This week has seen one bit of exciting book news and one very enticing book-related rumor that should have fans of a couple of classic horror novels salivating.
The confirmed news, as covered right here on FEARnet.com last week is that an annotated version of Clive Barker's Cabal is in the works. Cabal, of course, is the short novel on which Barker's film Nightbreed is based – a film which is now making the rounds of the indie theater circuit in a version called The Cabal Cut which restores long-sought segments cut from the original theatrical version. It's hoped that this annotated edition of the book will be available next year, around the same time as The Cabal Cut is hopefully made available on DVD and Blu-ray.
The rumor is related to Stephen King's book Dr. Sleep, the sequel to The Shining which is scheduled for a 2013 release. A fan on King's official message board asked about the possibility of a restored version of The Shining that could coincide with the sequel, a volume that might include both the prologue ("Before the Play") and the long-lost epilogue ("After the Play") in the text. The board's moderator cryptically replied with the ol' "zippered mouth" emoticon, and this neither-confirm-nor-deny approach has fans buzzing. King is no stranger to releasing classic books with excised material restored (The Stand, ‘Salem's Lot) or to outright re-writing books to bring them in line with sequels (The Dark Tower) so a new Shining is hardly out of the realm of possibility. If the bookend pieces are all he adds it should bring a minimum of outcry from purists as the original novel will be largely untouched; however, there may be more material out there than we're aware of. Hopefully some definitive news will be coming to us soon.
In the meantime, the chatter about these two books got me thinking about other special/restored editions I'd like to see, and I decided to highlight a couple of them here. This is just my own "wish list," by the way; I'm not writing about anything here that I've heard even the least little rumbling of actually existing. But if I ran the world, these are some things we might see:
Abarat Special Editions: As released by HarperCollins, the three volumes of Clive Barker's fantasy series that are out as of now are practically special editions in their own right. With their glossy pages and copious illustrations they stand head and shoulders above most mass market hardbacks when it comes to production values and sheer physical beauty. However, after years of reading about the methods Barker employs in writing and painting these books, I can only imagine the volume of material on hand for special editions – his notebooks full of notes and handwritten pages; the sketches and unused paintings he's created in preparation for writing the books… the possibilities are endless. I'd love to see this stuff collected and annotated by Barker – after of course, the series is complete, which according to the author is going to take two more books to accomplish.
Collected editions of Clive Barker's Hellraiser: I know, I know – Barker again? Hey, it's my wish list, okay? Anyway, Marvel Comics once published an anthology series based in the world of Barker's Hellraiser stories that featured some of the best writers and artists in the field given free reign to write about the Cenobites. BOOM! Studios (the publisher behind the new ongoing Hellraiser comic) is reprinting stories from this series in monthly installments, but what I'd really like to see is Marvel come back and publish the series in its entirety, preferably as one of their oversized hardcover "Omnibus" editions, which would really showcase the art.
Kealan Patrick Burke's Timmy Quinn series: This is a series that started out in special editions – expensive limited run books from several small press publishers. So far it consists of four volumes: The Turtle Boy, The Hides, Vessels and The Turtle Boy: Peregrine's Tale. According to the author, the fifth and final book in the series (Nemesis), which follows a young man with the unwanted ability to interact with the dead, is coming out later this summer. Once it's out I'd love to see new mass market editions of the books come out so that a wider audience can enjoy them. Burke has released them all in digital format, so hopefully the audience is being built that will support such a release.
So, those are just a few of the books I'd like to see get some kind of special re-release treatment, and it really just scratches the surface. I didn't even mention the special edition of Robert McCammon's Boy's Life, for example, an edition I envision containing essays from current authors influenced by the book; or the pulp paperback versions of Joe Lansdale's "Hap and Leonard" series that I'd love to see Hard Case Crime tackle; or the…well, I could go on. Instead, I'd rather hear your thoughts about Cabal and a possible restored version of The Shining and your own personal special edition wish list. The comments section is below – you know what to do.
Blu Gilliand is a freelance writer of fiction and nonfiction. He covers horror fiction at his blog, October Country, and contributes interviews to the HorrorWorld website. Follow him on Twitter at @BluGilliand