THE SHADOW BOOTH Vol. 4

I’m pleased to have a second story in the excellent Shadow Booth series, edited by Dan Coxon. I was in the very first volume with my story ‘Where No Shadows Fall’ so I am delighted to be back with a new piece of short fiction, ‘Collector of Games’, that focuses on the hunt for mythical video-games and the pitch-black reaches of the dark web. Dan has gathered a really stunning lineup of writers for this volume, so I really recommend getting hold of a copy. You can pre-order a copy here: http://www.theshadowbooth.com/2019/08/the-shadow-booth-vol-4-coming-this.html

Table of Contents reads as follows:

  • The Devil of Timanfaya by Lucie McKnight Hardy

  • The Tribute by James Machin

  • The Larpins by Charles Wilkinson

  • Drowning by Giselle Leeb

  • You Are Not in Kettering Now by Andrew McDonnell

  • Hardrada by Ashley Stokes

  • Defensive Wounds by James Everington

  • The Verandah by Jay Caselberg

  • The Salt Marsh Lambs by Jane Roberts

  • The Box of Knowledge by Tim Cooke

  • His Hand by Polis Loizou

  • Terminal Teatime by Anna Vaught

  • Collector of Games by Gary Budden

  • One Two Three by Marian Womack

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HOVERING

A lovely review over on Goodreads for the This Dreaming Isle (Unsung Stories) anthology – my contribution ‘Hovering (or, a Recollection of 25 February 2015)’ had the following, very kind, write up:

Another fantastic story from Budden, who is fast becoming one of my favourite current writers of weird fiction and whose approach – being as it is so closely tied to ideas about Britishness and the mythical nature of landscape – is absolutely perfect for this anthology. It is framed as a story told to the author by a friend, and as with many of Budden's stories, it's hard to figure out whether it's entirely fictional. It feels very densely layered, a patchwork of memories and history, emphasising how a place can be shaped by what has happened there.

NEW LEXICONS 23/10/18

I had an excellent weekend up in Chester at Fantasycon, which involved a lot of books, beer, and writing talk. It was as fun as ever, so roll on Glasgow next year! A highlight was reading with the writers Priya Sharma, D.A. Northwood and Tim Major on the Saturday night – all writers whose work I respect a great deal – and reading to a crowd of peers and contemporaries and writers I am frankly in awe of. Seriously, it’s easier reading to a hostile crowd of drunks than a group of people you respect and whose opinion you care about.

Photos appropriated from Tim Major.

(L-R) Priya Sharma, D.A. Northwood, Tim Major

(L-R) Priya Sharma, D.A. Northwood, Tim Major

Spot the genre fiction writer

Spot the genre fiction writer


I was also very pleased to get my hands on my contributor’’s copy of THIS DREAMING ISLE, a new anthology of strange fiction with a tight focus on the landscapes of the United Kingdom. As anyone who has read my work will know, this essential link between the weird, the eerie and the uncanny with place and landscape is something that obsesses me. Therefore it has been fantastic to have the opportunity to share space in a book with writers like Jenn Ashworth, Catriona Ward, Gareth E. Rees and Aliya Whiteley, as well as horror legends like Ramsey Campbell and Stephen Volk.

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The introductory essay to the book, written by editor Dan Coxon, feels particularly pertinent this week. Explaining strongly how the stories in THIS DREAMING ISLE resist unpleasant notions of nationalism and nativism, both essay and book come out in a week when the #FolkloreThursday Twitter account is under attack from neo-volkish racists hell bent on imagining a pure ethnic heritage where none exists. These people are dangerous idiots, and I am glad to be aligned with writers who refuse such easy notions of the past and what landscape means. Sadly, I feel this battle is going to continue for a long time yet.


Everyone should have a listen to this recent episode of Backlisted Podcast about Adam Thorpe’s majestic 1992 novel, ULVERTON. One of the first, and best, books, to get me interested in the uncanny power of the landscapes we live in. Coincidentally, one of the guest’s is Tom Cox, whose new book from Unbound, HELP THE WITCH, just landed on my desk at Titan today.

I cannot recommend ULVERTON enough, so do go read it.


Music-wise, I have been loving the new Current 93 album, The Light Is Leaving Us All, and Grand Collapse’s brutally intense album Along the Dew, which features this apt anti-fascist song ‘Chalk and Flint’. You should listen to it.

THE SCORCHED MUSIC OF THE EMPEROR WORM

‘There is a writhing worm in all of us, waiting to be freed.’
– From The Salvage Song of the Larks, and Other Stories, by Michael Ashman

I have a story in the latest Coffin Bell Journal that you can read here.

A PERSONAL ANTHOLOGY

I was pleased to contribute to the excellent ‘A Personal Anthology’ series run by Jonathan Gibbs. The concept is simple – a writer chooses twelve pieces of favourite short fiction and explains why others should read them.

