Crowther, Peter 1949–
Crowther, Peter 1949–
PERSONAL: Born July 4, 1949, in Leeds, England; son of Percival (an engineer) and Kathleen (Bowling) Crowther; married Nichola Hassam (a teacher), October 23, 1976; children: Oliver James, Timothy Nicholas. Education: Attended Leeds Metropolitan University, England. Politics: Socialist. Religion: "Lapsed Protestant."
ADDRESSES: Home and office—Bridgewood, 22 South Dr., Harrogate HG2 8AU, England. Office—PS Publishing, Grosvenor House, 1 New Road, Hornsea, East Yorkshire, HU18 1 PG, England. Agent—Susan Gleason, 325 Riverside Dr., New York, NY 10025.
CAREER: Writer and editor. Leeds Permanent Building Society, Leeds, England, communications manager, 1980–95; freelance writer and consulting editor, 1995–. PS Publishing, cofounder.
MEMBER: Horror Writers of America, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America.
AWARDS, HONORS: Best Collection award, British Fantasy Society, 2000, for Lonesome Roads; Hugo Award, 2003, for editing.
EDITOR; FICTION ANTHOLOGIES
Narrow Houses: Tales of Superstition, Suspense and Fear, Little, Brown (London, England), 1992, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1994.
Touch Wood: Narrow Houses, Volume 2, Little, Brown (London, England), 1993, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1996.
Blue Motel: Narrow Houses, Volume 3, Little, Brown (London, England), 1994, White Wolf (Atlanta, GA), 1996.
Heaven Sent: An Anthology of Angel Stories, DAW Books (New York, NY), 1995.
(With Edward E. Kramer) Tombs, White Wolf (Atlanta, GA), 1995.
(With Edward E. Kramer) Dante's Disciples, White Wolf (Atlanta, GA), 1996.
Destination Unknown, White Wolf (Atlanta, GA), 1997.
Tales in Time, White Wolf (Atlanta, GA), 1997.
Taps and Sighs, Subterranean Press (Burton, MI), 2000.
Foursight, Victor Gollancz (London, England), 2000.
(And author of introduction) Futures: Four Novellas, Warner Books (New York, NY), 2001.
Mars Probes, Daw Books (New York, NY), 2002.
(And contributor) Cities, Four Walls Eight Windows (New York, NY), 2004.
Constellations, DAW (New York, NY), 2005.
Fourbodings (novellas), Cemetery Dance (Burton, MI), 2005.
Other anthologies edited include Coast of Avon, 1992; Tales in Space, 1995; Moon Shots, 1999; and Infinities. 2002. Also editor of the magazine Postscripts 1, spring, 2004.
A Single-Handed Sailing in Galway Blazer, Waterline Books, 1998.
(Editor) The Diary of Robert Sharp of South Cave: Life in a Yorkshire Village 1812–1837, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1998.
Gandalph Cohen and the Land at the End of the Working Day, Subterranean Press (Burton, MI), 1999.
Paleobiology, Blackwell Science, Inc. (Malden, MA), 2001.
(With James Lovegrove) Escardy Gap (novel), Tor Books (New York, NY), 1996.
Forest Plains (story collection), Hypatia Press (Eugene, OR), 1996.
The Longest Single Note and Other Strange Compositions (story collection), CD Publications (Baltimore, MD), 1998.
Darkness, Darkness: Forever Twilight: Book One (novella), CD Publications (Baltimore, MD), 2002.
Songs of Leaving (short stories), Subterranean Press (Burton, MI), 2004.
Also author of the novels Fugue on a G-String, 1998; The Hand that Feeds, 1999; and Happily Ever After, 2000. Collections of short stories also include Lonesome Roads, 1999.
Contributor of short stories to numerous anthologies, including First Contact, 1987; Dark Voices 4, 1992; Deathport, 1993; Celebrity Vampires, 1995; Monster Brigade 3000, 1996; Dancing with the Dar, 1997; Black Cats and Broken Mirrors, 1998; Alien Abductions, 1999; Perchance to Dream, 2000; Crimewave, TTA (England), 2000; and Single White Vampire Seeks Same, 2001. Contributor to periodicals, sometimes under pseudonym Nick Hassam.
ADAPTATIONS: Author's stories have been adapted into audio format, including a collection titled Cold Comforts and Other Fireside Mysteries, Lone Wolf, 2001.
SIDELIGHTS: Peter Crowther has edited a number of popular anthologies of horror fiction, written horror novellas, and published a number of short stories in the genre as well. As an anthologist, Crowther edited the "Narrow Houses" series of anthologies. The series title comes from a traditional description of coffins as being "narrow houses for the dead." A critic for Publishers Weekly described the first volume in the "Narrow Houses" series as "an impressive variety of superb fiction." The anthology Tombs, coedited by Crowther and Edward E. Kramer, focuses on stories involving some sort of entombment, either in a literal or metaphoric sense. The collection includes works from such diverse writers as William F. Buckley, Jr., and Michael Moorcock. A Publishers Weekly reviewer dubbed Tombs an "agreeable grab bag of claustrophobic, mortifying pleasures." Writing in the St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost and Gothic Writers, a contributor called Crowther "a notable anthologist in the horror and dark fantasy fields."
