Tale Of The Tape

Nick Cut­ter bags the first James Her­bert Award

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Red alert -

In The Troop, Nick Cut­ter’s mem­o­rably messy 2014 novel, a group of scouts has an en­counter with what can only be de­scribed as a mega- tape­worm. It’s a dis­gust­ing, grip­ping slice of mod­ern hor­ror, and we can’t help but think that leg­endary Brit hor­ror au­thor James Her­bert would have ap­proved – which is fit­ting, as The Troop has been named the win­ner of the first James Her­bert Award for hor­ror.

“Ap­par­ently it’s a big glass rat, which I’m re­ally ex­cited to have,” says Craig David­son, the Canadian au­thor be­hind the Nick Cut­ter pseu­do­nym. “I feel in­cred­i­bly grate­ful and for­tu­nate. It’s an award started by James Her­bert and his fam­ily, and I’ve al­ways felt like I have an affin­ity with James’s writ­ing. We share an aes­thetic in some ways. We’re like attack dogs, try­ing to swarm over peo­ple and scare them in a re­ally in­tense way.”

David­son’s ca­reer to date has been a pre­dom­i­nantly lit­er­ary af­fair, although genre was never far from the life- long hor­ror afi­cionado’s mind. “I did my mas­ter’s de­gree in cre­ative writ­ing, and for my the­sis they were not go­ing to al­low me, sadly, to write a vam­pire book,” says David­son. “Then I had this idea to write a genre hor­ror novel, some­thing that would fit in with the books I’d grown up read­ing.”

The change in di­rec­tion paid off, with The Troop beat­ing out an im­pres­sive list of nom­i­nees to bag the prize. Now David­son looks set to take full ad­van­tage of his new sta­tus as James Her­bert Award win­ner…

“The new book, The Deep, is now out in the UK,” he says. “It’s not a lin­ear fol­low up to The Troop, it’s a to­tally dif­fer­ent thing but also clearly hor­ror. Then I’ve got a book called The Acolyte com­ing out, and then one called Lit­tle Heaven, which hasn’t been picked up in the UK yet, but I’m hope­ful.”

The Troop and The Deep are avail­able now.

And he looks like such a nice boy.

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