All posts by Christopher Fulbright

Christopher Fulbright is the author of short stories, novellas, and full-length novels of fantasy and horror. His short stories have appeared in many venues--webzines, magazines, and anthologies--since 1993. Fulbright received the Richard Laymon President's Award in 2008 from the HWA, and his short stories have received honorable mentions in "The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror" and "Best Horror of the Year." He is a former journalist turned technical writer, an unrepentant horror fan, and owner/webmaster of Realms of Night.

Bentley Little

Bentley Little is an American author of horror fiction and, in my opinion, the last great horror author to emerge from the 1980’s horror boom. Indeed, while the careers of the many perfectly good horror scribes ended up in a ditch by the mid-1990s, Little’s popularity carried him through. Up until 2012, Signet published a new horror novel by Bentley Little in mass market paperback every year. For the past decade or more, his novels were the only straight horror titles you could find on a paperback rack in the grocery store.

The first Bentley Little story I read was “Skin” in the Winter 1988 issue of The Horror Show. I became an immediate fan. I was a teenage author myself at the time, trying to break into the more prestigious small press magazines. That entailed ordering sample copies from any magazine that looked promising and had an address listed in the Writer’s Market. Back then, it was hard to find a small press horror magazine that didn’t contain a Bentley Little story. His tales appeared The Horror Show, Eldritch Tales, Cavalier, Space & Time, Grue, Thin Ice, Cemetery Dance, After Hours and more. He was prolific and, for my mileage, consistently good; I looked forward to every story. When his first novel, The Revelation, came out in 1990 from St. Martin’s press, I felt giddy for some reason. Maybe because I felt the New York publishing establishment had validated what I had been thinking all along — this guy is good and deserves a bigger audience. That book won the Bram Stoker award for first novel. He was off and running.

I loved his second novel The Mailman even more than The Revelation. Although it’s a book I expect the millennial generation would find ludicrous simply because the Internet makes the concept hard to swallow, as a product of its time, I think it’s a masterpiece. I am the proud owner of several editions of this book, including the fine slipcased 20th anniversary edition published by Cemetery Dance in 2012. I read the first mass market paperback edition right after it came out. It’s in the gallery below. The first paperback edition of this book, with the post office cancellation title, is scarce. I have not seen another copy of that edition anywhere except on eBay, and even there I’ve only seen it twice.

As Bentley Little was, and has once again become, one of my favorite authors, I have fond memories of moments in time when I was reading his books. The Association reminds me of early mornings in the quiet hours before the kids awoke, sitting on the back porch with the cats, drinking coffee with the crowing of roosters in the distance. The Resort reminds me of my first trip to Las Vegas. The Summoning reminds me of one sunny summer staying with my father, where I read it poolside in Colorado Springs. This was his only novel published by Zebra Books. The first paperback edition of University, also posted in the gallery below, marked his long-standing return to the Signet roster.

I admit there was a time, a little over ten years ago, when I thought I might be done reading Bentley Little’s books. Looking back, I can only ascribe this to a particular phase of my life. My tastes in fiction at the time had taken a hard turn toward mystery and crime. I was burned out on reading horror. I made it halfway through The Resort and gave up. I remember talking on message boards with other horror readers, and they were baffled at my reaction to the book. I shrugged it off — art is open to interpretation after all — but there’s a feeling you get if you feel like you might have to part ways with your favorite author. It’s like a great relationship gone wrong. Those early novels of his were among the many that carried me through some rough times. And now … well, allow me to fast forward to 2011. My wife and I were living in a community with a homeowners association. The creeps in that HOA displayed increasing levels of invasiveness and general dumbfuckery. About that time, I came across Little’s novel The Association and knew I had to read it. To this day, The Association is one of my favorite horror novels. It rekindled my love for his work, and I have been catching up the past several years on everything I missed.

It’s worth noting that I eventually came back to The Resort. I took it with me on that trip to Las Vegas I mentioned and read it cover to cover, utterly dumbfounded that I could have disliked the novel in the first place. Strangely, the things I remembered distinctly disliking about the book were not even present in the story when I re-read it. Wouldn’t it be just like a Bentley Little novel to re-write itself for a second reading? I have to add that it never sat well with me that I had abandoned reading his stories, since I’d really enjoyed so much of his early work. Coming back to the Little camp was a bit like coming home. The older I get, the more I enjoy his special brand of horror.

