Binscombe Tales: Volume One
by John Whitbourn
Fabled Lands Publishing Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780956737267
Date: 31 October 2011 List Price £6.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK /
John Whitbourn is a British author who deserves to be far more widely known (and thus read). His novel length works (A Dangerous Energy, Popes & Phantoms and To Buld Jerusalem) centre on his own alternate histories of Britain following the Reformation and his last novel to be published by a trade press, The Royal Changeling [Earthlight, 1998], was described (according to Wikipedia) as "...the first work of Jacobite propaganda for several centuries," which gives some idea as to why his particular brand of esoteric fiction may have fallen off the radar of the larger commercial publishers.
That notwithstanding, Whitbourn is also the author of a fine body of shorter works, all of which stand up proudly within the tradition of that particular brand of "macabre, speculative or whimsical short stories" that we Brits seems to do so well. If you're a fan of M.R. James or Ramsey Campbell then The Binscombe Tales, published by Spark Furnace's Fabled Lands imprint may well be of great interest - also available in ebook.
"Mr Oakley has moved back to the small English village where his family once had roots. Binscombe is a place of cricket and corner shops and after-work pints in the Duke of Argyll. But peel away the wallpaper of the ordinary and you will find cracks in the fabric of what we think of as reality: • The man who spent a lifetime waiting for a bus • The suburban kitchen with a gateway to another world • The whispering voices that torment a nightclub owner • The ancient danger that lurks under an electricity substation For a reasonable man like Mr Oakley it could all be too much. But luckily he has the enigmatic figure of Mr Disvan as his guide to the borderland between the everyday and the uncanny. Part-wizard, part-tribal elder, Mr Disvan is Mr Oakley's much-needed lifeline to sanity-and at the same time might just be the scariest of all Binscombe's many secrets. Collected here for the first time, these twenty-six classic tales by John Whitbourn are some of the most anthologized in modern weird fiction. So draw your chair close to the fireside, pour yourself a pint or a cuppa or a scotch, and settle back to have your blood chilled and your imagination thrilled as only a master storyteller can. "