Crowther's novel Escardy Gap, cowritten with James Lovegrove, concerns a visit to a small town by Jeremiah Rackstraw and the Company, a bizarre group of sideshow performers. The town is, according to Gilmore, "the sort of smug, ultra-folksy Midwestern rural community where everyone knows everyone else." Once Jeremiah and his performers gain the townspeople's confidence, they "set about the predictable mayhem, each in his/her own special way," wrote Gilmore. "It's handled as more than usually imaginative black farce with some fine bravura passages…. Most importantly the authors address a nagging wrongness found in almost all genre horror but very little fantasy, however dark: that the evil incursion is unsought and unearned. Horrid as the folk are, with their cracker-barrel wisdom, Mom's pie, regular churchgoing and long evenings gossiping on the porch, they deserve nothing than to be left to get on with it." Gilmore continued, "While the real world is full of injustice, the supernatural should effect a certain symmetry between what is sown and what is reaped. The [town's] Mayor expresses this forcefully enough to Rackstraw, only to be told that for all the torture and murder there is neither rationale nor justice, only the exercise of malign whimsy."
In his short-story collection The Longest Single Note and Other Strange Compositions, the author delivers a wide variety of twenty-six horror and fantasy stories, from a story about the humanism of vampires to ruminations on music and its impact on life and death. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that "vigorous, genuinely fearsome work such as Crowther's demonstrates that the genre is decidedly undead." Crowther tells the story of the disappearance of a small-town populace only to have them reappear under the power of alien forces in his novel Darkness, Darkness: Forever Twilight: Book One. Soon the zombie-like people are after four members of a radio station who still are unsure of what has happened. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that the author "evokes a range of creepy cinema classics." Don D'Ammassa, writing in the Science Fiction Chronicle, called the effort an "old fashioned SF horror movie."
Songs of Leaving is another short story collection, including stories about the abandonment of Earth due to an oncoming asteroid and the cloning of Abraham Lincoln, who finds himself lost in modern New York. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted: "The best [stories] … evoke a genuine sense of wonder and offer near-miraculous restoration of hope." The reviewer went on to write that the author "enchants as he tells deceptively simple tales of eternal truths." Regina Schroeder, writing in Booklist, commented: "These lovely and thoughtful stories are speculative fiction at pretty much its best."
In addition to his own writings, the author has continued to serve as editor of numerous anthologies. In Foursight, Crowther presents four novellas by modern science fictions writers and, in the process, "has served up a lavish feast," according to Peter Ingham, writing in the Times of London. Crowther also served as editor of Futures: Four Novellas, which includes works by British science fiction writers Peter F. Hamilton, Stephen Baxter, Paul McAuley, and Ian McDonald. Fourbodings includes novellas by "some of the U.K.'s best practicing horror writers," noted a Publishers Weekly contributor. Writing in the New York Times Book Review, Gerald Jonas commented that the novellas in Futures present "satisfying changes on … classic science fiction themes." In Constellations Crowther as editor presents fifteen original stories by some of England's newest science fiction and fantasy writers. Aaron Hughes, writing on the Fantastic Reviews Web site, noted that the book "is ostensibly a theme anthology, with all the stories relating somehow to the constellations in the night sky." Hughes went on to comment that Crowther presents "readers [with] a chance to sample some of the great new British writers they may have missed."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost and Gothic Writers, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1998.
Booklist, November 15, 2001, Regina Schroeder, review of Futures: Four Novellas, p. 560; July, 2004, Regina Schroeder, review of Songs of Leaving, p. 1828.
Chronicle, September, 2004, Don D'Ammassa, review of Postscripts 1, p. 34.
Library Journal, August, 1997, p. 141; November 15, 2000, Michael Colford, review of Crimewave, p. 104; June 15, 2002, Jackie Cassada, review of Mars Probes, p. 100; January 1, 2005, Jackie Cassada, review of Constellations, p. 103.
Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, May, 2002, James Sallis, review of Futures, p. 32.
New York Times Book Review, January 13, 2002, Gerald Jonas, review of Futures, p. 21.
Publishers Weekly, September 12, 1994, review of Narrow Houses: Tales of Superstition, Suspense and Fear, p. 86; May 15, 1995, review of Tombs, p. 61; June 21, 1999, review of The Longest Single Note and Other Strange Compositions, p. 61; May 29, 2000, review of Taps and Sighs, p. 57; August 26, 2002, review of Darkness, Darkness: Forever Twilight: Book One, p. 49; April 19, 2004, review of Cities, p. 45; May 10, 2004, review of Songs of Leaving, p. 41; January 3, 2005, review of Fourbodings, p. 41.
Science Fiction Chronicle, August, 2002, Don D'Ammassa, review of Darkness, Darkness, p. 40.
Times (London, England), April 8, 2000, Peter Ingham, review of Foursight, p. 22.
Fantastic Fiction, http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/ (October 5, 2005), brief profile of author and listing of works.
Fantastic Reviews, http://www.geocities.com/fantasticreviews/ (November 14, 2005), Aaron Hughes, review of Constellations.