Sunday, November 21, 2010

Wild Stacks #1 -- news

Issue 1 of Wild Stacks: The Library of the Imagination will feature new fiction by Rob Shearman and Rod Rees. Coming soon.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wild Stacks: submission guidelines

The submission guidelines for Wild Stacks magazine have been updated. The main change is that the word count has been raised to 5,000 (see website for all the details).

Submissions are now open until the end of December 2010 (or until we fill the next issue) with a month reading period after. So get your stories honed and send them to Wild Stacks.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wild Stacks online magazine to be launched

The Alchemy Press is proud to announce Wild Stacks, The Library Of The Imagination. The first issue of this online magazine will be posted in a few months. Meanwhile, issue 0, the pre-launch issue, is already available. Wild Stacks will publish stories from all corners of the fantasy world.

We are also keen to include artwork. Please contact us if you would like to contribute.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Masters of Fantasy 2: August Derleth

Way back in 1984 the postman delivered a large envelope containing articles by Nic Howard -- articles on and about August Derleth. Also in that package was a short piece by Ramsey Campbell and many, many illustrations by Allen Koszowski. This was to be the basis for my first small press publication. In time, they were combined and published by the British Fantasy Society as Masters of Fantasy 2: August Derleth. It was a time-consuming, yet an interesting, educational and rewarding, experience: typing it out on an electric typewriter, correcting the typos, using sheets of Letraset to prepare the titles, and cow gum to paste it together.

The booklet contained the following by Nic Howard: "Derleth: An American Life in Literature" and "Dark Glory: Derleth's Achievements", plus a foreword, notes and bibliographical information. Ramsey Campbell's "Derleth As I Knew Him", the introduction, was excerpted from a longer piece. The booklet was just 24 pages in length (plus covers) and looks rather quaint when compared with today's proliferation of small press publications.

Masters of Fantasy 2 was the seventh in the BFS Booklet series. Its cover price was 50p ($1.50). Nowadays, can you buy anything worthy for a mere fifty pence?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Dark Horizons 38

Dark Horizons 38 was edited by Peter Coleborn and Mike Chinn – Phil Williams stood down after the previous issue. Joel Lane remained the poetry editor. It was published by the BFS in 1999. I think this was the first perfect-bound issue of DH, a change that’s been with us since. This binding certainly made the magazine look and feel more substantial. It also boasted over a hundred pages – a step up from past issues. And at last, DH used a decent-sized font that made this issue easy to read; it still is, even with today’s aged eyes.

“Invasion” by Rudy Kremberg
“The Suburban Vampire” (verse) by Norman J Olson
“The Ichor of Ilyus Benz” by Linda Talbot
“Clockwise Cryptonia” (verse) by echo syzygy
“Roots of a Writer” (NF) by Anne Gay
“Draining Away” (verse) by Brian Maycock
“Noodles” by James Mac
“The Testament of Empedocles” by P G McCormack
“Monopoly” (verse) by John M Edwards
“Lavender and Lilac: Ghosts, Visits and Old Ladies” (NF) by John Howard
“Queen of Clubs” by Allen Ashley
“A Soldier in Rohgate” by D Harrigon
“The Bezaloo” by Bill Wilensky

The front cover artwork (illustrating “Queen of Clubs”) was by Bob Hobbs. Alas, no interior artwork in this issue, barring a photograph of Anne Gay (by Jerry Bauer) and cover reproductions accompanying John Howard’s article.

Note: NF denotes non-fiction. The piece by John Howard also carried a second sub-title: “A Look at Some Old-time American Domestic Horror”.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Dark Horizons 37

After Chills, Peter Coleborn teamed up with Mike Chinn and Phil Williams to edit and produce the British Fantasy Society’s premier publication, Dark Horizons. Unfortunately, their first issue of DH took far too long to appear. The editorial note offers apologies but no excuses – and it’s too far in the past to remember all the details. Anyway, Dark Horizons 37, edited by the aforementioned team, with Joel Lane appointed as poetry editor, appeared in 1998.The cover price was £3.00.

