Sphere horror pulp fiction

Sphere horror paperbacks were published in the UK during the 1970s and 1980s. They were hugely popular and many – such as Lust for a Vampire, Blind Terror, The Ghoul, Squirm and Dawn of the Dead – were movie tie-ins and novelisations. The initial novels chosen for publication focused on the occult. Sphere published pulp fiction novels by famous authors, such as Richard Matheson, Ray Russell, Colin Wilson, Graham Masterson, Clive Barker and Robert Bloch whilst also providing a vehicle for British career writers such as Guy N. Smith and Peter Tremayne, plus many lesser known writers whose work received a boost by being part of the Sphere publishing machine. Occasionally, they also published compilations of short stories and “non-fiction” titles such as What Witches Do. In the early years, like many other opportunistic publishers, they reprinted the vintage work of writers – such as Sheridan Le Fanu – with lurid cover art.

The listing below provides a celebration of the photography and artwork used to sell horror books by one particular British publishing company. For more information about each book visit the excellent Sordid Spheres web blog.

1970

John Blackburn – Bury Him Darkly

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Robert Bloch and Ray Bradbury – Fever Dream

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Robert Bloch – The Living Demons

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Robert Bloch – Tales in a Jugular Vein

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Angus Hall – Madhouse

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Sheridan Le Fanu – The Best Horror Stories

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Michel Parry – Countess Dracula
Sarban – The Sound of his Horn

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Ray Russell – The Case Against Satan
William Seabrook – Witchcraft (non-fiction)
Kurt Singer (ed.) – The Oblong Box

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Kurt Singer (ed.) – Plague of the Living Dead

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Kurt Singer – (ed.) The House in the Valley
Robert Somerlott – The Inquisitor’s House

1971

Richard Davis (ed.) – The Year’s Best Horror Stories 1
Peter Haining (ed.) – The Wild Night Company
Angus Hall – The Scars of Dracula

Angus Hall – To Play the Devil – Buy on Amazon.co.uk
William Hughes – Blind Terror (Blind Terror film on Horrorpedia)

William Hughes – Lust for a Vampire (Lust for a Vampire film on Horrorpedia)

Ray Russell – Unholy Trinity
E. Spencer Shew – Hands Of The Ripper

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David Sutton (ed.) – New Writings in the Horror and Supernatural 1

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Alan Scott – Project Dracula

1972

Richard Davis (ed.) – The Year’s Best Horror Stories 2

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Peter Haining (ed.) – The Clans of Darkness

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Laurence Moody – What Became Of Jack And Jill?
Ronald Pearsall – The Exorcism

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David Sutton (ed.) – New Writings in the Horror and Supernatural 2
Richard Tate – The Dead Travel Fast

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Sam Moskowitz (ed.) – A Man Called Poe

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1973

Richard Davis (ed.) – The Year’s Best Horror Stories 3
Stewart Farrar – What Witches Do: The Modern Coven Revealed (Non-Fiction)

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Brian J. Frost (ed.) – Book of the Werewolf

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Melissa Napier – The Haunted Woman
Daniel Farson – Jack The Ripper [non-fiction]
Raymond Rurdoff – The Dracula Archives

1974

Theodore Sturgeon – Caviar

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1976

C L Moore – Shambleau
Guy N. Smith – The Ghoul

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Robert Black – Legend of the Werewolf

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Richard Curtis – Squirm

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Ron Goulart – Vampirella 1:Bloodstalk

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1977

August Derleth (ed.) – When Evil Wakes
Ron Goulart – Vampirella 2: On Alien Wings

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Ron Goulart – Vampirella 3: Deadwalk

Vampirella on Horrorpedia

Ken Johnson – Blue Sunshine

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Fritz Leiber – Night’s Black Agents
Robert J Myers – The Slave of Frankenstein

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Robert J Myers – The Cross of Frankenstein
Jack Ramsey – The Rage

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Ray Russell – Incubus
Andrew Sinclair – Cat

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Colin Wilson – Black Room

1978

Ethel Blackledge – The Fire
John Christopher – The Possessors
John Christopher – The Little People
Basil Copper – Here Be Daemons

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Basil Copper – The Great White Space
Giles Gordon (ed.) – A Book of Contemporary Nightmares

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Peter Haining – Terror! A History Of Horror Illustrations From The Pulp Magazines

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Peter Haining (ed) – Weird Tales

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Peter Haining (ed) – More Weird Tales
Peter Haining (ed) – Ancient Mysteries Reader 1
Peter Haining (ed) – Ancient Mysteries Reader 2
Richard Matheson – Shock!

