Monday 24 August 2009

Dark Horizons #55

Twelve short stories, from blood-soaked battlefields to drowning futures! Three articles, on the most beloved of writers and the utterly unknown! Twelve poems! Seven contributing artists! One hundred and sixty exciting pages! Seventy thousand thrilling words! Yes, the editor got a bit carried away when putting together Dark Horizons 55… but it looks like it’s turned out all right in the end. His wife is still speaking to him (just) and the issue has gone to the printers, wrapped in its marvellous cover by Arthur Wang, to be despatched with the British Fantasy Society's September mailing. 

  • Dead Gods, Richard Ford
  • The Sunflower at Dusk, Naoko Awa (tr. Toshiya Kamei)
  • Despoina’s Sorrow, Alex Davis
  • Escape from the Shadow Moon, Mike Phillips
  • Sarkless Kitty, Alison J. Littlewood
  • The Beating Heart, Jim Steel
  • The Circle, Ian Hunter
  • Sailors of the Skies, Mike Chinn
  • In the Tunnels of the Agogs, Ralph Robert Moore
  • The Skeleton in the Cupboard, Astrid Klemz
  • Bugs, Shaun Jeffrey
  • Vivienne’s Garden, Douglas Thompson
  • Two Forgotten Disciples: C. Hall Thompson and Clifford Ball, Mike Barrett
  • A Loud Whisper: in Appreciation of Charles L. Grant, Paul Campbell
  • Dumarest: the Coming Event? Craig Herbertson
  • Ten Poems, Michael Fantina
  • Dreams in the Nebula of Ghosts, Wade German
  • After the End of the World, Victor D. Infante
  • Lev Grossman and the Magicians
With artwork from Arthur Wang, David Bezzina, Jackie Burns, Mark Pexton, Dominic Harman, John Shanks and Ally Thompson.
Naoko Awa (1943–1993) was an award-winning writer of modern fairy tales. As a child, she read fairy tales by Grimm, Andersen, and Hauff, as well as The Arabian Nights. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Japanese literature from Japan Women’s University.
Mike Barrett first contributed to Dark Horizons in the 1970s. Recently he has taken to writing again, and is a member of the SSWFT amateur press association. He is also a regular contributor to The New York Review of Science Fiction and has had pieces published in Wormwood, Fantasy Commentator and Studies in Fantasy Literature. He lives in Kent and works in the pensions industry in London.
David Bezzina’s favourite artists are Alan Lee, Barry Windsor-Smith, Chris Foss and Frank Frazetta… “Getting my second wind (artistically) and really enjoying my painting at the moment,” he says. He is online at
Jackie E. Burns. Astronomical and SF&F artist living and working in Essex. Semi-regular EasterCon and WorldCon art exhibitor. Work shown at Kennedy Space Center and Massachusetts University, USA. Fellow and past European Vice President of the International Association for Astronomical Artists ( Accredited member of the Guild of Essex Craftsmen.
Paul Campbell was born in the early seventies and lives in Lanarkshire. He writes book reviews for Prism, our news magazine.
Mike Chinn’s short fiction has been published in Birmingham Noir, The Black Book of Horror and The Mammoth Book of Dracula, with new material forthcoming in Postscripts and Raw Terror. His books include Writing and Illustrating the Graphic Novel, Create Your Own Graphic Novel, The Paladin Mandates and Swords Against the Millennium, and he is helping expand the fantasy world he created in Starblazer for the Starblazer Adventures RPG supplement, Legends of Anglerre.
Alex Davis is a horror writer and gothic poet based in Derby, with several pieces currently published in magazines, webzines and anthologies. He is currently working on two novellas, “Ceriano” and “Dead Meat”, as well as a number of short stories. He has also read and performed at a number of venues in Derby and beyond.
Michael Fantina has been writing for many years and has had scores of poems published in North America (Romantics Quarterly, The Lyric) and in the UK (Candelabrum Poetry Magazine, Harlequin). He has also had fantasy and horror tales published in the US and several through Rainfall Books in the UK.
Richard Ford’s work has appeared in The Cold Hand of Betrayal and Heroes of the Space Marines, Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 anthologies respectively. His first novel, The Dragons of Lencia, is now available through Mongoose Publishing.
