Look Out For … The Parts We Play by Stephen Volk and The Late Breakfasters by Robert Aickman

volkLook Out For … The Parts We Play by Stephen Volk

“The Parts We Play showcases stories written in different styles, settings and voices.”

An illusionist preparing his latest, most audacious trick … A movie fan hiding from a totalitarian regime …  A pop singer created with the perfect ingredients for stardom …  A folklorist determined to catch a supernatural entity on tape … A dead child appearing to her mother in the middle of a supermarket aisle … A man who breaks the ultimate taboo–but does that make him a monster?

 In this rich and varied collection of Stephen Volk’s best fiction to date, characters seek to be the people they need to be, jostled by hope, fears, responsibility, fate, and their own inner demons–and desires. These tales of the lies and lives we live and the pasts we can’t forget include the British Fantasy Award-winning novella, ‘Newspaper Heart’.

Why We’re Excited About This Book:

Stephen Volk’s award-winning short stories have shown him to be one of the best authors currently working in the genre. So The Parts We Play is a real treat, a collection of some of Volk’s previously published work.

The author has stated that, rather than being a themed collection, he wanted The Parts We Play to showcase stories written in different styles, settings and voices. A White Album of horror fiction. And he’s certainly succeeded: within these pages sits the classic horror of ‘Newspaper Heart’,  a Professor Challenger homage (‘The Shrug Monkey’) and a stinging satire of modern celebrity with the superb ‘Celebrity Frankenstein’.

And then there’s ‘The Arse-licker’, which is one of the most, uh, ‘memorable’ stories we at This Is Horror have ever read.

Quite simply, The Parts We Play is one of the must-have collections of the year.

The Parts We Play  is out now from PS Publishing.

aickmanLook Out For … The Late Breakfasters by Robert Aickman

“The Late Breakfasters is an English comedy of manners, set in a haunted house.”

An omnibus collection featuring some of the finest works of a master of weird fiction

One of the preeminent writers of weird fiction, Robert Aickman is celebrated for his unsettling and often ambiguous “strange stories,” but he once wrote that “those, if any, who wish to know more about me, should plunge beneath the frivolous surface of The Late Breakfasters“, his only novel, originally published in 1964.

In The Late Breakfasters, young Griselda de Reptonville is invited by Mrs. Hatch to a house party at her country estate, Beams (which, incidentally, is haunted). There, amidst an array of eccentric characters and bizarre happenings, she will meet the love of her life, Louise. But when their short-lived relationship is cruelly cut short, Griselda must embark on a quest to recapture the happiness she has lost.

Why We’re Excited About This Book:

Robert Aickman’s work has been becoming slowly more visible in the last few years, with praise for his short stories from Neil Gaiman, Peter Straub and most of The League of Gentlemen. But his only novel, The Late Breakfasters, has remained comparatively hard to come by. This handsome release from Valancourt Books, with an introduction by Phillip Challinor, aims to put that right.

The Late Breakfasters is an odd novel, striking a more whimsical tone than the concentrated strangeness of Aickman’s short stories. Yet it is not devoid of hints of the odd and the supernatural. It’s an English comedy of manners, set in a haunted house. Unusually for Aickman, it touches upon issues such as prejudice, class and same sex relationships. What’s not unusual for this singular author is how gorgeously the story is told.

As well as The Late Breakfasters itself, the volume also features six of Aickman’s celebrated short stories, including the classic ghostly tales ‘Larger Than Oneself’, ‘A Roman Question’ and ‘The Visiting Star’.

Aickman was one of the greatest British writers of horror fiction, but be warned: once you’re drawn into his unsettling world it’s impossible to leave.

The Late Breakfasters is out on 4 October 2016 from Valancourt Books.


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