‘Nachtschatten’ & More

Around 1986 I started collecting what I like to call “Contemporary Horror Fiction” in earnest, despite the fact that when you start collecting, you don’t really limit yourself to an era but go beyond that, which I did.

Today I have about 40 meters of hardcovers, paperbacks, and magazines neatly arranged in 8 IKEA Billy vitrines. When they see those, people always ask me if I have actually read all of those books and my answer is usually a guarded nod or grunt. Some of them I saved for later (and so far have not gotten around to) and I kept every single item because the collection used to be worth quite a bit. But, with the dawn of the Internet and  (a decade or two later) of electronic books, readers and tablets, books have become somewhat old-fashioned, as have I, and the value is more a nostalgic one today.

But I digress. It was around 1987/1988 that I came across a magazine called “Nachtschatten” (issue 1987/1 was still called “Tales” and in 1987/2 it was re-branded as “Nachtschatten“, moving “Tales” into the byline). I liked it (especially as there was nothing worthwhile available at that time in and around Germany), wrote Carsten Scheibe, the editor, a letter and … the rest is (personal) history, as they say.

It wasn’t high literature, but it was produced by fans for fans and the team tried its best to deliver a way above average “fanzine”. Unfortunately, it died with issue #10 (#11 never appeared, but “Andromeda #127” could be considered “Nachtschatten #11” as it was basically just us filling another magazine), but I had the chance to move on to “Dandelion“, a magazine another “Nachtschatten” contributor, Frank Duwald, published for a while after “Nachtschatten‘s” untimely demise. In the beginning, I was in charge of the layout, at some point I was actually co-editor or publisher, I think, but the throws of my final exam phase at university killed that involvement. In 1993, Frank Duwald invited me to contribute a lengthy analysis of Jonathan Carroll’s short fiction to his “Jonathan Carroll: Schwarze System der Romantik” (Verlag Thomas Tilsner, Munich 1993). Today, from a more grown-up perspective, I would probably phrase things quite differently but, alas, those times are long gone. Below you have the whole run of “Nachtschatten”, including the spectacular color-cover 10th anniversary edition, “Dandelion”, the cover of the Carroll book and, last but not least, a montage of what my columns in “Nachtschatten” looked like way back when. For those interested, here’s a bit more information about these publications.

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01) Gallery (all publications):

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02) “Nachtschatten/Tales”

“Nachtschatten/Tales” was a “fanzine” by definition, but if you have a closer look at the contributors, the content and the excellent print quality, it was far removed from what is usually lobbed into that basket and it was probably Germany’s most professional horror magazine at the time. The print run reached a steady 1000 copies and many of the contributors went on to fame (and at times fortune). If you are at all familiar with the German scene (up until today), you will recognize many people, most of whom started out around that time. There was a lot of love, sweat and tears poured into this publication, but it also shows how much fun we had back then.

Tales 85 / Tales 1 / 85 (A5, 80 pages, 1985, DM 4.-), edited by Carsten Scheibe and Norbert Schulz and published by Edition Tales. The cover was by Christian Holl and it included material by Anton Atzenhofer, Frank P. Boehmert, Lutz Buchholz, Klaus N. Frick, Werner K. Giesa, Edzard M. Harfst, Hermes, Juergen Hoereth, Frank Janssen, Achim Mehnert, Armin Moehle, Carsten Scheibe, Norbert Schulz and Mychael Wallensteyn. This issue featured an interview with Neal Davenport by Kurt Luif, Carsten Scheibe, and Norbert Schulz.

Tales 86 / Tales 2 / 86 (A5, 79 pages, 1986, DM 4.-), edited by Carsten Scheibe, Carsten Rehbein and Norbert Schulz and published by Edition Tales. The cover was by Anton Atzenhofer and it included material by Anton Atzenhofer, Jose V. Ramos, Hermann Ermer, Klaus N. Frick, Kathrin Heidrich, Michael Kempter, Katharina Busch, Achim Mehnert, Peter Mueller, Viktor Pawel, Carsten Scheibe, Norbert Schulz, R.K. Sloane, Joachim Stahl, and Erich Wallner.

