Issue 4 (January  1989)
82 Pages

Fear Fiction:
A Glimpse Of Tomorrow – John Brunner
– 3 Pages
Professor R U Shaw is a Victorian experimenter who, just twelve months ago, achieved one of the greatest feats that mankind has ever dreamed of.  In front of the 18th Century Society for Advancement of Science he produces the only remaining relic he has of this monumental achievement.  In front of a crowded room of fellow scientists, Professor Shaw reveals a half-charred segment taken from a magazine.  A surviving piece of a men’s magazine centrefold that he successfully brought back from the future.  And now, in front of a vast multitude of doubters, he dissects the text on the glossy page and the merits of the reclining nude on its reverse.  Examining the future can produce a particularly warped vision…

Brunner’s comical sci-fi short is a simple yet inspired play with the examination of the most unlikely of objects snatched from our present time to be examined by a Victorian professor.  The results are so delightfully tongue-in-cheek, with this small glimpse of our time brought under scrutiny from what could be classed as the near-epitome of a lowbrow culture.  Brunner indulges in a wild array of incorrect assumptions and humorously deduced translations from a rockstar’s ramblings, that the reader is just jettisoned along in a reasonably short transcript bursting with colourful wit.  The simple yet inspired idea that forms the entirety of the short is delivered to perfection – keeping the transcript to just the right length as to not overdue the joke, whilst allowing the reader to fully enjoy this delightfully creative sci-fi dilemma.

8 – Nicholas Royle – 3 Pages
Brian Linden is seeing the figure eight everywhere.  In his tortoiseshell glasses, in the paperwork on his desk, on the tv – everywhere!  No matter where he goes and what he does, the looping figure of the number eight is constantly looming.  To make matters worse, problems are beginning to appear at work.  Okay, so he works to the set times dictated by his contact.  Not a minute more, not a minute less.  Just because the others in the small office don’t follow suit, doesn’t make him a bad worker.  He still gets the job done.  But then they’re beginning to notice his daydreaming.  And now comments are being made to Whitehaed.  It’s because the figure of the number eight is always on his mind.  A giant ouroborous snake, twisting in on itself to consume its own tail.  Contorting and devouring its own body to form the figure eight…

Royle’s short is certainly a bizarre one.  The almost constant bombardment of the figure eight throughout the length of the short tale is certainly an overbearing element.  And that is really the entire essence of the short.  Little actually happens, apart from a near-hypnotic rundown of a mundane nine-to-five office worker’s life, who’s clearly heading for some form of catastrophic breakdown.  There’s certainly a hefty wallop of mysterious intrigue rammed into the tale.  But Royale doesn’t really expand much on it.  It never really goes anywhere with this valuable edge.  Just the gradually breakdown of a deteriorating mind.  Shame, because Royle’s writing is particularly captivating.

The Gravedigger’s Tale – Simon Clark – 3 Pages
It only took the gravedigger a few seconds of chatting to the electrician to realise his afternoon’s entertainment had arrived!  After the freezer in the cemetery store-cum-restroom packed in, the electrician had been quickly called in to fix it.  And that’s when the gravedigger noticed how queasy the fresh-faced lad had become around the thought of the disinterred corpses.  The problem is that a new by-pass road would soon be cutting through the cemetery, so the gravediggers were in the process of exhuming the corpses in order to have them buried again elsewhere.  And after doing this a fair few times, the gravedigger had gotten himself a good collection of nasty stories to really get the young electrician going green, including one particular story about a Rose Burswick, who died at the age of thirty-six from severe radiation poisoning, only to be dug up again just the other day…

Clark’s tongue-in-cheek pulpy short is a wonderful mix of mounting ‘round-the-campfire-story’ horror and pure black comedy.  Having the main body of the short told via the gravedigger, the fictional horror creeps up on the reader with a (perhaps-or-perhaps-not) unlikely twist ending.  There’s no escaping the utter pulpishness of this short, particularly the wildly-rampant and over-the-top ending.  Perhaps one of the highlights of the Fear Fiction series?  I certainly got a hell of a kick out of it anyway!  The short was later re-published to become the principal tale in the collection ‘The Gravedigger’s Tale: Fables Of Fear’ (2010).

Pro-Files:
David Cronenberg – No Concessions!
– 3 Pages
“Controversy has always howled aound the films of Canadian director David Cronenberg.  His fantasy movies, THE BROOD, VIDEODROME and the remake of THE FLY, all tremendous commercial successes, have proved uncompromisingly weird and harrowing.  FEAR’s Tim Lucas talks to him about his latest film, DEAD RINGERS, which lacks none of his powerful movie trademarks and has left his critics in awe.”

Ray Bradbury – The Illustrator Man – 5 Pages
“In a 1987 poll of more than 200 current practitioners in the field of fantastic fiction – including luminaries Stephen King, Orson Scott Card, Ramsey Campbell and Roger Zelazny – the work of Ray Bradbury scored as follows: first in fantasy novels; second in fantasy short fiction; fourth in favourite science fiction novels; joint seventh in science fiction short stories; eighth in horror short stories and ninth in best-remembered horror novels.  A total of 31 Bradbury short stories featured in the resulting list of recommended reading.”