I’ve gone on quite long enough about my personal experiences with Little’s work, so I’ll share just a few things I know about his career. Little earned a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and a Master’s degree in English and Comparative Literature from California State University, where he met Dean Koontz at a book signing when he was still a student at the school. He’d had stories published in The Horror Show by then. When Little introduced himself, Koontz recognized his name and offered to help him get an agent for his first novel, The Revelation, which he’d written as his master’s thesis. It sold to St. Martin’s Press, which published it in hardcover and mass market paperback. His second novel, The Mailman, was published by Onyx, an imprint of New American Library. I recall reading somewhere along the line (if anyone remembers the source of this information, please jog my memory), that an editor at NAL rejected his third novel The Summoning. When that book was published by Zebra, someone higher up at NAL called down to the editorial staff to find out why they hadn’t published the book and essentially “corrected the oversight,” which resulted in Little’s long standing relationship with Signet, also an imprint of NAL.

Along the way, Little’s work was championed by Stephen King. King had read and enjoyed The Mailman, providing a blurb for the book. He named Little’s books in his summer reading lists in Entertainment Weekly.  Years later, he happened to be carrying Little’s novel The House when King was struck by the van that almost killed him in 1999. When this came out in the press, sales of the book soared.

Little is a self-professed Luddite and not a fan of the Internet. In an interview with an Orange County paper on the publication of The Academy, he admitted that his publisher was pushing him to do more promotions or book signings, but these things appealed to him not at all, as he prefers to keep to himself.  He is the author of 25 novels and three short story collections to-date. His last book published by Signet was The Haunted, released in 2012. Since then, his novels have been released in hardcover, trade paperback, and ebook formats by Cemetery Dance. The Handyman is due to be released this October.

To browse the list of his titles currently available in print and eBook editions, click here.

These cover scans are from the library of author Christopher Fulbright.

Fu Manchu

Arthur Henry Ward (February 15, 1883 – June 1, 1959) is better known to the realm of fantastic fiction as Sax Rohmer, British author of the long-running series featuring the iconic character Dr. Fu Manchu.

Dr. Fu Manchu was introduced to British readers in 1913 in the novel The Mystery of Dr. Fu Manchu, first serialized in a British magazine then published as a hardcover. The novel was later retitled The Insidious Dr. Fu Manchu. The next two books in the series were published in 1916 and 1917. Then Ward went on to write a number of unrelated adventures and mysteries before a successful series of 1920s films based on Fu Manchu kindled the public’s interest in more tales of the Asian super-villain genius. The fourth book in the series, Daughter of Fu Manchu, was published in 1931, fourteen years after Ward hoped to be done with the character’s adventures.

Due to the popularity of the series and numerous film adaptations, the character soon became a topic of controversy. Many felt the character established a negative stereotype of Asians. Wikipedia reports that the Chinese embassy in Washington issued a formal complaint against MGM’s film adaptation The Mask of Fu Manchu in 1932. In the 1940s, the release of The Drums of Fu Manchu prompted a request from the U.S. Department of State that no more Fu Manchu films be made since China was an ally against Japan in 1940. Doubleday refused to publish new titles in the series for the duration of World War II. Circumstances also led to the rejection of proposals for stage shows and a Fu Manchu radio serial. Such protests extended to the early 1970s, when the Japanese American Citizens league spoke out against the tone of the stories and the demeaning stereotype they embodied. As recently as 2013, an advertisement for GM vehicles was canceled because it contained a reference to Fu Manchu.

Despite the outcry, the is no denying that Fu Manchu is embedded in American and British cultures, having attained an iconic status in the pulp character pantheon.

Many Sax Rohmer works are available in free electronic formats from Amazon.

These scans are from the library of Christopher Fulbright.

J. N. Williamson

Jerry Neal Williamson (April 17, 1932 – December 8, 2005) was an American author of horror fiction. His first novel The Ritual was published in 1979. Serving under Dean Koontz as president, Williamson became the first secretary of the newly formed Horror Writers of America in 1987.

