Tuesday, November 4, 2014

An update on a bunch of forthcoming releases

The year is rapidly winding down, but things are still in full swing at Valancourt Towers, where we're working on tons and tons (and tons) of new stuff that will be out over the next couple months. We did a quick tour of the factory today to see what our resident Valancourt gnomes are churning out on the presses, and here is some of what they're working on:

Lusignan; or, The Abbaye of La Trappe (1801), Anonymous (edited by Jacqui Howard).  

This four-volume Minerva Press Gothic is exceedingly rare, with the only known copy surviving at Corvey Castle, in Germany, where an early-nineteenth-century Prince of Corvey was an avid reader of English Gothic literature. Jacqui Howard, who has previously edited Ann Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794) for Penguin Classics, provides an introduction and notes. Prof. Howard has previously made the argument that this scarce novel and another, The Orphans of Llangloed, could in fact be the product of Radcliffe herself, who famously disappeared after the publication of The Italian in 1797. Maybe she found it harder to put down her pen than she thought, and continued to publish anonymously . . . ?

The chapel scenes in which the fainting Emily beholds the ghastly spectre are well done and are sure to please any fan of Gothic Literature.




Anthology of Graveyard Poetry, edited by Jack G. Voller

This groundbreaking new volume contains the best and most influential of the poetry of the so-called 'Graveyard School', which arose in mid-18th-century England and became a literary phenomenon; it also went on to have a major impact on the development of Gothic fiction in the 1790s and afterwards. This collection includes important works by Robert Blair ('The Grave'), Edward Young ('Night Thoughts on Death'), Thomas Gray ('Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard') and many more, and also features many lesser-known women poets. Editor Professor Jack G. Voller, who previously edited the chapbook The Veiled Picture for Valancourt and who runs the Literary Gothic website, provides an introduction and notes. A must-have for scholars and students of 18th century literature as well as anyone interested in the development of Gothic literature or those who like their reading on the morbid side....



Jaspar Tristram (1899) by A. W. Clarke, new introduction by A. D. Harvey

One of the earliest English public school novels, this was the only novel by Clarke, and it's an unusual one. Few novels (perhaps none) up to that point had gone into so much psychological depth in portraying the character of a schoolboy. As readers of the other public school novels we've published (The Fourth of June, Lord Dismiss Us, Never Again) will expect, the hero, Jaspar, conceives a passionate friendship for another boy at the school. Arnold Harvey contributes a new introduction.



The Tom Barber Trilogy (1931-1944) by Forrest Reid, new introductions by Andrew Doyle

We previously reissued Reid's classic trilogy as a two-volume hardcover set in 2011, but now the three volumes will be available individually as paperbacks, and, for the first time, as e-books! Each volume includes a new introduction by Dr Andrew Doyle, as well as never-before-seen photographs and archival materials from the Forrest Reid Collection at Queens University Belfast, and striking new cover designs by Henry Petrides, which have been getting rave reviews. Highlights include Uncle Stephen (1931), whose importance as a work of the fantastic and supernatural is signaled by its previous inclusion in Tartarus Press's prestigious series and which has been called a masterpiece by E.M. Forster, and Young Tom (1944), which won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize (that era's equivalent of the Booker) for best novel of that year. If you've never read Reid, now's a great time to start!


A Hair Divides (1930), Chaos Is Come Again (1932), Julian Grant Loses His Way (1933) by Claude Houghton

If you haven't read any of the three incredible books we've already published by Houghton (1889-1961) (I Am Jonathan Scrivener, This Was Ivor Trent, and Neighbours), close this browser window, stop reading this blog, and get over to Amazon or your local library to get a copy of his masterpiece, I Am Jonathan Scrivener, which we published with a foreword by Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist Michael Dirda, and read it immediately! A contemporary reviewer in 1930 said the book was impossible to put down; nothing has changed: it's still impossible to put down.  

