Okay, so I heard it a few hours BEFORE my birthday, but who's really checking the facts of anything I post here? Isn't that the beauty of this internet thingy (which I hear, might be really big one day if we all were to just give the internet a chance and stop thinking of it as some sort of passing fad)
In any case, I heard some great news from Tom English, editor of the beautiful anthology BOUND FOR EVIL: Curious Tales of Books Gone Bad.
It has been nominated for a Shirley Jackson Award.
This book, a gorgeous 800 page hardcover bound in imitation leather and stamped in golf leaf, contains 66 stories and is the first ever gathering of the very best stories of diabolical books from 61 different authors.
BOUND FOR EVIL contains a revised reprint of my story "Browsers" (which originally appeared in Challenging Destiny #5 back in January 1999 and was reprinted in my story collection One Hand Screaming in 2004) -- the version of this story was slightly modified to better suit the anthology by Tom English. I modified the story such that the books, rather than the bookstore were the entity behind the strange occurrence at an anonymous bookshop which no real book lover can ever escape from. And, of course, BOUND FOR EVIL is the only place this specific version of the story has ever appeared.
Apart from a couple stories I wrote about snowmen, "Browsers" is the story I have received the most positive feedback from. Here are a few review blurbs that mention it:
"Anyone who reads much short fiction in the small press fantasy and science fiction magazines knows that the style and form of the old Twilight Zone is still very much alive among writers. "Browsers", by Mark Leslie, is a good example. A low-key horror story, it used the time honored method of introducing a character in an ordinary situation, in this case a customer in a used bookstore, and slowly trapping that character in a form of hell. Readers who have enjoyed the experience of losing themselves among the stacks of books in an old musty store will identify with, and appreciate, this story."
- Greg L. Johnson, Tangent Online
"Originality is decidedly rare in horror. Invention is even more rare in horror fiction, thus a sigh of relief at Leslie's 'Browsers'"
- Mick Halpin, Critical Mick
The Shirley Jackson Awards will be presented on July 12, 2009 at ReaderCon 20 in Burlington, MA. BOUND FOE EVIL editor Tom English will be there, as will other authors from the anthology, like Simon Strantzas.