Lebbon, Tim 1969–
Lebbon, Tim 1969–
PERSONAL: Born 1969, in London, England; married; wife's name Tracey; children: Eleanor, Daniel.
ADDRESSES: Home—Goytre, Wales, United Kingdom. Agent—Howard Morhaim, Howard Morhaim Literary Agency, 11 John St., 30 Pierrepont St., Brooklyn, NY 11201. E-mail—[email protected].
MEMBER: Horror Writers Association (former vice president).
AWARDS, HONORS: British Fantasy Award nomination, 1998, for Mesmer, and 1999, for Faith in the Flesh; British Fantasy Award for best short fiction, 2000, for White, 2001, for best novella, for Naming of Parts; Bram Stoker Award for short story, "Reconstructing Amy"; twice nominated for International Horror Guild Award; Bram Stoker Award nominations, 2004, for Dead Man's Hand and Fears Unnamed.
Mesmer (novel), Tanjen (South Wigston, England), 1997.
Faith in the Flesh (two novellas, The First Law and From Bad Flesh; see also below), Razorblade Press (Cardiff, Wales), 1998.
White (novella; see also below), MOT Press, 1999.
Naming of Parts (novella), PS Publishing (Harrogate, England), 2000.
(With Gavin Williams) Hush (novel), Razorblade Press (Cardiff, Wales), 2000.
As the Sun Goes Down (story collection), Night Shade Books (San Francisco, CA), 2000.
The Nature of Balance (novel), Leisure Books (New York, NY), 2001.
Face (novel), Night Shade Books (San Francisco, CA), 2001.
Until She Sleeps, Cemetery Dance (Abingdon, MD), 2002.
White and Other Tales of Ruin (novella collection, including White, The First Law, and From Bad Flesh), Night Shade Books (San Francisco, CA), 2002.
(With Simon Clark) Exorcising Angels, Earthling (Northborough, MA), 2003.
Fears Unnamed (four novellas), Leisure Books (New York, NY), 2004.
Desolation, Dorchester (New York, NY), 2005.
Dusk (novel), Bantam Books/Spectra (New York, NY), 2006.
Beserk (novel), Leisure Books (New York, NY), 2006.
(Editor, with Jeff Vandermeer) The Thackery T. Lambs-head Pocket Guide to Eccentric and Discredited Diseases, Night Shade Books (San Francisco, CA), 2006.
Unnatural Selection (Hellboy), Pocket Star (New York, NY), 2006.
Also author of chapbook Dead Man's Hands, Necessary Evil Press, 2004. Contributor of stories to anthologies, including Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, St, Martin's Press; Best New Horror, Gollancz; October Dreams, Cemetery Dance; Children of the Cthulhu, Del Rey; Dark Terrors, Gollancz; Night Visions 11, Subterranean Press, 2004; and Fourbodings, Cemetery Dance Publications, 2005. Contributor to periodicals, including Psychotrope.
ADAPTATIONS: Face, The Nature of Balance, and the short story "Reconstructing Amy" have been optioned for film.
SIDELIGHTS: "Even at seven years old I was aware of the colour of brain matter and gun recoil," commented British horror writer Tim Lebbon in an interview with Sandy Auden for Infinity Plus Online. Lebbon further noted that "before I was in double-figures age-wise I was writing all manner of stuff: war stories, crime, horror." Influenced by the works of such writers as H.P. Lovecraft and Arthur Machen, Lebbon delivers "Frankensteinian glimpses of dystopias," as a contributor to Publishers Weekly noted, as well as "visceral imagery of hardcore horror." For Paula Guran, writing on the DarkEcho Web site, Lebbon "is one of the very few horror writers of professional quality to emerge in the last few years."
Born in London, Lebbon spent time in Devon before settling in south Wales. He began his writing career with a short story published in Psychotrope and since then has been a steady contributor of short stories to magazines and anthologies. His first novel, Mesmer, published in 1997, was shortlisted for the British Fantasy Award. Inspired by a news story, Lebbon builds his tale around the idea of a wall containing lost souls, and only the faces of these can be seen as if trying to escape from their earthly prison. Lebbon followed up this novel with a collection of two novellas in Faith in the Flesh: First Law and From Bad Flesh. A runner-up for the British Fantasy Award for best collection, the book is thematically linked by two characters who are both survivors in newly devastated worlds. Lisa DuMond, writing on the SF Site Web page, noted that Lebbon "offers his characters a second chance in worlds that are self-destructing around them."
Lebbon continued in this post-apocalyptic mood with his next novella, White, about an ever decreasing group of humans caught in a blizzard that never seems to end. A siege story of a different sort, this one purposely does not make clear who or what monsters are attacking the men. Writing on the SF Site Web page, Nick Gevers found this British Fantasy Award-winning tale both "striking and innovative." Naming of Parts is another novella about humans under siege. This time a family, trying to cross a hostile landscape to help one of its members, is set upon by the living dead. According to the author on his Home Page, the title of the novella refers to the manner in which Jack, the twelve-year-old protagonist/narrator, confronts "fears by naming them, analyzing them, laying them out to view." Reviewing the book on the SF Site Web page, DuMond called it a "tale that strikes at the heart in a way that no other zombie stories can ever approach." For Jennifer A. Hall, writing in Locus, Naming of Parts "skillfully maneuvers us into feeling the despair tinged with just enough hope that keeps Jack going."
