A Little Christmas Quiz

Christopher Fowler
What do writers think about when they're not writing? They think about writing. They try to imagine impossible dilemmas for their characters. I once spent five months trying to unknot a stubborn plot twist in a short story. I failed because I was at fault, not the story. For me Bryant & May were always different, deliberately kept on the outside of mainstream events. There are authors' characters who enter the mainstream consciousness, but I don't think it'll ever happen to them. Or, as one editor's rejection slip began; 'Who cares about a couple of boring old guys wandering around a city?' With that in mind, here's a bit of a non-Bryant & May quiz for you. I'd love to have made it longer but - health. This was tiring enough.    1. What were we parodying here? 2. Why did this cover cause a fuss? 3. Part of the cover that proved too creepy for some. What was the book? 4. What's this from the German edition? (They came up with a number of covers, none quite as good as the UK original). 5. What were these for? 6. What does this illustrate? 7. The rarest of the rare. Which book is this?8. The US edition of which book? 9. The Russian version of what? 10. And finally a Bryant & May puzzler. A flyer for which book? ...and for all the great covers that became loved I must thank designer Martin Butterworth and artists Graham Humphries and Max Schindler. Answers next time. My next post will be in the new year.  


Paul c (not verified) Tue, 27/12/2022 - 17:06

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Re number 2, I guess this caused a problem with the M C Escher estate ? The others are too tough for me.

Enjoy the new year break everyone. Best wishes.

Christopher Fowler Tue, 27/12/2022 - 17:41

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Paul is right. We got sued by the Escher estate despite the fact that you can't sue for a concept.

Ace (not verified) Tue, 27/12/2022 - 17:46

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

The ones I got quickly through some strange mental anomaly, The rest (maybe...) later.

2. The 'right kerfuffle' (as David Williams as 'Lou' would put it) here, I believe, was you being attacked by the legal Dobermans guarding the copyrights of the MC Escher estate. Apparently, it was felt that the image might be, could possibly have been, looks something similar to...what Escher could conceivably have done --- had he actually created it. He didn't.

4. 'Hell Train'

5. 'Hellion: The Curse of the Snakes'

6. The Jack O'Lantern Pub from 'Lantern Jack.'

7 'City Jitters'

Ace (not verified) Tue, 27/12/2022 - 17:55

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

And yes --- I do have too much time on my hands during this interregnum so --- 'once more into the breach...'

9. 'Spanky'

Ace (not verified) Tue, 27/12/2022 - 18:12

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I've just been informed that I not longer have 'too much time on my hands,' so my last contribution:

8. 'Nyctophobia'

10. 'Wild Chamber'

Ace (not verified) Tue, 27/12/2022 - 18:27

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Managed to take evasive action for one final stab. Although, now that I think about it, not sure numero uno is an attempt to parody zombie films/programmes or your modelling work. Better leave now. I hear ominous footsteps approaching. A better 2023 to all.

Rob C (not verified) Tue, 27/12/2022 - 18:34

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Spanky! That cover got me many looks on the tube to work! And got me propositioned in a Soho bar too (was waiting for my GF at the time, honest :-))

Helen+Martin (not verified) Tue, 27/12/2022 - 19:23

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I remember seeing #1 and the source of the parody being mentioned. I'm wondering if it appeared on this blog in an entry talking about the illustrators? Is it a parody for the Pan Horror publications and the artwork by Keith Page?
A wonderful New Year to everyone here, but especially Chris and Peter.

Anna-Maria Covich (not verified) Tue, 27/12/2022 - 20:24

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

#1 i know i know this one, but I can't remember what it is. Something to do with hammer horror?
#3 is flesh wounds
#4 helltrain
#5 hellion
#7 is the rarest of the rare?! I think it may be the one I signed up to Amazon to buy (it was the only way to access internation second hand book shops at the time). If not, it's one of the first books i bought that way. It's "more city jitters"

snowy (not verified) Tue, 27/12/2022 - 20:48

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

3 is 'Flesh Wounds'

1 is.... dunno, a failed campaign for Anadin?

snowy (not verified) Tue, 27/12/2022 - 21:03

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

OK serious head on, no.1 was a flyer for some event that referenced 'Night of the Living Dead'.

