The Black Room opens again. Dare you enter once more?
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Volume Two of The Black Room Manuscripts features 21 stories from new and established talent such as Shaun Hutson, Graham Masterton and Matt Shaw. It also features a foreword from Chris Hall of DLS reviews and an afterword by Howard Gorman from Scream Magazine.
This volume was curated by J. R. Park and his chosen charity was Alzheimer Research UK. All profits from the sale of the book will be donated to them.
Current Donation Total: £387.02
Below are J. R. Park’s notes about each of the authors and pieces found within the collection.
Dissecting Lucifer’s Scripts – Foreword by Chris Hall
I only found out the other day that DLS reviews has only be going for two years. When you look at the wealth of in depth reviews on the site you’d think it had been going longer. Chris’ reviews are much praised in the horror world, and it’s easy to see why. Each one is thorough, insightful and extremely well written. When he reviewed my book Upon Waking I thought his synopsis was so much better than my own blurb!
I met Chris at the Guy N Smith convention in 2015 and I was bowled over by his enthusiasm and passion for horror fiction. I knew then, he was the perfect choice to discuss the topic in a foreword for the book. I’m so pleased to see that passion come through in his opener.
Prologue by JR Park
In the first volume, Daniel Marc Chant had written a prologue for the book. Originally written for the Bizart podcast with the challenge to write a story in 300 words. Thankfully I didn’t put this constraint on my piece. My prologue extends the Black Room mythos by giving it a modern day setting, but keeps it consistent with the mysterious phrase Pasher tagoth imra.
The Drawers by Tim Clayton
And so on to the opening story proper. I’ve known Tim since university, where we both studied English & Creative Studies at Bath Spa University College. He had always been a fantastic writer and has released two novels: a book called The Spokesman about cycling and dirty money, and a book called Full Blast Wrestling about, well, wrestling. Horror was a new genre for him to tackle, and he delivered. Creepy and unusual in style, this sets the tone for the rest of the book. It’s going to be unhinged, it’s going to be dark, and it’s not going to be what you expect.
Spores by Jack Rollins
I first encountered Jack at HorrorCon 2015. A nice chap with a set of Victorian themed horror books for sale. I loved his concepts, and his writing squarely hit the spot. Spores is set in much more modern times; a twilight zone-esque story with a gut churning climax. Universally loved in the Sinister camp.
What The Dark Does by Graham Masterton
I approached Graham with little hope he’d say yes. I was bowled over when he responded so quickly. Within a few days I had the completed story in my hands! A dream to have a childhood hero featured in this book. What The Dark Does is a wonderful story with a premise you can’t help thinking about after you’ve stopped reading.
Screams In The Night by JR Park
Yeah, of course I’m going to feature in my own anthology. J This idea had been in my head for a year before I finally wrote it. I’d never written in present tense before and wanted to try it out. I channelled quite a lot of aggression through this story, and I think it shows. I remember Kit Power saying the same thing about Godbomb! Maybe it’s what happens when you write in present tense!
Night Patrol by Paul M Feeney
I like it when people try different things and play with concepts. This does just that. It’s a clever story in that most of the action is recounted in conversation between two people. There’s a real sense of dread that clouds the whole story. I won’t ruin it, but I really liked the way it ended too.
Cut To The Core by Rebecca S Lazaro
This one is a proper toe curler. It made me feel pretty queasy, and that’s saying something. A clever little plot runs alongside the depravity. Definitely one for the extreme horror fans.
The Glen by Nathan Robinson
I’m such a fan of Nat’s writing, and I’m pleased to say this story is littered with those wonderful lines that makes his books stand out for me. A really bleak tale that twists with its revelations. Its tone brought to mind his book Ketchup On Everything, which is a great thing.
The Vile Glib Of Gideon Wicke by Lily Childs
Get your tissues ready. Lily is a great writer and her wonderful prose lends this story some real emotional weight. I’m not kidding, you’ll be crying after this one.
Red Mask by Lindsey Goddard
I came across Lindsey’s work when she was featured in the Horror Hooligan’s Girls Rock Horror Harder with her story Damaged Goods. I loved it and had to ask her to contribute. Red Mask injects some high octane action into the proceedings. I loved the tempo of the story’s climax.
The Ring Of Karnak by Daniel Marc Chant
When it came to submitting a story, Dan wasn’t sure how to approach it. He wasn’t sure which avenue to take, what style to go for. I had been hugely impressed with his entry into the Lovecraft inspired collection Cthulhu Lies Dreaming. ‘Play to your strengths,’ I told him, ‘Go all Lovecraft.’ He didn’t need telling twice. He knocked it out of the park with this one. Glad I got it for the anthology.
