This project's close to my heart for several reasons. One is its theme and purpose - the austerity that's been inflicted on us here in Britain and the suffering caused by it, as this rancid and corrupt government of liars and thugs destroys or sells off our public services and victimises the poor and defenceless - and the other is that it was co-edited by my late friend Joel Lane. Joel died before seeing the project come to fruition, but his co-editor, Tom Johnstone, has done an admirable job of steering the project to completion.
Here's the TOC:
A Cry for Help by Joel Lane
The Battering Stone by Simon Bestwick
The Ballad of Boomtown by Priya Sharma
The Lucky Ones by John Llewellyn Probert
The Sun Trap by Stephen Hampton
Only Bleeding by Gary McMahon
The Lemmy / Trump Test by Anna Taborska
Falling into Stone by John Howard
Ptichka by Laura Mauro
The Devil’s Only Friend by Stephen Bacon
The Procedure by David Williams
Pieces of Ourselves by Rosanne Rabinowitz
A Simple Matter of Space by John Forth
The Privilege Card by David Turnbell
The Ghost at the Feast by Alison Littlewood
The Opaque District by Andrew Hook
No History of Violence by Thana Niveau
A word about my own tale. 'The Battering Stone' is a tale featuring Paul Hearn, a sort of reluctant psychic detective doing battle with the weird wherever it raises its head in Salford. In this story he investigates a string of mysterious suicides in the run-up to Christmas, and a monolith that seems to vanish and reappear at will.
I wrote about seven stories featuring Paul between 2004 and 2007. Two others have been published thus far: 'Hushabye' in Ellen Datlow's Inferno in 2005, and 'Winter's End' in Gary Fry's Where The Heart Is in 2010. He was a sort of down-at-heel, politically active descendant of Blackwood's John Silence, Hodgson's Carnacki and Lumley's Titus Crow, but another influence was the cycle of 'weird police' stories Joel had been writing since the late '90s, which were finally collected in Where Furnaces Burn. That makes The Battering Stone a damned good fit for Horror Uncut.
The last Paul Hearn story I wrote was called 'Effigies of Glass', which I dedicated to Joel. Hopefully it will be seeing print soon, in a forthcoming tribute anthology. Maybe it's time I wrote a few more.
You can buy Horror Uncut here.