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Joel Lane (1963–2013)

Author of The Lost District

50+ Works 363 Members 7 Reviews 2 Favorited

About the Author

Includes the name: Edited by Joel Lane

Image credit: Courtesy of Serpent's Tail Press

Works by Joel Lane

The Lost District (2006) 67 copies
The Witnesses are Gone (2009) 43 copies
From Blue to Black (2000) 26 copies
Where Furnaces Burn (2012) 24 copies
The Blue Mask (2002) 23 copies
Scar City (Paperback) (2015) 19 copies
This Spectacular Darkness (2016) 17 copies
The Anniversary of Never (2015) 15 copies
Black Country 10 copies
The Terrible Changes (2009) 9 copies
Beneath the Ground (2002) 6 copies

Associated Works

Lovecraft Unbound (2009) — Contributor — 332 copies
100 Vicious Little Vampire Stories (1995) — Contributor — 217 copies
Year's Best Fantasy (2001) — Contributor — 207 copies
The Museum of Horrors (2001) — Contributor — 153 copies
Little Deaths (1995) — Contributor — 132 copies
A Season in Carcosa (2012) — Contributor — 125 copies
The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 19 (2008) — Contributor — 124 copies
Year's Best Fantasy 5 (2005) — Contributor — 123 copies
The Mammoth Book of Dracula (1997) — Contributor — 114 copies
Gathering the Bones (2003) — Contributor — 111 copies
The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 13 (2002) — Contributor — 103 copies
Twists of the Tale: An Anthology of Cat Horror (1996) — Contributor — 87 copies
The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 25 (2014) — Contributor — 84 copies
The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 22 (2011) — Contributor — 80 copies
The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 18 (2007) — Contributor — 76 copies
The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 23 (2012) — Contributor — 76 copies
The Darker Side: Generations of Horror (2002) — Contributor — 74 copies
Best New Horror 3 (1992) — Contributor — 74 copies
The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 12 (2001) — Contributor — 71 copies
The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 24 (2013) — Contributor — 65 copies
The Giant Book of Fantasy and the Supernatural (1994) — Contributor — 65 copies
100 Twisted Little Tales of Torment (1998) — Contributor — 65 copies
The Cutting Room: Dark Reflections of the Silver Screen (2014) — Contributor — 62 copies
The Year's Best Horror Stories: XVIII (1990) — Contributor — 59 copies
Best New Horror 4 (1993) — Contributor — 54 copies
The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 08 (1997) — Contributor — 52 copies
100 Fiendish Little Frightmares (1997) — Contributor — 47 copies
The Century's Best Horror Fiction: Volume 2 (2011) — Contributor — 46 copies
The End of the Line: An Anthology of Underground Horror (2010) — Contributor — 44 copies
Dark Terrors 5: The Gollancz Book of Horror (2000) — Contributor — 43 copies
The Year's Best Horror Stories: XXII (1994) — Contributor — 43 copies
Nightmare Carnival (2014) — Contributor — 43 copies
The Best New Horror: Volume Six (1995) — Contributor — 43 copies
Psychomania: Killer Stories (2014) — Contributor — 36 copies
100 Tiny Tales of Terror (1996) — Contributor — 34 copies
Dark Terrors 4 (1998) — Contributor — 31 copies
Bad Seeds: Evil Progeny (2013) — Contributor — 30 copies
Dark Terrors 6 (2002) — Contributor — 29 copies
In the Footsteps of Dracula: Tales of the Un-Dead Count (2017) — Contributor — 27 copies
British Invasion (2008) — Contributor — 27 copies
The Freezer Counter: Stories by Gay Men (1989) — Contributor — 25 copies
Summer Chills (2007) — Contributor — 22 copies
The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime 10 (2013) — Contributor — 21 copies
The Best British Short Stories 2012 (2012) — Contributor — 16 copies
A Hazy Shade of Winter (2004) — Introduction, some editions — 16 copies
At Ease with the Dead (2007) — Contributor — 14 copies
Acquainted with the Night (2004) — Contributor — 13 copies
Darklands (1991) — Contributor — 12 copies
The Giant Book of Fantasy Tales (1996) — Contributor — 12 copies
Shadows Edge (2013) — Contributor — 12 copies
Gutshot (2011) — Contributor — 12 copies
This Hermetic Legislature: A Homage to Bruno Schulz (2012) — Contributor — 11 copies
Postscripts Magazine, Issue 22/23: The Company He Keeps (2010) — Contributor — 11 copies
The Horror Anthology of Horror Anthologies (2011) — Contributor — 10 copies
Poe's Progeny (2005) — Contributor — 10 copies
Murmurations: An Anthology of Uncanny Stories About Birds (2011) — Contributor — 10 copies
Brighton Shock (2010) — Contributor — 9 copies
The Elastic Book of Numbers (2005) — Contributor — 9 copies
Shades of Darkness (2008) — Contributor — 8 copies
Crimewave 11: Ghosts (2010) 7 copies
Swords Against the Millennium (2000) — Contributor — 7 copies
Fantasy Tales Volume 10, No. 2 (1989) — Contributor — 6 copies
The Third Black Book of Horror (2008) — Contributor — 6 copies
Subtle Edens: An Anthology of Slipstream Fiction (2008) — Contributor — 6 copies
Darklands: No. 2 (1992) — Contributor — 6 copies
Terror Tales of the Cotswolds (2012) — Contributor — 5 copies
Blind Swimmer - an Eibonvale Press Anthology (2010) — Foreword — 5 copies
Black Static 01 4 copies
The Alchemy Press Book of Pulp Heroes (2012) — Contributor — 4 copies
Hideous Progeny: A Frankenstein Anthology (2000) — Contributor — 3 copies
White of the Moon (1999) — Contributor — 3 copies
Apparitions (2009) — Contributor — 3 copies
The Seventh Black Book of Horror (2010) — Contributor — 3 copies
Second City Scares: A Horror Express Anthology (2013) — Contributor — 2 copies
Scaremongers (1997) — Contributor — 2 copies
Phantoms of Venice (2007) — Foreword — 2 copies