DH37, although neatly produced, used a too-small font, which must have made it hard on the eyes. Dark Horizons included both fiction and non-fiction:

“The Lake” by Linda D Acaster
“Para Dice by the Landing Light” by G W Greenwood. Illustrated by Dallas Goffin
“Worms Feed on Hector: the Gothic Novels of Simon Raven” (NF) by Howard Watson
“A Fence in Rohgate” by D Harrigon
“Terminal” by Simon MacCulloch. Illustrated by Janet Morris
“Heart of the Machine” by Rick Cadger
“Scapegoat” by Alan Casey
“Queue” (verse) by Brian Maycock *
“Scraps” by Paul Finch. Illustrated by Alan Hunter
“Roots of a Writer” (NF) by Storm Constantine. Illustrated by Bob Covington
“Jenna’s Home” by Rick Kleffel
“Looking Through the Glass” (verse) by Steve Sneyd
“Horrorscopes: a Lover’s Guide” by Peter Tennant
“Kwaidan Revisited” (NF) by John Paul Catton
“A Rather Improbable God” by David Andreas
“Bio” (verse) by Mark McLaughlin
“The Last Story in the Book” by D F Lewis

Cover art was by Bob Covington with additional artwork by Alan Casey.

Note: * denoted a reprint and NF is non-fiction.

Glancing through DH37’s pages, I note that the first Alchemy Press title, The Paladin Mandates, had just appeared. That year’s Fantasycon, FCXXII, was held at the Albany Posthouse Hotel in Birmingham over the weekend 11-13 September. The guests of honour were Freda Warrington and Jane Yolen. Ramsey Campbell was the master of ceremonies. Finally, about this time websites were becoming more popular, with the BFS’ first site appearing on the Geocities server.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Chills, issue 10

The final Chills, issue 10, edited by Peter Coleborn and Simon MacCulloch, was published by the BFS in 1996 (£3.00/$6.00). The cover illustration depicted a bearded gent reading a tome of some dubious ancient lore. Some people assumed it was a picture of your equally-bearded editor; I assure you it’s not – besides, gent’s nose is too large.

Once again, sadly, we had no artwork illustrating specific stories. In fact, artwork is only represented by the fabulous cover (by Russell Morgan) and one spot piece by Martin McKenna. The contents were:

“How the Buckie Was Saved” by David Sutton
“A Musical Calling” by Raymond Nickford
“Beal’s Scrapyard” by Peter Bayliss
“A Cry For Help” by Martin Plumbridge
“Carousel” by Debbie Bennett
“Someone Else’s Problem” by Michael Marshall Smith
“The Lady With Little Friends in Her Hair” (verse) by Mark McLaughlin

So why did Chills end with its tenth issue? For starters, the ten issues covered a decade, more-or-less, and I felt that it was time to give the magazine a rest, at least for a while; and I wanted to pursue some other activities, including joining the editorial team on the BFS’s elder journal, Dark Horizons. Mike Chinn and I co-edited and co-produced DH with Phil Williams (and with Joel Lane in charge of poetry).

Contributors to Winter Chills/Chills were: Allen Ashley, Clive Barker, Roy Bayfield, Peter Bayliss, Debbie Bennett, Gilles Bergal, David F Bischoff, Sydney J Bounds, Ramsey Campbell, Dave Carson, Alan Casey, R Chetwynd-Hayes, Mike Chinn, Richard Coady, Bob Covington, Ken Cowley, Charles Dougherty, Phil Emery, Frank Forte, Neil Gaiman, Stephen Gallagher, Dallas Goffin, Jim Garrison, Phoenix Hitch, Mark Hockley, Peter A Hough, Tony Hough, Alan Hunter, Ian Hunter, Stephen Jones, Andrew S Jordan, Rick Kennett, Rick Kleffel, Allen Koszowski, Arke Kriske, Joel Lane, Alan W Lear, Ben Leech, DF Lewis, Thomas Ligotti, Steve Lines, Brian Lumley, Martin McKenna, Mark McLaughlin, Brian Maycock, MB, Chris Morgan, Russell Morgan, Russ Nicholson, Raymond Nickford, Jeffrey Osier, Norman Partridge, Nigel Pennington, Jim Pitts, Stephen Player, Martin Plumbridge, Andrew Pye, Mark Rainey, Paul Roland, Nicholas Royle, Jeff Salmon, Guy N Smith, Michael Marshall Smith, Sylvia Starshine, John Stewart, David Sutton, Stephen Skwarek, Steve Rasnic Tem, Tia Travis, Peter Tremayne, Lisa Tuttle, Ian Watson, William Thomas Webb, Conrad Williams … and of course my fellow editor Simon McCulloch. My thanks and appreciation to all of you.