Tales 87 / Tales 3 / 87 (A5, 64 pages, 1987, DM 4.-), edited by Carsten Scheibe and Norbert Schulz and published by Edition Tales. The cover was by Torsten Wolber and it included material by Frank P. Boehmert, Matthis Manzel, Viktor Pawel, Carsten Scheibe and Norbert Schulz. This issue featured two interviews with Clive Barker, one by Stefan Jaworzyn and Philip Nutman and one by Stanley Wiater.

Nachtschatten / Tales 4 / 87-2 (A5, 64 pages, 1987, DM 4.-), edited by Carsten Scheibe and published by Edition Tales. The cover was by Torsten Wolber and it included material by Nepomuk Drachenkopf, Frank Duwald, Christian Holl, Kai Meyer, Viktor Pawel, Carsten Scheibe, Karl-Heinz Schreiber, Uwe Lachmann, Joachim Stahl, and Torsten Wolber. This issue also featured an interview with John Saul by Stanley Wiater.

Nachtschatten / Tales 5 / 88-1 (A5, 64 pages, 1988, DM 5.-), edited by Carsten Scheibe and published by Edition Tales. The cover was by Anton Atzenhofer and it included material by Anton Atzenhofer, Carsten Scheibe, Ulrich Bettermann, Frank P. Boehmert, Michael Dependahl, Frank Duwald, Klaus N. Frick, Michael Kempter, Viktor Pavel and Ulrich Stryjewski. This issue featured an interview with Anton Atzenhofer.

Nachtschatten / Tales 6 / 88-2 (A5, 64 pages, 1988, DM 5.-), edited by Carsten Scheibe and published by Edition Tales. The cover was by Torsten Wolber and it included material by Ulrich Bettermann, Frank P. Boehmert, Michael Dependahl, Frank Duwald, Carsten Scheibe, Martin Eisele, Volkher Hofmann, Matthias Kehle, Marco Kratzenberg and Viktor Pavel. This issue featured an iunterview with Martin Eisele.

Nachtschatten / Tales 7 / 89-1 (A5, 63 pages, 1989, DM 5.-), edited by Carsten Scheibe and published by Edition Tales. The cover was by Torsten Wolber and it included material by Frank Duwald, Hermes, Volkher Hofmann, Marco Kratzenberg, Achim Mehnert, and Joachim Stahl. This issue featured an interview with Dennis Etchison by William J. Grabowski.

Nachtschatten / Tales 8 / 89-2 (A5, 48 pages, 1989, DM 5.-), edited by Carsten Scheibe and published by Edition Tales. The cover was by Torsten Wolber and it included material by Horst von Allwoerden, Frank P. Boehmert, Frank Duwald, Stefanie Franke, Volkher Hofmann, Carsten Kuhr, Frank Maybaum, Viktor Pavel, Carsten Scheibe, Ralf Schuenemann, Joachim Stahl, and Frans Stummer. This issue featured an interview with Dean R. Koontz by William J. Grabowski.

Nachtschatten / Tales 9 / 90-1 (A5, 61 pages, 1990, DM 5.-), edited by Carsten Scheibe and published by Edition Tales. The cover was by Frans Stummer and it included material by Kurt S. Denkena, Frank Duwald ,Volkher Hofmann, Roland Kroemer, Carsten Kuhr, Frank Maybaum, Oliver Pfohlmann, Hermann Ritter and Carsten Scheibe.

Nachtschatten / Tales 10 / 91-1 (A4, 61 pages, 1990, DM 8.-), edited by Carsten Scheibe and Martin Ellermeier and published by Edition Tales. This was the special 10th anniversary edition with a stunning color cover by Torsten Wolber and material by Frank P. Boehmert, Kurt S. Denkena, Frank Duwald, Martin Ellermeier, Volkher Hofmann, Thomas Knip, Roland Kroemer, Viktor Pavel, Oliver Pfohlmann, Hermann Ritter, Carsten Scheibe, Malte S. Schulz-Sembten, and Joachim Stahl. This anniversary edition featured interviews with John Skipp & Craig Spector by William J. Grabowski, and interview with publisher and translator Joachim Koerber as well as interviews with Michael Schoenenbroecher, Frank Rainer Scheck, Kalju Kirde and Sabine Becker.

