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Mystery Theatre Exclusive:
Signed copies of Nightmares and Visions

March 29th, 2022

Gauntlet Press is now shipping the numbered edition of the first English-language release of Nightmares, an anthology in which I rejoin three of my collaborators from the feature film Nightmare Cinema (2019).

The stories featured in the book are:

“As You Sleep” by Mexico’s bestselling author Sandra Becerill, whose most recent books include La Soledad de los Pájaros and Valle de Fuego. Her screenplay for the film Desde tu Infierno was nominated for an Ariel, Mexico’s Academy Award. In all, she has written scripts for 65 feature films and television programs, 32 of which have been produced.

Though well regarded as a master of Spanish-language horror, Sandra remains to be discovered by readers in the States. The English translation of her story “As You Sleep” in the Gauntlet Press edition of Nightmares (which she also edits) should help change that.

“Chocolate” by producer, director, and writer Mick Garris, whose groundbreaking Showtime series Masters of Horror featured work by the greatest horror writers and directors of all time, including John Carpenter (Halloween), Joe Dante (Gremlins), and John Landis (An American Werewolf in London). He is also the director of ABC’s television adaptations of Stephen King’s The Stand and The Shining, the writer of Hocus Pocus, and executive producer of the Angelina Jolie-directed film Unbroken. And of course, he is the creator and producer of Nightmare Cinema.

“Transfiguration” by screenwriter and novelist Richard Christian Matheson, whose work has been featured in Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories and Stephen King’s Nightmares & Dreamscapes as well as Mick Garris’s Masters of Horror. His books include The Ritual or Illusion (which I reviewed here) and Zoopraxis. He is also the son the Richard Matheson, whose novel Somewhere In Time was one of the titles featured in Mystery Theatre’s “Time is Out of Joint.”

“Reckoning”–a story that originally appeared in my collection This Way to Egress, and is being reprinted for the first time in Nightmares.

Additionally, Nightmares features a foreword by John Skipp and striking cover art by director David Slade, whom you may know from his NBC series Hannibal as well as such feature films as Twilight Eclipse30 Days Of Night, and the adaptation of my story This Way to Egress for Mick Garris’s Nightmare Cinema. In 2019, David won an Emmy for Black Mirror’s Bandersnatch.

Nightmares is a real collector’s item, and I have one advance copy signed by all four authors that I’d like to send to the first Prime Stage Mystery Theatre listener who goes to PrimeStage.com/support before April 3rd, 2022, and donates a minimum of $100.00 to help underwrite programs like Mystery Theatre and live performances like this season’s Karloff: The Man and The Monster, A Wrinkle In Time, and the upcoming Arsenic And Old Lace. But remember, I only have one advance copy on hand, so donate now … and be sure to mention Mystery Theatre and include your mailing address in the comment box provided.

And for folks who might want to donate a smaller amount or might prefer science fiction and fantasy to horror, I have five signed copies of my collection Visions that we can send to the first five listeners who go to PrimeStage.com/support and donate a minimum of $50.00 before April 3rd, 2022.

This is the illustrated paperbound edition contains my time-bending story “Prime Time!” Again, be sure to mention Mystery Theatre and include your mailing address in the comment box. It’s our way of saying thank you for your support of Mystery Theatre and for helping advance the Prime Stage mission of bringing literature to life … and to your home.

Moreover, if you enjoy collecting durable editions by such literary giants as Ray Bradbury, Stephen King, Richard Matheson, Rod Serling, and others, you’ll definitely want to check out the selections at the Gauntlet Press website.

Among the selections you’ll find there is the Ray Bradbury collection Phoenix 451, which contains five versions of the author’s science-fiction classic Fahrenheit 451. Featuring an introduction by William Shatner and cover art by Bradbury himself, this is one book you won’t want to miss. And for the serious collector, the book is available in two limited editions that include tip sheets signed by Ray Bradbury and (in a special lettered edition) by both Bradbury and Shatner.

And for werewolf fans, there’s Bestial by Ray Garton. Here’s the synopsis:

Something very strange is happening in the coastal California town of Big Rock. Several residents have died in unexplained, particularly brutal ways, many torn apart in animal attacks. You might think there’s a werewolf in town. But you’d be wrong. It’s not just one werewolf, but the whole town that’s gradually transforming.

Bit by bit, as the infection spreads, the werewolves are becoming more and more powerful. In fact, humans may soon be the minority, mere prey for their hungry neighbors. Is it too late for the humans to fight back? Did they ever have a chance from the start?

In all, you’ll have lots to read between the conclusion of Mystery Theatre‘s “Time is Out of Joint” on March 31 and the start of “A Most Deadly Poison” on May 5. Plus, if you go to PrimeStage.com/support and claim one of our signed editions of Visions or the advance copy of Nightmares (signed by all four authors), you’ll be doing your part to ensure the continuation of shows like Mystery Theatre and next season’s all-new adaptation of Prime Stage Theatre’s Frankenstein.

Happy reading … and thanks for your support.