Williamson was a prolific writer, particularly during the horror boom of the 1980s. In an interview with Steve Gerlach, Williamson said he was publishing a novel a month in 1981 and part of 1982. Although I can’t say for sure, every bibliography I have seen of Williamson’s work seems to be missing some titles. It’s safe to say that Williamson published about 50 horror novels in his lifetime, over 100 short stories, and edited several anthologies, including the acclaimed Masques series. His novella The Night Seasons was nominated for a World Fantasy Award in 1987. He later expanded the story into a novel published by Zebra in 1991. The Horror Writers Association gave him the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003.  He died in 2005 in Noblesville, Indiana.

To view a list of titles currently available, click here.

Please note that Realms of Night has an eBay page with occasional horror auctions. Follow our page and save us as a favorite seller for updates.

These scans are from the library of Christopher Fulbright.

Scans

Spotted in the Wild

Gallery Updates

It’s been seven or eight months since I have updated any galleries, so I figured I should go ahead and get these scanned before I fall farther behind.  New covers have been added to the following galleries:

The new images are collected below.

Harry Adam Knight

Harry Adam Knight is one of several pseudonyms used by Australian-born writer John Brosnan (7 October 1947 – 11 April 2005).  Brosnan wrote four novels between 1983 and 1992 as Knight: Slimer, Carnosaur, The Fungus, and Bedlam. Some of them were co-written by British author Leroy Kettle. Brosnan’s 1988 novel Worm was originally published under the pseudonym Simon Ian Childer, but was later reissued under the Knight name. His novel The Fungus was re-released in the U.S. as Death Spore by Pinnacle.

Brosnan was a fairly prolific author, well-liked by his peers. He wrote more than 30 books, ranging from science fiction and horror to humor, including novelizations, and non-fiction books on cinema. He also wrote the SF/pulp/noir comic strip Night Zero for the British magazine 2000 AD from the late 1980s through the early 1990s. He covered TV and film for the UK magazine Starburst for many years. A fanzine piece written on the occasion of his funeral years ago makes interesting reading for his fans and can be found here.

Despite Brosnan’s inside joke that Harry Adam Knight was a HAK (ahem), the books met with success relatively few writers see — his novel Carnosaur was made into a 1993 horror film by executive producer Roger Corman and spawned a couple of sequels. Brosnan adapted Slimer for the 1996 horror film Proteus.

The Harry Adam Knight novels have become collectibles in recent years. To see a list of what’s available second-hand, click here.

These cover scans are from the library of Christopher Fulbright. Please note that Realms of Night has an eBay page with monthly horror auctions. Follow our page and save us as a favorite seller for updates.

Jack Cady

Jack Cady (March 20, 1932 – January 14, 2004) was an American author of short stories and novels. Cady’s writing career began in 1965, when his short story “The Burning” won the Atlantic Monthly First Award and went on to appear in Best American Short Stories 1966.  Cady had a lot of success early in his career with literary fiction. He won the American Literary Anthology Award for 1970 and his 14-story collection The Burning won the 1972 Iowa School of Letters Award for Short Fiction, judged that year by Joyce Carol Oates. The collection was published in hardcover by the University of Iowa Press.

Fortunately for everyone who is a fan of genre fiction, he did not limit himself to the anti-genre confines of the literary world. His first novel, The Well, was unabashed horror fiction, published in 1981, and one of my favorite novels in the genre.  I wrote a brief review of The Well on my blog back in 2012 when I discovered Cady’s work, which was akin to finding a new room full of amazing stuff in a place you’ve lived for 30 years.

Cady’s range is wide, his style deep and fearless. He had a great deal of life experience before his first published work — he served in the U.S. Coast Guard, worked as a warehouseman, high tree climber, auctioneer, truck driver — and that shows in his work. Cady eventually settled in Port Townsend, Washington and taught writing at the University of Washington and Pacific Lutheran University.

He wrote 12 novels in all — two under the pseudonym Pat Franklin for Diamond (Berkley) in the early 1990s. His 1992 collection The Sons of Noah won the World Fantasy Award. His short story “The Night We Buried Road Dog” was published in the January 1993 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and went on to win the Nebula Award. In addition to The Burning, he had five more collections published during his lifetime. He also wrote a non-fiction treatise called The American Writer: Shaping a Nation’s Mind. He died of bladder cancer at the age of 71.

Many of his books have been re-released in recent years. To see everything currently available, click here.

These scans are from the library of Christopher Fulbright.