The Gift by Shaun Huston
It was a surreal moment when I was proof reading this story and thought, Holy shit I’m editing Shaun Hutson! When I was a kid, reading books that I probably shouldn’t have done, Shaun Hutson made a massive impact. His books were more gory, more hardcore, than any others I had read. In fact it was his prose I thought back to when I started writing the more graphic scenes in my first book Terror Byte. This is a short, sharp tale that reminds of the stories that used to appear in the short lived British horror comic Scream.
The Father by Rich Hawkins
Rich is a great writer and one of the first people that appeared on the list of authors to approach for this collection. He’s such a nice guy when you meet him, you wouldn’t believe how bleak his writing can be. So how bleak can Rich get? You’ll find out in The Father.
Oranges Are Orange by Stuart Park
Stu is my older brother, and throughout the years we’ve always bounced off each other creatively. When I started writing he was my first go to for feedback. His advice was so useful, so in depth that I wouldn’t dream of releasing anything without him looking over it. As well as editing my work, he’s also provided feedback to a lot of Duncan P Bradshaw’s books. So I was glad when he accepted my challenge of writing a short for this collection. We reversed roles as I became editor to him. He produced a very clever tale with a lot of hidden depths for those with an analytical mind.
Drip by Dani Brown
To me this story is all about the flow of the prose. Someone wakes up, unsure where they are and there is a constant dripping on them. I don’t want to ruin the plot, but the rhythm of the words and sentences matches the dripping and spaces in between, all boiled up with a sense of seething rage.
Renewal by William Meikle
To me the Dunfield Terror is a perfect book. It shows an author that is an expert in his craft. On reputation alone, William Meikle would have been on the wish list, but after reading that book I needed him in the anthology. To make it even more special, Renewal continues with the same mythology. Awesome.
Eleven by Matt Shaw
I’ve met a lot of nice, friendly and supportive people in the horror scene. The most supportive, encouraging and down-right friendly has been Matt Shaw. He has nothing to gain from being nice to others and give up some of his time to help them out, and yet he does. A lot.
When I asked him to be part of this collection I was expecting something extreme, something that would shock me. The man did not disappoint. This was truly shocking, and a real uncomfortable read, but not in the way you would expect. If any of the stories is going to cause controversy, it’ll be this one.
Mutant Building 101 by Duncan P Bradshaw
Dunk will bring a smile back to our faces with a laugh out loud monster tale in this Godzilla style creature feature. I really don’t know how he comes up with all those ideas and those comic lines. I’ve known the guy for around 20 years now so you’d think I’d have heard them all, but nope. (I can’t believe I’ve had to admit he’s actually funny. Let’s hope he doesn’t read this or we’ll never hear the end of it!)
Backbone Isn’t Always Enough by Dr Lynne Campbell
A mystery lies at the heart of this tale, and not everything is given away. Told from the central character’s perspective, it has a purposefully antiquated style of language, but it’s also the things that aren’t mention that gives this story depth. There are gaps here that leave you questioning, making the story all the more powerful for it.
And The Light Is His Garment by Jasper Bark
Bloody hell I wish I was this clever. A tale built around a well known fairy tale, you are immediately nodding in appreciation to the theme and interesting take on it. But then the ending comes and you’re left reeling. Thought provoking and deep. I loved Jasper’s Stuck On You, and I’m so glad this tale is as equal in quality to that collection.
Terry In The Bed By The Window by Laura Mauro
Laura is often seen in the pages of Black Static, which is enough to seal her credentials as a top writer. If you needed any more convincing then you’ll see that Terry In The Bed By The Window oozes quality in its prose and the tale is beautifully paced. The climax is handled particularly well.
It’s often a fault I’ve read with anthologies that they can tail off towards the end. We were determined to not let that happen with this one.
Three Sisters by Sam Stone
Sam is such a great writer, and massively prolific too. I met her at HorrorCon 2015, and she was so helpful in giving me advice. When I read this story I instantly knew I wanted this one to be the story to close off the book. Its ending is unexpected and in being so it leaves you with a sinister feeling, one you wouldn’t count on when you close off a horror anthology.
Epilogue by JR Park
Following on from the events of the prologue I got to have a great bit of fun with this short slab of horror to close the loop on this year’s expedition into the Black Room.
Afterword by Howard Gorman
Howard is the features editor for Scream Magazine, a monthly horror magazine I regular buy and enjoy. This afterword gives a different look at the indie horror world – focusing on the world of independent horror film making. This is well researched and provides a thought provoking look at the state of affairs today, analysing the obstacles that face all creative endeavours in the industry.
So there you have it. A year in the making and it’s finally here. I’m really proud of this book and want to thank everyone that’s helped to make the book exactly what it is.