This Week on Mystery Theatre:
Time-Travel Recommendations

March 22nd, 2022

A couple of weeks ago on Prime Stage Mystery Theatre, we asked: What is your favorite time-travel story? We had already listed a dozen titles (all featured in the Mystery Theatre story “Time is Out of Joint”). You can check out our posts of March 3rd and March 8th for more information on those titles, which were also featured in our display at the New Hazelett Theatre on the opening night of Prime Stage’s A Wrinkle in Time.)

This week, we have some exciting recommendations from folks who all happen to be active in the fields of science fiction, mystery, fantasy, and horror. We’ll be featuring some of their recommendations on this week’s installment of the Prime Stage Mystery Theatre podcast, but since we received more recommendations than could be included there, this post features some additional time-travel titles as well as books written by some of the folks who recommended them.

First up is a suggestion from science fiction aficionado William Blake Hall, who recommends W. Olaf Stapledon’s Star Maker. Here is what William has to say about that title:

This may be a rather weak and desperate candidate, since its “time travel” is owed to a paper-thin framing device at the very beginning and end, but I would go with W. Olaf Stapledon’s Star Maker. A man gazes up at the sky and finds his consciousness magically swept up in eons of cosmic history before he is deposited back on Earth. It is not so much “time travel,” in the sense of leaving one’s present for, say, 802,701 AD, as perhaps “time panorama” or “time cruise.” Rather than being the driving wonder, time is simply a means to something even greater: trying to grasp a concept of the universe.

Stapledon is one of those seminal science fiction writers I’ve been meaning to read, so I thank William for putting him back on my radar. You can find the complete text of the novel here (courtesy of Stony Brook University).

A few more must-read suggestions come from Steve Balshaw, who recommends the Michael Moorcock novels Behold the Man and Dancers at the End of Time.

Moorcock is one of the writers who helped science fiction come of age in the 1960s, with The Times calling him one of the best British science fiction writers of the second half of the 20th-century. So he’s definitely worth reading.

And Steve also recommends William Hope Hodgson’s The House on the Borderlands as a companion to Stapledon’s Star Maker. In his words, Hodgson’s book delivers “a kind of hallucinogenic trip through time to the end of the universe.” You can read the entire book here (courtesy of Project Gutenberg).

And it’s worth noting that Steve is the Chief Film Programmer at the Grimmfest Film Festival. Held each fall in Manchester, UK, Grimmfest is in its 14th year of showcasing the world’s most innovative horror films, and they’re currently open for film submissions for this year’s festival, which will run October 6-9. And since Grimmfest will likely have a virtual component for folks who can’t make it to the UK, this is one film festival that cinephiles from anywhere in the world will want to check out.

I had the pleasure of attending Grimmfest in person when Nightmare Cinema had its UK premiere there in 2018, and I can’t recommend them enough. It’s a terrific festival.

Next up is a recommendation from scientist and sf writer Barton Paul Levenson. He’s the author of Another Century and the near-future suspense novel Recovering Gretel. His recommendation is Stephen King’s bestseller 11/22/63. I’m sorry to say I haven’t read it, though the book is on my shelf waiting for me to find the time to take it down.

And rounding out our suggested readings are some titles from World Fantasy Award finalist Michael Libling, who recommends the aforementioned 11/22/63 along with Danger Dinosaurs! by Richard Marsten, which was published in the 1950s by Winston Juveniles. Michael reports that DD! was one of the first science fiction books he read as a child, and it is just one of a number of titles he sent in response to our request for recommendations.

Here, in its entirety, is what Michael has to say:

Boy, choosing a favorite time travel novel isn’t easy. I’ve got too many of them. But here’s a selection, very loosely ranked:

The Man Who Folded Himself by David Gerrold. The novel covers every possible time travel paradox and has stuck in my head since the 70s. Among my all-time favorite books, period!

Up the Line by Robert Silverberg. I don’t recall much about it now, other than that it blew me away when I read it, again back in the 70s. It’s rare that Silverberg doesn’t tell a great story.

Danger Dinosaurs! by Richard Marsden (Evan Hunter) and The Feathered Serpent by Evan Hunter were Winston Juveniles published in the 1950s. I list these together since these were the first two SF books I read…taken from the school library. I was hooked on the genre from then on. While I can’t recall the plots, I do remember that they were time-travel stories. The thing that intrigued me as a kid was that one of the characters dies in the past—that is, before he was born…and thus in the future, all evidence of his existence slowly begins to vanish. It made no sense, but I loved the thought.

More recently, I enjoyed If I Never Get Back by Darryl Brock. If you love baseball history, it’s a terrific read—lots of fun. I also enjoyed Elan Mastai’s 2017 novel, All Our Wrongs Today.

There are others, of course…Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five, of course, though I don’t immediately think of it as a time-travel novel. Also, Matheson’s Somewhere in Time…Jack Finney’s brilliantly realized Time and Again…Dean Koontz’s thrilling Lightning…Jane Yolen’s heartbreaking The Devil’s Arithmetic…Stephen King’s 11/22/63 (though it struck me as a tad overwritten).

