The Bookshop, or two of them anyway

darkhorizons50I’m thrilled to say I’ve got a story published in the latest issue of the British Fantasy Society‘s award-winning magazine, Dark Horizons, recently under the new editorship of Peter Coleborn and Jan Edwards. They’ve done a great job, and I’m really chuffed to be part of the line-up. I’m horrified, though, to realise that the last story I had published was in 1996! Largely, I’m ashamed to say, through lack of trying & general self-discouragement, but hopefully this will get me to put a bit more effort in that direction in future. I tend to fall into thinking, of the things I write, “Well I like it, but I can’t see how anyone else would.” — which is a surefire way of getting nowhere.

This story, “The Bookshop”, was basically inspired by a recurrent type of dream, in which I’d find myself in a wonderful bookshop full of all sorts of rare and interesting books, most of which don’t, in reality, exist. These dream bookshops would often be labyrinthine and ever-expanding, and I’d somehow never actually manage to make a purchase. One such dream was set in the upper levels of a real (but dream-modified) bookshop called, oddly enough, The Bookshop, which is on East Grinstead High Street. The Bookshop — the real one — has a wonderful secondhand section up some creaking old steps. It’s getting more and more difficult to find secondhand bookshops, it seems, so I count myself lucky to live in a town that has one. As wonderful as it is to find every book ever published via Abebooks or Amazon (I love them both), they can’t replace the surprise of finding the book you didn’t know you wanted, and would never have known you wanted, had you not come across it slotted unobtrusively on a shelf. When I think of the writers I’d never have read if it hadn’t been for old-style (non-internet) browsing: Ramsey Campbell, Theodore Sturgeon, Algernon Blackwood, Colin Wilson, E R Eddison, William Gibson, A E van Vogt (whose name I still don’t know how to pronounce), to mention a bare few — it’s not worth contemplating!

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