Posts Tagged ‘William Meikle’

The Ghost Club: Newly Found Tales of Victorian Terror by William Meikle

December 26, 2017 - 10:23 pm No Comments

The Ghost Club: Newly Found Tales of Victorian Terror by William Meikle
Published by Crystal Lake Publishing on 9th December 2017
189 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

If you were asked living or dead, which authors you would pick to have at a dinner party, I can guarantee at least one of the great Victorian writers would be on your list. Masters of storytelling, their written stories are still read today.
An old Victorian manuscript is found in a derelict building. Penned by Arthur Conan Doyle, it captures 14 stories regaled to him, Henry James and Bram Stoker when other authors are invited to dine with them.
Before I review this book, there is a disclaimer, I have not read some of these author’s original works. However, after I read this book, I did google these authors to see what works they wrote.
So, with all these stories, there is a lot of choice and for this review I will write about my favourites.
The Immortal Memory: Leo Tolstoy: When Empress Yekaterina Alexeyevna requested a Scottish poet, who could narrate Burn’s in Russian, Captain Marsh knew he had his work cut out. The story is very descriptive of living in Russia, and how certain people suffered to survive. A tragic ending which has an impact on others.
To the Manor Born: Margaret Oliphant: Young Agnus Leckie, was the new maid at the Manor. Trading jobs, she soon gets introduced to the lady of the house. Throughout this story you can feel the love that the master had for his family. A harrowing ghost story that is beautifully written and with a poetic ending.
The Angry Ghost: Oscar Wilde: Tom had always been told by his Aunt Agatha that there were no such things as ghost. Aunt Agatha was a bitter woman who always thought she was right and reminded me of Oscar Wilde’s character Lady Bracknell in the Importance of Being Ernest. This was a comical read with a fitting ending.
The Curious Affair on the Embankment: Arthur Conan Doyle: Inspector Lestrade has been brought into a case of a missing lady. The only stipulation from the powers at be, is that he cannot involve Sherlock Holmes. Lestrade is drawn into the paranormal and must keep his cool when evil prevails. When I have read Sherlock Holmes stories, I have always felt that Lestrade was a bit of an idiot, so this was a refreshing change. Lestrade was very methodical as if he used Holmes powers of deduction. A paranormal mystery which will keep you gripped.
If you have read Songs of the Dreaming Gods, you will find 3 further stories of interest. The High Bungalow: Rudyard Kipling, In the House of the Dead: Bram Stoker and The Scrimshaw Set: Henry James. All three have elements of this book in them and I enjoyed the merging of the author’s work.
The introduction to each story gives it a personal touch and sets the scene for what’s to come. This is book showcases the author’s talents of writing in numerous styles. A great read that spirits you away to Victorian times.

The Ghost Club by William Meikle blog tour

December 13, 2017 - 6:23 pm No Comments


So who is William Meikle, he’s a Scottish writer, now living in Canada, with over twenty novels published in the genre press and over 300 short story credits in thirteen countries. He has had books published with a variety of publishers including Dark Regions Press, DarkFuse and Dark Renaissance, and his work has appeared in a number of professional anthologies and magazines with recent sales to NATURE Futures, Penumbra and Buzzy Mag among others.

 

 

As part of The Ghost Club tour, I got to ask him his views on Scotland in horror films, this is what he had to say.

 The landscapes and towns of Scotland have been sadly underused over the years in horror film, considering the epic possibilities of old cities like Edinburgh or Glasgow used to such effect in REBUS and TAGGART. That’s even before we get to the many isolated coastal communities or the stunning scenery of the Highlands that was put to such great use in out of the genre movies like HIGHLANDER or CENTURION to choose two particularly fine examples.

That said, there have been several Scottish based horror movies that have made their way onto my all time favorite list, and I’d like to bring attention to three in particular that span my movie watching life.

My first viewing of the early Hammer horror X – THE UNKNOWN was sometime around 1970, late night on BBC 2, and it was made vivid in my memory because one of the actors, Scottish character actor Jameson Clark, lived in my home town and we’d often see him in the street.

The movie itself is full of all the stuff I’ve come to love over the years: Hammer horror, big blobby things, a Scottish setting, and scientists dabbling in things best left alone.