And it’s worth noting that Michael is the author Hollywood North, a fantasy novel with some strong mystery elements that centers on three friends who uncover some intriguing artifacts from the silent film era. It’s a terrific read. I reviewed it here when it first came out, but you don’t have to take it from me. Here’s what Locus has to say about the novel:

It’s an enthralling, nostalgically naturalistic, creepy and mordantly humorous tale that will appeal to fans of Jeff Ford’s The Shadow Year and Thomas Olde Heuvelt’s HEX. . . . In its concentration on juvenile friendships, rifts in the universe, existential angst, guilt, responsibility and mortality, Libling’s fine first novel calls to mind a recent cousin, The Book of Hidden Things by Francesco Dimitri. Along with such media vehicles as Stranger Things, Super 8 and Stand By Me, the two novels are part of a mini-trend that seeks to show us a past whose adolescent surfaces are a scrim atop writhing weirdness. Bradbury might have sketched out this mode in the darker parts of Dandelion Wine and the entirety of Something Wicked This Way Comes, but contemporary authors such as Libling are showing us refinements of sensibility and sense of wonder that the old Waukeganian never dreamed of.

So there you have it, a dozen more time-travel recommendations in addition to some titles written by the people who recommended them. In all, it should be more than enough to keep you entertained until the next episode of Mystery Theatre drops this Thursday. In that installment, we’ll find out which classic mode of time travel is best suited for disposing of a pair of anachronistic camera glasses. (Read more about those camera glasses by clicking here).

And finally, one more time-travel recommendation: If you missed Prime Stage Theatre’s production of A Wrinkle in Time, you can still catch it via video on demand. Click here for details. Enjoy the show … happy reading … and I’ll meet you at the next installment of Mystery Theatre‘s “Time is out of Joint.”

This Week on Mystery Theatre:
An Escalating Puzzle for a Way-Out Mystery

March 10th, 2022

The electric sign reading Way Out glowed before the ascending treads of a stainless-steel escalator. Mounted on the wall beside the rising stairs were advertisements for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Blockbuster Video, and American Pie 2. But soon those early 21st-century advertisements gave way to ones for Crystal Pepsi, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Embassy Cigarettes, and Pan Am Airlines–for by riding the escalator, Freddie Fedora was being transported back in time.

— from The Whenever War by August LaFleur, pages 16-17.

Yes, it’s a real book … though you’d have to go to an alternate universe to get a copy. Nevertheless, folks attending last Friday and Saturday night’s performances of Prime Stage Theatre’s A Wrinkle in Time were able to check out a facsimile of that book … along with nearly a dozen time-travel classics from our own reality.

You can hear comments from some of those theatre-goers on the current installment of Prime Stage Mystery Theatre, where you’ll also get to tag along on an investigation of a scene from August LaFleur’s time-travel mystery The Whenever War.

You might also enjoy Tuesday’s blog post titled Solving the Mystery of the Clock Room, where you’ll find more details about how August LaFleur’s book fits into a larger mystery centering on some well-known time-travel stories.

You can read that earlier post by clicking here … and you can listen to this week’s Mystery Theatre installment by hitting the play button on the player below. (Or, if you missed the first installment, you can find it and all previous seasons of the series by clicking here.)

And as always, if you’d like to offer a solution to this week’s puzzle, you can do so by submitting a comment via Primestage.com/contact or by reaching out to us via the social media links you’ll find there.

And if you enjoy the show, please be sure to tell your friends and follow us via your favorite podcast app.

Now, on with the mystery …

Prime Stage Mystery Theatre Presents:
A Time-Travel-Classics Mystery

March 3rd, 2022

What is your favorite time-travel story?

This month’s audio tale at Prime Stage Mystery Theatre centers on a dozen time travel classics, including some of the genre’s best-known science-fiction titles (The Time Machine, Back to the Future, A Wrinkle in Time), a few that lie on the edge of the genre (A Connecticut Yankee, A Christmas Carol, and Slaughterhouse Five), and at least one that you’ve likely never heard of before (The Whenever War).

Titled “Time is Out of Joint,” our new puzzle story presents these works as clues to a mystery that you can help solve. And doing so is as easy as clicking the link below.

And if you enjoy time-travel stories, please consider checking out Prime Stage Theatre’s new adaptation of Madeline L’Engle’s classic A Wrinkle in Time, which opens this weekend at Pittsburgh’s New Hazelette Theatre. The show will also be available via video on demand. More information is available at PrimeStage.com.

Also, if you are able to attend either Friday’s preview or Saturday’s opening, please drop by our special Mystery Theatre display, where you’ll get the chance to win one of the titles featured in “Time is Out of Joint.”

It’s just one more way that Prime Stage brings literature to life … and to your home.

Until then … get out your clocks, spyglasses, and notepads, and click the link below to join master Sleuth August LaFleur as he attempts to unravel the mystery of a clock-shaped room with 12 locked doors.

I’ll meet you there!