Very quickly BFS and other UK small presses were upping the ante as far as production values are concerned – all down to access to home computers and DTP programs. In comparison, Chills looked a little primitive. But the magazine, along with others in that era, was part of the evolutionary process. Whatever, I look back on it with fond memories.

Glancing through Chills 10, I note that BFS membership was still a mere £15.00 a year. FantasyCon XX was scheduled for 4-6 October 1996, at the International Hotel in London. The guests of honour were Christopher Fowler and Tom Holt, with Kim Newman acting as the master of ceremonies. FCXX was the trial run for the following year’s World Fantasy Convention. The 1997 WFC took place in the same Dockland’s hotel, over the weekend 30 October-2 November. This was the second time the event was held in London.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Chills, issue 9

The penultimate issue of Chills (number 9) was published by the BFS in 1996, edited by Peter Coleborn and Simon MacCulloch. Cover price was £3.00/$6.00. Judging by the layout, I had invested in a better inkjet printer; at least the text (single column again) is much cleaner and clearer. Poetry once again was featured. The contents were:

“Better Late” (verse) by Chris Morgan
“The Terrible Lizards” by Rick Kleffel
“Noh Mask” by Anke Kriske
“The Bottom Line” by Ben Leech
“Plague Etiquette” (verse) by Brian Maycock
“Things in Boxes” by “M B”
“The Dark Hem” by D F Lewis
“The Sixth Magician” by Allen Ashley
“One Footfall” (verse) by Andrew Pye

The front cover was by Jim Pitts. Interior (spot) art came from Alan Casey, Frank Forte, Tony Hough and Martin McKenna. For the first time we were unable to include artwork illustrating specific stories.

Chills, issue 8

Chills 8, edited by Peter Coleborn and Simon MacCulloch, was published by the BFS in 1994. The cover price was £2.75/$6.00. For the first time, Chills included poetry. We also used a two-column design for the stories which, bearing in mind the small fonts we used (too small, I now reckon), made it easier to read. The contents were:

“The Outer Districts” (verse) by Joel Lane
“Save the Last Dance For Me” by Norman Partridge. Illustrated by Bob Covington
“The Parchment Recipes” by Raymond Nickford. Illustrated by Alan Hunter
“Pieces of Silence” by Joel Lane
“The Stone Dog” by Peter Bayliss
“The Lady Of Situations” by Conrad Williams. Illustrated by Steve Lines
“Getting Through” by Phoenix Hitch
“Snakebite” by Allen Ashley. Illustrated by Russ Nicholson
“Scaredy & Whitemouth” by D F Lewis

The front cover illustration was by Bob Covington. Additional artwork was by Dallas Goffin and Jim Pitts.

There was no Jim Pitts back cover illustration this time (and for the rest of the magazine’s run). Instead, we ran an ad for the BFS. In 1994 the cost of membership was a mere £15.00.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Chills, issue 7

Chills 7, edited by Peter Coleborn and Simon MacCulloch, was published by the BFS in 1993. The cover price was £2.50/$6.00. We had a bit of a coup with this issue: we included a Clive Barker story (which had originally appeared in the Guardian on 31 October 1992). This issue’s contents:

“A Date With the Hangman’s Daughter” by Tia Travis. Illustrated by Jim Pitts
“The Departed” by Clive Barker. Illustrated by Bob Covington
“Desktop Priapism With Your PCW” by Mike Chinn. Illustrated by Mike Chinn
“The Goalkeeper’s Fear Of the Crowd” by Nicholas Royle. Illustrated by Bob Covington.
“The Exhibit” by Martn Plumbridge. Illustrated by Steve Lines

The front cover was by Martin McKenna. The back cover (illustrating “The Shambler From the Stars”) was by Jim Pitts. Additional artwork came from Alan Hunter and Jim Pitts.