Once you've finished that one, and the other two we've published, you're going to be demanding more, which is why we're reissuing three more of his neglected classics. Houghton was very widely praised by his fellow authors during his time (J.B. Priestley, Hugh Walpole, L.A.G. Strong, Clemence Dane, and many others, were admirers, as was Henry Miller, who had a years-long, impassioned correspondence with Houghton), but never found the readership he deserved during his lifetime or even after his death. We're trying to change that with our continuing program of reissuing his books; the best of the new trio is probably Julian Grant Loses His Way, a remarkable work of the fantastic. The book opens with Julian Grant finding himself in London one foggy morning without any clear idea of where he's been or where he's going. After he ducks into a cafe to collect his thoughts over a cocktail, he is assailed by memories and images from his past. As his story unfolds, it becomes clear something very strange is going on. Is he suffering from some sort of mental disturbance or amnesia? Has he become trapped in some kind of dream world? Or is there an even more chilling explanation for the weird situation in which he finds himself?

All three will feature their original jacket art (these are unrestored versions):





The Black Cloud (1957) by Fred Hoyle; new introduction by Geoffrey Hoyle

Fred Hoyle (1915-2001) was a brilliant and influential scientist whose work in astronomy and astrophysics has had an enduring impact in those fields, but he was also a popular science fiction novelist. In the new foreword to this edition of his first novel, The Black Cloud, his son Geoffrey, also a sci-fi novelist, recounts that when one of Hoyle's colleagues was surprised to see him reading a lowbrow science fiction novel, Hoyle replied: “I have a purpose in mind. These people don’t know any real science and they make money by writing this stuff. I, who know some science, should be able to do much better.”


And so he did. The Black Cloud is a landmark of British science fiction, a work of what is known as "hard SF": books grounded in scientific fact in which the apparently improbable events could in fact actually happen. But don't be misled: though it contains a healthy dose of science and fact, Hoyle's book is no snoozer: the plot involves the advent of a gigantic black cloud the size of Jupiter that arrives in our solar system and blocks out the Sun's light, causing unimaginable destruction and the possibility of the extinction of all life on earth. It's a thrilling apocalyptic read that has long been recognized as a classic in the UK, where it's never been out of print and is now part of Penguin's Modern Classics series. We're very pleased to bring this great book back to print in the U.S. for the first time in four decades.


The Affirmation (1981) by Christopher Priest, new introduction by the author

Christopher Priest has been a major figure in British SF for many years now, though whether you classify his works as SF or fantasy, they're also excellent literary fiction. For some reason, until recently, he hasn't caught on as much in the States: two of his best novels, The Affirmation (1981) and The Glamour (1985), came out in hardcover over here but quickly fell out of print and never made it to paperback. A couple years back, NYRB Classics began the important work of a Priest revival, reissuing the classic The Inverted World (1974), and we're very glad to continue the process with this reissue, to which the author provides a new introduction.


The Affirmation is a book about the nature of reality: what is "true", and how can we really be certain that it's true? It opens with a young Londoner, Peter Sinclair, down-and-out after losing his father, his girlfriend, his job, and his flat all at roughly the same time. Trying to figure out where things went wrong, he begins to write an autobiography. But though it captures the facts of his life literally, it somehow misses the essential truth of his experiences. So he rewrites it, changing names and fictionalizing certain events. Meanwhile, we meet another Peter Sinclair, a native of Jethra, who has just won the grand prize in a lottery: a trip to the Dream Archipelago, where he will undergo a procedure that confers immortality on him. The catch: it will also erase his memory. So he, too, sets out to write his autobiography, in order to recapture the memories following the procedure. As their two stories seem to overlap, intersect, and intertwine, the lines of truth and reality blur: is one Peter the fictional creation of the other? Are both real? Or neither? Priest pulls off a brilliant literary mindgame that will keep you turning the pages and will have you anxious to reread it once you reach the surprising end. I loved every page of this one and hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.


The Devil's Own Work (1991) by Alan Judd; new intro by Owen King; new afterword by the author

Like Christopher Priest, Alan Judd was one of the original Granta Best Young British Novelists chosen in 1983, and like Priest's novel, Judd's book has received somewhat less than its due here in the U.S. When first published in 1991, The Devil's Own Work was a major critical success, winning the UK's Guardian Fiction Prize and garnering outstanding reviews from every major critic in the U.S. The Vintage paperback edition even boasted a glowing quote from Stephen King, calling it the best book he'd read all year.



