Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Fantasycon 2017 - Ramsey Campbell, Adam Nevill and a Feast of Horrific Fun

It's rare enough to meet one of your favourite authors, but when two or more are gathered together...

Fantasycon 2017 from the British Fantasy Society brought with it every horror, fantasy and sci-fi writer and reader's dream: a host of favourite authors, panels, workshops, readings, book launches, a packed dealer's room and more. This year, it was held at the Bull Hotel in Peterborough and it was the first I have attended.

Held over three days, it was also the friendliest of gatherings. Even this novice, who errs on the side of shyness before the second glass of wine has taken effect, felt among friends. In truth, apart from my husband, I knew only one other person - Ramsey Campbell - who it has been my pleasure and privilege to meet on a number of occasions. By the time we left, I knew we would be coming back and that it would be a chance to renew acquaintanceships.

As you'll see from the Events Programme, there were so many events happening, it as hard to choose but choose we did. Book launches from PS Publishing, hosted by the inimitable Peter Crowther, and Ritual Limited, Adam L.G. Nevill's own company, introduced such feasts of horrific delight as Dark Places, Evil Faces, from which all proceeds go to Macmillan Cancer Support, Darker Companions an anthology of fiction, inspired by and celebrating fifty years of Ramsey Campbell's writing, She Sleeps by R.B. Russell and Adam Nevill's eclectic and horrifyingly addictive Hasty for the Dark (of which more later). 

Panel discussions covered a wide range of topics from Writing for Television, through David Lynch's Twin Peaks, Doctor Who, Writing for the Stage, Audio Drama...and much more besides.

It was great to see that the other great writing tradition - the Bar - was well patronised and much renewing of friendships, making of new ones,  networking and...imbibing... led to a busy time for the staff all day every day and well into the night.

The contributions made by well respected and experienced authors, as well as special guests Ben Aaronovich, Nancy Kilpatrick and Pat Cadigan added greatly to the success of the event. All in all, a real chance to recharge the creative batteries.

We could only attend for two days this year, during which I joined the BFS, and my bank account steadily emptied. We needed a suitcase just for the books! Next year, we will be there for the full three days and evenings. We're taking an empty trunk with us.

I promised more on Hasty for the Dark and here it is. It will be published in ebook, hardback and paperback on October 31st this year, but is available for pre-order at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Waterstones, Write Blend and wherever you normally shop for books on or offline.

 From the Publisher:

'These selected terrors range from the speculative to supernatural horror, encompass the infernal and the occult, and include stories inspired by H. P. Lovecraft, Robert Aickman and Ramsey Campbell.

Hasty for the Dark is the second short story collection from the award-winning and widely appreciated British writer of horror fiction, Adam L. G. Nevill. The author's best horror stories from 2009 to 2015 are collected here for the first time.

The hardest journeys in life and death are taken underground.
No blackmail is as ghastly as extortion from angels.
A swift reckoning often travels in handheld luggage.
Once considered inhumane and now derelict, this zoo may not be as empty as assumed.
A bad marriage, a killer couple, and part of a wider movement.
No sign of life aboard an abandoned freighter, but what is left below deck tells a strange story.
The origin of our species is not what we think.
In destitution, the future for revolution and mass murder is so bright.
Your memories may not be your own, and your life nothing more than a ritual that will compel you to perform an atrocity . . .

 My Review

I first became a fan of Adam Nevill when I read his novel, Apartment 16, which had me glued, scared and peering a little too closely into mirrors and down shadowy corridors. I found it sensationally creepy. Hasty for the Dark proves that the author doesn’t need a large canvas on which to construct his masterpieces. This collection of short stories from six years of work contains evidence of almost every strand of horror and beyond.  Employing the skills of a writer at the top of his game Adam Nevill takes us below ground where claustrophobia strikes as the mass of people presses against the narrator in On All Underground Lines – one of my personal favourites. In The Angels of London, we are transported into a seedy house divided into bedsits that make Rigsby’s Rising Damp seem like a palace, but there is more, so much more going on in that dilapidated building and the author reveals its secrets layer by tantalizing layer.

What happened to the crew of the ill-fated freighter? With Hippocampus, another intriguing tale awaits, heavy with atmosphere and foreboding. 

Reality blurs and memories play tricks with the minds of the central characters as Little Black Lamb takes some truly horrific turns.

I have mentioned only a few of the highlights that await within the pages of hasty for the Dark. All the stories reflect the author’s grasp of language, pace, storytelling, character and plot. Each is a unique gem and, while he acknowledges the influence on him of writers such as Ramsey Campbell and HP Lovecraft, none of Nevill’s work is ever derivative and, before embarking on each new story, my question was always the same: Where is he going to transport me this time?

I was never disappointed. Read and enjoy, and be prepared for vivid images that stay with you long after you’ve turned the page.

  You can connect with Adam L.G. Nevill on his website and his Amazon page. 

Catch him at Liverpool Horrorcon on October7th and 8th 2017 !


  1. Looks and sounds fabulous Cat. So glad you had a ball. Do you know I stayed in the Bull Hotel once many years ago xxxx

  2. It was great, thanks Shey. I used to live in Peterborough! Many years ago now though. It's changed a lot - and for the better too, in my opinion.