So then, can anyone under 30 remember the PCW? Compared with today’s PCs and laptops, it wasn’t much of an advancement on the electric typewriter. But at the time… Well, you had to be there.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Chills, issue 6

Issue 6 of Chills was published by the BFS in 1992, and again was edited by Peter Coleborn and Simon MacCulloch. The cover price was £2.00/$4.00. The magazine contained seven stories:

“The Big Ol’ Clown Lady” by Jeffrey Osier. Illustrated by Jeffrey Osier *
“Out Of the Storm” by Rick Kennett. Illustrated by Alan Hunter
“Junctions” by Conrad Williams. Illustrated by Martin McKenna
“Spiritual Radio” by Mark Rainey. Illustrated by Bob Covington
“Lost Child” by D F Lewis
“Shadows” by Richard Coady. Illustrated by Dave Carson
“The Pet Peeve” by Rick Kleffel. Illustrated by Jim Pitts

Note: *Jeffrey Osier’s story was originally published in Grue 11.

The cover was by Allen Koszowski; back cover (illustrating Robert Bloch’s “The Shadow From the Steeple”) was by Jim Pitts. Additional artwork came from Dallas Goffin, Allen Koszowski and Martin McKenna.

The magazine also featured a competition, sponsored by Grafton Books, to win copies of Shadows in the Watchgate by Mike Jefferies and a t-shirt designed by Jefferies. The question was: In which sporting event did Mike Jefferies represent Britain in 1980? In this day of the WWW, answering it is so much easier.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Shadows of Light and Dark by Jo Fletcher

Shadows of Light and Dark is a poetry collection by award-winning poet Jo Fletcher. The book was co-produced by the Alchemy Press and Airgedlamh Publications in 1998 in a limited edition of 250 copies (cover price £12.99), signed by Jo Fletcher, Neil Gaiman (introduction), Les Edwards (front cover artwork), Seamus A Ryan (back cover photograph) and Michael Marshall Smith (book designer). The book collects 32 poems, including reprints and originals. Copies of this book are still available via Oldhaven's Abe bookstore for the reduced price of £10.00.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Chills, issue 5

With issue five, the word "Winter" had been dropped from the title. And with this issue, Simon MacCulloch joined the editorial team. "Winter" was dropped because the magazine started to appear in the other seasons and hence was deemed inappropriate. Also, Chills is snappier (and the abbreviation no longer sounded like a London postcode).

Chills 5, edited by Peter Coleborn and Simon MacCulloch was published by the British Fantasy Society in 1991. The cover price was £1.80/$4.00. Eight stories appeared in this issue:

"Black Leather Kites" by Norman Partridge. Illustrated by Bob Covington
"Uncle E and Uncle T" by Roy Bayfield. Illustrated ny Nigel Pennington
"Twilight Shifts" by Phil Emery
"Out of His Mind" by Ken Cowley. Illustrated by Alan Hunter
"In the Arcade" by Lisa Tuttle. Illustrated by Bob Covington
"Come With Me" by Conrad Williams. Illustrated by Dallas Goffin
"My Giddy Aunt" by D F Lewis. Illustrated by Sylvia Starshine
"The Real Wolf" by Thomas Ligotti. Illustrated by Jim Pitts

The cover illustration was by Charles Dougherty and designed by Nigel Pennington (who also designed the logo). Additional artwork was by Alan Hunter and Nigel Pennington. The back cover illustration was for H P Lovecraft's "The Haunter of the Dark" by Jim Pitts.

Note: "In the Arcade" originally appeared in Amazing Science Fiction, 1978. "The Real Wolf" first appeared in Nocturne 1, 1988.