Judd's novella is the story of an aspiring writer, Edward, who -- depending on how you read it -- sacrifices either his artistic integrity or perhaps even his immortal soul in exchange for popular acclaim and success. Edward's friend, the narrator, pieces together the story of Edward's meteoric rise: it involves the death of a respected, elderly writer, an inscrutable and possibly cursed manuscript, and a beautiful, seemingly ageless woman. Whether read as chilling supernatural horror in the Faustian tradition or as an allegory and satire on modern literary culture, it's a terrific book, which we're very pleased to be offering. Owen King contributes a great new introduction (his father, a little-known scribe, contributed an intro to our edition last year of The Monk), while the author has written a new afterword, explaining how the novella arose out of his research on Ford Madox Ford and a strange meeting with Graham Greene.


Matchbox Theatre (2015) by Michael Frayn

Increasingly often, we're approached -- often by well-known and well-respected authors -- about the possibility of publishing a brand-new, original work. Usually we say no: as much fun as it would be to publish new material, we've carved out a little niche for our reissues of neglected classics, and our small size limits us from taking on anything too ambitious. But in the process of acquiring U.S. rights to five of Michael Frayn's classic novels originally published between 1965-1973, the opportunity came along to publish his new book and we couldn't pass it up. It's not every day a small operation like ours has the chance to publish a book by an author whose last three were all Booker Prize nominees and who's regarded by many as one of the best playwrights of our time.



Published in October by Faber in the UK, where it's already getting rave reviews, the US edition will be out from us in February. It contains thirty short pieces -- call them plays, playlets, sketches, monologues, or, as the author does, simply "entertainments" -- and, as you'd expect from the author of Noises Off and Skios, it's riotously funny. It also features a wonderful wraparound vintage-matchbox-inspired cover and interior illustrations by M.S. Corley.

That's it for now, but keep watching this space and our website and Facebook pages, as we continue to add more and more great titles to our offerings!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Forthcoming titles for 2015 (updated 10-28-14)

Previously posted a couple months ago, but updated with new info on some great folks who've kindly offered to contribute introductions, as well as new literary classic titles we're taking on by Nevil Shute and H.E. Bates and a great gay-interest title by Robin Maugham (nephew of W. Somerset Maugham).  And we'll be updating periodically to add more exciting stuff that we're currently in negotiations for....


HORROR, SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY

CHARLES BEAUMONT

The Intruder (1959) 
A Touch of the Creature (2000)

MICHAEL BLUMLEIN

The Brains of Rats (1989) (World Fantasy Award nominee), intro by Michael McDowell

DAVID CASE

Among the Wolves and other Werewolf Stories, edited by Stephen Jones
Fengriffen and other Storiesedited by Stephen Jones

STEPHEN GREGORY

The Woodwitch (1988), introduction by Paul Tremblay
The Blood of Angels (1994), introduction by Mark Morris

FRED HOYLE

The Black Cloud (1957) (US only), introduction by Geoffrey Hoyle

GERALD KERSH

Neither Man Nor Dog (1946), introduction by Robert Webb
Clock Without Hands (1949), introduction by Thomas Pluck
The Great Wash (aka The Secret Masters) (1953)
On an Odd Note (1957), introduction by Nick Mamatas

HARRY KRESSING (pseud. of Harry Adam Ruber)

The Cook (1965)

ROBERT MARASCO

Burnt Offerings (1973)

GABRIEL MARLOWE
I Am Your Brother (1935), introduction by Phil Baker

MICHAEL McDOWELL

Cold Moon Over Babylon (1980), introduction by Douglas E. Winter, cover by Mike Mignola

ARCH OBOLER

House on Fire (1969), introduction by Christopher Conlon

CHRISTOPHER PRIEST

The Affirmation (1981) (US only), introduction by the author

ANDREW SINCLAIR

Gog (1967), introduction by John Clute

MICHAEL TALBOT

The Bog (1986)
Night Things (1988)

BERNARD TAYLOR
The Godsend (1976) (US only)
Sweetheart, Sweetheart (1977) (US only), introduction by Michael Rowe
The Moorstone Sickness (1982) (US only), introduction by Mark Morris