Andromeda SF Magazin 127 (A4, 46 pages, 1991, DM 8.-), edited by Martin Ellermeier and Carsten Scheibe. The cover was by Frans Stummer and it included art, stories, reviews, articles and editorials by Frank P. Boehmert, Michael Dependahl, Martin Ellermeier, Volkher Hofmann, Roland Kroemer, Ralf Reiter, Carsten Scheibe, Malte S. Schulz-Sembten, Frans Stummer and Uwe Voehl.

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03) “Dandelion”

Dandelion” was a broader approach after “Nachtschatten” had disappeared and from the get-go it was conceived as a magazine somewhat off the beaten path. If you have a look at the contents below, you will find jazz, ambient and rock music, various types of fiction, art, interviews, social commentary and tons of book reviews. Although it had its readership, it only made it to around 6 issues. I’m listed as a co-publisher for issues 1-3, but that isn’t really true. Frank Duwald basically ran the whole thing and I did the layout until he took that over from me with issue 4.

I was beginning to drift out of the whole magazine/publishing scene which I had always primarily also seen as a secondary route, the job situation for budding teachers being what it was in the beginning and middle nineties. At the time I was able to connect with a load of great people, attend book fairs, stay in touch with a lot of magazine publishers in the US and the UK, organize reprint rights, stuff like that. But just as I was beginning to be seriously pulled in, in short succession I graduated, had a few months off and then started work at a Catholic private school in Saarbrücken where I lived at the time. Then, to my surprise, as the job market was effectively closed to every- and anyone, I was hired by the Rhineland-Palatinate, had to move and start work in earnest. There simply wasn’t time for all of the computer work, reading and writing anymore. So, I went cold turkey and decided to vanish. Still, the good memories have stayed with me until today.

Dandelion. Zeitschrift für Literatur und Anderes / # 1 / Summer 1993 (A4, 32 pages, 6.- DM), edited by Frank Duwald and published by Frank Duwald, Volkher Hofmann and Uwe Vöhl. The cover illustration was by Fabian Fröhlich and this premiere issue featured an article on The Kinks by Michael Englebrecht, an extensive interview with renowned editor Wolfgang Jeschke by Thomas Schmidt, book reviews by Frank Duwald, Uwe Vöhl, Stefan Linder and commentary by Frank Duwald. This premiere issue also featured back-cover and inside illustrations by Peter Puck.

Dandelion. Zeitschrift für Literatur und Anderes / # 2 / Winter 1993/94 (A4, 48 pages, 6.- DM), edited by Frank Duwald and published by Frank Duwald, Volkher Hofmann and Uwe Vöhl. The cover was designed by Uwe Vöhl, the back cover by Malte Schulz-Sembten and this issue featured interviews with Asmus Tietchens and Ernst Augustin by Michael Englebrecht, a story by Uwe Vöhl, a short piece by Jonathan Carroll reflecting on his move back to the United States, the German translation (by Volkher Hofmann and Frank Duwald) of Patrick McGrath’s autobiographical “A Boy’s Broadmoor”, an analysis of Clive Barker’s short story “The Madonna” (from Books of Blood V), inside illustrations and a 4-page portfolio of Fabian Fröhlich’s art, an article on/review of the Gimmy Giuffre Trio’s “Gimmy Giuffre 3” (1961, ECM/Polygram) by Michael Englebrecht, commentary by Frank Duwald and Uwe Vöhl as well as book reviews by Frank Duwald, Stefan Linder, Uwe Vöhl and Uwe Sommerlad.