Winter Chills 4

Winter Chills 4, edited by Peter Coleborn and published by the British Fantasy Society, appeared in 1990. It was a slim affair -- just 36 pages. Cover price was £1.50/$3.00. The magazine included seven stories:

"Copyright Infringement" by David F Bischoff. Illustrated by Dallas Goffin
"Flossie Fraser" by D F Lewis
"The Boat of Sighs" by Allen Ashley. Illustrated by Allen Koszowski
"The Law of the Land" by Mark Hockley. Illustrated by Stephen Skwarek
"The Portrait" by Ian Hunter
"Silver" by Andrew S Jordan. Illustrated by Alan Hunter
"Approved to Scrap" by Rick Kennett. Illustrated by Jeff Salmon

The cover was by Martin McKenna, with additional artwork by Dallas Goffin and Martin McKenna.

Note: "Copyright Infringement" originally appeared in RAM (aka Micro Worlds) edited by Thomas F Monteleone in 1984, "Approved to Scrap" first appeared in The Cygnus Chronicle, volume 5, number 3, in 1983.

The Return of the Barbarians!

Swords Against the Millennium, edited by Mike Chinn, was co-published by the Alchemy Press and Saladorth Productions in 2000. The anthology demonstrates that heroic fantasy fits the short story format as well as novel length -- Mike Chinn and I were thinking of Robert E Howard, Jack Vance, Fritz Leiber, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Michael Moorcock... writers and stories of that ilk. To this end, Mike collected together eleven stories (including just two reprints):

"An Embarrassment of Champions" by Chris Morgan
"Manslayer" by Simon R Green *
"The Stages of the God" by Ramsey Campbell *
"The Seventh Sigil" by Cherith Baldry
"Dark Destroyer" by Adrian Cole
"The Taking" by Stan Nicholls
"Demon Slayer" by Pauline E Dungate
"Act of Sacrifice" by Paul Lewis
"To Catch a Thief" by Lisanne Norman
"Nyalis and the Cloud Raiders" by Anne Gay
"The Hunger of the Leaves" by Joel Lane

The cover painting was by Bob Covington, with interior artwork by David Bezzina, Alan Hunter and Jim Pitts.

The Joel Lane story was selected for the year's best anthologies for horror (edited by Stephen Jones) and fantasy (edited by David G Hartwell).

The anthology was published in paperback (£9.95) and as a hardcover, signed and limited to 200 copies (£25.00). The limited edition is signed by all the writers, artists and the editor -- a fabulous book. However, you can still get new copies of this book for £8 and £20 respectively including UK postage ( or via Oldhaven Book's Abe Store: just put in the title and away you go. Or click here to go directly to the title.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Where the Bodies Are Buried

Kim Newman's Where the Bodies Are Buried was co-published in 2000 by the Alchemy Press and Airgedlamh Publications.

ISBN 978-0-9532260-2-3

The book collects the four "Bodies" stories:

"Where the Bodies Are Buried"
"Where the Bodies Are Buried II: Sequel Hook"
"Where the Bodies Are Buried 3: Black and White and Red All Over"
"Where the Bodies Are Buried 2020"

The book is topped and tailed with an introduction by Peter Atkins and a Dramatis Personae, which nicely links this collection to many of Kim's other works. Sylvia Starshine painted the cover and Randy Broecker the interior artwork.

Where the Bodies Are Buried was published as a signed (by Kim Newman, Peter Atkins, Sylvia Starshine and Randy Broecker) hard cover with dust jacket, limited edition of 500 copies. The cover price was £17.50. New copies are still available from The Alchemy Press for £15.00 inc postage in the UK. Or via Oldhaven Books on Abe and

Where the Bodies Are Buried won the BFS Award for the Best Small Press!

Joel Lane said: "Meet Rob Hackwill, folk demon. A blackmailer killed by his victims, returning to expose what they are really made of. Or so the script goes. But then Hackwill slithers out of film into reality. Where the Bodies Are Buried is a heady brew of pulp horror, political satire and twisted technology. These four stories deconstruct the myths of the late twentieth centry -- with a hatchet. Prepare to laugh. Prepare to shudder. Prepare to find out Where the Bodies Are Buried."

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Winter Chills 3

Winter Chills 3 appeared in January 1989 and was not included in the BFS booklet series. The cover price was £1.50/ $3.00.