ROBERT WESTALL
Antique Dust (1989)


MODERN LITERARY CLASSICS


JOHN BRAINE

Life at the Top (1962) (US only); introduction by Ben Clarke

H.E. BATES
Fair Stood the Wind for France (1944) (US only); introduction by Alice Ferrebe

MICHAEL FRAYN (all US only)

The Tin Men (1965) (Somerset Maugham Award); introduction by the author
The Russian Interpreter (1966) (Hawthornden Prize); introduction by the author
Towards the End of the Morning (1967); introduction by the author
A Very Private Life (1968); introduction by the author
Sweet Dreams (1973); introduction by the author

F. L. GREEN

Odd Man Out (1945); introduction by Adrian McKinty

CLAUDE HOUGHTON
A Hair Divides (1930)
Chaos Is Come Again (1932)
Julian Grant Loses His Way (1933)

ELIZABETH JENKINS
Harriet (1934)

ALAN JUDD
The Devil's Own Work (1991) (Guardian Fiction Prize); introduction by Owen King, afterword by the author (US only)

ROBIN MAUGHAM
Behind the Mirror (1955); introduction by Doug Armato (US only)

NEVIL SHUTE
Landfall (1940); introduction by Rob Spence (US/Canada only)
An Old Captivity (1940); introduction by Rob Spence (US/Canada only)

KEITH WATERHOUSE

Jubb (1962); introduction by Alice Ferrebe (US only)
Billy Liar on the Moon (1976); introduction by Alice Ferrebe (US only)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Announcing our new Valancourt eClassics series!

Each month, we've been offering one or two of our recent 20th century releases as a $2.99 e-book, and the response has been tremendous.  So we've been looking at ways to make more great books available at ultra low prices, which has resulted in the creation of a new series, Valancourt eClassics, which will parallel our print series of Valancourt Classics, focusing mainly on rare and hard-to-find Victorian and Edwardian literature at prices as low as $2.99 each. 

In order to keep costs extremely low and allow us to price these at less than a cup of coffee (not exaggerating: I was formatting one of them the other day at a coffee shop and was charged $3.17+tip for a small iced coffee), these editions will generally not feature introductions and annotations; they will be carefully proofread texts, formatted and linked for optimal reading on the Kindle and other e-readers.

We've already published the first six titles in the series, including texts by Baron Corvo, Forrest Reid, and Richard Marsh.  At first, we plan to focus primarily on current Valancourt authors, so expect to see more of Corvo, Reid, and Marsh, along with John Trevena/Ernest G. Henham, Bertram Mitford, Florence Marryat, Beverley Nichols, Gabriele D'Annunzio, Sheridan Le Fanu, and many others.

Fans of our print editions: don't panic!  These are intended to supplement our print editions, not replace them. In most cases, these are out-of-copyright works for which dozens and dozens of low-quality print-on-demand paperbacks stolen from Google Books or Project Gutenberg exist, making it unlikely we'd be able to offer them as paperbacks. (To understand why, just go to Amazon and try to find the print editions we published of Richard Marsh's The Beetle, Bram Stoker's The Mystery of the Sea, Walter Pater's Marius the Epicurean, or, in fact, any of our Victorian paperbacks.  You can wade through pages and pages of crap and you'll never find them unless you know the ISBN. Thanks, Amazon.)

Are there any 19th or early 20th century authors whose books you'd love to see as $2.99 e-books? We look forward to hearing from readers what they think about this new project of ours and as always we welcome your input!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Spotlight on Dennis Parry's THE SURVIVOR (1940)

If you've never heard of Dennis Arthur Parry (1912-1955) or his 1940 novel of the supernatural, The Survivor, you're hardly alone. As far as I know, Parry doesn't receive so much as a mention in any survey or study of English literature of that period, and even among scholars of occult and fantastic literature, only E. F. Bleiler gives even the briefest of mentions of Parry's book. Even during his lifetime, despite the fact that he published ten novels, most or all of them well received by critics, Parry seems to have been little known. Reviewing his tenth (and final) novel, Sea of Glass (1955), for The Observer, the prolific book critic John Davenport confessed that he was 'ashamed to confess having known nothing of his work before, as he is an uncommonly good writer, with the classic novelist's virtues and other gifts besides'.  

