Talking to Strangers reviewed

TALKING TO STRANGERS AND OTHER WARNINGS by Tina Rath has been reviewed by John Gilbert in Phantasmagoria magazine issue 15.

When people try to ridicule the horror and fantasy genres as lightweight and frothy or gory and gratuitous puff, I just point them in the direction of authors such as Tina Rath. Dr Rath is truly a renaissance woman; an academic with a fascination for supernatural literature and folklore, an actress, Queen Victoria impersonator, poet, and librarian; she has a formidable intellect and ferocious wit. Oh, and according to Gail Nina-Anderson’s ‘Introduction’ to Talking to Strangers, Tina’s latest short story collection, she is a part-time vampire.

The twenty-nine supernatural tales in her brand new ‘best of’ collection range from the dark and forbidding to the gently humorous, many of them distilling a sense of unease from everyday items in contemporary settings with a hefty sting in the tale. The best stories in the collection demonstrate Dr. Rath’s deep knowledge of classic and contemporary supernatural fiction. Alien encounters is the theme of ‘Talking to Strangers in Finsbury Park’; ‘A Visit to Blastings Manor’ is a superb Christmas ghost story; in ‘This is How It Happened’, a classic fairy tale is given a modern setting. A young cleaner gives a hospital ward an unusually deep clean in ‘Ilona’ and in ‘A Beautiful Boy’, a handsome young man appears to bring out the best and youthfulness renewed in an old folks’ home.

A newcomer at St Walburga’s school shows herself as no geek and no pushover for the bullies in ‘Scruffy The Vampire Slayer’ and a lodger proves more difficult to get rid of than originally anticipated in ‘Sitting Tenant’. ‘Diversion’ takes bus passengers on anything but a magical mystery tour whilst ‘A Trick of The Dark’ poses the fateful question, “What kind of job finishes just at sun-set?”. ‘“It’s White and It Follows Me”’ is a ghostly lament; ‘The Fetch’ in a tale of a ghostly guest first published last year in a collection to commemorate the life of R. Chetwynd-Hayes; in ‘The Bus’, Mrs Fortescue waits for eternity and in the ‘Fifth Sense’ the author engages in some clever lycanthropic olfaction (the lengths to which I go in order to hide spoilers).

Packed full of supernatural fun and surprises, Talking to Strangers… demonstrates the great breadth and depth of Tina Rath’s talent as a writer of supernatural fiction, collecting together the very best of her output during thirty-seven very productive years and four stories which were specially written for this book. Entertaining, dark, perplexing and humorous, the stories will keep horror fans enthralled during many a day in lockdown and beyond.

Talking to Strangers is published by The Alchemy Press and is available from Amazon and other online dealers.

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While we’re here, I thoroughly recommend Phantasmagoria magazine, published by Trevor Kennedy several times a year. Available from Amazon in print and Kindle formats.

 

 

Two new books launched tonight

Tonight at 7.00 p.m. (UK time) we launch two new books, Talking to Strangers and Other Warnings by Tina Rath and The Alchemy Press Book of Horrors 2 edited by Peter Coleborn and Jan Edwards. Because of the covid-19 lock-down it is an online launch on Facebook.

Tina Rath’s twenty-plus tales exhibit an innate sense of structure that allows for a satisfying conclusion – and often a sting in the tail. These are unashamedly entertaining stories, dark fantasy with a touch of humour, that display a deftness of touch inviting us to enjoy the words on the page. They don’t outstay their welcome or labour their points because they don’t need to – Tina Rath knows how a story works. And they work well. Very well indeed. With an introduction by Gail-Nina Anderson.

Strange stories and weird tales and all of the creeping horrors in between. Horrors 2 features seventeen fabulous writers, including Sarah Ash, Paul Finch, John Grant, Nancy Kilpatrick, Garry Kilworth, Samantha Lee … to lead you on a spine-tingling tour from seaside towns to grimy cities, to the lonely and secret places, from the fourteenth precinct to Namibia … and so many places in between.

