Author, editor, and publisher John C. Pelan, 63, died April 12, 2021 in Albuquerque NM of an apparent heart attack. He lived in Gallup NM. Pelan was a significant figure in the dark fantasy and horror field, best known for founding numerous small presses and editing anthologies.
Pelan was born July 19, 1957 in Seattle WA. In 1986 he founded Axolotl Press, publishing work by James P. Blaylock, Charles de Lint, Tim Powers, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Michael Shea, and more. In the ‘90s he began Darkside Press, bringing classics of genre fiction back to print, and Silver Salamander, an imprint devoted to modern horror that produced work by Brian Hodge, Thomas Ligotti, Elisabeth Massie, and more. He co-founded Midnight House in the ‘90s as well. While those publishers stopped operating in the early 2000s, in more recent years he ran the Dancing Tuatara imprint at Ramble House.
Pelan was a well-known anthologist, beginning with Axolotl Special 1 (1989) and continuing with International Horror Guild Award winner Darkside: Horror for the Next Millennium (1996), The Last Continent: New Tales of Zothique (1999), The Children of Cthulhu: Chilling New Tales Inspired by H.P. Lovecraft (2002, with Benjamin Adams), Stoker Award Winner The Darker Side: Generations of Horror (2002), Shadows Over Baker Street (2003, with Michael Reaves), A Walk on the Darkside: Visions of Horror (2004), Lost on the Darkside: Voices from the Edge of Horror (2005), Dark Arts (2006), Alone on the Darkside: Echoes from the Shadows of Horror (2006), The Century’s Best Horror Fiction 1901-1950 (2012), The Century’s Best Horror Fiction 1951-2000 (2012), and Tales of Terror and Torment: Stories from the Pulps, Volume 1 (2013). He also edited the Fall 2019 issue of Weird Fiction Review for Centipede Press.
As an author, Pelan published more than 30 stories, including some in collaboration with Edward Lee. Some of his short fiction was collected in Darkness, My Old Friend (2016). His longer works include The Colour out of Darkness (1998) and two collaborations with Lee: Shifters (1998) and Family Tradition (2002). He was also a prolific essayist and reviewer. He is survived by his wife, Kathy Pelan.