Lumley, Brian 1937-

views updated

Lumley, Brian 1937-


Born December 2, 1937, in Horden, England; son of a coal-miner; married; wife's name Barbara Ann.


Home—Torquay, Devon, England. E-mail—[email protected]


Writer. Worked as a security guard, 1981-84; writer, 1967—. Military service: British Army, member of Royal Military Police, c. 1959-81.


Horror Writers of America (president).


British Fantasy Award, 1989, for "Fruiting Bodies"; Fear Magazine Fiction Award, 1990, for best established author; Grand Master Award, World Horror Convention, 1998.



The Caller of the Black (stories), Arkham (Sauk City, WI), 1971.

Beneath the Moors (novel), Arkham (Sauk City, WI), 1974.

The Horror at Oakdene, and Others (stories), Arkham (Sauk City, WI), 1977.

Khai of Ancient Khem, Berkley Publishing (New York, NY), 1980, published as Khai of Khem, Tor (New York, NY), 2004.

Ghoul Warning, and Other Omens (poetry), Spectre Press, 1982.

Psychomech (part one of trilogy), Granada (London, England), 1984.

Hero of Dreams, illustrated by Jean Corbin, W.P. Ganley (Buffalo, NY), 1986.

Demogorgon, Grafton (London, England), 1987, Tor Books (New York, NY), 1992.

Synchronicity, or Something, Dagon Press (Twickenham, England), 1988.

The House of Doors, Tor Books (New York, NY), 1990.

Psychosphere (part two of trilogy), Tor Books (New York, NY), 1992.

Psychamok! (part three of trilogy), Tor Books (New York, NY), 1993.

Fruiting Bodies and Other Fungi (short stories), Tor Books (New York, NY), 1993.

Return of the Deep Ones, Roc (New York, NY), 1994.

Maze of Worlds (sequel to House of Doors), Tor Books (New York, NY), 1998.

A Coven of Vampires (short stories), illustrated by Bob Eggleton, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1998.

The Whisperer and Other Voices (short stories), Tor Books (New York, NY), 2000.

Beneath the Moors and Darker Places (short stories), Tor Books (New York, NY), 2002.

The Brian Lumley Companion, edited by Stanley Wiater, Tor Books (New York, NY), 2002.

Brian Lumley's Freaks (short stories), Subterranean Press (Burton, MI), 2004.

Screaming Science Fiction: Horrors from Out of Space (short stories), Subterranean Press (Burton, MI), 2006.

Also author of The Second Wish and Other Exhalations, 1995, De Marigny's Dream-Quest, Dagon's Bell and Other Discords, and The Last Rite. Contributor of stories to magazines.


The Burrowers Beneath, DAW Books (New York, NY), 1974, illustrated by Mark Bell, W.P. Ganley (Buffalo, NY), 1988.

The Transition of Titus Crow, DAW Books (New York, NY), 1975, revised edition, W.P. Ganley (Buffalo, NY), 1992.

The Clock of Dreams, Jove (New York, NY), 1978, illustrated by Dave Carson, W.P. Ganley (Buffalo, NY), 1994.

Spawn of the Winds, Jove (New York, NY), 1978.

In the Moons of Borea (also see below), Jove (New York, NY), 1979.

The Compleat Crow, W.P. Ganley (Buffalo, NY), 1987.

Elysia: The Coming of Cthulhu (also see below), W.P Ganley (Buffalo, NY), 1989.

In the Moons of Borea/ Elysia: The Coming of Cthulhu, Tor Books (New York, NY), 1997.

Titus Crow, Tor Books (New York, NY), 1997.


The House of Cthulhu, and Other Tales of the Primal Land, Weirdbook (Buffalo, NY), 1984, revised edition, 1991, published as The House of Cthulhu: Tales of the Primal Land, Volume 1, Tor Books (New York, NY), 2005.

The Compleat Khash, Volume I: Never a Backward Glance, W.P. Ganley (Buffalo, NY), 1991.

Tarra Khash: Hrossak! Volume II, Headline (London, England), 1991, published as Tarra Khash: Hrossak! Tales of the Primal Land, Volume 2, Tor Books (New York, NY), 2006.

Sorcery in Shad, Headline (London, England), 1991, published as The Compleat Khash, Volume III: Sorcery in Shad, W.P. Ganley (Buffalo, NY), 1994, published as Sorcery in Shad: Tales of the Primal Land, Volume 3, Tor Books (New York, NY), 2006.


Necroscope, Grafton (London, England), Volume 1, 1986, Volume 2, 1988, Volume 3, 1989.

Vamphyri!, Tor Books (New York, NY), 1989.

The Source, Tor Books (New York, NY), 1989.

Deadspeak, Tor Books (New York, NY), 1990.