It was originally intended to be a sequel to THE QUATERMASS EXPERIMENT, and you can see some of the joins in the script as a result, but it still holds up well to repeat viewings, and there’s an array of faces that would become much better known in later genre movies and TV, like Leo McKern, Kenneth Cope, Michael Rimmer, Frazer Hines and even a quick appearance from Anthony Newley.

It moves along at a great clip, there’s some decidedly iffy FX, the obligatory child in peril, a pervy doctor hitting on nurses and some lovely melting flesh. Everything a growing lad like me loved at the age of twelve, and still does to this day.

The setting is Scottish seen through an English studio lens, there’s a joke Scottish soldier who gets killed off early after some ludicrous banter, the geography is all over the place, as one minute they’re near Glasgow, then they’re near Inverness, and there are plenty of stock Scots locals harrumphing behind the non-Scottish leads. But none of that matters.

It’s got a big radioactive blob wreaking havoc in Scotland.

That’s enough for me.

There are no big blobby beasties in THE WICKER MAN, but there are monsters, of the very human variety.

My first viewing of this classic was during the cut version’s run as the poor relation of DON’T LOOK NOW in a double bill in the cinema in Glasgow, back some time in ’74 with my then girlfriend. She wasn’t impressed by either, and didn’t last long after that, but both films have stayed with me as favorites down the long years since.

Of the two, DON’T LOOK NOW remains my favorite from an aesthetic and intellectual viewpoint, but the WICKER MAN speaks to my heart in a way few other movies have managed.

The history of the various versions of the film that now exist makes interesting reading on Wikipedia, but even on that first viewing, with bits missing and things moved around from the director’s original vision, the power of the story was evident.

In this one at least the scenery is fully Scottish, even if the south west area of Dumfries and Galloway stands in for a Northern island. Christopher Lee does a grand job of holding the whole thing together, Edward Woodward looks suitably lost, and there’s the best use of a stunt bottom in a movie. Yet again, there are few Scots actors involved, although given the film’s low budget, many of the extras were locals roped in for the duration, which serves to give it at least a bit of authentic colour.

The main thing that struck me, and still does or repeat viewings, is the use of the music. The old songs sung in new ways make the pagan aspects both familiar and new at the same time. I’ve tried using the old songs to this kind of effect in several of my own stories in the new collection THE GHOST CLUB, and I have even been known to sing them on occasion, but I’m no Britt Ekland, who gives Willow’s Song a certain something that did serious things to the teenage me. The songs in the movie serve to disorient the viewer in disconcerting ways, keeping you off guard in much the same way that Sergeant Howie is never quite sure what’s going on until the end that is all the more horrific once we see its inevitability.

All in all, it’s a lovely film, and speaks to the romantic Celt in me in a way few other movies have managed. It was my favorite Scottish-based horror movie for a long, long time.

But it has since been usurped, by a brash, gory, interloper. DOG SOLDIERS which, even although it was almost totally shot in Luxembourg with some stock scenery shots edited in later, still feels like a Scottish movie by dint of Kevin McKidd’s square-jawed lead role.

The in-jokes, the squaddies’ camaraderie, and the big fucking howling things all combine to make this exactly the kind of glorious monster romp that I have always loved. I’ve seen complaints about the monster design, complaints about the accents, and complaints about the script online, but for me, it all worked perfectly, and the first viewing of it left with a huge grin on my face that took a long time to fade.

The setting, starting in wooded glens and moving to the climax in a lonely farmhouse is one I’d love to see more of, and the siege with its deliberately echoed nods to Rorke’s Drift and another favorite movie is tightly managed by a director who just gets what makes a movie like this work.

All of the cast put in great performances, Sean Pertwee gets some great one-liners and a big scenery chewing ending, and McKidd’s physically carries him through the monster attacks with aplomb.

After this, the director’s next movie, DOOMSDAY was also set on Scotland, more sci-fi than horror, and it didn’t speak to me as much as DOG SOLDIERS, which remains, for me, the highlight of Scottish based horror movies.

There are more, like THE DEAD OUTSIDE, which I found a tad dull, and UNDER THE SKIN, which I’ve yet to see, but the three I’ve mentioned are top of my pile.

