“How to See Ghosts & Other Figments by Orrin Grey conjures forth more monsters, ghouls and ghosts than any midnight horror show in memory, but with real emotional depths to back them up. It’s like peering through the eyeholes of a cheap Halloween monster mask to see the tangible and very human sadness lurking just beneath.”
That’s the blurb, very kindly provided by the great Trevor Henderson, that decorates the back cover of my latest collection, which is now available to pre-order direct from the publisher, just in time for Halloween. Those who have been following along for a while now will note that this is the time of year when my collections generally come out, for reasons that I hope are obvious.
Along with the pre-order link, the cover art by Nick Gucker was just revealed. Again, those who have been paying attention already know that Nick did the covers for my last two books from Word Horde. He always makes my books look amazing, and this is no exception. I’ve joked before that Nick’s covers sell more copies of my books than I do, but it isn’t actually a joke.
This time around, we took inspiration from my favorite cover of Jean Ray’s classic weird novel Malpertuis. Which is great, by the way, and was recently re-issued, with new annotations and afterword by Scott Nicolay, from Wakefield Press, part of their ongoing mission of releasing translations of Jean Ray’s weird tales, which are all instant must-buys for me.
As for my own book, How to See Ghosts & Other Figments is perhaps my most eclectic collection to date, with all he usual author’s notes and afterwords and a new introduction by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, who was one of the earliest editors to publish one of my stories.
The eighteen tales contained within span from some of my shortest to some of my longest, including the novelette “The Drunkard’s Dream.” They also include stories dating back to when I was in college, all the way up to stories that were first published earlier this year. Included among those are several pieces that border on juvenilia, repurposed and (I hope) revitalized in a way that makes them feel right at home alongside my more recent work.
The reasons I chose these stories are often ones that I get into in the author’s notes, but they all seemed to fit to me in ways that I hoped strengthened the entire book. There are themes that bind them all together, ones that I noticed (as is my usual wont) only as I was collecting the stories and writing the author’s notes, and I hope that the result is a whole as cohesive as any of my tighter previous collections. So far, the reactions seem to indicate that I managed it.
“When I think of the world of horror, I think of Grey’s world.”
That quote is from the first (as far as I know) official review of the book, which came from Shane Burley writing for Full Stop. The review also calls How to See Ghosts my “biggest step forward to date,” which is sort of what you’re always hoping each new book will be, while simultaneously dreading that you’ve maybe already plateaued. It is a really kind and extensive review, and I’m very glad to see folks already enjoying the book.
For those of you reading this but not yet enjoying the book, it should be in your hands very soon, assuming you’ve already pre-ordered. And if you haven’t, there’s still time! Pre-orders will get a signature sheet sticker that I recently signed while watching Halloween 5, but please don’t let that dissuade you. And if you prefer ebooks or the like, all those options will be available soon.
As I mentioned earlier, this October has been a bit hectic and unusual, for mostly good reasons, but of course a new book coming out is always big news, and it bears repeating. I don’t actually have copies of this one in my hands yet, either, but everything has been done on our end, and it should be shipping out forthwith. When copies arrive at my doorstep, be sure that you’ll be hearing more about it, and until then, stay spooky and, if you don’t hear from me before then (you probably will), happy Halloween!