We’ll also be showcasing two novellas due at the end of April: Les Vacances by Phil Sloman and A Small Thing for Yolanda by Jan Edwards.

Join us on Facebook here for the event and quiz — there will be prizes!

 

eLaunch for Alchemy Press books

Talking to Strangers and Other Warnings by Tina Rath

The Alchemy Press Book of Horrors 2 edited by Peter Coleborn and Jan Edwards

The Alchemy Press was intending to launch a couple of titles at this year’s Stokercon later this month. But it is not to be. Alas, Stokercon has been postponed — it’s that cursed covid-19 virus to blame.

And so it’s IT to the rescue. If you are on Facebook pop along to the online launch event and say hello to some of the books’ contributors. There will even be a prize or two…

Visit the Facebook events page for details.

Talking to Strangers

Talking to Strangers and Other Warnings

The new collection from Tina Rath due on 16th April.

Tina Rath’s twenty-plus tales exhibit an innate sense of structure that allows for a satisfying conclusion – and often a sting in the tail. These are unashamedly entertaining stories, dark fantasy with a touch of humour, that display a deftness of touch inviting us to enjoy the words on the page. They don’t outstay their welcome or labour their points because they don’t need to – Tina Rath knows how a story works. And they work well. Very well indeed.

With an introduction by Gail-Nina Anderson

Available for pre-order from Amazon.co.uk and other stores.

Horrors – pre-order now

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The Alchemy Press Book of Horrors is now available to pre-order. The book will be launched at this year’s FantasyCon and then will be on general sale on 1st November. Available from Amazon and other online booksellers.

Twenty-five tales of horror and the weird, stories that encapsulate the dark, the desolate and the downright creepy. Stories that will send that quiver of anticipation and dread down your spine and stay with you long after the lights have gone out.

Who is Len Binn, a comedian or…? What secrets are locked away in Le Trénébreuse? The deadline for what? Who are the little people, the garbage men, the peelers? What lies behind the masks? And what horrors are found down along the backroads?

Check out the book’s page to see who are the 25 writers.

 

What’s in Horrors?

There was an avalanche of stories submitted to The Alchemy Press Book of Horrors – especially in the final month of the submission’s window. To be honest, we didn’t expect to receive around 310 manuscripts seeking a home in this anthology. We were worried that we’d have too few submissions.

We read the stories as soon as possible after receiving them (but as indicated, January was a particularly busy month), maintaining a database of comments in order to narrow down to a shortlist.

Yet we managed it quickly – and then the shortlist itself needed to be pruned, and even so we couldn’t cut back to the original idea: an anthology containing a dozen stories. So we succumbed and settled on 25 stories. Without further ado, in alphabetical order (alphabetically by first name that is!), here’s what you’ll be reading in the latter part of 2018.

  • Adrian Cole: Broken Billy
  • Cate Gardner: The Fullness of Her Belly
  • Debbie Bennett: The Fairest of them all
  • Gail-Nina Anderson: An Eye for a Plastic Eye
  • Gary McMahon: Guising
  • James Brogden: The Trade-Up
  • Jenny Barber: Down Along the Backroads
  • John Grant: Too Late
  • Keris McDonald: Remember, Remember
  • Madhvi Ramani: Teufelsberg
  • Marie O’Regan: Pretty Things
  • Marion Pitman: The Apple Tree
  • Mike Chinn: Her Favourite Place
  • Peter Sutton: Masks
  • Phil Sloman: The Girl with Three Eyes
  • Ralph Robert Moore: Peelers
  • Ramsey Campbell: Some Kind of a Laugh
  • Ray Cluley: Bluey
  • Samantha Lee: The Worm
  • Stan Nicholls: Deadline
  • Stephen Laws: Get Worse Soon
  • Storm Constantine: La Tenebreuse
  • Suzanne Barbieri: In the Rough
  • Tina Rath: Little People
  • Tony Richards: The Garbage Men

In addition, the book will be garnished with a range of Jim Pitt illustrations. We aim to make this book one you’ll treasure.