We here at the Alchemy Press are sad to report the passing of Bryn Fortey, who died at the age of 83 on 21st July 2021 in his home country of Wales, from kidney failure and sepsis. He was surrounded by his family, and our heartfelt condolences are with them.
Bryn started writing short stories in the macabre/horror/SF field in the late 1960s and appeared in anthologies including The Fontana Book of Great Horror Stories, New Writings in SF and New Writings in Horror and the Supernatural. But, as his writing gathered pace, life intervened. In the 2000s his son Jim was tragically killed under harrowing circumstances, which was followed shortly by the death of his beloved wife Maddalena, and for a while his writing dried up.
It was a chance encounter with horror anthologist Johnny Mains, who was researching horror authors from the past, which prompted him to the write his first story in a long while. He submitted “Ithica or Bust” to The Alchemy Press Book of Ancient Wonders, which was launched at the 2012 British Fantasy Convention. This was followed by “The Flier” in The Alchemy Press Book of Pulp Heroes 2. These stories, plus others from his past and a smattering of new tales, were collected in Merry-Go-Round and Other Words, published by The Alchemy Press in 2014, with an introduction by Johnny Mains. A second collection, also from The Alchemy Press, Compromising the Truth, appeared in 2018, this time with an introduction by another of his friends, Adrian Cole. A new story, co-written with Johnny Mains, is scheduled to appear in The Alchemy Press Book of Horrors 3 later this year.
Besides a love of quirky weird tales, Bryn loved music and football. Adrian (and to a lesser extent Peter – only a passing football fan) took gentle digs at each of our hometown football teams: Newport (Bryn), Plymouth (Adrian) and Portsmouth (Peter) – and all coastal towns/cities. Is there a significance there? Although his passion for music was in jazz and blues, Bryn was keen to listen to new (to him) material. Much of his thoughts on music were funnelled through verse. His poetry was heavily influenced by the beat poets, which saw widespread publication. He won the Data Dump Award for SF poetry in 2009.
We had only known Bryn for a little over a decade. He came to our attention as a writer in 2011 but in the years since then we had become firm friends. He possessed a wonderfully mischievous sense of humour – which some would say it came from his Welsh roots – that never failed to make us smile. When we learned of his serious illness we feared and anticipated the end, yet when it came we were still shocked and deeply saddened.
Rest in peace, Bryn. We will miss you.
Peter Coleborn & Jan Edwards