Submissions call: Industrial Horror anthology

Spectral Press logoYou know how chance remarks made by someone often spark off ideas? This is just such a case. Over the weekend, horror writer extraordinaire Adam Nevill posited the idea of industrial horror, which set off a chain-reaction in the sparking brain matter of Simon Marshall-Jones and, after his twitching, writhing body had stilled, he proclaimed that he was going to put together and publish an anthology of such stories. But, be warned, we don’t want the usual – no, we want stories that will push boundaries (not in terms of extreme gore and violence, necessarily), the entwining of flesh and stark machinery, techno-industrial dystopias, twisted conceptions of body and enhanced beauty, Cronenbergian nightmares, Kafkaesque metamorphoses, posthuman realities, the decay of body, mind, spirit and reason, innumerable sexualities. We want illogical extrapolations of present social realities, re-envisioning of industrial pasts, where factory and humanity become indistinguishable, where both lines and flesh are blurred. We certainly don’t just want the usual tired old tropes, if possible: what we want is the disturbing, the challenging, the absurdist, the blackly comedic, the infuriating, the horrific, the abnormal. Here, flesh is reshaped, both voluntarily and involuntarily, a world where gods and demons have assumed corporeality, where humans have either integrated fully into a seething mass of metal, electonics and skin, or have been rejected as the parasitic lifeform it is. In other words, just let your imagination run wild, be experimental with word and structure, and go into areas where the warning lights constantly flash an angry red and life is always a breath away from being extinguished.

Stories should run approximately anywhere between 8,000 to 12,000 words. The submission period is open now, and there is no deadline as such: Spectral will close to submissions when there are enough stories of sufficient quality to fill a good-sized anthology. It may take two months or it may take two years (and it will depend entirely on publishing schedules – Spectral is currently booked up until at least the beginning of 2015). This will be a paying market – we do not expect writers just to do this ‘for the love’ or just ‘for exposure’. Payment structure still to be decided – but, rest assured, it will be fair.

If interested or want to submit or even just submit a pitch for a story, contact us at spectralpress[AT]gmail[DOT]com

Get writing!!

A double review and some news

Today’s review is a double one, courtesy of the fine folk at Shock Totem, specifically a gentleman by the name of John Boden. Like his previous review of Spectral chapbooks for the same magazine, he’s chosen to review two at once and this time out it’s the turn of Cate Gardner’s Nowhere Hall and Paul Finch’s King Death. John loved the first two Spectral publications, so does he feel the same about Volumes III & IV? Click here to find out!


After yesterday’s announcement and call for submissions for the first Spectral Christmas Ghost Story Annual 2012, I have now moved that blog to a new page so that access to the guidelines is permanent until the deadlin of June 30th. If you’re interested and want to know whatt you need to do to submit, then please just click on the relevant page. Thanks!!


Cast your minds back a couple of months, to when I announced that Spectral will be publishing an annual Christmas Ghost Story anthology, starting in December 2012, in the same tradition as the annuals of the Victorian/Edwardian era. In that same blog I said I would release details of the submission process this January, and that time has duly arrived – so interested parties please read the following carefully!!


Unlike the chapbooks, this is an open call for submissions from ALL authors (including those writers already published, or are due to be published, by Spectral). What we are looking for are ghostly/supernatural tales of between 5,000 and 10,000 words, set around the time of the Christmas/Mid-winter celebrations. Think of the kind of thing that MR James and Charles Dickens would have written at this time of year and you’ll be on the right track. The stories should primarily rely on atmosphere, tension, suspense, suggestion and implication to send shivers down peoples’ spines: whilst we are not averse to something of the more visceral kind (provided it works within the context of the story), we are not looking for slasher/unhinged psychopath with a sharp instrument/serial killer or gore-filled fiction.

The final format or formats has/have yet to be decided.

Please send submissions, in a Word attachment please, to spectralpress[AT]gmail[DOT]com, with the subject line ‘Spectral Christmas Ghost Story Annual 2012 – submission’. Please do NOT paste your story into the body of the email – if this happens then your submission will be ignored. The deadline for stories to reach us is June 30th 2012 – stories submitted after this date will not be considered. All stories must be original, with the copyright belonging to the author in question, and must not have been published or submitted elsewhere. The editor will endeavour to acknowledge receipt of stories received, but if there is a veritable deluge then you may not hear from us immediately. The authors of the chosen stories will be notified of their acceptance in the second-half of the year, when work on the book and editing begins.

So all you writers out there, even though 2012 has barely begun, get your thinking caps on and start coming up with ideas for this exciting new anthology. Who knows, this might be the start of a revival of a venerable tradition!!

Look forward to hearing from you!!

EDIT –  there WILL be a small payment for each story accepted, plus copies of the physical book for each author.