Nevermore – How it Started


Fall 2003 (Vol. IV, No. 3) Table of Contents

Nevermore is a new line of signed limited editions published by Festa Publishing. It will contain books in German language that may be interesting for foreign collectors, too. Why? I will tell a little later.

It all started some years ago, in 2000. As a member of a German Science Fiction organization in Leipzig in the eastern part of Germany (former GDR), we organized our fifth convention “Elstercon.” The theme was “Of Coming Horrors” and we were interested in connections between Horror Fiction and Science Fiction. We did a great conbook, 350 pages, hardcover with lots of stories by our guests and a breathtaking cover, which sometimes fills me with real horror (have a look at it and don’t forget, it was done in 2000!). I was responsible for inviting guests and, with George R. R. Martin, Michael Bishop and Michael Marshall Smith, we had really great names. But of course as German authors should take part, too, we thought about who would match our theme. So we invited Frank Festa, a well-known German author who not only wrote some really weird stories but started to publish books in his own small press, Edition Metzengerstein. Some of the best works by famous authors of the genre were brought out here, like Ramsey Campbell, Brian Hodge, Dan Simmons and more. Frank was a very friendly and competent man and we stayed in contact

Festa, H. P. Lovecraft, der Cthulhu-Mythos, 1917-1975

Later Frank founded his own publishing house, Festa Verlag (http://www.festa-verlag.de), and now he’s one of the biggest publishing houses of fantastic literature–often called “The House of Horror.” Most of his books are published in paperback; hardbacks don’t sell very well in Germany for SF and Horror and don’t have a big tradition, at least in the FRG (in the GDR most books were hardbacks).

I like to collect finely done books and so I started to buy from Cemetery Dance, Subterranean Press and others although I needed to read them in English. There are only a handful of small presses for signed editions in Germany; the most famous may be Edition Phantasia.

When Frank and I talked on the phone about this, the idea of Nevermore was born. The concept should be: really good stories (collections don’t sell very well here, either) in beautiful illustrated editions, signed by all contributors. Soon we had the contents for the first book.

Festa, Wucherungen

Punktown is the name of a dark strange city on the planet Oasis in a far future, often compared to Philip K. Dick’s Blade RunnerWorld. The stories are masterfully written and show the author’s heart and eye for human beings and their problems. We contacted author Jeffrey Thomas, an extremely kind man, and soon the contract was signed. The next question: How to illustrate a dark feverish city with humans, machines and aliens in symbiosis? Of course there is only one answer: H. R. Giger! The Swiss artist who created the film Alien and other wonderful pieces of art would be a hit. And the wonder happened– Frank Festa knows Giger, and he allowed us the use of one of his New York City paintings for the book cover and more for inside.

YES, AND HE WILL SIGN ALL 333 COPIES OF THE BOOK!!!

H. R. Giger painting, cover for Punktown

Please have a look at auctions or shops and see what you have to pay for a signed- by- Giger item. Our book will cost only Euro 39.00 (about US $45.00)! And that’s not all! We asked the great English writer Michael Marshall Smith to contribute, and he really did a beautiful special foreword to the book. And he will sign it, too. It was a dream coming true.

And number two will be as great as the first: Kim Newmans Seven Stars, a haunting story about a cursed jewel with mummies, murder, occult sects and more, is breathtaking adventure for all readers who loved Kim’s Anno Dracula. The Foreword will be by vampire lady P. N. Elrod, the art by Ugurcan Yüce.

We did a special website for Nevermore under http://www.festa-verlag.de/nevermore/index.html where you can find more information, or you could write me an e-mail to Dirk-Berger@gmx.de.

Next week we (Frank and I) will travel to Switzerland to meet Giger in person and to let him sign the signature sheets. He told us that he will show us his Museum he built up in an old castle with his collection of worldwide art and, of course, of his own works and then I will maybe know what the feeling it is to hold an Oscar/Academy Award (he got one for Alien). I’m afraid I will not sleep until then.

Author Ramsey Campbell and his wife (middle), Frank Festa (left) and Dirk Berger (right) in front of the People’s Battle Memorial in Leipzig

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