End of the Line

"End of the Line": Solaris books. Artwork by Luke Preece

Last night, I headed off to the launch of Solaris Books “End of the Line” anthology: a collection of horror stories set on the Underground (and the Metro, and the New York subway… but you get the idea).

It was an interesting evening: Jon Oliver chaired a small panel consisting of Christopher Fowler, Pat Cadigan & Adam Nevill, all of whom feature in the collection. There was talk of why going underground is scary – for Adam, it’s the clautrophobia, the confusion and the packed-in flesh. For Pat, it’s the idea of being buried alive, of descending into an untimely tomb; while for Chris, the Tube was such a part of his childhood that he can’t bring himself to fear it – although he’s not terribly keen on the sliding flood doors. (I’m with him on that, actually. I remember seeing a few of those when I first came to London in 1998, but now I come to think about it, I’ve not noticed one for years. Maybe they’re all gone – or maybe they’re just not obvious enough to make you notice them and immediately think “OhmigodI’mgoingtodie!”)

There was a brief discussion, too, of the Underground in movies: Creep, Death Line and Control being the notable mentions, along with An American Werewolf in London. There was a small signing, where we had another classic Lou-fail (note: must learn to stop presenting my book at signing tables with a cheery: “Hi! I’m Lou!”. It only ever ends in, “Well, that’s nice for you,” from a slightly bemused and wrist-weary author – this time, Christopher Fowler, although he did go on to tell me how big the new Superdry store in One New Change is, so I may not have broken him entirely. This is good, as despite having used “Disturbia” as a virtual guide to London when I moved here, I’ve not long discovered the Bryant & May series, and would kind of like to see how that pans out…) and then on to the Phoenix Artist Club for drinks.

These things always remind me how absolutely right the decision to go to WHC in Brighton in March was. I went there alone, knowing no-one, but it served as the most incredible introduction to a group of people who are – individually and collectively – genuinely lovely. I had a great time – I was only sorry I had to leave as early as I did, as I’d have loved to stay longer and talk more (you know me. Talking. It’s what I do. A lot).

As it was, I contented myself with having a good read on the train on the way home (note #2: best not to read horror stories set on any kind of railway while you’re sitting alone in a train carriage with slightly dodgy lights. It’s not good for the nerves).

Thanks to the Solaris team – Jon, Jenni and Dave, all of whom are most excellent people – for a great book and a great launch. And if you’re looking for something to read on the commute (and your boss doesn’t mind if you arrive in the office a bit pale & in need of a stiff drink) you could do worse than look this one up.

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