The few of us around the world who have had the good fortune to discover Parry's works owe the discovery to the macabre illustrator Edward Gorey, who in a 1975 interview named Sea of Glass the most undeservedly neglected novel he knew. Coincidentally, Parry shares a number of things in common with his almost exact contemporary, fellow Valancourt author John Lodwick (1916-1959): both were fairly prolific authors of clever, urbane, slightly cynical novels characterized by their incisive, witty prose, and both suffered the same fate: death in an auto accident at age 43, followed by instantaneous and total literary oblivion.

The Survivor (NY: Holt, 1940)

Parry seems to have come from an upper-middle-class background and was well educated, earning a degree in law and qualifying as a barrister, though he ultimately wound up in the civil service after he was rejected for active duty in WWII because of his poor eyesight. His first novel, Attic Meteor (1936), was published when he was 24, and over the next twenty years, nine others would follow (one of them, The Bishop's Move [1938], was co-authored with H.W. Champness).  It would seem Parry dabbled in fiction as a sort of hobby, devoting most of his attention to his career and family.

Parry's penultimate novel (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1954); d/w by Val Biro

The publication history of his third novel, The Survivor, is an interesting one. It was first published in London by Robert Hale in 1940, but it seems to have been dead on arrival. I could locate no reviews in the usual sources (TLS, Guardian, Observer, Spectator), and copies of the edition are almost nonexistent: OCLC/Worldcat locates only two copies in world libraries, and I've only ever seen one copy come up for sale on Abebooks (it sold instantly, before I could buy it). One wonders whether the publisher, Hale, simply didn't market the book correctly, or whether Britain was too preoccupied with WWII to notice it, or if it was just too odd to catch on at the time (quick: name some great British supernatural horror novels published in the early 1940s!)

By contrast, when the book was released in the U.S. in a curiously undated (c. 1940/41) edition from Henry Holt & Co., it was a surprise hit.  It sold well enough that I came across an article indicating Holt was going to budget another $5,000 (quite a lot back then, no doubt) for advertising and was going to issue a second printing. Virginia Kirkus's influential reviews service gave it a starred notice, and other positive reviews appeared from major review outlets in the U.S., comparing Parry's novel favorably with classics like Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, The Turn of the Screw, and Dracula. (It'd be interesting to know if Hugh Walpole read Parry's book, as Walpole's The Killer and the Slain was a bestseller the following year and also dealt with the theme of possession by a wicked, dead man.)

Mooncalf (London: Hale, 1947) d/w by C.W. Bacon

Without spoiling the plot, The Survivor opens with Dr. James Marshall, a brilliant doctor who has fought and conquered plagues on three continents but who is hated, feared, and despised by all, including his family (with the sole exception of his rather naive niece, Olive).  Marshall is domineering, tyrannical, with a malicious, sharp tongue, and capable of diabolical perversity and inventive methods of sadism.  When he dies -- ironically during a flu outbreak, the one epidemic he is unable to conquer -- everyone breathes a collective sigh of relief. But, Parry suggests, such a larger-than-life character, such a strong, powerful personality, may not be totally destroyed by death, but might somehow live on.  And when Olive begins to show some strange behaviors reminiscent of her uncle, the family begins to wonder whether it's merely her unique way of grieving his loss, or could she actually be possessed by his consciousness? An odd mixture of humorous and rather harrowing scenes ensue, leading up to an unexpectedly sinister conclusion.

In his introduction to the new edition, author, critic, and connoisseur of arcane literature Mark Valentine makes a number of interesting points. One is that Parry's novel is a rarity: a successful novel-length ghost story.  There are plenty of classic short stories featuring ghosts, as well as novellas like James's Turn of the Screw, but a full-length novel concerned with ghosts that manages to maintain the terror and suspense over the course of 250 or 300 pages is uncommon.  Also, Valentine writes:

"[Parry] has written a modern and ironic ghost story. He has the nerve to use his characters to point out the distinction between his approach and those of convention. When they meet to discuss what is happening to them, they rather doubtfully consider, and reject, what they know from 'tales and legends of the supernatural'. One character, evolving a theory, admits it may not be 'any higher than Dracula'. Another 'would greatly have preferred that the supernatural, if it must impinge on her life, should do so in a familiar, old-fashioned style, dressed in a white shroud and accompanied by clanking chains'. This is a knowing, new style of ghost story, blithely acknowledging, but distancing itself from, the stock properties of the past."