Deadspawn, Tor Books (New York, NY), 1991.

Blood Brothers (first book in "Vampire World" trilogy), Tor Books (New York, NY), 1993.

The Last Aerie (second book in "Vampire World" trilogy), Tor Books (New York, NY), 1993.

Bloodwars (third book in "Vampire World" trilogy), Tor Books (New York, NY), 1994.

The Lost Years, Tor Books (New York, NY), 1995.

Resurgence (sequel to The Lost Years), Tor Books (New York, NY), 1996.

Invaders, Tor (New York, NY), 1999, published as E-Branch: Invaders, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1999.

Defilers, Tor (New York, NY), 2000, published as E-Branch: Defilers, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 2000.

Avengers, Tor Books (New York, NY), 2001, published as E-Branch: Avengers, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 2001.

Harry Keogh: Necroscope and Other Weird Heroes!, Tor Books (New York, NY), 2003.

The Touch, Tor (New York, NY), 2006.


Hero of Dreams, W.P. Ganley (Buffalo, NY), 1986.

Ship of Dreams, W.P. Ganley (Buffalo, NY), 1986.

Mad Moon of Dreams, W.P. Ganley (Buffalo, NY), 1987.

Iced on Aran, and Other Dream Quests, W.P. Ganley (Buffalo, NY), 1992.


Lumley's short story "Necros" was adapted as the television movie The Hunger and broadcast on Showtime.


Brian Lumley is a prolific novelist and short story writer whose works include fantasy, horror, and science fiction. He has penned several series, including "Titus Crow," "Dreamscape," "Necroscope," and "Tales of the Primal Land." Lumley has also won high praise for his innovative use of themes first created by noted 1930s horror writer H.P. Lovecraft in his "Cthulhu Mythos," a series about an imaginary pantheon of malignant deities. Writing in Voice of Youth Advocates, Christy Tyson likened Lumley's work to a cross between that of Anne Rice and John Grisham, or Meredith Pierce and Stephen King. She observed that "Lumley deserves a wide audience … because his books don't compare to anything else being done by any single writer."

Lumley's series books and novels are frequently interrelated. For example, the "Vampire World" trilogy stands on its own, yet is part of the "Necroscope" cycle. The Necroscope books, probably the author's best-known works, relate the adventures of vampire hunter Harry Keogh. Keogh is a British intelligence agent and a "necroscope": a person who can communicate with the dead. He also has the special ability to travel easily through time and space. Through the course of the series, he conquers numerous members of the evil Vampire empire and dispatches them into exile. A Publishers Weekly reviewer described the sixth book in the series, The Lost Years, as a "ripping yarn of espionage and occult intrigue." The reviewer further commented: "Lumley's Necroscope novels are refreshing reminders that sometimes a vampire is just a bloody entertaining monster."

Lumley's "Vampire World" series—Blood Brothers, The Last Aerie, and Bloodwars—concerns Keogh's twin sons, Nestor and Nathan Kiklu. Separated during a vampire raid, the brothers eventually mature into opposites. Nestor becomes a vampire lord bent on conquering the earth, while Nathan struggles to assume his father's mantle as master vampire hunter. In Voice of Youth Advocates, Tyson called The Last Aerie a "complex, fast-paced, and challenging novel…. Lumley's writing is solid, his characters compelling, and his dual worlds equally credible…. His creatures are so horrifyingly real they make the Transylvanian version seem little more than a shadow of the real thing." A Publishers Weekly reviewer also found Lumley's vampire universe "so vivid, with characters so real, that even the undead seem alive."

Lumley launched a second "Necroscope" trilogy with his 1999 novel, Invaders. These three novels, which Lumley explained would conclude the popular series, center on a group of alien vampires determined to spread their "Wamphyri" fungi over the Earth. Jake Cutter, successor to Harry Keogh as a member of the secret E-Branch of the British Secret Service—"E" stands for "ESP"—possesses a less-than-admirable background. He competes with Ben Trask and the rest of E-Branch to vanquish the bloodthirsty aliens, in a hunt that culminates in a climactic showdown in the Australian desert. Lumley interweaves enough background information from the other Necroscope books to lure readers who might be new to the series, "while [adding] … enough new information to hold the interest of series veterans," remarked Jackie Cassada in Library Journal. Booklist contributor Roland Green called Invaders "a good place to start" for readers new to the "Necroscope" series, but added that "the action climax is a corker."

