In Memoriam: Horror Author Guy N. Smith

Montage - Guy N. Smith. Guy N. Smith image via Centipede Press
Guy N. Smith image via Centipede Press

We’re sorry to report that after a spending short time in hospital following a fall, author Guy N. Smith, who rose to fame with the 1970s horror novel Night of the Crabs, passed away on Christmas Eve, aged 81.

Guy had tested positive for COVID-19.

The team behind Guy’s official web site are all in shock at this time – but will release more information when they have it available.

Best known for his horror novels, but also a writer of children’s literature and more, Guy had some new titles in production, which it is expected will be published in the new year.

Guy had his first story published in a local newspaper at the age of 12, followed by 55 more before he was 17. “It was a good start to a writing career and I owe much of it to my mother (historical novelist E.M. Weale) who gave me every encouragement,” he noted. “My father, though, was insistent that I followed family tradition and went into banking.”

It was 20 years later before he became a full-time author and “had some catching up to do.

“The 1970’s were a boom time for pulp fiction and I made my debut with Werewolf by Moonlight (NEL 1974).

Night of the Crabs by Guy N. Smith (1976)

“It was Night of the Crabs, though, which really established me as a writer, virtually overnight in that memorable record, hot summer of 1976.

“This title was the ‘No.1 beach read’,” he noted. “It saw numerous reprints, spawned six sequels along with several short stories, as well as a movie.”

Night of the Crabs enabled Guy to go full-time as an author, and to move to a new home home in a remote part of the Shropshire/Welsh border hills. “I was no stranger to country life though, and the further away we were from town and traffic the better,” he felt.

An edition of Bats out of Hell by Guy N. Smith
An edition of Bats out of Hell by Guy N. Smith

In addition to writing what he himself acknowledged as “pulp fiction”, as interest waned in the kind of stories he told, he diversified, writing articles for the Shooting Times and several other sporting publications. In 1999, he accepted the post of Gun Editor of The Countryman’s Weekly, relishing the challenge of writing four to five articles per week.

His fiercely loyal fan base, with its own Fan Club, enabled him to continue to write “pulp fiction”, not only publishing new stories as eBooks but also offering his entire back catalogue, too.

Publishers also sought him out with a view to publishing specialist reprints of some of his better known work. Just last year, Guy teamed up with the Sinister Horror Company to release a new selection of titles, including a Werewolf Omnibus, a collection of Guy’s werewolf trilogy.

US-based Centipede Press, also produced a signed, The Slime Beast in 2015.

The Slime Beast by Guy N. Smith - Centipede Press Limited Edition

Clearly responding to early speculation concerning the origin of COVID-19 (as mentioned here, for example), the publisher recently negotiated a reprint of one of Guy’s earliest books, Bats out of Hell, first published by New English Library in 1978. The story centres on a plague of bats spread a dreadful disease amongst mankind, a plot that Guy noted earlier this year was perhaps somewhat prescient.

“Little did I dream 40 years on this would become reality,” he commented.

Our sympathies at this time to his wife Jean and his four children.

Guy Newman Smith, born 21st November 1939, died 24th December 2020

Official Web Site:

• The eBook version of Bats Out of Hell can be purchased here or on Amazon Kindle, Apple Books and Kobo

Categories: Books, downthetubes News, Features, Obituaries, Other Worlds

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