Simon Clark Part 3
The Horror Zine
Simon Clark

A Simon Clark Special
The Third in a Series of Four

The Simon Clark Special Part 3

Machen Appreciation

Simon by the Sea



by Simon Clark

Arthur Machen helped make my dream of becoming a professional writer come true.

In my youth I struggled to write fiction. Gradually, I slipped into pessimism and despondency as I started to believe I’d never make it as an author. Then I picked up the autobiography of Arthur Machen that described the torments of an aspiring writer and it seemed to speak directly to me, even though the book had been penned decades before I’d even been born.

For me, Arthur Machen’s books have been a rock to anchor myself to in a way that no other writer’s work has been. The beauty and power of his prose has inspired me; his life story sustained me. When I wrote my tales in a house in Yorkshire beneath the stars at night I could imagine Machen working in his father’s rectory in Gwent beneath those same unchanging stars. So I persisted. Eventually I did become a professional writer, and I still employ techniques that I learnt from the master of not only the uncanny, but of awe, and the transfiguring power of words.

Recently, I was able to repay something of the debt by co-writing the novella EXORCISING ANGELS with Tim Lebbon that imagines a soldier of World War 1, who claims to have experienced the Angels of Mons myth, and who seeks Machen out to ask him the truth about ‘The Bowmen.’ A short story that triggered something that went beyond a rumour that swept the United Kingdom in the Great War: it arguably helped boost the nation’s morale as it suffered one of its darkest times when defeat seemed a real possibility.

Coincidentally, I learned about the sale of my first novel to Hodder & Stoughton on March 3, the date of Machen’s birth. That night I was able to raise a glass to those same stars that shone above his Welsh home when he was a struggling writer and acknowledge how he -- unwittingly of course -- helped me, an unknown writer, with a “Thanks, old pal. And happy birthday.”

Simon Clark is the author of a dozen novels and three short story collections. His work has also been broadcast by BBC Radio 4.

Who is Arthur Machen, you might ask?

Arthur Machen (March 3, 1863 – December 15, 1947) was a Welsh author and mystic. He is best known for his influential supernatural, fantasy, and horror fiction. His novella The Great God Pan has garnered a reputation as a classic of horror.

Machen's writing may now be little read, but his influence lives on in other writers of weird fiction. HP Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos was heavily impacted by Machen, and through it Machen's ideas are at the heart of the modern horror genre and the work of writers like Clive Barker and Stephen King. British comic book writers of the 1980s and 1990s, including Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman, also admit being inspired by Machen in their own explorations of the supernatural and occult. And now we can add Simon Clark to the list of famous writers influenced by Arthur Machen.

Arthur Machen

Arthur Machen circa around 1905 (above)

Simon with Books















SIMON CLARK lives in Doncaster, England with his family. When his first novel, Nailed by the Heart, made it through the slush pile in 1994 he banked the advance and embarked upon his dream of becoming a full-time writer. Many dreams and nightmares later he wrote the cult zombie classics Blood Crazy, Darkness Demands, This Rage of Echoes  and The Night of the Triffids, which continues the story of Wyndham’s classic The Day of the Triffids. His revival of the wickedly ambulatory plants won the British Fantasy Society’s award for best novel.

Simon’s latest novel is a return to the much-loved Vampyrrhic mythology with Whitby Vampyrrhic. He has also recently published The Midnight Man, a story of murder, madness and ghosts, featuring Vincent Van Gogh in the most turbulent year of his life; and Ghost Monster, about opening graves in a cemetery for an archaeological dig.

Simon also experiments in short film, one of which, Dear Simon, Where Do You Get Your Ideas From? has been featured in the UK’s Channel 4 ShortDoc series, and earned the accolade ‘the ultimate in TV democracy.’ He also created Winter Chills for BBC TV. More films, with tips on writing horror fiction, plus articles, stories and Simon Clark news can be accessed at his website.

Simon’s Website

Whitby Vamphyrric



"Don’t you dare touch me." Mary had detected the predatory menace in their posture. "Don’t you dare!"

The figures approached, eyes ablaze with ferocity, their faces smeared with a rich, dark liquid that could be nothing else but blood. Gustav reached out to touch the side of her neck. The cold-as-ice sensation of his fingers on her bare skin did it.

In an explosion of movement Mary raced through the alleyway to Henrietta Street beyond. If the back door had been blocked she could beat on the front door to alert her husband.

Yet the creatures anticipated her move. And, yes, they were creatures… they were inhuman… no living men possessed eyes like that. When she dashed toward the front door Gustav smoothly sped by her to block the way. He smiled. His teeth were pointed yet evenly shaped. The other creatures possessed the same kind of teeth, as if God in a moment of reckless abandon had snatched up different animals, then moulded them into something that, at least outwardly, resembled a man.

Running became her mission. Nothing less. If her feet pounded Whitby’s cobbled streets, it proved she hadn’t been caught yet. Because that was their intention. She knew they wanted to lay hands on her. To bundle her roughly away. But what then? What would the creatures do to her?

Brand new and available in hardcopy HERE.

Simon Clark





Whitby Vampyrrhic Vampyrrhic