Winter Chills 3. Edited by Peter Coleborn. Published by the British Fantasy Society © 1987

"Samathiel’s Summons” by Ian Watson. Illustrated by Jim Pitts
“Safe House” by Steve Rasnic Tem. Illustrated by Alan Hunter
“The Authors of Prendergoth” by William Thomas Webb. Illustrated by Martin McKenna
“The Earth Wire” by Joel Lane. Illustrated by Dallas Goffin
“When the Bucket Stilled” by Stephen Player. Illustrated by Stephen Player
“We Can Get Them for You Wholesale” by Neil Gaiman. Illustrated by Sylvia Starshine.

Front cover illustration by John Stewart. Additional artwork by Dave Carson, Dallas Goffin, Allen Koszowski and Martin McKenna.

Note: “Samathiel’s Summons” first appeared in Fantasy Book (1984) and “We Can Get Them for You Wholesale” first appeared in Knave (1986)

Winter Chills 2

The second issue of Winter Chills also appeared in 1987 – just in time for Christmas. WC2 was number 12 in the BFS booklet series. The cover price was £1.00/ $3.00. And meanwhile, the Stephen Jones & David Sutton produced Fantasy Tales was seeing its tenth anniversary.

A quick comment about fanzine production. I was using a daisy wheel electronic typewriter at the time -- no internal memory, no cut and paste with clicks of a mouse, no easy layouts. The titles were all created with Letraset, and put together with scissors and glue. Things are so much easier now.

Winter Chills 2. Edited by Peter Coleborn. Published by the British Fantasy Society © 1987

“The Wishing Ball” by Stephen Gallagher. Illustrated by Alan Hunter
“Call to Me, Call to Me” by Alan W Lear. Illustrated by Stephen Jones
“Thanksgiving Dinner” by Mike Chinn. Illustrated by Dallas Goffin
“The Void Within His Head” by Peter A Hough. Illustrated by Allen Koszowski
“A Man Between Two Worlds” by Gilles Bergal. Illustrated by Alan Hunter
“The Doll” by Guy N Smith. Illustrated by Jim Pitts
“The Miracle Man” by Paul Roland. Illustrated by Martin McKenna

Front cover illustration by Dave Carson. Additional artwork by Peter Coleborn, Jim Garrison and Dallas Goffin.

Note: “A Man Between Two Worlds” was translated from the French by Stephen Gallagher. It was originally published in Creatures des Tenebres by Gilles Bergal (1985)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Winter Chills 1

Before The Alchemy Press, I edited/produced a number of titles for the British Fantasy Society. Way back in 1986 the BFS’s journal Dark Horizons was failing to appear regularly. I pitched to the then Society chairs (Stephen Jones and Jo Fletcher) an all-fiction, complementary magazine. They gave me the go ahead and so I contacted a number of authors and artists. And in January 1987 Winter Chills debuted. Originally, I aimed for a magazine of ghost stories, to appear in time for Christmas ’86. But WC1 was just a month late and it very quickly spread its coverage over the horror fiction field. I remain very grateful for everyone who contributed to issue one.

With issue 5 the title of the magazine dropped the ‘Winter’ bit and became, simply, Chills. There were ten issues in total, appearing more-or-less annually, with the final issue appearing in March 1996.

I hope to include on this website a complete list of the magazine’s contents in order to provide a useful resource for future reference. WC1’s cover price was 90p/$3.00. And BFS annual membership was just £8.00.

Winter Chills 1. Edited by Peter Coleborn. Published by the British Fantasy Society © 1987

“The Hanging Tree” by R Chetwynd-Hayes. Illustrated by Jim Pitts
“A New Life” by Ramsey Campbell. Illustrated by Dave Carson
“Something Old, Something Evil” by Sydney J Bounds. Illustrated by Alan Hunter
“Deathstone” by Peter Tremayne
“Lady Megalith” by David Sutton. Illustrated by Alan Hunter
“Late Shopping” by Brian Lumley

Front cover illustration by Dallas Goffin

Notes:  “The Hanging Tree” originally appeared in A Quiver of Ghosts by R Chetwynd-Hayes (1984).  “Late Shopping” originally appeared in Weirdbook 18, edited by W Paul Ganley (1983)