Writers from Beyond by Gilbert Gallerne. Book review

beyondWRITERS FROM BEYOND by Gilbert Gallerne, Blurb, h/b, $5.99 www.blurb.com

Reviewed by Sandra Scholes

Gilbert Gallerne is a former writer who was fascinated by other prominent fantasy, horror and science-fiction writers. As an avid convention attender, he continued to take photographs of some of the most famous writers in the business from 1975 to 1998. These photographs are the result of his efforts and he is happy to say that he already has several other books planned for writers of different genres; mystery and thriller being some of his favourites.

The photographs in this book would not have been possible without the posing abilities and patience of writers Joe R. Lansdale, Stephen Gallagher and Clive Barker. These photographs in particular had been taken between 1981 and 1998 using a Canon FTB QL then a Canon T 90. The films used were Kodak T-MAX 400, TRI-X400 and Ilford HP5.

It is safe to say that Gilbert has photographed some of the biggest names in horror, fantasy and science-fiction history; Richard Matheson, Harlan Ellison, Robert Bloch, Ronald Chetwind-Hayes, Ramsey Campbell, Kim Newman, Joan Aiken, Storm Constantine, Tanith Lee, Dennis Etchison and Charles Grant. What I did notice when I looked at these portrait photographs other than the fact they were all black and white was that while some were posed others were snapshots of the writers in action at the various conventions Gilbert had attended. There is a good mix of direct and indirect lighting used on his subjects that creates different looking photographs, and it is easy to see which ones are more modern due to their clarity. To draw out the subject, Gilbert has blurred the backgrounds so that the maximum focus is on the subject, though a few such as Jack Vance, Robert Bloch, Clive Barker and Parke Godwin were shot while around their books which serves to frame the subjects, creating another point of interest along with the writer.

Though the book had been published in 2011, the general look of it with its white cover and black print, and interior black and white photographs gives the impression it was made in a bygone era where black and white photography was the norm.

For a reader familiar with all or most of the writers in here, there is a certain feeling of excitement at seeing photographs of their favourite writers as they never look as you expect them to. This book would be perfect for those who collect fantasy, science fiction or horror novelists work as there is an element of worth having it in their collection.