 

H. P. Lovecraft

Howard Phillips Lovecraft (August 20, 1890 – March 15, 1937) was an American poet, journalist, editor, and author. Lovecraft certainly needs no introduction to horror fans; virtually every big name in the genre cites his work as an influence. Numerous film adaptations have been made from his stories, and countless filmmakers, authors, comic creators, and songwriters have borrowed his concepts for their own works. He is one of America’s literary giants, with many volumes and editions of his work in print over the decades, from early collections published by Arkham House to his canonization in the Library of America.

Despite his fame and stature in the modern pantheon of horror authors, Lovecraft met with little success during his career. Compared to his contemporaries — particularly the other authors in what has come to be known as the Lovecraft Circle — he was not very prolific as an author of fiction, and the sales of his stories never netted enough money to make ends meet. He had approximately 60 works of fiction published during his lifetime or shortly after his death. Of those, six were novellas or novelettes, and only one was a full-length novel. He also collaborated with other writers, which yielded another 30 or so short stories. Some of his collaborators (not including posthumous collaborations) included C.L. Moore, Robert E. Howard, Frank Belknap Long, R.H. Barlow, E. Hoffman Price, Robert Bloch, and Harry Houdini. Lovecraft frequently wrote and received letters from long-distance colleagues. He was a poet, as well, with many interests that informed his work. As a journalist, he had many scientific and philosophical articles to his credit.

Lovecraft’s life was beset with difficulty from the beginning. He was born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island. His father became “acutely psychotic” and was admitted to a mental hospital when Lovecraft three years old. He was reportedly a sickly child. His Wikipedia article says he may have been afflicted with some form of parasomnia, possibly night terrors or sleep paralysis. He was raised by his mother and his two aunts. Despite seldom attending school due to his illnesses, he was by all accounts an exceptionally brilliant child interested in science, particularly astronomy. Lovecraft’s maternal grandfather was a successful businessman, and it seems much of the money off which he and his mother lived came from what was left over from his estate after his death in 1904. Lovecraft’s mother was committed to a mental hospital in 1919 for “hysteria and depression.” She died in 1921.

In 1924, Lovecraft traveled to Boston for a convention to meet with a group of amateur journalists. There he met his soon-to-be wife Sonia Greene. They were married the same year and moved to Brooklyn, New York. The marriage lasted several years, but it seems they were separated most of the time, as Greene had moved to Cincinnati for a job opportunity, and Lovecraft eventually returned to Providence. He remained in Providence, living off increasingly meager funds until his death. He died from cancer of the small intestine in 1937.

Lovecraft’s friend and fellow author Frank Belknap Long wrote a book-length memorial, Howard Phillips Lovecraft: Dreamer on the Night Side, which was published by Arkham House in 1975. A great deal of other biographical material exists, of course. The Wikipedia article on Lovecraft seems solid and well-informed.

My personal introduction to Lovecraft’s work came in 1985 at the tender age of 14, when my uncle introduced me to some old pulps that he’d found kicking around St. Louis bookstores. I was already an avid reader of Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen King, and lots of stuff in between. In 1986, I saw the Stewart Gordon/Brian Yuzna adaptation of From Beyond. I suspect Lovecraft would have regarded the film with disdain (probably a kind assessment) for its sexual themes and overt slimy-monsterishness. I loved it. In fact, From Beyond remains one of my favorite films. While it was clear to me that Lovecraft had a style and tone distinctly different from horror fiction being published in the 1980s, I enjoyed the film for the way it used Lovecraft’s ideas in a modern way that appealed to me as a teen. It was a perfect union, and I have to believe it did a great deal for the popularity of Lovecraft’s work at the time. Nevertheless, while his fiction was a stark contrast to the films, I still loved his stories for their creeping fear, hinted-at eldritch horrors, shadowy treatment of arcane subjects, and general comic menace. The descriptions and images hung with me. His work and ideas were an inspiration. Lovecraft quickly took a place next to Stephen King on my bookshelf.

As a collector, my first set of Lovecraft books were paperbacks published by Ballantine, with the black covers and a different strange head on every title. Over the years, I collected the earlier Ballantine Adult Fantasy editions, and finally, as a grown up with a real job, purchased the definitive Arkham House hardcovers. Presented here in the gallery scans is the wonderful paperback artwork of Gervasio Gallardo, published in the Adult Fantasy line around 1970. John Holmes did the “strange heads” series of art around 1973. Later paperback editions feature art by Murray Tinkelman, including pen and ink drawings on the inside covers, published around 1976. The Arkham dust jackets shown here feature art by Tony Patrick, and the edition of Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos included below was published during the time when J. K. Potter did most of the cover art for Arkham House.