Lumley continues his "Necroscope" saga with Defilers, in which Cutter finds himself invaded by a vampire consciousness called Korath, and enters into an unending internal dialogue with it. Meanwhile, the vampires Nephran Malinari, Lord Szwart, and Lady Vavara are hiding on a Greek island, and with them three cliffhanging plots are concluded. A Publishers Weekly reviewer, claiming that Lumley's inventiveness with the "Necroscope" world showed signs of tiring, termed Defilers "noticeably stingy with the plot twists and full-throttle action that have made the saga a formidable fusion of espionage and supernatural horror." Roland Green commended Lumley in Booklist for his "original portrayal of paranormal powers, his dry wit, and a long, thundering climax," and predicted that the finale would be satisfying to readers. Avengers concludes the series, as Cutter once again must fight the constantly regenerating Lady Vavara, Lord Szwart, and Nephran Malinari. His hunt takes him through Turkey and into Russia, where a confrontation occurs near the Vampire universe portal, the Perchorsk Gate. Reviewing this work in Library Journal, Jackie Cassada praised its "fast-paced action … and political intrigue."

Lumley added to his lengthy "Necroscope" series with the 2003 Harry Keogh: Necroscope and Other Weird Heroes!, a "mixed bag of diabolicals," according to a Kirkus Reviews critic. The collection gathers shorter works that deal with Keogh, but also with others, such as Titus Crow, the protagonist of the series by the same name. Kristine Huntley, reviewing the collection in Booklist, found the stories "delightful."

In his 2006 novel, The Touch, Lumley sets out a new novel-length addition to the "Necroscope" series. Here he introduces Scott St. John, who becomes the new necroscope and a spy for the E-Branch, spurred on in his work by the spirit of his dead wife. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly felt this novel "provides plenty of fun in the classic pulp tradition," while Roland Green, writing in Booklist thought the same work "skillfully extends" the series.

In addition to novel-length fiction, Lumley has published many short stories during his long career. In 1998 Lumley collected thirteen of these stories as A Coven of Vampires. Each of the tales centers on a vampire conducting his business while ostensibly leading a normal life. One is a famed marine biologist, another a French Riviera party-goer, while another is a sign painter in Germany. "The quality varies, but the author's storytelling abilities make most of the tales entertaining," wrote Library Journal contributor Patricia Altner. Other short-story collections include the nine-story The Whisperer and Other Voices, which a Publishers Weekly contributor noted "are as punchy and direct in their approach to horror as the author's blood-curdling Necroscope novels." Noting the many parallels with the fiction of Lovecraft, Booklist contributor Roland Green added that Lumley's "deft use of setting, and his growing skill at characterization" far outweigh his sometimes "purple" prose.

Lumley has provided American readers with other collections of his tales in the 2001 Beneath the Moors and Darker Places, the 2004 Brian Lumley's Freaks, and the 2006 gathering Screaming Science Fiction: Horrors from Out of Space. The nine early stories from Beneath the Moors and Other Dark Places all serve as an homage to Lovecraft's tales of horror and are, as a Publishers Weekly contributor noted, "workmanlike." The same reviewer went on to comment that the collection was "definitely worthwhile for its intended portion of the horror audience." A Kirkus Reviews critic felt that the title story, "Beneath the Moors," "reads like a bad head injury." Booklist contributor Regina Schroeder similarly observed that these tales were "nightmarish in a manner obviously inspired by Lovecraft."

In a review of Brian Lumley's Freaks, a collection of five stories that span three decades of writing, a Publishers Weekly contributor observed that "few writers can conjure [monsters] with the gory gusto of British author Lumley." In Screaming Science Fiction, Lumley blends science fiction with horror in nine stories that "explore creepy encounters with everything from mutant bugs to ravenous aliens," as Carl Hays noted in a Booklist review. Hays further called the tales "gratifyingly chilling." A Publishers Weekly writer found the same collection "pure pulp fun."

1998 saw the publication of a sequel to his 1990 novel, House of Doors, called Maze of Worlds. The plot reintroduces Spencer Gill, who has become the target of a vengeful plan involving an impenetrable pagoda in the South China Sea. Its builders, the aliens of Ggyddris, are determined to destroy the Earth by introducing enough pollutants and other forms of environmental degradation to kill off Earth's human population. Booklist reviewer John Mort found Maze of Worlds "talky and overlong, but sometimes startlingly imaginative." A contributor to Publishers Weekly commended Lumley for his use of an "abundance of futuristic technojargon and gizmology," and predicted that readers "looking for the same audacious imagination that enlivens Lumley's Necroscope series will find this a pleasantly distracting substitute."

Lumley's "Titus Crow" series also focuses on vampires, and includes the novels The Transition of Titus Crow, In the Moons of Borea, and Elysia: The Coming of Cthulhu. In the Moons of Borea finds Henri de Marigny using a time clock to pass through time, but mistakenly also traveling to the planet Borea. He battles Ithaqua the Wind-Walker, and falls in love with Moreen. Elysia takes place three years later, as de Marigny and Moreen are returning to Borea. A Publishers Weekly reviewer described the "Titus Crow" books as "full-throttle quest adventures that challenge their hard-working heroes with increasingly bizarre labors," praising in particular their "over-the-top finales" that "catapult Lumley's fiction into a category all its own."

