A shout-out to some excellent horror publishers

Before I started writing this blog, I hadn’t actively hunted down new (and old) horror for some time. Older works were very hard to find and new books were often… lacking, to put it politely. I’ll have a rant about the latter point in a few days but as far as for former: there are some excellent publishers out there printing things that have been lost or unpublished for decades, and in some cases the works were clearly a labor of love. Below the fold, I give a brief ‘shout-out’ to three publishers whose efforts have made recent years a sort of ‘golden age’ for researching and studying pulp fantasy and horror:

Wordsworth Mystery & Supernatural. This massive series contains a number of classic Victorian-era ghost and horror stories, such as Sweeney Todd, the works of M.R. James and Sheridan LeFanu, as well as numerous collections of ghost stories by authors whose work you’ve probably never heard of. The only gripe with the books is their relatively poor paper quality, but considering the inexpensive prices and obscurity of the authors it’s a forgivable, even understandable one.

Night Shade Books. To quote their title page, “Night Shade books is dedicated to publishing quality books from a broad spectrum of genres.” They ain’t lying. My only experience with them so far is two volumes of the eventual five-volume collected works of William Hope Hodgson, but it’s enough. These lovely hard-bound books will eventually secure a prominent space on the bookshelf in my study. I’m apparently not the only appreciative one: amazon.com has some used copies running for $265+! (The list price is $35.00.)

Planet Stories. For those who long for gritty pulp adventure stories ala Conan, look no further than Planet Stories. Their catalog includes the works of Henry Kuttner, C.L. Moore, Gary Gygax and Michael Moorcock. The books are of good quality, with covers that make them look from a distance to be comic-booky (I wondered, when I ordered the first one, whether I was getting a comic book by mistake). The stories are first-rate, as well: this isn’t the detritus of shoddy pulps past, but rather a return to the stories of neglected masters.

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10 Responses to A shout-out to some excellent horror publishers

  1. The Broken Forum says:

    You have some promising recommendations here. The $265 price on the NightShade title is impressive. I will definitely check out some of these. I was a huge fan of the old pulp Conan books. And I was sorry to hear that Gygax passed recently.

  2. Uncle Al says:

    Yew wan’ horror? Yew can’t handle horror!

  3. TBF: Thanks for the comment. I hope you find the suggestions interesting.

    I liked your excellent – and well deserved – thrashing of the movie I Am Legend, by the way!

  4. Thanks for the mention of our Mystery & Supernatural series, which I stumbled across purely because I was reading your other notes while I was researching for possible new titles. As a small company (there are only three of us), we welcome suggestions from readers, so if anyone would care to have a look at our list, and comes up with something that we really should be doing, drop us a line on the website. The only specific requirement is that they need to be out of copyright (70+ years after the author’s death – we can’t squeeze royalties into a £2.99 R.R.P.) Mmmm, Flaxman Low, now there’s an idea…

  5. Derek: Thanks for the comment! No need to thank me for the mention; I’m grateful that there are people out there that are publishing classic works that otherwise would be essentially lost.

    I had no idea there were only three of you! That’s impressive, considering the amount of titles you’ve released. Since this is a rather old post, I may bump your request for suggestions to its own post.

  6. That would be great – in recent weeks I’ve had a lot of correspondence via the website, which have resulted in some excellent suggestions which I’ve added to our our late 2009/2010 publications list. Quite a lot of readers seem to be collecting the series, so I’ve started to copy them into my sporadic newsletters announcing new M&S titles. If anyone is interested, drop me a line.

  7. Aaron Bennett says:

    If you are looking for good horror presses, you might want to check out Belfire Press.

  8. Pingback: Richard Marsh’s The Beetle: A Mystery | Skulls in the Stars

  9. Pingback: C.L. Moore’s Black God’s Kiss | Skulls in the Stars

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