Sea of Glass (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1955)

Though it's doubtful that a new edition of The Survivor at this late date will propel it into the canon of classic ghost stories, or that this edition and our forthcoming reissue of the absolutely brilliant Sea of Glass will earn Dennis Parry a spot on the list of major 20th century English novelists, both books are well worth reading and discovering.  If you like intelligent, interesting, out-of-the-way fiction, give Dennis Parry a shot -- you might be very pleasantly surprised.

The Survivor (1940) by Dennis Parry, with a new introduction by Mark Valentine, will be available worldwide in paperback, Kindle, and e-book formats.  Parry's Sea of Glass (1955) is also forthcoming from Valancourt.


Atalanta's Case (London: Hale, 1947) d/w by C.W. Bacon

Going Up, Going Down (1953)


Friday, August 8, 2014

A sneak peek at 2015!

It's only August, and we still have a ton of great books coming out in the remainder of 2014, but we're already planning ahead to 2015 and wanted to share with you some of the titles we plan to offer next year. Because these titles are officially still 'forthcoming', they are subject to change or cancellation.

We've spent a ton of time over the past year or so looking for the very best out-of-print and neglected titles, and we hope you'll be as excited about these as we are.  Over the next few months, look for us to blog about many of these and highlight each one individually, but for now, here's the list (links take you to the Goodreads page for the book).  More title announcements coming soon, as we continue to finalize agreements....



HORROR, SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY


CHARLES BEAUMONT

The Intruder (1959) 
A Touch of the Creature (2000)

MICHAEL BLUMLEIN

The Brains of Rats (1989) (World Fantasy Award nominee), intro by Michael McDowell

DAVID CASE

Among the Wolves and other Werewolf Stories, edited by Stephen Jones
Fengriffen and other Storiesedited by Stephen Jones

STEPHEN GREGORY

The Woodwitch (1988), introduction by Paul Tremblay
The Blood of Angels (1994), introduction by Mark Morris

FRED HOYLE

The Black Cloud (1957) (US only), introduction by Geoffrey Hoyle

GERALD KERSH

Neither Man Nor Dog (1946), introduction by Robert Webb
Clock Without Hands (1949), introduction by Thomas Pluck
The Great Wash (aka The Secret Masters) (1953)
On an Odd Note (1957), introduction by Nick Mamatas

HARRY KRESSING (pseud. of Harry Adam Ruber)

The Cook (1965)

ROBERT MARASCO

Burnt Offerings (1973)

GABRIEL MARLOWE
I Am Your Brother (1935), introduction by Phil Baker

MICHAEL McDOWELL

Cold Moon Over Babylon (1980), introduction by Douglas E. Winter

ARCH OBOLER

House on Fire (1969), introduction by Christopher Conlon

CHRISTOPHER PRIEST

The Affirmation (1981) (US only)

ANDREW SINCLAIR

Gog (1967), introduction by John Clute

BERNARD TAYLOR

The Godsend (1976) (US only)
Sweetheart, Sweetheart (1977) (US only), introduction by Michael Rowe
The Moorstone Sickness (1982) (US only), introduction by Mark Morris


MODERN LITERARY CLASSICS


JOHN BRAINE

Life at the Top (1962) (US only); introduction by Ben Clarke

H.E. BATES
Fair Stood the Wind for France (1944) (US only); introduction by Alice Ferrebe

MICHAEL FRAYN (all US only)

The Tin Men (1965) (Somerset Maugham Award); introduction by the author
The Russian Interpreter (1966) (Hawthornden Prize); introduction by the author
Towards the End of the Morning (1967); introduction by the author
A Very Private Life (1968); introduction by the author
Sweet Dreams (1973); introduction by the author
Matchbox Theatre (2014) (US only)

