Creeping in Reptile Flesh Reprint

It was announced today that Morrigan Books — “Specialists in Dark Fiction” — are re-printing my 2009 collection, Creeping in Reptile Flesh, as part of their e-book series, for the international market.  The distribution for the first edition was somewhat limited, so I’m hoping this will widen its impact somewhat.

You can read the announcement on Morrigan’s news site.

I’m biased, of course, but I think this is an excellent collection. The stories were chosen according to the way they reflected on a number of related thematic threads that for me are encapsulated in the title — a quotation from the work of my favourite poet, mystical visionary, William Blake:

Ah weak & wide astray! Ah shut in narrow doleful form
Creeping in reptile flesh upon the bosom of the ground
The Eye of Man a little narrow orb closd up & dark
Scarcely beholding the great light conversing with the Void
The Ear, a little shell in small volutions shutting out
All melodies & comprehending only Discord and Harmony
The Tongue a little moisture fills, a little food it cloys
A little sound it utters & its cries are faintly heard

From William Blake’s “prophetic” poem Milton (1840)

The title story — a 20,000 word supernatural thriller — is a personal favourite, though some people have been put off by its political orientation and other oddities.

Soon there may be an announcement of a special bonus feature that will come with the new edition. We’re working on that. Stay tuned. At any rate, if you’re one of the many millions who didn’t grab a copy of the first edition — or a Hood completist — don’t forget to order a copy.

Meanwhile you can read more about the book in its original incarnation here.

Critical comments on the first edition:

Robert Hood has been writing chilling, sickening, funny and thoughtful horror for longer than he cares to remember. Creeping in Reptile Flesh brings together some of the best from his twistedly evil mind including three previously unpublished works.

Robert’s writing has many shades. His heroes are often people just like you and me. Beset by the horrid and supernatural, they rise to the challenge or sink beneath the slime. Whatever happens, there’s humanity there, the best of us and the worst of us on show… There are many types of horror here to suit many tastes and all of them will please the discerning reader who enjoys good tales told well.

Keith Stevenson in Aurealis #43.

Simply a class act from the artwork to the stories contained within its pages. A must-have addition to any horror fan’s bookcase, it will have you wanting to check out more Robert Hood material.

Jeff Ritchie — review on ScaryMinds website

An impressive, very personal and thematically cohesive collection of stories from horror writer, Robert Hood, and nicely laid out by Cat Sparks. Creeping shows the significant contribution Robert has made to the Australian horror genre.

13th Annual Aurealis Awards: Best Anthology/Collection Category Judges’ Report

Hood’s collection Creeping in Reptile Flesh (Altair Australia Books) was the finest Aussie collection released in 2008. Although the book’s distribution is limited, it contains several of Hood’s best stories and spans two decades of his career.

Shane Jiraiya Cummings, Australian Shadows Award 2008 Judges’ comments

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2 Responses to Creeping in Reptile Flesh Reprint

  1. Pingback: The Official Creeping Launch | Undead Backbrain

  2. Leigh Blackmore says:

    Here’s a reprint of my review of the collection which originally appeared in dead Reckonings journal. Review now at Amazon.com

    5.0 out of 5 stars Humour and horror in rewarding and unusual collection October 27, 2012
    By lvxnox
    Format:Kindle EditionRobert Hood is one of Australia’s most consistent and prolific horror writers. He is author of the novel Backstreets (1999), the four-volume young adult horror series Shades (2001) and two previous collections of horror and weird stories, Daydreaming on Company Time (1988) and Immaterial: Ghost Stories (2002).

    This new collection presents fourteen tales – loosely unified by themes of ferality, bodily invasion or transference, and fertility – eleven of which are reprints from little-seen sources, and three of which, including the long title novella, are first published here. “Creeping in Reptile Flesh” (whose title derives from a phrase in William Blake’s prophetic poem “Milton”) is a very strange story mixing dead people, maverick Australian politicians, an odd township called Mytabin and a predatory alien species – a combination which Hood pulls off adeptly, interweaving several different storylines. It is reminiscent in places of some of Ramsey Campbell’s uneasiest moments, mixed with a delight in grue perhaps arising from Hood’s interest in the zombie flick.

    Dipping into the rest of this collection, with its unapologetically Australian settings and vernacular, is akin to stepping into the mysterious fathomless lake of the second story, “The Black Lake’s Fatal Blood”, wherein an old `dero’ named Rambler and his dog Sheepdip save the world from the tentacled monsters of an interdimensional causeway which sweeps them up after they witness a double murder in an old house they are `squatting’ in. Derelicts feature again in “Dreams of Death”, in which female investigator Andy Wolfe is hired to investigate a number of murders dreamed – or committed? — by a man called `Archibald Fountain’. Hood in Chandleresque mode (with a touch of Borges’ “Death and the Compass”) here produces what could be termed a metaphysical detective story. Things are skewed and rapidly spiral out of control in many of Hood’s stories. In “Rotting Eggplant on the Bottom Shelf of a Fridge”, cues from Hawkwind songs relate curiously to an epidemic of crumbling buildings across Sydney, and the horror is mingled in equal portions with Hood’s quirky, twisted humour.

    In “Unravelling,” a tale recalling disparate elements of Fritz Lieber and Harlan Ellison’s “Shatterday”, yet with Hood’s own tight plotting, irrevocable fate takes a hand. “Lo Que No Asusta” is about fear, pure and simple , that which scares us, and for both its central concept – the `fear-trap’– and its brilliantly accomplished twist ending, deserves to be a minor classic. Decay, both physical and moral, infests the heart of “Rotten Times,” which starts with a date gone wrong and ends with post-millennial destruction by way of a cursed farmhouse and its unnaturally aged denizen.
    Hood’s powerful feeling for the Australian landscape forms the backbone of the futuristic murder story “Groundswell,” in which police sent to investigate a series of disappearances cooperatively further the solution to the apocalyptic environmental problem of `the Wasting.’ “Heartless” manages to squeeze bodily transfer, alien invasion and gruesome evisceration into one brief tale, and again it’s one in which if the horror didn’t work so well we may at times be tempted to giggle, if only blackly. .The name of the titular demonic succubus is not the only nod to Poe in the tartly-told “Separating Lenore,” which once again effectively mingles black humour and horror. In “Getting Rid of Mother”, the vengeful spirit of an old lady evicted from her home takes revenge in unexpected ways. Both poignant and funny, “The Slimelight and How to Step Into It” is the tale of a blob of green slime that wants to become a Shakespearean actor –more bodily invasion here. “Casual Visitors” is one of the lesser tales in the book, its kookified narrative centring on a man called George who obsessively builds a flying saucer in his backyard. The volume ends on a strong note with “You’re a Sick Man, Mr Antwhistle, a short but disturbing tale about mind-control.

    Hood’s take on everyday events is at slight angles to reality, so that the quotidian is easily undermined; and if he chooses to use humour as often as horror to highlight this undercut reality, so much the more entertaining.

    The design of the book is attractive, with marvellous cover artwork by Cat Sparks. While the text is marred in several places by unfortunate typos, the quality of the stories in this collection makes it a wickedly enjoyable volume to savour, and to re-read.

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