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A Story by Horror Master Stephen Volk

March 20th, 2015


I’ve been a Stephen Volk fan ever since I caught the movie Gothic at a midnight run back in 1987. Directed by Ken Russell, the same over-the-top director responsible for such classics as Altered States and The Devils, Gothic presents Stephen Volk’s reimagining of events that led to the writing of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Among his other film credits are Ghostwatch, which made broadcast history by smashing television’s fourth-wall back in 1992; and The Awakening (2011), which may be the best ghost story ever put on film.

Volk has also authored some of the best novellas and short stories currently available in the genre, and over the years I’ve had the privilege of appearing with him in the anthologies Gaslight Grotesque (2009) and Gaslight Arcanum (2011).

challenger_Both books are edits by Charles Prepolec and J. R. Campbell, the same team behind the forthcoming anthology Challenger: New Worlds, Lost Places, in which Volk and I will again share the pages.

I had the opportunity to meet Volk when the World Horror Convention was held in Brighton in 2010, right around the time his story “Swell Head” was released in The Seventh Black Book of Horror. The book launched at the convention, and “Swell Head” made a strong impression on me, lingering in the way the best stories do, acquiring richness and meaning over time.

While in Brighton, I gave Volk a copy of the my newly released CD Veins: The Soundtrack, which included some spoken-word tracks that have since been released as Aberrations. He evidently liked what he heard, because later that year he asked if I’d be interested in doing an audio performance of “Swell Head.” I didn’t have to think twice about that one.

svolk1In one respect, “Swell Head” is an atypical Stephen Volk story. Its narrator has a distinctly American voice, making the story a fitting project for the 21st-Century Scop. In other respects, it’s very much what one might expect from the author that Andy Hedgecock (Asst Fiction Editor of Interzone Magazine) has called “one of the most provocative and unsettling of contemporary writers.” The story is by turns surreal, nightmarish, and yet surprisingly touching in its portrayal of the protagonist’s commitment to his monstrous sibling.

Until recently, the 40 minute recording has only been available at, broken into two pieces for easy download. Now, for the first time (with the author’s permission), I’m making the recording available as a single MP3 file via my podcast service at Libsyn. To listen, simply click the player below . . . and get ready to enter the strange world of one of our foremost practitioners of fantastic fiction. Scop on!

I’ll Meet You in the Gaslight

December 9th, 2011

If you missed the Bitten By Books event last week, you can still access highlights at The Gaslight Gallery, a new blog sponsored by Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing.

The blog features some of the best responses offered during the Bitten By Books event as well as new answers to some intriguing questions.

Drop by, read the interviews, post a comment. I’ll hope to see you in the gaslight.

Meet the Gaslight Arcanum Authors @ Bitten By Books

December 1st, 2011


The Gaslight Arcanum party is jumping over at the Bitten By Books website. Drop in if you get a chance. It’s a great place for talking about fantasy, mystery, horror, Sherlock Holmes . . . or just reading and writing in general.

The party in sponsored by the good people at Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing, and it runs until noon tomorrow. But don’t wait. Check it out now.

Hope to see you there!

New Trailer for Gaslight Arcanum

November 21st, 2011

The good people at Edge did a terrific job on this new trailer for Gaslight Arcanum: Uncanny Tales of Sherlock Holmes

The trailer features a catchy soundtrack, illustrations from the book, and photos of the authors. Great stuff!

Related news, on November 30, the website Bitten By Books will be hosting a 24-hour interview session with many of the Gaslight Arcanum authors. It’ll be a great chance to meet the writers, pose questions, and learn about this third Gaslight book edited by J. R. Campbell and Charles Prepolec.

More information is available at the Bitten By Books website. 

I’ll hope to see you there!