Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Kitchen Sink Gothic 2 - in Aid of the Homeless

Although we are still closed to submissions for novels and collections, we are now open for a charity anthology we will be publishing later this year.

The book will be Kitchen Sink Gothic 2, and all proceeds will be donated to a charity for the homeless (details to be announced soon). As such, there will be no payment for any of the stories appearing in this book other than a contributor's copy, but we are open both to original stories and reprints.

The book will be edited by David and Linden Riley, and will have an introduction by John Gilbert, editor of Fear magazine.

To give an idea of the kind of stories we are looking for, here is the Introduction from 2015's Kitchen Sink Gothic:



M. John Harrison used the term kitchen sink gothic in association with Robert Aickman. After quoting John Coulthart’s description of Aickman as having the “quotidian Britishness of Alan Bennett darkening into the inexplicable nightmares of David Lynch”, he added: “I often return to BBC4′s The Golden Age of Canals, which features Aickman as a broody, nerdy TE Lawrence of the waterways, for its footage of decaying tunnel entrances, drained locks & Kitchen Sink Gothic clutter embedded in wet mud."

Coined in the 1950s, Kitchen Sink described British films, plays and novels frequently set in the North of England, which showed working class life in a gritty, no-nonsense, “warts and all” style, sometimes referred to as social realism.

It became popular after the playwright John Osborne wrote Look Back In Anger, simultaneously helping to create the Angry Young Men movement. Films included Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, The Entertainer, A Taste of Honey, The L-Shaped Room and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner.  TV dramas included Coronation Street and East Enders. In recent years TV dramas that could rightly be described as kitchen sink gothic include Being Human, with its cast of working class vampires, werewolves and ghosts, and the zombie drama In the Flesh, with its northern working class, down to earth setting.

It’s an area of writing that fascinates me, especially coming from a working class background and having been brought up in a terraced street in a solidly Lancastrian mill town which any viewer of Coronation Street would recognise as typical of its type. My formative reading in weird fiction, though, came from middle-class Americans (Robert Bloch, Ray Bradbury and H. P. Lovecraft) or from upper middle-class British writers like M. R. James, Algernon Blackwood, the Bensons. etc. I always felt there was a place for working class horror fiction whose characters were more than merely just comic constructs.

For me, within the horror genre, kitchen sink gothic is the antithesis of Jamesian or Lovecraftian horror. There are no distinguished scholars. The settings are unglamorous, perhaps unatmospheric in the accepted sense of the word in supernatural literature. And gritty.

I was reminded of my own occasional leanings in that direction after someone reviewed one of my stories (Dark Visions 1, Grey Matter Press, 2013): "Scrap by David A. Riley could easily have been a kitchen sink drama, depicting the lives of two brothers growing up in a poverty-stricken council estate in England."

Shortly afterwards I came across John Braine’s novel The Vodi, listed by M. John Harrision as amongst his top ten novels: “Constructed round the fantasies of a recovering tuberculosis patient, this novel was the defining moment of an as-yet-unreported genre, kitchen sink gothic. One of my favourite books of all time, it doesn’t seem to be in print with the rest of Braine’s backlist.” Fortunately, Valancourt Books rectified this situation, republishing it in paperback in 2013.

In the anthology you are now holding you will find stories that cover a wide range of Kitchen Sink Gothic, from the darkly humorous to the weirdly strange and occasionally horrific.  I hope you find the genre as fascinating as I do.
If any potential contributor would like to take a look at volume 1 to get a better idea of the type of stories we will be interested in, please email us at paralleluniversepublications@gmx.co.uk for either a free mobi copy or a pdf, which we'll gladly email to you.

Deadline: August 1st 2018.


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