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Richard Matheson – Shock 3

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Stephen Marlowe – Translation
Michael Robson – Holocaust 2000
Peter Tremayne – The Ants

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Peter Tremayne – The Vengeance Of She

1979

John Clark and Robin Evans – The Experiment
William Hope Hodgson – The Night Land
Robert R. McCammon – Baal

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Kirby McCauley – Frights

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Kirby McCauley – Frights 2
Jack Finney – Invasion Of The Body Snatchers
Graham Masterton – Charnel House

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Graham Masterton – Devils of D-Day
Susan Sparrow – Dawn of the Dead

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Gerald Suster – The Devil’s Maze
Peter Tremayne – The Curse of Loch Ness

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1980

Les Daniels – The Black Castle
Gerald Suster – The Elect
Jere Cunningham – The Legacy
William Hope Hodgson – The House On The Borderland
Robin Squire – A Portrait Of Barbara

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John Cameron – The Astrologer
Robert McCammon – Bethany’s Sin
William H. Hallahan – Keeper Of The Children

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Ray Russell – The Devil’s Mirror

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Roy Russell – Prince Of Darkness

1981

Basil Copper – Necropolis

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M. Jay Livingstone – The Prodigy
Andrew Coburn – The Babysitter
Peter Tremayne – Zombie!

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Graham Masterton – The Heirloom
Owen West [Dean R. Koontz] – The Funhouse
William Hope Hodgson – The Ghost Pirates

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Graham Masterton – The Wells Of Hell
Graham Masterton – Famine
Marc Alexander – The Devil Hunter [non-fiction]
Guy Lyon Playfair – This House Is Haunted [non-fiction]
Robert R. McCammon – They Thirst

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1982

Ronald Patrick – Beyond The Threshold

Peter Tremayne – The Morgow Rises

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Stephen Gallagher – Chimera
Marc Alexander – Haunted Houses You May Visit [non-fiction]
Michelle Smith & Lawrence Pazder – Michelle Remembers [non-fiction]
Dillibe Onyearma – Night Demon
Robert R. McCammon – The Night Boat

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Ray Russell – Incubus

1983

James Darke – The Witches 1. The Prisoner

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James Darke – The Witches 2. The Trial
James Darke – The Witches 3. The Torture

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Basil Copper – Into The Silence
Les Daniels – The Silver Skull

1984

Peter Tremayne – Kiss Of The Cobra

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Clive Barker – Books Of Blood 1
Clive Barker – Books Of Blood 2

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Clive Barker – Books Of Blood 3
Graham Masterton – Tengu

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George R. R. Martin – Fevre Dream
James Darke – Witches 4. The Escape

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1985

Peter Tremayne – Swamp!

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Peter Tremayne – Angelus!
Stephen Laws – The Ghost Train

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Clive Barker – Books Of Blood 4
Clive Barker – Books Of Blood 5
Clive Barker – Books Of Blood 6
Rosalind Ashe – Dark Runner
James Darke – Witches 5. The Meeting
James Darke – Witches 6. The Killing

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1986

Christopher Fowler – City Jitters

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James Darke – Witches 7. The Feud
James Darke – Witches 8. The Plague

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Clive Barker – The Damnation Game
Graham Masterton – Night Warriors
Lisa Tuttle – A Nest Of Nightmares

1987

Peter Tremayne – Nicor!
Peter Tremayne – Trollnight

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Lisa Tuttle – Gabriel

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1988

Alan Ryan (ed.) – Halloween Horrors

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Guy N. Smith – Fiend

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Stephen Laws – Spectre
Graham Masterton – Mirror
Eric Sauter – Predators
Robert McCammon – Swan Song

1989

Stephen Laws – Wyrm
Guy N. Smith – The Camp
Guy N. Smith – Mania

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Graham Masterton – The Walkers
Graham Masterton – Ritual
Bernard King – Witch Beast

The listing above and many of the cover images are reproduced from the Sordid Spheres web blog. Bar the odd addition and amendment, the list first appeared in Paperback Fanatic 3 (August 2007). For more information about each title, its author and links to reviews, visit Sordid Spheres

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Categories: 1970s, 1980s, British, cheesy horror, ghost, gothic, Hammer, infection horror, insect horror, mutant, novel, novelist, occult, psychological horror, psychopath, satanic horror, supernatural, urban horror, vampire, voodoo, werewolf, witch/witches, writer, zombie

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1 reply

  1. my friend is looking for the title of a book and i wondered if you could place it with her description. “There was this book I read, which came out probably in the late 70s, called TRANSLATION. It may have been Translations, plural. I cannot remember. I do not know the author, which is my biggest problem. It was in the horror genre. As I remember it, it dealt with a man translating a book on demonology, and how that demon infiltrated his family. His teenage daughter begins to suffer from anorexia as a result (this was before anorexia was commonly understood as a disease, and it provided a lot of info on it). It was quite groundbreaking.” i thought it might be worth a try… thank you.

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