I’d love something else to come along, knock my wee Scottish socks off, and replace one, or even all, of them though.

 

 

William Meikle’s newest book, out 9th December from Crystal Lake Publishing is THE GHOST CLUB.

It’s a simple premise.

In Victorian London, a select group of writers, led by Arthur Conan Doyle, Bram Stoker and Henry James held an informal dining club, the price of entry to which was the telling of a story by each invited guest.

These are their stories, containing tales of revenant loved ones, lost cities, weird science, spectral appearances and mysteries in the fog of the old city, all told by some of the foremost writers of the day. In here you’ll find Verne and Wells, Tolstoy and Checkov, Stevenson and Oliphant, Kipling, Twain, Haggard, Wilde and Blavatsky alongside their hosts.

Come, join him for dinner and a story.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077SWFLZM

 

Twice upon an Apocalypse: Lovecraftian Fairy Tales

May 30, 2017 - 5:24 pm No Comments

Twice upon an Apocalypse: Lovecraftian Fairy Tales edited by Rachel Kenley and Scott T Goudsward: Authors: Armand Rosamilia, William Meikle, Bracken MacLeodPeter N. DudarMorgan SylviaDon D’AmmassaMichael KampWinifred BurnistonZach ShephardGary A. Braunbeck (Introduction)

Published by Crystal Lake Publishing on 30th May 2017

284 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Like most people I grew up with fairy tales, and have always loved it when authors put their own twist to them. Each story is a different tale but have one thing in common, they all had a Lovecraftian theme.

With 21 stories to capture your imagination, you be hard pressed to find a story that you don’t like. For this review, I am going to pick my favourites.

Little Maiden of the Sea by David Bernard: Using the story of The Little Mermaid, the author tells the story of a female Deep one, who wants to live with humans. Reading this story, I had the feeling that both main characters used each other to get what they wanted in life. The added twist at the end left me wondering if the plan worked.

The Horror of Hatchet Point by Zach Shephard: Based on Rumpelstiltskin and sticking very close to the original this story tells how Rumpelstiltskin uses the Queen to enable him to call forth Father Dagon. Whilst the character of Rumpelstiltskin is a hated child abductor, the author puts a spin on this character and explains the reasons behind his plan.

Let Me Come In by Simon Yee: If you have read The Three Little Pigs, the wolf is the bad guy, however in this story, the wolf has just survived The Great War against the humans and is looking for food. His meeting with the three little pigs and a mysterious white symbol tells the story in a whole new light. It was different to read it from the point of view of the wolf and I did find it funny to hear the pigs swearing, as I am used to the original fairy tale. I liked how the wolf did not use his breath to destroy the houses.

The Little Match Mi-Go by Michael Kamp: After the Old ones were released and destroyed the earth, it was left to the smallest of the Mi-Go to save the earth. This story follows this creature whilst it tries and find Ghatanothoa. Throughout this story I felt sorry for the little Mi-Go as I sensed the quest was hopeless, and I was willing it to survive.

Writing this review, I found it hard to pick my favourites as every story was good. Not having read any of these authors previous works, I did not know what to expect but I have now added more authors to my list to read. I have not read any of HP Lovecraft, but this did not stop me enjoying this book. Lovecraft’s characters suited these fairy tales and returned them to the dark tales before Disney got hold of them. If you like your fairy tales dark or just a fan of Lovecraft then this is a great book to buy.

William Meikle Double Bill

January 21, 2014 - 12:24 am No Comments

The Ravine
Author: William Meikle
Publisher: Dark Regions Press
Page count: 218pp
Release Date: 19th November 2013
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

Written by prolific author William Meikle, The Ravine is a period Western horror in Meikle’s inimitable style.
Captain David Stevens has been on tour of duty for nine months now and is getting antsy for action or home. Hoping for rest that was unlikely, Stevens was sent out to investigate something strange happening in the west badlands. On his mission, he sees a vortex whirling black in the distance but it is no natural phenomenon; the vortex sucking the platoon deep inside. When they emerge from the vortex it’s night and one of the men is dead. And the night sky, which Stevens should’ve known, is unfamiliar to him. And then the group of soldiers hear a scream, and find their dead friend being tortured by a winged ten foot creature enrobed in blackness. So begins a dark journey into the old west blending the best of horror with the vibe of The Valley of Gwangi.

