Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Dark Mirages: Dracula

Dark Mirages is a new book presenting unproduced screenplays by writers with genre credentials, each with a story behind it.

In my case Dracula was commissioned by the BBC and cancelled, unread, on the very day that I delivered the script. The producers were Deep Indigo working with BBC Wales.

 My angle was that nobody had 'done' the book properly since Gerald Savory's 1970s adaptation. Dracula is a work that's often plundered and rarely honoured. Stoker never gets the respect that's automatically accorded to an Austen, an Eliot, or a Hardy, maybe because he wrote an instinctive classic rather than a cerebral one.

Things would have to change, as in adaptations they always do. But for me the guiding motivation would always be the question, What was Stoker getting at, here?

I won't insult you by explaining how the novel is a collage of second-hand perceptions, cast in the form of letters, journals, and dictated notes from the principal characters. The character of Count Dracula is offstage for much of the novel, which adds to his mystery and enhances his credibility.

Because of this approach, you don't get Count Dracula's version of the events. You can work it out by a kind of literary triangulation, but I've never seen it done and still come out as Stoker. Dracula's role gets rewritten, as if his character somehow isn't integral, nor needs to be rendered with any fidelity to the author.

What we usually get is either a romantic rapist or, if the makers want to signal that they've seen Nosferatu, a hideous cockroach. Rarely has anyone made a serious attempt to show us Stoker's nasty-minded, empty-hearted predator, who insists to his dissipated party-girl 'brides' that he's capable of love, and then goes on to prove at great length that he isn't.

It was the fastest, fiercest script I've ever written. We opened a discussion with Vincent Cassel's people, for our Dracula of choice. And as my script made its way to Cardiff a drama executive in London heard of a proposed ITV version over lunch and cancelled our project that same afternoon.

We had a completed script, we were way ahead. The other project didn't even have a writer yet. But the news took over a week to reach us, during which time the producers of the ITV project got out a press announcement and effectively bombed the BBC's boat.

There's a coda. About two years later, the BBC financed ITV's version and screened it as their own. I didn't - couldn' t - watch, but the general opinion seems to be that it was not great.

So there's that.

Monday, 9 July 2018

Coming Soon

Publication November 2nd 2018. Paperback and ebook.
 

In the lobby of a Blackpool hotel, one year after the end of the Great War, Britain's spymaster recruits a young sideshow fortune-teller for a mission of historic importance.

A standalone novella from the author of the Sebastian Becker novels The Kingdom of Bones, The Bedlam Detective, and The Authentic William James.


The Sebastian Becker Stories: Reviews

The New York Times: "The Kingdom of Bones... shows the occult mystery in its best light. Vividly set in England and America during the booming industrial era of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, this stylish thriller conjures a perfect demon to symbolize the age and its appetites… although Gallagher delivers horror with a grand melodramatic flourish, his storytelling skills are more subtly displayed in scenes of the provincial theaters, gentlemen’s sporting clubs and amusement parks where a now-vanished society once took its rough pleasures.”

The Sunday Times, London: "From its attention-grabbing opening, this period thriller moves back and forth in time to tell a compelling story of a man battling against what he believes to be demonic forces … [Gallagher] is brilliantly successful at evoking the shifting, transient world of travelling theatres and cheap carnivals that provide the backdrop to his twisting tale."

Ed Gorman: "He's an elegant stylist, a shrewd psychologist and a powerful storyteller with enormous range and depth. I finished his latest novel The Kingdom of Bones and I was honestly stunned by what he'd done. The sweep, the majesty, the grit, the grue, the great grief (and the underpinning of gallows humor from time to time). This is not only the finest novel I've read this year but the finest novel I've read in the past two or three years."

Kirkus Reviews: (for The Bedlam Detective, 100 Best Fiction selection for 2012) “Monsters, actual and metaphorical, are at the heart of this superbly crafted thriller. Gallagher loves character development but respects plotting enough to give it full measure. The result is that rare beast, a literary page turner.”

Jonny Lee Miller, via Twitter: "Just finished Stephen Gallagher’s The Bedlam Detective. Only bad thing about his books is that they eventually end. Brilliant."

New York Times: “Gallagher's detective is a man of fine character and strong principles, but he's upstaged by the monsters he pursues. Watching Becker track down a pedophile is gratifying, but it can't beat the sight of 20 overburdened boats hurtling through white-water rapids or Sir Owain, armed to the teeth and blasting away at giant serpents only he can see.”

The Historical Novel Society: “It’s certainly a thriller, but with a literary depth unusual in the genre, and fascinating in the complexity of its construct. Gallagher’s prose is swift, sure, and occasionally darkly comedic… Three words of advice: read this book.”

Stephen Volk: “It's a blinding novel (The Authentic William James)… each chapter had me chuckling with joy—if not at the acerbic wit, the brilliant dialogue—the sheer spot-on elegance of the writing: the plot turns, the pin sharp beats. Always authoritative and con-vincing, never showy. Magnificently realised characters in a living breathing world... Absolutely stunning.”

Publishers Weekly (starred): “British author Gallagher gives Sebastian Becker another puzzle worthy of his quirky sleuth’s acumen in his outstanding third pre-WWI mystery... Gallagher makes the most of his unusual concept in the service of a twisty but logical plot line.”

About the Author

Stoker and World Fantasy Award nominee, winner of British Fantasy and International Horror Guild Awards for his short fiction, Stephen Gallagher has built a career both as a novelist and as a creator of primetime miniseries and episodic television. His fourteen novels include Valley of Lights, Down River, The Spirit Box, and Nightmare, With Angel.

Friday, 29 June 2018

The Brooligan Press Website

The Brooligan Press website is now up and running, with details of all the titles in our list and global links for ordering paperbacks and ebooks.



Friday, 11 May 2018

Two New Titles from The Brooligan Press


Available now... two new trade paperback titles from The Brooligan Press.

Frankenstein's Prescription Banished to an isolated rural hospital for killing a fellow student in a duel, Hans Schneider meets the mysterious Dr Lavenza and learns about Frankenstein's prescriptionthe secret of eternal life. Together, Schneider and Lavenza set out to collect the missing pieces of the formula. But they are not alone. From Germany to Rome, from Rome to Paris, to the failed and wretched Eden of an all-too-human God, a dreadful creature follows in their wake and brings destruction wherever they go.

First appearance in paperback. "A unique piece of work; fast, funny, and with a terrific sense of period and place. Frankenstein's Prescription reads like the bastard creation of Jonathan Swift and Jimmy Sangster."

The Companion A broken church window, smashed in a bid to contain the power trapped within its stained glass... The desperate sobbing of a child who isn’t there... When restoration expert Kit Farris moves into the adjoining Grange with his three daughters, how can he possibly know what dark forces his work will unleash?

Previously published as Shapeshifter, now appearing for the first time under its original title in an edition revised and expanded by the author. "An excellent book, which celebrates and transcends genre. As much family story as ghost story, a tense drama of abuse, neglect and longing... An old-fashioned ghost tale with a modern edge, consciously a tribute to M R James in its setting and atmosphere.” Neil Philip, The Times 


 

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Now Available




With a third, new collection of material to follow later in the year

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

The Spirit Box: First Appearance in Paperback




This is kind of exciting... following on from the mass-market publication of The Authentic William James comes the first paperback appearance of The Spirit Box, previously available in this gorgeously boxed format with a cover by Chris Moore:


The Spirit Box is closely followed by the paperback debut of The Painted Bride and then, for the first time ever, my backlist titles gathered together in a uniform edition. Not reprints, but new settings from the original texts.



Available now. You can find all these titles, plus links to the ebook editions, here.