening for FICTION SUBMISSIONS for the entirety of March 2018. Note: we are open all the time for non-fiction for the website, but the fiction submissions period will open on 1st March and end at midnight on 31st March 2018.

Here are some basic guidelines:
We are a bi-annual journal of weird and eerie fiction. Do not send us your Western romance (in space). Do not send us your drug addiction memoir. Do not send us your shopping list (unless you're buying some really weird things). Weird. Eerie. Fiction. Please.If you want an idea of what we mean by weird and eerie, then read The Shadow Booth: Vol. 1. This is the best way to find out what we like! The ebook is only £5, and like all independent publications, we need your support to keep going. (Paperbacks, ebooks and subscriptions are available here. Okay, rant over...) If you want further pointers,…

Memoir: The Drive Home

THE DRIVE HOME
by Tim Cooke