Wes Craven – Living With Nightmares – 3 Pages
“A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET marked a new wave in horror films and made its director Wes Craven famous – but it also imprisoned him.  His new film, THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW has won acclaim in the US and gets its UK release in December, but he tells Brian J. robb and Brigid Cherry that there’s nothing dreamlike about the mechanics of film making.”

Richard Matheson, David J Schow & Chet Williamson – Transatlantic Terror – 4 Pages
“Britain’s about to be hit by a new tidal wave of American horror.  FEAR’s Philip Nutman, fresh from his Issue One encounter with Splatteprunks John Skipp and Craig Spector, talks to the three authors spearheading the attack.”

David Lloyd – Back For The Future: Or The Unexplored II – 3 Pages
“Last issue FEAR talked to comic book writer Alan Moore, now it’s the illustrator’s turn.  Much of David Lloyd’s science fantasy art contains images from the Fifties and Sixties, now David Keep discovers how Lloyd updated his most powerful creation, V FOR VENDETTA, with colourisation, and gets the artist’s views on comics for adults down in black and white.”

Raymond E. Feist – The Changeling – 3 Pages
“Faerie folk have always been regarded as benevolent beings, as ethereal in their lifestyles as in their appearances to humans.  Not so, according to American author Raymond E. Feist, who recently made the move from high to dark fantasy with his new novel FAERIE TALE.  To prove the point he takes John Gilbert to the bottom of his garden.”

Set-Up:
The Blob – The Blob Bounces Back
– 3 Pages
“Film director Chuck Russell, well known to Brits as the saviour of the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET series of movies, wanted to make a film in which the star was a massive lump of goop.  Here he tells FEAR’s Marc Shapiro how that seemingly strange urge heralded the meteoric return of Fifties B-movie monster The Blob.”

Phenomena:
Make That Monster Crawl (How To Make A Movie: Part Four)
– 2 Pages
“Horror and fantasy films have come to rely less on acting and more on the special effects which back-up the humans on screen.  In the fourth part of his series on movie-making, John Gilbert discovers that putting a monster together is just as much an art as playing to the camera.”

The Films Of Jack The Ripper – Many Unhappy Returns – 3 Pages
“In the 100 years since he - presumably – set aside the scalpel, Jack the Ripper has passed out of the realms of historical fact and become a phantom of the fogs, a Victorian monster as potent and ubiquitous as Mr Hyde or Count Dracula.  He has been featured or echoed in the stories of Ramsey Campbell, Robert Bloch, and Harlan Ellison, a pop single by Screaming Lord Sutch and in Frank Wedekind’s plays about the seductive Lulu.  He’s even met such famous figures as Sherlock Holmes, Captain Kirk, Tarzan of the Apes and H.G. Wells.  Now he appears in FEAR as Kim Newman presents Part One of the most comprehensive Ripper filmographies ever compiled.”

The Fear Factor:
Linnea Quigley – Chainsaw Chart
– 2 Pages
“Animals and children are difficult to work with, but when it comes to dangerous whirring implements, Linnea Quigley, star of RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, has few qualms.  She tells Mark Salisbury it’s real-life that scares her.”

Stephen Laws – The Laws Of Fear – 1 Page
“As a preface to his series for FEAR on the world of the horror writer, Stephen Laws, author of GHOST TRAIN, SPECTRE and THE WYRM, takes a look at the mechanism of dread, why it drove him t write about his worst phobias and how you can come to terms with your own fears.”

Kevin Peter Hall – Man Made Monster – 2 Pages
“If you came face to face with Arnold Schwarznegger’s foe in PREDATOR, you would be frightened.  But actor Kevin Peter Hall did so – many times – and lived to tell the tale, for he was the Predator.  He’s also been Harry, the creature in BIGFOOT AND THE HENDERSONS.  Here he tells David Cox and John Gilbert about fun and fear in and out of his suits.”

Book Reviews:
The Toynbee Convector – Ray Bradbury
The Queen Of The Damned – Anne Rice
Frank Frazetta’s Death Dealer: Book 1 Prisoner Of The Horned Helmet – James Silke
Abandonati – Gary Kilworth
To Sail Beyond The Sunset – Robert A. Heinlein
Silver Scream – David J. Schow
Dream Makers: Six Fantasy Artists At Work – Martyn Dean & Chris Evans
Techniques Of Fantasy Art – Bruce Robertson
Unquenchable Fire – Rachel Pollack
Cabal – Clive Barker
The Heavenly Horse For The Outermost West – Mary Stanton
Immortal Blood – Barbara Hambly
Meat – Ian Watson

Film Reviews:
Dead Ringers - Directed by David Cronenberg
Alien Nation - Directed by Graham Baker
Moonwalker - Directed by Jerry Kramer & Colin Chilvers
Child’s Play - Directed by Tom Holland
The Kiss - Directed by Pen Densham
Predator - Directed by John McTiernan
Phantom Empire - Directed by Fred Olen Ray
Intruder - Directed by Scott Spiegel
Hollywood Hookers - Directed by Fred Olen Ray
Kadaicha: The Death Stone - Directed by James Bogle
Through The Fire - Directed by Gary Marcum


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