Look Out For… The Ragthorn by Robert Holdstock and Gary Kilworth and Perchance To Dream: Selected Stories by Charles Beaumont

952876d3-4959-4693-bbd5-4806eff2944c-bestSizeAvailableLook Out For… The Ragthorn by Robert Holdstock and Gary Kilworth

“The Ragthorn is an intelligent and erudite tale of obsession.”

There were these two British writers, one lived in the country, the other in the city. The country writer loved to visit the city and partake of brandy and Greek kebabs in the local hostelry. The city writer liked to visit the country and guzzle ale and barbecued steak under the apple trees. The two writers needed an excuse for these indulgences, and so they invented one, and this excuse was called “collaborating on a story” … It soon emerged that the story was to be about a legendary tree, which they both vaguely recalled from the tales their grandfathers used to tell them of mystery and myth. Soon they were delving with suppressed excitement into old documents at the British Museum and began to come up with some frightening discoveries.

The first of these finds was in studying the original text, in Anglo-Saxon, of the Old English poem “The Dream of the Rood”. The marrying of the “tree” (crucifixion cross) and the “thorn” (a runic character) was too elaborately regular to be an accident of metre or alliterative language. Other discoveries followed, and the story gradually surfaced, like a dark secret from its burial mound.

Why We’re Excited About This Book:

“I am placing this entry at the beginning of my edited journal for reasons that will become apparent. Time is very short for me now, the final part of the ritual draws near… I cannot pretend that I am not frightened.”

So begins The Ragthorn, a World Fantasy Award winning novella co-written by Garry Kilworth and Robert Holdstock, published as a physical book for the first time by Infinity Plus.

The Ragthorn centres on Dr Alexander’s quest to understand the legend of the mythical ragthorn tree, following in the footsteps of his great uncle, an archaeologist who brought an ancient stone from Egypt. He set the stone as the lintel in his own home and soon after Scarfell Cottage was said to be completely encompassed by the mysterious ragthorn. Dr Alexander is convinced that the tree is both real and that it possesses supernatural powers. He soon becomes fixated, chasing the ragthorn both in reality and in obscure references in old poems and books.

A dark and disturbing mixture of the fantasy and horror The Ragthron is an intelligent and erudite tale of obsession.

This re-release also includes the bonus stories ‘The Fabulous Beast’ by Garry Kilworth, and ‘The Charisma Trees’ by Robert Holdstock.

The Ragthorn is out now from Infinity Plus.


0143107658.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_SL400_Look Out For… Perchance To Dream: Selected Stories by Charles Beaumont

Perchance To Dream combines clever plots and twists with an accomplished, lyrical prose style.”

Beaumont dreamed up fantasies so vast and varied they burst through the walls of whatever box might contain them. Supernatural, horror, noir, science fiction, fantasy, pulp, and more: all were equally at home in his wondrous mind. These are stories where lions stalk the plains, classic cars rove the streets, and spacecraft hover just overhead. Here roam musicians, magicians, vampires, monsters, toreros, extra-terrestrials, androids, and perhaps even the Devil himself. With dizzying feats of master storytelling and joyously eccentric humour, Beaumont transformed his nightmares and reveries into impeccably crafted stories that leave themselves indelibly stamped upon the walls of the mind. In Beaumont’s hands, nothing is impossible: it all seems plausible, even likely.

Why We’re Excited About This Book: Charles Beaumont  is best known as one of the script-writers for The Twilight Zone, having penned an estimated twenty-two episodes, including such well-known ones as ‘The Howling Man’ and ‘Number Twelve Looks Just Like You’. But as well as his work for the small screen, he was also an accomplished short story writer, despite many genre fans having never heard of him.

It’s likely Beaumont’s tragically early decline and death meant his stories never got the recognition they deserved; hopefully the release of Perchance To Dream: Selected Stories as a Penguin Classic will go some way towards rectifying that. His work combines the clever plots and twists you might expect of a Twilight Zone writer with an accomplished, lyrical prose style that is utterly evocative. At his best, he was as good a writer as his contemporary, Shirley Jackson.

And if that’s not enough to tempt you, Perchance To Dream also contains an afterword by William Shatner. And there’s not many Penguin Classics you can say that about.

Perchance To Dream: Selected Stories is released on 13 October 2015 from Penguin Classics.


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