Oh I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside – Christopher Fowler
Christopher Fowler explains “‘. . . Seaside’ came about firstly because I was commissioned to write a story for the World Horror Convention souvenir book and, as the event was to take place in Brighton, it seemed logical to set a tale on the South coast of England.
“I had written a fantasy novel, Calabash, some years earlier, hinting at the dark madness of such seaside towns, which are the antithesis of their Mediterranean counterparts. I thought of the depressing Morrissey song “Every Day is Like Sunday”, which captures the awfulness of English resorts.
“Coincidentally, Kim Newman and I were discussing the inherent creepiness of pantomime dames, and I decided it was time to give vent to my horror of these coastal pleasure domes. I wish I’d thought to include screaming gangs of hen-nighters as well. And I thought it was a nice touch to have everyone in the story telling the hero to ‘fuck off’ until he finally does.”
Featherweight – Robert Shearman
“I don’t like writing at home much,” admits the author.“Home is a place for sleeping and eating and watching afternoongame shows on TV. There are too many distractions. So, yearsago, I decided I’d only write first drafts in art galleries.
“And the best of them all is the National Gallery, in London,a pigeon’s throw from Nelson’s Column. I can walk aroundthere with my notebook, thinking up stories – and if I get bored,there are lots of expensive pictures to look at. Perfect.
“A lot of those paintings, however, have angels in them.They’re all over the place, wings raised, halos gleaming – perchingon clouds, blowing trumpets, hovering around the VirginMary as if they’re her strange naked childlike bodyguards. AndI began to notice. That, whenever the writing is going well, theangels seemed happy, and would smile at me. And wheneverthe words weren’t coming out right, when I felt sluggish, whenI thought I’d rather take off and get myself a beer, they’d startto glare.
“I wrote this story in the National Gallery. Accompanied by alot of glaring angels. Enjoy.”
Lesser Demons – Norman Partridge
“I was surprised to receive an invitation for S.T. Joshi’s Black Wings,” reveals Partridge, “an anthology of Lovecraftian fiction.Although I knew S.T. admired my work, I’ve never quite seenmyself as a Mythos writer.
“While I respect H.P. Lovecraft and his contribution to horror, I’ve never felt that his worldview (or maybe I should say universeview) meshed with mine.
“In the end, that’s what made the story work . . . at least for me. I concentrated on my differences with Lovecraft, and approached the material from a place where Jim Thompson would be more comfortable than HPL. And I’m delighted that so many people have enjoyed the tale – it was a lot of fun to write.”