Lebbon teamed up with Gavin Williams for Hush, a "Lovecraftian horror novel," according to Lebbon on his Web site. He further noted that it was a "fast-moving action-horror-love-science fiction novel." In As the Sun Goes Down, Lebbon gathers sixteen short stories, including "The Empty Room," about a young boy tormented by another when he falls into the basement of a ruined house; "The Repulsion," about a marriage that goes wrong in bizarre and horrifying ways; "The Butterfly," a tale of a horrid mother; the fantasy "King of the Dead"; and the science fiction story "Dust," among others. Many of the tales focus on childhood traumas and pain. DuMond, writing on the SF Site Web page, noted: "The terrors and pain of childhood are never far from [Lebbon's] mind." The same critic further noted that, in fact, such "darker moments in life are central to Lebbon's work." DuMond concluded that "whatever your reaction to the stories …, there is no mistaking their allure." Reviewing the collection for the DarkEcho Web site, Paula Guran concluded that though Lebbon "is still a new kid on the horror block,… he's got the talent to eventually possess a good chunk of its better real estate." A contributor to Publishers Weekly indirectly commented on the lasting power of Lebbon's work by this simple wish: "If only the nightmares and unpleasantries created by this collection would also fade … peacefully away." Similarly, James Argendeli, reviewing the collection for the CNN Online Web page, noted that "after reading [Lebbon's] collection,… the historical warning 'The British are coming' might be adjusted to the 'British are here.' So lock yourself behind steel reinforced doors and pray for daylight." Argendeli further praised Lebbon for a "masterful job of creating atmosphere."
Lebbon came out with his first mass-market paperback novel with The Nature of Balance, an end-of-the-world novel "set in a world where nature has gone askew and where humankind has been all but wiped out by a night of terrible dreams," according to the author on his Web site. The novel follows a band of survivors whose common fate is utterly determined by these outside events. Lee Cushing, writing for the Blood Rose Online Web site, felt that Lebbon's novel "stands out" from other apocalyptic novels because of its "epic scale." Cushing further commented: "For influences, look at Joseph Conrad in Heart of Darkness, not Stephen King." Lebbon turns to more psychological chills with Face, the story of a family in danger from a mysterious and dangerous man. The Powells, returning from vacation, pick up a hitchhiker in the midst of a blizzard. But when he begins to act weirdly, the wife demands he leave; this is, however, not the last they will see of him. Brand, as the man is named, continues to stalk or haunt each family member. Kristine Huntley, writing in Booklist, called the book "chilling, exciting reading for horror buffs." A Publishers Weekly contributor commented that "Lebbon's novel will reward the careful reader with insights as well as gooseflesh."
More gooseflesh is served up in Until She Sleeps, another book with a youthful narrator. In the short tale, construction workers at a church in a small English village accidentally open the tomb of a good witch. This is bad news for them and the rest of the town, as this witch helped people by absorbing their nightmares; now such evil dreams are running amok.
In his chapbook Dead Man's Hands, Lebbon twists the traditional Western tale by featuring a typical Western encounter that may actually involve a universal struggle between good and evil as played out by the angel Gabriel and the devil. A Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction contributor noted that the author "does a good job." The horror novel Berserk features a military experiment gone awry, soldiers' missing bodies, and an unusual life form taking over children's bodies. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that the book is for those "who go for cold, queasy horror."
Lebbon tells the story of Rafe Baburn in Dusk. A farm boy who exhibits magical talent, Rafe is subsequently pursued by the Mages, who want to control all magic following a devastating war that has outlawed its practice. On the run, Rafe eventually meets and is aided by a thief, a woman warrior, and a witch. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted the novel's "well-handled action scenes." Jackie Cassada, writing in the Library Journal, commented that Dusk exhibits "engaging storytelling and a solid backstory."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, January 1, 2002, Kristine Huntley, review of Face, pp. 824-825.
Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 2006, review of Dusk, p. 21.
Library Journal, January 1, 2006, Jackie Cassada, review of Dusk, p. 105.
Locus, February 2001, Jennifer A. Hall, review of Naming of Parts, p. 68.
Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, January, 2005, review of Dead Man's Hands, p. 31.
Publishers Weekly, April 2, 2001, review of As the Sun Goes Down, p. 44; December 24, 2001, review of Face, p. 47; February 4, 2002, review of Until She Sleeps, p. 58; December 2, 2002, review of White and Other Tales of Ruin, p. 38; November 7, 2005, review of Berserk, p. 59; December 12, 2005, review of Dusk, p. 43.
Science Fiction Chronicle, February, 2002, Don D'Ammassa, review of Until She Sleeps, pp. 56-57.
Best Reviews, http://thebestreviews.com/ (January 16, 2006), Harriet Klausner, review of Dusk.
Blood Rose Online, http://www.bloodrosemag.com/ (August 28, 2006), Lee Cushing, review of The Nature of Balance.
CNN Online, http://edition.cnn.com/ (January 14, 2003), James Argendeli, "There's A Story for Everyone in As the Sun Goes Down."
DarkEcho, http://www.darkecho.com/ (August 28, 2006), Paula Guran, review of As the Sun Goes Down.
Infinity Plus Online, http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/ (August 28, 2006), Sandy Auden, "Tim Lebbon—Horror Writer, Family Man and Part-Time Horseman of the Apocalypse."
Night Shade Books Web site, http://www.nightshadebooks.com/ (July 8, 2003).
Sffworld.com, http://www.sffworld.com/ (October 12, 2005), interview with author.
SF Site, http://www.sfsite.com/ (July 8, 2003), Lisa DuMond, reviews of As the Sun Goes Down, Naming of Parts, and Faith in the Flesh; (October 14, 2003), Nick Gevers, review of White.
Shivers Magazine Online, http://www.visimag.com/shivers/ (July 8, 2003), David Howe, review of As the Sun Goes Down.
Tim Lebbon Home Page, http://www.timlebbon.net (July 8, 2003).
Trashotron, http://www.trashotron.com/ (August 28, 2006), Rick Kleffel, reviews of Face, Until She Sleeps, and Naming of Parts.