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Friday, March 20, 2009

KEITH BIRDSONG TEAMS WITH MICHAEL VANCE


Something big just got bigger. Legendary cover artist Keith Birdsong has painted the cover for “Weird Horror Tales”, an homage to pulp magazines from the ‘20s, ‘30s, and ‘40s “Weird Tales” and “Horror Stories”. The collection was written by Michael Vance, and is now available.


Birdsong, amous for his extremely realistic covers for “Star Trek” novels, featuring the actors from the movies and television series, has also done work for “Star Wars”, the cyberpunk role-playing game “Shadowrun”, and children’s books like “The Halloween Hex”. Additionally, Birdsong’s work has been featured in films, on Hamilton Collection collectors’ plates, and on U.S. Postage stamps.


"Vance offers up thirteen tales of Lovecraftian horror with a deft sense of suspense and heart-pumping terror,” said Ron Fortier, editor of the title. “Earl Geier’s art for these stories is as stark and brutal as a cold knife’s edge. His grasp of terror is second to none, and delivers nightmarish scenes with incredible, horrific feelings. Whereas Keith Birdsong’s cover is simply creepy to the max. It is a work of intense imagination that will pull you into this collection like a twisted siren’s song.”
“My stories are founded on the premise that there is something larger than our narrow view of reality,” said Vance. “Each interconnected story shares setting, history, prominent families, and a macro plot. The stories also focus on the Azrealites, a religious cult that works tirelessly to reinstate that ‘Other’ on Earth through science and the occult.” These stories about the fictional town of “Light's End” in Maine have been published in dozens of magazines in three countries, including “Dark Corridor”, and have also been recorded by renowned actor William (“Murder She Wrote”) Windom.


Vance’s influences on these stories are H. P. Lovecraft, William Faulkner, Alfred Hitchock movies, and The Twilight Zone television series. The interior illustrations are by artist Earl Geier who is best known for his horror, fantasy and science fiction artwork. In the role playing game industry, his work includes art for “Battletech”, “Call of Cthulhu”, and many others. He has illustrated books for “Cemetery Dance” magazine, Chaosium, Gryphon and Subterranean Press. For comic book, he's had work published by Dark Horse Comics, Comiczone, Now, Innovation and DC Comics Paradox. Vance has written for national and international magazines, and as a syndicated columnist and cartoonist in over 500 newspapers.


His history book, “Forbidden Adventures”, has been called a "benchmark in comics history”. He briefly ghosted an internationally syndicated comic strip, wrote his own strip and several comic books. He is listed in the Who's Who of American Comic Books and Comic Book Superstars. The publisher of “Weird Horror Tales”, Cornerstone Book Publishers also publishes Masonic and esoteric books, selected pulp fiction, art literature, limited children's books, and poetry collections.


For more information about Cornerstone, go to www.cornerstonepublishers.com. Airship 27 packages and publishes anthologies and novels in the pulp magazine tradition. In the past, Airship 27 has released “Witchfire”, a series of “Captain Hazzard” pulp thrillers, more pulp fiction in “Brother Bones” and “Secret Agent X” and the WWII/SF thriller “The Light of Men”. For more information on Airship 27, go to www.airship27.com.

1 comment:

  1. By Frank Creed "www.frankcreed.com" (Lafayette, Indiana, USA) - See all my reviews
    After King and Poe, Lovecraft is widely acknowledged as one of the top three horror writers to impact American horror. Lovecraft's horror world even has its own name: the Cthulhu (Kuh-Thoo-Loo) Mythos. Fans of Howard Phillip Lovecraft's style, rejoice--there is an author you simply must meet. Algernon Blackwood and August Derleth have a stylistic contemporary in Michael Vance, a professional writer of non-fiction for over thirty years, who has mastered the short story form.

    The award-winning Vance does not write in the Cthulhu Mythos itself, but his Lovecraftian style features patiently built suspense rich in setting and character, usually with short vivid climaxes and resolutions. Properly written, the effect puts a reader into the story, with page flipping curiosity.

    Vance paints portraits of fated personalities in an eerie little town on Maine's northern Atlantic coast. Light's End can also be found on brink of madness. Deep spiritual influences and events, guilty evils, and ancient lore are scrimshawed into memorable tales centered on the moral implications and consequences of personal actions.

    Vance's voice is distinct from Lovecraft's on several points. Horrors of the dark human heart, rather than horrific alien mysteries, are the center of each work. Readers are snatched from madness' edge by an overall Christian worldview, which gives horror, and moral choices, context.

    Weird Horror Tales' thirteen short stories, and a few non-short story treats, showcase a Lovecraftian sins-of-the-fathers theme. The collection is what's known as a braided novel. The tales, all in and around Light's End, are set chronologically from the early twentieth century, to present day and near future. Common threads of symbol and prophecy progress through the stories. Any of the stories could be enjoyed individually, but read sequentially, there's a bigger tale.

    Vance's fiction does not cower from language and subjects that most Christian publishers avoid. Vance uses dark imagery and language in a tasteful and literary sense. Pre-teens would see examples of good literature, but graphic content is appropriate for high school and older maturity levels

    Sadly, Vance's literary level may be too high. I fear readers won't like Random Pairings: a literary dialog, boldly written without quotation marks, with one of the most dramatic endings in the braided novel.

    Overall, Weird Horror Tales is a must-read for genre fans, especially those who of the Christian worldview. Note that one tale, The Lighter Side, should be saved for a reader's zany reading mood. When you want something fun, the humor in this piece rivals Douglas Adams and Stephen Leon Rice.

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