For a list of H. P. Lovecraft books currently available in all formats, click here.

The following scans are from the library of Christopher Fulbright.

Peter Tremayne

Peter Tremayne is a pseudonym used by British author and historian Peter Berresford Ellis. Ellis wrote and published over 20 horror novels under the Tremayne name from 1977 through the late-1980s. These included such glorious pulp horror titles as The Ants, Zombie, Kiss of the Cobra, Snowbeast, and The Swamp. Some of his horror novels were based on cryptozoological legends and lore, including The Morgow Rises and The Curse of Loch Ness.

Ellis began writing a successful historical mystery series as Peter Tremayne in 1994, the internationally bestselling Sister Fidelma mysteries. A new title in the series, Night of the Lightbringer, is scheduled for publication in June 2017. Ellis is an accomplished author of non-fiction as well, with more than 100 published books to his name, and a long list of distinguished awards and honors.

For a list of Peter Tremayne novels currently available in all formats, click here.

The following scans are from the library of author Christopher Fulbright.

Rest In Peace Bernie Wrightson (1948-2017)

Author Christopher Fulbright meets Bernie Wrightson at the Sci-Fi Fan Expo in Richardson, Texas 2009.

I was just getting ready to wrap up an already late night when I read on a friend’s feed that Bernie Wrightson passed away. His wife Liz posted the news on his Facebook page and website tonight in a touching and comprehensive obituary. The artist spent the past few years beset with illness, in a long battle with brain cancer. He hailed from Baltimore, Maryland but spent his recent years in Austin, Texas. He was 69 years old.

Bernie was a legendary comic artist, rising to prominence in the late-1960’s with his work on House of Mystery, birthplace of the Swamp Thing in issue #92 under the editorship of Joe Orlando with writer Len Wein. He went on to undertake so many great artistic endeavors that I would no doubt omit something important if I attempted to list them. My first encounter with Wrightson’s work was a kind of random but impressive poster of Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Cimmerian printed in 1976. I went on to discover Wrightson’s illustrated edition of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the Creepshow comic adaptation, and of course, the illustrated edition of Stephen King’s Cycle of the Werewolf in 1983, which made him a superstar in my eyes.

I met Bernie in 2009 and again in 2011, and I only feel justified in calling him by his first name because he was so friendly and happy to discuss the projects and titles I brought for him to sign. At the time I met him, he was working with Steve Niles on a title called Doc Macabre, which had only been out for a few issues. I met them the same convention. As they sat next to each other, it was a pleasure to be a small part of their conversation. They had stories to tell of each title, details about how it had all gone down.

Mr. Wrightson was a kind man, humble about his accomplishments, but so clearly a virtuoso of his art that few people could ever compete. He was truly a great artist, and his death represents a massive loss to the horror community. Rest in peace, Mr. Wrightson, and thanks so much for your contributions to the field.

The following scans are from my personal collection.

Outer Darkness

Outer Darkness is a small press science fiction/horror magazine published in chapbook format, saddle-stitched like many of the small press horror mags were in the 1980s. It features black and white cover art (although a couple of issues have color covers) and interior artwork to accompany the stories and poems. As far as I know, Outer Darkness is still being published, although I don’t know how regularly it comes out these days.  I first discovered the magazine in the mid-1990s. I had a couple of stories accepted for publication in the magazine in the early 2000s, and consequently struck up a casual friendship with editor Dennis J. Kirk through occasional correspondence via snail mail, and later, email.

Dennis was (and maybe still is) chief editor at the Tulsa, Oklahoma NBC affiliate news station.  A writer himself, Dennis started Outer Darkness in 1994 with his cousin Keith Stayer. It ran for at least 38 issues and might still be going. I know he planned at one point to put up a website for the magazine, but we’ve fallen out of touch and I can’t seem to find anything online, so maybe the website never happened.

Posted here are images of the last issues of the magazine I still own. Sadly, some of the older issues were lost in various life catastrophes. A few folks who went on to other writing successes appear in these issues: Shikhar Dixit, Paul Melniczek, and Tim Curran, among others.

These scans are from the library of author Christopher Fulbright.