THe arT of Hor­ror

Look of ter­ror

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Re­views -

re­leased OUT NOW! 256 pages | Hard­back Ed­i­tor stephen Jones Pub­lisher ap­plause

this “il­lus­trated his­tory” falls frus­trat­ingly short of mag­nif­i­cence for a cou­ple of rea­sons.

Ar­ranged the­mat­i­cally, it’s di­vided into 10 sec­tions on sub­jects such as were­wolves, Love­craftian hor­rors and psy­chos, and of­ten feels like a his­tory of a par­tic­u­lar genre, with the vis­ual fo­cus lost. With ten dif­fer­ent writ­ers, there’s some vari­ance in ap­proach: the chap­ter on ghost sto­ries takes pains to namecheck as many il­lus­tra­tors as pos­si­ble, and the one on alien hor­rors lauds pulp mag­a­zine artists Frank R Paul and Ed­ward Cartier. But over­all it feels like there’s too much em­pha­sis on the fic­tion and not enough on the artists who il­lus­trated it.

Se­condly, many of the works given the most space are very re­cent. There will be prac­ti­cal rea­sons for that – much of the orig­i­nal art rep­re­sented here via vin­tage book or mag­a­zine cov­ers is no doubt lost – but it can feel like mod­ern-day il­lus­tra­tors are fore­grounded at the ex­pense of fig­ures of greater sig­nif­i­cance.

That said, it re­mains pleas­ingly crammed with grue­some im­agery, much of it rare, with pas­sages of well-re­searched de­tail about, for ex­am­ple, how the vis­ual lan­guage of the vam­pire de­vel­oped over time. Calvin Bax­ter

Bram Stoker’s Drac­ula was first il­lus­trated – crawl­ing down his cas­tle wall – on the cover of an abridged 1901 paper­back.

about it. The he­roes of hard-boiled de­tec­tive fic­tion are un­wa­ver­ing, talk in a dead­pan mono­tone and have to process chaos into some kind of or­der. So why not re­place one with a ro­bot?

Set in a par­al­lel ’60s LA where robots have al­ready come and gone, this lat­est novel from the pro­lific Adam Christo­pher is pure pulp joy. It fol­lows a hunk of me­tal called Ray­mond Elec­tro­matic, the last ro­bot left, guided by Ada, the of­fice com­puter. It’s like late Ray­mond Chan­dler tum­bling into early Philip K Dick, and the tone is per­fect, es­pe­cially in its adop­tion of Chan­dler’s grimly baroque sim­i­les. “I laughed,” says Ray at one point. “It sounded like two rocks go­ing for a joyride in a clothes washer.”

But Christo­pher goes deeper than pas­tiche. Ray’s prim­i­tive sys­tems can only re­tain 24 hours of mem­ory, so each day he’s a clean slate, briefed on the case by Ada – and it’s not clear he can trust her. This is won­der­fully noir, leav­ing Ray slightly adrift be­tween the forces try­ing to ma­nip­u­late him. And in true Chan­dler style, Ray quickly be­comes im­pli­cated in the very case he’s in­ves­ti­gat­ing, mak­ing things even knot­tier.

Made To Kill is book one of a tril­ogy. We’d hap­pily go for more than three. Ed­die Rob­son

If you want to read more de­tec­tive fic­tion by Adam Christo­pher, he also writes spin-off books for Ele­men­tary.

Pleas­ingly crammed with rare, grue­some im­agery

Edd Cartier’s il­lus­tra­tion for L Ron Hub­bard’s “Fear” in Un­known Fan­tasy Fic­tion.

Cover for Re­turn Of The Liv­ing Dead (artist Les Ed­wards).

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