Between a Castle Rock and a Hard Place

Supernatural horror is a speculative genre that tends to side-step the need for extensive world-building by situating its other-worldly elements in the real one. There is however a strong tradition in weird fiction of fictional towns and regions with murky reputations, from Lovecraft’s Miskatonic Valley and Charles L. Grant’s Oxrun Station in the USA, to Ramsey Campbell’s Brichester and Joel Lane’s Clayheath in the UK. Stephen King invented the fictional Maine towns of Derry and Castle Rock, which Garry P Flanagan references in this Amazon review of my collection Last Stop Wellsbourne, my own attempt to invoke this tradition and create my own town of terror, linking it to the lore around Brighton’s lost river of the same name. I even included a fictionalised ‘introduction’ by local history expert and Wellsbourne Society founder Dr David Bramwell in which I featured as an apparently doomed figure in my own fiction!

Below is a video of me reading of one of the stories from the collection (though to be fair I believe it’s the version from Supernatural Tales issue 31, before I edited it to shoehorn it into the Wellsbourne ‘concept’, but this version was long-listed for Best Horror of the Year!). If you like it enough to want to buy it, why not buy a copy — preferably direct from the publisher rather than supporting Amazon’s questionable business model!

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