After several decades of writing, Lumley has produced a body of work that has won him fans on both sides of the Atlantic and has also secured him financial independence. Speaking with a contributor for, Lumley noted that despite such security, he had no plans to stop writing: "There is a body of loyal followers who want more … more of my work. I suppose it's like asking a farmer why he keeps feeding the pigs in his sty when he has enough money in the bank not to do this anymore. But there's a village down the road, and they just love his home-cured bacon. So now you can see why he would do it. What I'm saying is that I'm still feeding my pigs because my readers still want my ‘home-cured bacon.’ And while I can cure it, I'll keep on doing it."



Booklist, May 15, 1998, John Mort, review of Maze of Worlds, p. 1601; July, 1998, Ray Olson, review of A Coven of Vampires, p. 1868; May 15, 1999, Roland Green, review of Invaders, p. 1682; April 15, 2000, Roland Green, review of Defilers, p. 1532; December 15, 2000, Roland Green, review of The Whisperer and Other Voices, p. 794; May 1, 2001, Roland Green, review of Avengers, p. 1671; February 1, 2002, Regina Schroeder, review of Beneath the Moors and Darker Places, p. 931; November 1, 2002, Roland Green, review of The Brian Lumley Companion, p. 468; August, 2003, Kristine Huntley, review of Harry Keogh: Necroscope and Other Weird Heroes!, p. 1968; February 1, 2006, Carl Hays, review of Screaming Science Fiction: Horrors from Out of Space, p. 37; May 1, 2006, Roland Green, review of The Touch, p. 77.

Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 2000, review of The Whisperer and Other Voices, p. 1509; December 1, 2001, review of Beneath the Moors and Darker Places, p. 1636; May 1, 2002, review of Psychamok!, p. 602; June 15, 2003, review of Harry Keogh, p. 827; October 15, 2003, review of Deadspawn, p. 1251; August 15, 2004, review of Khai of Khem, p. 68.

Library Journal, September 15, 1997, Susan Hamburger, reviews of In the Moons of Borea and Elysia, p. 106; June 15, 1998, Jackie Cassada, review of Maze of Worlds, p. 111; July, 1998, Patricia Altner, review of A Coven of Vampires, p. 139; June 15, 1999, Jackie Cassada, review of Invaders; May 15, 2000, Jackie Cassada, review of Defilers, p. 129; June 15, 2001, Jackie Cassada, review of Avengers, p. 107; January, 2002, Jackie Cassada, review of Beneath the Moors and Other Dark Places, p. 159.

Publishers Weekly, October 3, 1994, review of The Last Aerie, p. 55; November 20, 1995, review of The Lost Years, p. 70; September 30, 1996, review of Resurgence, p. 63; November 11, 1996, reviews of The Burrowers Beneath and The Transition of Titus Crow, p. 57; June 9, 1997, reviews of The Clock of Dreams and Spawn of the Winds, p. 40; September 15, 1997, reviews of In the Moons of Borea and Elysia, p. 53; May 11, 1998, review of Maze of Worlds, p. 54; April 26, 1999, review of Invaders, p. 60; April 17, 2000, review of Defilers, p. 56; January 29, 2001, review of The Whisperer andOther Voices, p. 70; April 23, 2001, review of Avengers, p. 153; October 29, 2001, review of Deadspeak, p. 40; December 17, 2001, review of Beneath the Moors and Darker Places, p. 68; July 8, 2002, review of Psychamok, p. 35; November 10, 2003, review of Deadspawn, p. 47; October 4, 2004, review of Brian Lumley's Freaks, p. 74, and Khai of Khem, p. 75; December 5, 2005, review of Screaming Science Fiction, p. 36; February 20, 2006, review of Tarra Khash: Hrossak! Tales of the Primal Land, Volume 2, p. 140; April 13, 2006, review of The Touch, p. 45; July 24, 2006, review of Sorcery in Shad: Tales of the Primal Land, Volume 3, p. 41.

Science Fiction Chronicle, October, 1994, review of The Last Aerie, p. 45.

Voice of Youth Advocates, February, 1994, Christy Tyson, review of The Last Aerie, p. 383.


Agony Column, (January 20, 2007), Rick Kleffel, review of Blood Brothers., (January 29, 2007), Brian Lumley, "Necroscope: Looking Back," and "Life under Necroscopy: An Interview with Brian Lumley."

Brian Lumley Home Page, (January 29, 2007).

Internet Movie Database, (January 29, 2007), "Brian Lumley."