F. L. GREEN

Odd Man Out (1945); introduction by Adrian McKinty

ALAN JUDD

The Devil's Own Work (1991) (Guardian Fiction Prize); introduction by Owen King, afterword by the author (US only)

ROBIN MAUGHAM
Behind the Mirror (1955); introduction by Doug Armato (US only)

NEVIL SHUTE
Landfall (1940); introduction by Rob Spence (US/Canada only)
An Old Captivity (1940); introduction by Rob Spence (US/Canada only)

KEITH WATERHOUSE

Jubb (1962); introduction by Alice Ferrebe (US only)
Billy Liar on the Moon (1976); introduction by Alice Ferrebe (US only)

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Horror Titles - New, Coming Soon, In the Works - eARCs

New Releases

If you follow us anywhere online, you know how excited we've been recently about two of our biggest releases from the late gay horror authors, Michael McDowell and Michael Talbot.





The Elementals (1981) A haunted house story unlike any other, Michael McDowell’s The Elementals was one of the finest novels to come out of the horror publishing explosion of the 1970s and ’80s. Though best known for his screenplays for Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice and The Nightmare Before Christmas, McDowell is now being rediscovered as one of the best modern horror writers and a master of Southern Gothic literature. This edition of McDowell’s masterpiece of terror features a new introduction by award-winning horror author Michael Rowe. McDowell’s first novel, the grisly and darkly comic The Amulet (1979), is also available from Valancourt Books.


The Delicate Dependency (1982) Michael Talbot’s historical vampire novel is often cited as one of the best of its kind ever written. This highly anticipated new edition, the first since the book’s original publication, includes a new foreword by Jillian Venters.

Coming Very Soon

Basil Copper's 1983 Gothic horror, The House of the Wolf. Here's one of the many illustrations in the book by legendary illustrator Stephen Fabian.



In the Works

We're in the process of adding two more novels by the masterful Stephen Gregory to our forthcoming list: The Woodwitch (1988) and The Blood of Angels (1994). If you have not read the brilliant work that is The Cormorant, do yourself a favor and check it out now! Also be sure to check out Stephen Gregory's most recent works: The Waking that Kills and the soon-to-be-released Wakening the Crow, both from Solaris.

In addition to these, we have some extremely exciting news coming up that we can't announce quite yet. Be sure to check back with us on Facebook and our other social media outlets to find out what titles we're working on bringing back into print.

Electronic Review Copies

If you write for a website or blog and would like to be notified which titles we will have available in electronic form for review, send us an email through the contact form on our website. Please include your name, a link to the website that will have the review, and the estimated time-frame the review will take to go live (e.g, one week, one month). Also, let us know if you prefer to receive the book in .mobi or .pdf format.


We will only be able to send out a limited number of the titles available so please understand we won't be able to fulfill every request. But we'll do what we can!



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Some forthcoming titles you've never heard of, but won't want to miss!

Every publisher likes to publish bestsellers, award-winners, and big-name authors. What sets us apart from many presses is our willingness to take a chance on little-known authors and even totally forgotten titles if we think they're great books that deserve to be in print. In fact, it's a little secret (Shhhhhh!) but many of the best books in our catalogue aren't necessarily the most famous ones, but instead the unheralded gems, books that neither you nor anyone you know has probably ever heard of.

We're excited to announce the following neglected treasures as forthcoming:

F. L. Green, Odd Man Out (1945)

Probably the best known of the titles on this list, Odd Man Out was a bestseller for Frederick Laurence Green (1902-1953), who published over a dozen novels, many of them well received, but who is remembered chiefly for his 1945 novel, which was adapted for a 1947 film directed by Carol Reed and starring James Mason.  It was last published in the US in 1982 and in the UK in 1991, so we are pleased to be restoring it to print in both paperback and e-book formats.



Dennis Parry, Sea of Glass (1955)


This book is beyond obscure, and indeed would have been totally lost in oblivion if not for macabre illustrator Edward Gorey, who during the 1970s named it the most neglected book he knew.  Gorey's recommendation was reprinted in a book called Writers' Choice, where we discovered it and were inspired to track down the book.