Wade German’s speculative poems can be found in Space and Time, Dreams and Nightmares, Black Petals, Star*Line, Scifaikuest, Moonlit Path, Moonset and Strange Sorcery, among others.
Craig Herbertson’s novel, School: The Seventh Silence, was published by Immanion Press. His work has appeared in The 29th Pan Book of Horror Stories and in three volumes of the Black Book of Horror.
Dominic Harman has worked for major publishers around the world, producing art for books by Clive Barker, H.G. Wells, Philip Pullman, Naomi Novak and George R.R. Martin.
Ian Hunter has moved into the 20th century with his website, From issue fifty-six he will be the poetry editor of this very journal.
Victor D. Infante is a poet, editor and journalist living in Worcester, Mass., USA. His first full-length collection of poetry, City of Insomnia, was released in 2008 from Write Bloody Publishing, and he is also the editor in chief of The November 3rd Club, an online literary journal of political writing.
Shaun Jeffrey has had one horror novel published, Evilution, over forty short stories in both amateur and professional markets, and a collection, Voyeurs of Death. His latest short story sale was to Cemetery Dance, and his second novel, The Kult, was published by Leucrota Press.
Toshiya Kamei, with the permission of Naoko Awa’s family, is translating her work into English. The translations have appeared or are forthcoming in Crow Toes Quarterly, Fairy Tale Review, Kyoto Journal, Marginalia, Metamorphoses, and elsewhere.
Astrid Klemz’s story, “The Skeleton in the Cupboard”, was the runner-up in the British Fantasy Society Short Story Competition 2008. The winner of the 2009 competition will be announced at the British Fantasy Awards at FantasyCon.
Alison J. Littlewood has contributed to Read by Dawn Vol. 3, Black Static, Dark Horizons, Aoife’s Kiss and the Midnight Lullabies anthology. She lives in West Yorkshire, England, where she spends far too much time dreaming and writing strange notes to herself on scraps of paper. Her website is at
Ralph Robert Moore’s fiction has been anthologised in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror 19, Revelation III, Dark Distortions and Read By Dawn, and has appeared in Collages and Bricolages, Lullaby Hearse, Lunatic Chameleon, Midnight Street, and many more. His new collection is now available: Remove the Eyes. See his website Sentence at
Mark Pexton recently provided the cover art for Peckinpah by D. Harlan Wilson; a deviant monster truck racer and cardboard box fiddler, he likes physics, comics and Brussel sprouts. His work is online at 
Mike Phillips grew up on a small farm in West Michigan. Each year during summer vacation, the television was turned off. This meant much of summer was spent reading. Mike hopes that through his writing he can, in some small way, share this gift with others.
John Shanks has previously provided covers for TQF16 and TQF26. He has his own website – Homegrown Goodness – from which you can request bespoke cartooning, or purchase his hilarious animal encyclopedias.
Jim Steel has had stories in recent issues of Cutting Teeth, Polluto, Premonitions, Twisted Tongue, Dark Horizons and Beeswax. More should turn up soon in Supernatural Tales and Arkham Tales. He’s the reviews editor for Interzone, and he also reviews for Vector, The Fix, The Zone, VideoVista, Soundchecks and formerly Whispers of Wickedness.
Stephen Theaker didn’t leave himself room for an editorial in this issue, but he hopes you still enjoy this special marriage-threatening double-length issue. He was responsible for the blurry photograph of a mushroom that slightly spoils this issue, and conducted the BFSQ&A interview with Lev Grossman..
Ally Thompson is a prolific neo-surrealist artist whose work has graced many galleries and homes and private collections in America and Europe since he graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 1980. 
Douglas Thompson’s stories have appeared most recently in Ambit, New Writing Scotland, Subtle Edens, Dark Horizons and TQF. “Vivienne’s Garden” is from his second novel, Sylvow. His first, Ultrameta, is due to be published this month by Eibonvale (see
Arthur Wang is an art major in college. He loves all things imaginary, wondrous and grand or dark and disgusting. He loves ideas, “what-if’s” and the way that being an illustrator puts him in contact with other people who share his passion. Visit