Anthology Madness – Is Your Future Occult?

Or Horror Under the Linwood Tree Pt 2. So it’s the Future. Yay! You’re in your Linux 3000 hover-car, going to meet the egg-parent of your fifteen high-gravity adapted children, and you want something to read. You swipe through your retinal store, and bring up some weird and occult classics, for a change. How did they make these things, you wonder, before the invention of the EZ-Reads Writer-bot? And why did so many EZ-Reads Writer-bots commit suicide, come to think of it?

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We can’t answer that second one. Something to do with the International Ban on Semi-Colons, possibly. Or an excess of glistening male torsos. But if you want news on how we’re making new books, you’re in the right place. Here’s Part Two of our progress report – ODQ Presents, Hell’s Empire, and an annotated anthology of classic tales…


No, dear listener, here’s a short update on one of the big projects, ODQ Presents, from Electric Pentacle Press, the publisher of Occult Detective Quarterly. We’ll recap, in case you have no idea what we’re talking about.


Every so often we receive a story far too long for the magazine, or a detailed proposal for a novelette or novella length piece of fiction. Anywhere from 8,000 to 28,000 words. As we went through the process of story selection for the quarterly issues, we felt that we had a creative conundrum.

More than enough classy tales in the typical 3,000 to 6,000 zone were coming in to meet our forward needs for the magazine itself. The long stories we’d seen would take up two, maybe three, of those slots – but some were very tempting. We wanted a wide range of tales in each issue, and yet we liked the bigger stories as well. Um.

glyph2So we invented ODQ Presents, which will be an anthology of far longer stories. We will be including six or seven (yes!) exciting occult detective novelettes with very different settings and themes. We have some terrific authors lined up, and some of their contributions may well surprise you. We’re doing this because we want to show how weird and varied the occult detective field can be.

We’re pleased to be anchoring the premier issue with a brand-new novella by Adrian Cole, AT MIDNIGHT ALL THE AGENTS, a rollicking and wild Nick Nightmare occult adventure. Not only that, but we have a new novelette from Willie Meikle, FARSIDE, set in the world of his own occult investigator Derek Adams, and linking into his ‘Seton’ saga. Adrian and Willie were both with us in ODQ #1, so it seemed fitting that they should be in there.

But wait… we’re not just relying on our anchors. We’ll be catering for many tastes, like the magazine, and we have all sorts of wildly different tales coming in ODQ Presents as well. We have our short-list, taken from existing submissions, and have some other great and varied writers working up earlier proposals. We’ll announce other signings as we go along.

ODQ Presents is well underway. The aim is to make the rest of our decisions by Summer, and put the anthology out during the Autumn. We may run a modest Kickstarter, nothing too grand, mainly to help contribute towards cover art and float the optional extra of adding some interior illustrations, as we have in Occult Detective Quarterly itself. We’ve already been asked about including art.

If ODQ Presents goes well, it would in effect become ODQ Presents #1, the first of an annual anthology of longer fiction. At which point we could open up subsequent volumes for submissions. So if you want to read or write weird, paranormal or horrific stories, we hope you’ll support the venture.


The second anthology project to mention is a more a stare into history. We might call it something snappy, like ODQ TEARS THE VEIL ASUNDER, or ODQ’s BUMPER BOOK OF REALLY OLD STORIES. But probably not.

We have long been impressed by Tim Prasil’s scholarly work on what you might call the classical end of occult detective and ghost hunting fiction. People greatly enjoyed his article ‘How to Be a Fictional Victorian Ghost Hunter (in Five Easy Steps)’ which we ran in ODQ #1, and he has further erudite articles in #2 and #3. He has also already edited two collections for Coachwhip Press.


With that in mind, we are in discussion with Tim to edit a stylish anthology of early occult detecting and ghost hunting tales for us. We are seeking to produce something beyond the usual collection of public domain stories. If it comes off, it will be a carefully selected and annotated anthology which draws on Tim’s expertise and dry wit to give insights into the field. You can see some of his delvings on his website.

This would be due in 2018, from Electric Pentacle Press again.


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Finally, a third anthology, HELL’S EMPIRE, planned to come from Ulthar Press. This will be a ‘guided’ anthology, along the lines of a series of tales depicting different aspects of the struggle as the British Empire faces an eruption of Hell Itself, with late 19th Century technology. Not Steampunk as such, more demonic horror – with imaginative use of existing resources, including soldiers, spiritualists, priests and some urgent engineering. History adapted to circumstance, so to speak.

Edited by John Linwood Grant (oh dear), it’s a tale of two Thrones basically – Victoria versus Lucifer.

“She lost the Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, but faced the Prince of Darkness.”

Because we want a coherent and consistent theme for the anthology, seasoned US writer Charles R Rutledge will be providing a key story, either the opening or the wrap-up, and Charles is also going to assist in shaping the ‘bible’ for other writers. As a bonus, British writer and journalist Matt Willis, a fellow with some serious historical know-how in the military side, will be assisting in the developmental fun as well.

Although we’re considering the wider possibilities, initial thoughts are around a more H G Wells type setting and mood, as in War of the Worlds – the focus being on Britain itself. An odd touch of elsewhere may be permitted. That’s War of the Worlds without Tom Cruise or shrieking brats, by the way.

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Current plans are that detailed guidelines etc will be available mid/late Summer 2017. Then there’ll be an Open Call for people to pitch concepts for thrilling stories of Empire versus Empire. The best concepts will be taken up for development by their writers.

Hell’s Empire would come out in 2018.

And that’s the occult anthology news in your region. If you want to be kept up to date for free, simply subscribe by email to this site (top left).

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