Common Knowledge

Date of death
Exeter, Devon, England, UK
short-story writer



“if the truth of our lives is nothing, then the only reality is the one we bring to life”

The Witnesses are Gone is a seriously weird read in a really good way. It feels like you’re reading in the world between wakefulness and sleep with a touch of drug induced haze. I found it really interesting in its exploration of the way that obsession can colour how we see our lives. It’s a short story, 96 pages in the paperback ARC into a life of depression, obsession and later drug haze.

Martin discovers some old videos in his shed, which he watches. (I would do exactly the same) One of them is a movie by a French movie director Jean Rien who specialises into the weird and surrealist, and the movie ends up taking over his life. Martin starts to loose touch with the reality around him, and see things from the movie in his real life, and has an altered perception of things that are happening. In the middle of the book, Martin and his girlfriend Judith went to Scotland to find the village were one of the Rien movies was reportedly filmed, and on the way back a train crash leads to the death of Judith which Martin blames on his obsession and ultimately Rien. From there, he hands in his notice at work, sells his house and gets on a boat to Mexico following the death of an Mexican director that seemed to be Rien. On the boat out he meets a woman who is also looking for information regarding a Rien movie her and her late boyfriend were in. They take a LOT of heroin together, and this ends with the woman collapsing into nothing, just bones and a dress. Martin collapses, found on the road by locals and taken to a hospital. Martin uses this experience to reconstruct how he views the world, and reality, which leads to the quote at the top.

Obviously, this is only a quick summation and has left out a lot of details about the book but it is an incredible read. This is unlike anything I’ve ever read before and I really enjoyed it.
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AlwaysTurninPages | 1 other review | Jul 17, 2022 |
Probably one of the most depressing books I have ever read.

A batch of marginally supernatural stories set in a near future dystopian England. The stories are about brokenness: physical, mental, interior, exterior. England is a grey mass of broken factories, mines, tenements, streets and shops. The streets are full of Clockwork Orange type youth and skinheads and the police run wild. Both urban and rural landscapes are in ruins. Amidst the backdrop are individuals groping for meaning and contact that they rarely find and is usually lost even when found. Most of the relationships are Gay which is not a criticism, just the authors preference. Relationships are sometimes caring and sometimes sordid.