Further down stream, on a trail in the ravine herding cattle, when Joe, Doyle and Joe’s son Tommy find water, it appears to be a life saver for them and their town, but there is something strange about the water and the fish that swim there.

As always, Meikle’s writing is emotional and incredibly visual. The story itself is wonderfully apocalyptic and dark, perfect for fans of old school horror and adventure. And some of the descriptions Meikle uses are gross enough to cause nausea in the reader, and the monsters in this novel are almost Lovecraftian in their perversity and reminiscent of Carpenters The Thing

Samurai and other Stories
Author: William Meikle
Publisher: Crystal Lake Publishing
Page count: 132pp
Release Date: 25th January 2014
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

Prolific writer William Meikle here reprints a collection of previously published short stories together in one volume with Crystal Lake Publishing. The collection starts with the lead story Samurai, and Cap’n Duncan on a Japan Run. When his boat is lost only five of fifty five men make it out alive. On an island they take refuge in what appears to be a temple, a welcoming temple with food and warmth, but what’s the catch?

Meikle’s stories are imbued with a sense of old codes of conduct and honour, the sins of man and greed, the supernatural and the just plain weird. His stories are also visual and full of literal and metaphorical colour. Rickman’s Plasma, an unusual piece about a form of music devouring all those in its way is almost an homage to The Blob. Meikle’s turn of phrase is entertaining and also grim and visceral. In this story anaphora is used to comic effect.
Home is the Sailor is the story of a cursed hotel, occupied by pensioners gradually decaying away and is perhaps the most darkly humorous of the stories in this collection. Turn Again, in contrast is a short piece but the least satisfying of the collection.

The collection spans centuries and cultures adding diversity to the readers enjoyment. However Meikle seems rather fond of the name Duncan, perhaps because of his Scottish heritage. Yet this heritage adds a depth of culture to much of his work, particularly The Scottsmans Fiddle. He is adept at using lyrics, limericks and shanti songs to add flavour to his stories. A particularly strong story is The Havenhome, the tale of a ship that arrives in a deserted town where all of the inhabitants have been frozen to death beyond all reason. Meikle brings out a much darker style in Living the Dream, a story of obsession and kidnapping.
Overall, this is an engaging insight into Meikle’s work and I would say I enjoyed 99% of the stories, with their variety of flavour and Meikle’s obvious talent. Great value for money.

The Creeping Kelp!

January 21, 2013 - 4:19 pm 1 Comment

The Creeping Kelp
Author: William Meikle
Publisher: Dark Regions Press
Page count/size: 155pp/228KB
Release Date: 30th April 2012
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

This literary Monster B-Movie starts with an environmental message from Greenpeace. Following this we meet Dave Noble, collecting samples aboard the dinghy Zodiac, in an area where the plastic is rife, as is risk of pollution to the sea.

Fisherman have already been reporting sights of strange mutations in the area, so it doesn’t come as much of a surprise when all hell breaks loose on the mother ship Earth Rescue, as Noble returns with a black goop that has stuck to the surface of the chopper and boat.

Biologist Suzie Jukes examines the black tar sample that Noble returns with, and declares it was once alive, and they may have found an incipient species. It appears it is a ‘plastic eater’, a natural garbage disposal unit. As Noble and Jukes examine the sample, they hear screams from the upper deck and go up to see a member of the crew being plucked away by a massive tendril.

With a small crew trapped aboard the boat and the monstrous kelp growing and spreading, the feel of claustrophobia oozes from the page.

We then switch to Kimmeridge Bay, where holiday-maker Maggie Walsh watches in horror as black tentacles emerge from the sea and attack the locals. It isn’t long before they have a national emergency on their hands.

Back on land and under the protection of the MOD, Jukes hacks records and finds a link to the past of when the creeping kelp was first created.

Blending cinematic visuals, gore, humour, and Cthulhu mythos, this book is great fun and will satisfy gore hounds as well as those looking for something more indepth. With the use of historical diaries and notebooks, Meikle creates his own monstrous mythos and the book rattles along at a fantastic pace.

This will entertain any fans of Meikle and bring in new fans. Great stuff.