My list:

  1. ‘Black County’ – Joel Lane

  2. ‘The Stains’ – Robert Aickman

  3. ‘The White Cat’ – Joyce Carol Oates

  4. ‘The Husband Stitch’ – Carmen Maria Machado

  5. ‘Wide Acre’ – Nathan Ballingrud’

  6. ‘An Account of the Decline of the Great Auk According to One Who Saw It’ – Jessie Greengrass

  7. ‘The Horse of Iron and How We Can Know It (And Be Changed By It)’ – M John Harrison

  8. ‘Four Abstracts’ – Nina Allan

  9. ‘The Man Whom the Trees Loved’ – Algernon Blackwood

  10. ‘The Cheater’s Guide to Love’ – Junot Diaz

  11. ‘The Last Clean, Bright Summer’ – Livia Llewellyn

  12. ‘The Unwish’ – Claire Dean

You can read it here.

THIS DREAMING ISLE

Very happy to announce that I have a story – 'Hovering (Or, a recollection of 25 February 2015)' – in this upcoming anthology THIS DREAMING ISLE from Unsung Stories. It's crowdfunding on Kickstarter now! All the information is here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/291030539/this-dreaming-isle-an-anthology-of-dark-fantasy-an

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PAUL TREMBLAY, HÜSKER DÜ, LAST MANGO IN PARIS

(L-R: Paul Tremblay, Lydia Gittins, me)

(L-R: Paul Tremblay, Lydia Gittins, me)

I was incredibly chuffed to be described by the brilliant horror author, Paul Tremblay, as 'the editor with the best taste in music in the biz' today. Paul is the author of the novels A Head Full of Ghosts, Disappearance at Devil's Rock and the newly published The Cabin at the End of the World, and I recommend all three of them. Great works of empathetic, literary horror all focusing on families in crisis whilst using, and subverting, standard horror tropes.

So how did this come about? you might ask.

Paul was in the UK promoting The Cabin at the End of the World, and as his UK editor at Titan Books, I was fortunate enough to accompany him and publicist Lydia Gittins on the first leg of the tour up to Edgelit in Derby – a one day genre fiction convention where Paul was the guest of honour. It was a cracking day and great as ever to meet fellow writers, editors and readers. 

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You can read Paul's full account of the trip here – but needless to say it involved us bonding over a shared love of music like Hüsker Dü and Fugazi, and discussing the finer details of Bob Mould's solo career. I then waffled on about my love of Jawbreaker and Watership Down-themed hardcore punk (really), and found someone who wasn't completely bored by what I was saying. A result in my book. I also experienced an unusual ale in Derby (Paul's choice) called Last Mango in Paris, featuring a blue-tinged chimpanzee on the label. 

Weird fiction and punk rock: i'm telling you, there's a real connection there.

‘Fiction is becoming darker, weirder, bent-out-of-shape’

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I was very pleased to get a mention in the Irish Times this week, via their interview with Ashley Stokes of Unthank Books. So thanks Ashley! He said some kind things about my work, as well as my good mate Gareth E. Rees, as well as mentioning us in the same breath as Angela Readman and Daisy Johnson (Fen was a brilliant collection). Here are some choice quotes:

'At grassroots level, and by that I suspect you mean writing that’s not influenced by MA programmes, is becoming darker, weird, twisted-out-of-shape, dripping with fear of the end and apocalypse. The new writing I’m enjoying at the moment – the likes of Gary Budden and Gareth E Rees – are potholing in these caves.

'I also find myself looking out for Angela ReadmanDaisy Johnson and Gary Budden, the latter being someone who meshes weird horror with a very English rumination on place and landscape to create stories simultaneously eerie, yet oh-so realistic.'

You can read the whole thing here.

MORTAL DANGER IN ENCHANTED WATERS

An image dredged from memory came to me the other day: a degenerate being, a creature monstrous and hungry, doll-like, like a beakless platypus with tendrilled hair. I dated the image from sometime in the early nineteen nineties, in Kent near the waters of the Hollow Shore.

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GREENTEETH

You can now watch 'Greenteeth', a short wyrd fiction super-8 film by Adam Scovell, based on my British Fantasy Award-nominated short story of the same name. It follows the gradual disintegration of a woman living on a canal boat in Kensal Green as the folklore of Jenny Greenteeth begins to manifest in a city of rapid redevelopment, rising rents and gentrification. It's an attempt to use folklore and the weird in the service of addressing a real modern problem. Enjoy.

ENTER THE SHADOW BOOTH: INTERVIEW

I was interviewed recently by Jim McLeod for Ginger Nuts of Horror, talking about Hollow Shores, landscape punk, psychogeography, horror, weird fiction and my story in the upcoming anthology, The Shadow Booth

Read the full interview here: http://gingernutsofhorror.com/interviews/enter-the-shadow-booth-an-interview-with-gary-budden

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SPIRITS OF PLACE TALK

‘Perhaps it was his love of the mythical past, King Arthur and his knights, that brought him back. Or perhaps he felt as I did, that real change could only be affected in the place that you most understood: home’ 

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