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Hamlyn Horror's purpose for existence seemed to be to publish the nastiest horror novels around. In fact they even coined the term 'nasty' as a subgenre in their book listings. To be fair, the nastiest of them (Pierce Nace's Eat Them Alive) wasn't published by Hamlyn and there were also a number of notably non-nasty Hamlyn titles, but by and large they cornered the market on the nasties.

I probably came to them via Guy N. Smith. I'd picked up one of the Sabat novels (for NEL) and wanted more of his work. There was already a decent length 'also written by' list at the front for me to start working through, but it was the moment I discovered one of his Hamlyn books that I probably first appreciated just how much he had written. Suddenly here was another long 'also written by' list for me to work through, and of course the very notion that he would write for two publishers opened up the possibility that there could be a third or a fourth. And on it went.

Guy wrote some great books for Hamlyn but he wasn't the only one. Hamlyn were the British publisher for American writer Gary Brandner and he was the other regular name. Behind them was Mark Ronson and John Halkin and a string of names with one or two books to their credit.

Many of them dealt with animals on the rampage, the great and defining British trend of the eighties. While the Americans wrote about psychic powers and children in dire straits, the British were writing about giant animals taking their revenge on humanity. Guy N. Smith was far from the only name dealing with this sort of thing though he was at the forefront of the movement. Hamlyn published many of them.

From a collector's point of view, Hamlyn had a tendency to publish two separate first editions, differentiated only by the cover. My guess is that one cover was truly awful and they realised it after the fact and so issued a different 'first edition'. Any clarification of the reasons of this would be welcomed.

Please contact me if you find any corrections or additions and I'll add them in with a credit to you.

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