Ace (not verified) Tue, 27/12/2022 - 22:02

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Back with one last gasp on no 1. Certainly a collaboration with your friend and former partner, the brilliant Graham Humphreys. Something to do with the Black Cat Mystery: Harvey Horrors collection and/or perhaps originally done for 'Evil Dead II' with its nod to the endless Romero 'Dead' films, including the first, mentioned by snowy. Anyway --- all memory banks living and otherwise are now exhausted.

Porl (not verified) Tue, 27/12/2022 - 22:26

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

1. You and Graham Humphreys paying tribute to a Vault of Horror comic.
2.Escher copywright claim
3. Flesh Wounds
4. Hell Train
5. Hellion curse of snakes
6. The pub in Lantern Jack
7. More City Jitters
8. Nyctophobia
9. Spanky
10. Wild Chamber

Helen+Martin (not verified) Wed, 28/12/2022 - 00:40

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Can we pause for a moment to acknowledge the loss of the Hardy Tree in Old St. Pancras churchyard? I just saw the story with a photo of the tree roots in the Guardian. I hope something significant is done with the tree and that the gravestones (they aren't any more, though,are they?) will stay where they are.

Ace (not verified) Wed, 28/12/2022 - 02:27

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Helen --- That the at least 163-year-old (by some estimates) ash survived the railroad tunnel construction which prompted Hardy (or someone not Hardy, according to spoilsport scholars) to have it surrounded by the gravestones is amazing. But leave it to London weather. My guess would be that considering the enduring legend of Hardy's connection and the rather macabre sight of the gravestones, you can be almost certain some sort of memorial will be erected in place of the tree to preserve the location as a tourist site.

Christopher Fowler Wed, 28/12/2022 - 11:24

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Some said too easy - others said too hard.
My lovely favourite tree! Camden Council will be itching to replace it with one of their sculptures (see 'The Concrete Fart' - columns passim)

Jo W (not verified) Wed, 28/12/2022 - 11:39

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Sad news about the Hardy Tree. I’m always sad to see a tree go, whether by nature or the local council. I do hope that your thought that another “artistic” lump of manure does not replace it. Nothing of more value art wise or health wise than a beautiful tree. As I write, I can hear the savage whining of chainsaws along the railway line, removing trees for no other reason than that the leaves may fall on the rails. :-(
We’ve been away for a festive stay at an hotel in God’s waiting room by the sea so I hadn’t seen this quiz. But it has reminded me that it’s about time for a re-read of Hell Train.
Greetings to all.

Peter T (not verified) Wed, 28/12/2022 - 12:08

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Ash is lovely wood. Let's hope it's used to make something.

Wayne Mook (not verified) Wed, 28/12/2022 - 13:34

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Well I got around 5, the Russian cover does look like a detail from the Robert Bloch book Firebug brought out in paperback by Tor. it was one of those lumpy covers from the 80's.

Happy New Year.


Gary Locke (not verified) Wed, 28/12/2022 - 16:28

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

God, I love Hell Train!

Ace (not verified) Wed, 28/12/2022 - 16:31

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Peter --- Yes. In fact, I think it would be an ace idea (heh-heh) to craft a memorial itself from any remaining usable wood but, that's probably altogether too common for the council grandees and would-be aesthetes.  More likely we'll sadly see one of the 'great trees of London' reduced to splinters or chips to be sold off in small plastic tubes online like religious relics.

Peter T (not verified) Thu, 29/12/2022 - 12:38

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Ace - Ash wood isn't very good for outdoor use as bugs and rot attack it. But it's nice to work, strong, elastic, can be steam bent and excellent for almost any indoor/protected/covered application. Moreover, if it's used to make something,
rather than burnt or allowed to rot, it continues to store the carbon in it. As for a memorial, why not another tree, preferably a native one or one recommended by the Woodland Trust?

Joan (not verified) Thu, 29/12/2022 - 13:57

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Peter is right about the Ash wood, our Urban area trees have been devastated by the Ash Bore Beetle. A native tree should be used to replace it, an English Oak perhaps?

Ace (not verified) Thu, 29/12/2022 - 16:27

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Peter ---Now understand the Camden Council are in fact discussing commissioning a commemorative object from the wood and/or planting a new tree.

Brooke (not verified) Fri, 30/12/2022 - 13:12

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Ash tree: MR James gateway to hell.

Wayne Mook (not verified) Sat, 31/12/2022 - 16:32

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

A new tree should be the way forward.