Dandelion. Zeitschrift für Literatur und Anderes / # 3 / Summer 1994 (A5, 100 pages, 8.- DM), edited and published by Frank Duwald and published by Frank Duwald, Volkher Hofmann and Uwe Vöhl. The cover was designed by Dieter Duwald and this issue featured an interview with Peter Staub by Micael Berry, Uwe Vöhl’s advance take on Christian Dörge’s then new CD “Syria, Ozymandias of Egypt (1994), an extensive discussion of Martin Luis-Santos’ novel “Tiempo de Silencio (1961), Michael Siefener on the trail of “Unholy Books”, a discussion of Steve Tibbetts and his work by Michael Engelbrecht, two stories by Gerrit Justus and Michael Siefener, as well as reviews by Dirk Wedekind, Stefan Linder, Frank Duwald, Klaus Hübner, Andreas Kasprzak, Wolfgang Hörner and Uwe Vöhl.

Dandelion. Zeitschrift für Literatur und Anderes / # 4 / Summer 1995 (A5, 70 pages, 8.- DM), edited and published by Frank Duwald . The cover was designed by Dieter Duwald and this issue featured an article on Philippe Djian’s novels by Jaromir Konecny,an interview with Christian Dörge by Uwe Vöhl, an interview with T.M. McNally by Margit Schätzle, an interview with Mark Amerika by Frank Borsch, an article on the rock band “The House of Usher” by Uwe Vöhl, a discussion of Lars Gustafsson’s new novel X by Frank Duwald and Uwe Vöhl, two stories by Michael Siefener and Friederike Pommer-Jittler as well as reviews by Frank Duwald, Uwe Sommerlad, Jaromir Konecny, Uwe Vöhl and Stefan Linder.

Dandelion. Zeitschrift für Literatur und Anderes / # 5 / Winter 1995/96 A5, 74 pages, 8.- DM), edited and published by Frank Duwald. The cover was by Gerrit Justus and this issue featured columns by Frank Duwald and Jaromir Konecny, one interview with Jonathan Carroll by Frank Duwald and Christian Steinrücken and one with Keith Abbott by Frank Borsch, prose and stories by Jaromir Konecny, Petra Menne and Friederike Pommer-Jittler, articles on John Cowper Powys by Klaus Pemsel and on Pere Ubu/Alfred Jaryy by Klaus Hübner, as well as reviews by Frank Duwald, Frank Borsch, and Stefan Linder.

Note: There was at least one more issue, # 6, but I lost sight of the publication after #5.

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04) “Jonathan Carroll. Schwarze Systeme der Romantik.”

My contribution to this book always reminds me never to agree to that kind of stuff anymore. Just like I did for the aforementioned 10th anniversary edition of “Nachtschatten/Tales”, for which I wrote a very long article on the history of American Gothic and horror fiction, I wrote this one during the toughest part of my (very) final exam phase.

Duwald, Frank, (ed.): Jonathan Carroll. Schwarze Systeme der Romantik. Texte und Materialien zur phantastischen Literatur, Band 4 (published by Thomas Tilsner, Sascha Mamczak, Ute Perchtold and Olaf Rappold). Munich, 1993 (hardcover and paperback). A collection of secondary material on Jonathan Carroll and his stories and novels. Included a chronology and bibliography, three interviews (the first one from 1989 by Wolfgang Ritschl and Walter Gröbchen, the second one from 1990 by Michael Englebrecht and the third one from 1991 by D.H. Olson) and Carroll’s short story “The Moose Church” (1992). Original contributions by Frank Duwald, Franz Rottensteiner, Stefan Linder, Volkher Hofmann and Uwe Vöhl.

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Note: There are other publications I contributed to, but I don’t have those anymore and they are probably not worthwhile. For a while, for example, I wrote shareware reviews for a German software publisher. I still have two or three copies of those magazines – which were also edited by Carsten Scheibe – but the reviews of software long gone have, if at all, only historical value. Gone … and forgotten. And rightly so.

Posted by Volkher Hofmann

Volkher Hofmann (deus62) has been blogging on and off since the 1990s and deus62.com is all that is left. He loves music, literature, drumming and, most of all, real life. He thinks the open web is much more important than social networks, closed-in ecosystems and other severely commercialized online endeavors.

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