The Ghost Stories of Muriel Spark collects eight chilling tales by the author of Memento Mori. Notable selections include "The Hanging Judge" and "The Portobello Road." (New Directions, $12.95 paper 144p ISBN 0-8112-1549-0)
In their eerie novella Exorcising Angels, set during the London blitz of 1940, Simon Clark and Tim Lebbon pay homage to Arthur Machen's "The Bowmen" (1915), which caused a stir because many British readers took this tale of angelic English archers mowing down advancing German troops with invisible arrows in the early days of WWI to be true. The abrupt appearance in a London church of a German airman's homicidal reanimated corpse strikes the only false note. In addition, each author contributes an original story: Clark's visionary "Bridge to Nowhere" does a better job than Lebbon's sexually explicit "Skins" in capturing Machen's weird essence. (Earthling [www.earthlingpub.com], $35 90p ISBN 0-9721518-8-5)
Douglas Clegg fans will welcome the reissue of his coming-of-age novel, Neverland (1991), set in rural Georgia. In his introduction, Bentley Little explains why this Southern gothic is his "favorite horror novel of the 1990s." (Bloodletting [www.bloodlettingbooks.com], $45 408p ISBN 0-9720859-1-2)
One Lamp: Alternate History Stories from theMagazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, edited by Gordon Van Gelder, reprints 14 "what if?" tales from such SF luminaries as C.M. Kornbluth, Poul Anderson, Alfred Bester and Harry Turtledove. As Van Gelder notes in his introduction, the American Civil War and WWII remain the most common subjects in this popular subgenre. (Four Walls Eight Windows, $15.95 paper 442p ISBN 1-56858-276-5)
The Pervects, 10 female ones to be exact, are up to new tricks in Robert Asprin and Jody Lynn Nye's Myth Alliances, the first novel in a new Myth Adventures series. The authors' story collection Myth-Told Tales (2003) provides the background, but isn't necessary for enjoyment of this light fantasy. (Meisha Merlin [www.meishamerlin.com], $25 250p ISBN 1-59222-009-6; $14 paper -008-8)
Cemetery Dance (www.cemeterydance.com) rolls out two new books in its horror novella series: David Niall Wilson's Roll Them Bones, in which four adult friends return to a Midwest town to face the consequences of a childhood Halloween misadventure ($30 140p ISBN 1-58767-068-2); and Rick Hautala's Cold River, in which a widower, recently bereft, must deal with his grief and something creepy that emerges from a Maine river ($30 124p -073-9).
The same publisher also offers Douglas Clegg's The Necromancer: Being the Diary of Justin Gravesend on the Year of His Rebirth, and His Forced Initiation into the Chymera Magick, Including His Early Visionaries. This peculiar document expands on the mythos behind Clegg's three Harrow novels, Mischief, The Infinite and Nightmare House. ($35 140p -071-2)