Parry (1912-1955) was a barrister and civil servant who published a dozen or so novels, but though his books were always published by leading publishing firms and always earned good reviews, somehow their quirky subjects and sardonic wit never caught on with the book-buying public.  Sea of Glass, his last book, was one of his most successful, earning rave reviews and going into a second edition, but unfortunately Parry died shortly after publication in a car crash at age 42.


Sea of Glass is a witty and often laugh-out-loud funny story involving a 20-year-old law student who is staying at the home of the wealthy Ellisons, friends of his aunt.  Old Mrs Ellison is near death, and her rotten son Cedric anticipates inheriting her money, until a bizarre young woman calling herself Varvara Ellison arrives from Chinese Turkestan, claiming to be the daughter of the black sheep of the family, Fulk Ellison, who had moved east to make a fortune as a gun-runner. Varvara's eccentricities are hilarious, and when Cedric ends up dead, she may be the number one suspect....


A. E. Ellis, The Rack (1958)
With a new introduction by Andrew Sinclair

This novel, the only book published by Derek Lindsay, who wrote under the pseudonym A. E. Ellis, is a masterpiece.  And we're not the only ones who think so.  No less a writer than Graham Greene wrote: "There are certain books we call great for want of a better term, that rise like monuments above the cemeteries of literature: Clarissa Harlowe, Great Expectations, Ulysses.  The Rack to my mind is of this company."  Though in print for many years as a Penguin Modern Classic, Ellis's novel fell out of print 25 or 30 years ago and has been unavailable since.



Interesting trivia: Andrew Sinclair, who is contributing the introduction to this edition, is the author of Valancourt titles The Facts in the Case of E.A. Poe and The Raker; the main character in The Raker was modelled on Derek Lindsay/A.E. Ellis, and Sinclair writes in his introduction of a ménage à trois among Sinclair, his wife, and Lindsay.  More interesting trivia: Gillian Freeman, author of three Valancourt reissues, was at one time adapting The Rack as a screenplay, which sadly was never produced.

Ellis's novel is the story of a young Englishman sent to a sanatorium in the Alps in the days before antibiotic treatment for TB infection.  As he continues to hold out hope of his cure and being able to marry Michele, a young Belgian girl also at the hospital, he is subjected to increasingly dehumanizing medical procedures amounting almost to torture.  The genius of Ellis's novel, though, is its tone of fatalistic, gallows humor throughout.  "Book of the year, if ever there was one," said V.S. Pritchett, and we agree!


Alex Hamilton, Beam of Malice (1966)

Ramsey Campbell, the most award-winning and acclaimed British horror novelist today, says "Alex Hamilton is one of the absolute masters of the sunlit nightmare, the tale of insidious disquiet and relentless unease. He's a true original, and it's past time that he took his place in the pantheon of the elegantly macabre." 

Hamilton's first collection of macabre stories, Beam of Malice, was published in the UK in 1966 and the US the following year but has been neglected since.  We agree with Ramsey Campbell that Hamilton's tales of unease are well worth rediscovery, so we're pleased to be reissuing his debut collection, with a new foreword by the author.



Archie Roy, Devil in the Darkness (1978)

Archie Roy (1924-2012) was very well known, but as a professor of astronomy at the University of Glasgow rather than for his novels.  Roy, in addition to being a well-respected scientist (with an asteroid named after him), was also a firm believer in the paranormal and incorporated his interest in both science and the occult in six novels published in the 1960s and '70s.  Sadly, though his books are extremely well-written and genuinely thrilling, they are very little known today, even to connoisseurs of this sort of fiction.



Devil in the Darkness (1978) starts out in classic British haunted house style.  A young couple, just married, is driving to their honeymoon through a blizzard when they are forced to take refuge for the night in a creepy old mansion.  It turns out, of course, that the house is haunted, but the twist is that there are two groups of people already at the house when they arrive: one is there to study the psychic phenomena while the other is there to destroy it.  Some sleepless nights and eerie happenings occur, and the atmosphere is pitch-perfect.

We will also be reissuing Roy's The Curtained Sleep, a genuinely mind-bending novel involving drug-induced altered states of consciousness that is guaranteed to freak you out when you finally figure out what's going on.

More new title announcements coming soon!