Take these a bit at a time because they can be both depressing but the sameness of the stories tends to also make them run together at times. And hide the razorblades.
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Gumbywan | Jun 24, 2022 |
Beautifully bleak. That is an excellent way of describing Lane's collection of short stories. They are beautiful to read, extremely poetic in the way that images are quickly and lovingly portrayed. I was continually amazed at how well portrayed the stories were. But at the same time the subject matter is brutal, harsh, emotionally honest and blunt. These are not stories to lightly parse over and continue reading back to back to back. About halfway through the collection, I had to stop and read another book in order to break the grim feelings. I remember when I read Harlan Ellison's DEATHBIRD STORIES the introduction for that collection warned about not reading the book in one continual string. The same thing should be said here. The stories are dark and creepy. For fans though who like facing their own horrors and being honest about what affects them (emotionally and sexually), then this collection is for them. While an occasional story might be missing a plot (at least in my opinion), all of the stories invoke strong images and themes. My favorites are below.

"The Bootleg Heart" - A story summed up by the first line: "My first love was a girl I never actually met."
"The Only Game" - A man's girlfriend dies on him again and again.
"Beyond The River" - A writer takes a reporter into the world of her books.
"Reservoir" - A con visits the victim of his cellmate.
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dagon12 | 1 other review | Nov 30, 2013 |
I initially bought this book because other dark literary connoisseurs I know gave it very high marks. I'd never read anything by Lane before, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Thankfully I was pleasantly surprised.

Joel Lane lives in Birmingham, England, the setting for most, if not all, the stories in the collection. Trust me, after reading this book you'll NEVER want to visit Birmingham, ever. I suspect he didn't make any local friends by writing this book. He really makes Birmingham out to be an incredibly bleak, violent, dirty and corrupt place; a place with an eternal dark cloud over it; a place where dreams go to die. Each of the stories are amazingly powerful in a subtle way. Most aren't "horror" in a traditional sense; rather, they're more darkly weird and surreal, but with purpose. I really like his writing style. He has a very imaginative way with words, some of which are laugh-out-loud hilarious. He's not afraid to tell it like it is using simple, if not crude, examples. For example, when a character describes how ugly a certain girl's dreadlocks are he describes them as, "hanging like dog turds".

The book has a very autobiographical feel to it.

Two gripes: they have nothing to do with Lane's writing. First, the typesetting; the body of text comes less than an inch from the top of the page. I prefer healthy margins. Secondly, no art. Not even a sketch at the beginning or end of a chapter. His publisher, Nightshade Books, often has art. I don't know why they didn't this time, though the cover is great. I think a smattering of art would have greatly enhanced the book's effect. One good thing though, I didn't catch a single typo -- something really rare these days.
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1 vote
Dead_Dreamer | 1 other review | Jan 8, 2010 |



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Associated Authors

Pauline E. Dungate Contributor, Editor
David A. Sutton Contributor
Allen Ashley Contributor
Mike Chinn Contributor
Simon Bestwick Contributor
John Howard Contributor
Ramsey Campbell Contributor
D. F. Lewis Contributor
Mark Valentine Editor, Contributor
Paul Finch Contributor
Mat Joiner Contributor
Alison Littlewood Contributor
Thana Niveau Contributor
Rosanne Rabinowitz Contributor
Andrew Hook Contributor
Gary McMahon Contributor
Nicholas Royle Contributor
Tim Lebbon Contributor
Simon Avery Contributor
Tony Richards Contributor
Joe R. Lansdale Contributor
Lisa Tuttle Contributor
rj krijnen-kemp Contributor
Rhys Hughes Contributor
Steve Duffy Contributor
Carole Johnstone Contributor
Nina Allan Contributor
Kaaron Warren Contributor
Stephen Volk Contributor
R. B. Russell Contributor
Robert Shearman Contributor
Derek Fox Contributor
Mike McKeown Contributor
Jason Gould Contributor
James Brogden Contributor
Will Renfrom Illustrator
Adam Millard Contributor
Hugh Vogt Illustrator
Liam Garriock Contributor
Sarah Doyle Contributor
Joe X. Young Contributor
Yossi Sasson Illustrator
David Mathew Contributor
John Grant Contributor
Steven Savile Contributor
Ian Hunter Contributor
Stephen Bacon Contributor
Alan M. Clark Cover artist
Gary Couzens Contributor
Steve Rasnic Tem Contributor
Chris Morgan Contributor
Tom Johnstone Contributor
Paul Edwards Contributor
Terry Grimwood Contributor
Lynda E. Rucker Contributor
Marion Pitman Contributor
Simon MacCulloch Contributor
Jan Edwards Contributor
Julia Morgan-Scott Illustrator
Keith Minnion Illustrator


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½ 3.7

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