GHOST STORY & WEIRD FICTION COMMUNITY.
For the past several years, I have had
the good fortune to have met (at least over the internet)
a number of those folks who make a living from editing
or publishing classic works in the genres of ghost,
weird, and horror fiction, as well as others who currently
write new works of fiction in that older style. I
have enjoyed exchanging mail and postings with each
and every one of them and have considered it an honor
to have made their acquaintance. On this page,
I'd like to introduce some of these generally very pleasant
and knowledgeable people, the ghost-fiction community.
The proprietors for this venture are
Christopher & Barbara Roden, who have brought literally
dozens of both obscure & celebrated works of ghost fiction back to print
over the past decade. Among the authors whose works have
been released by their press, we have so far seen H.R.
Wakefield, E.F. Benson, Frederick Cowles, Erckmann-Chatrian,
M.R. James, Amelia Edwards, Sheridan Le Fanu, Russell
Kirk, & Vernon Lee. The Rodens also maintain
an active interest in the works of Sir Arthur Conan
Doyle and have founded a companion Calabash Press for
works of "Holmesian" fiction. A number of
their books have garnered very favorable reviews in
such publications as The Washington Post and
The National Review.
They continue with their frequent publication
schedule of high-quality books today, at their website.
This effort has been the brain child of Seattle
horror fiction provocateur John Pelan, who back in the
1980's & early 1990's collaborated with Edward
Lee on some particularly & inspiredly gruesome "splatterpunk"
horror novels. Having broadened his interests
somewhat over the years, John has proven to be an intelligent
and discerning collector and critic for classic horror
& ghost fiction. He also possesses a wicked
sense of humor & generally shows himself to be a
friendly, good-natured fellow. You'd certainly
never guess that were to you to sit down and read Goon or
Darker Side anthology. " 'C'est la vie', say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell."
Once John started in with Midnight
House, he took a slightly different tack than the
more polished Ash-Tree and went in for the wilder,
pulpier, raw-heads-and-bloody-bones--but with gaslight--approach.
So, he brought back works by the somewhat nutty but
ingenious Belgian fantasist Jean Ray, by the popular
1940's and 1950's American pulp writer Fritz Leiber,
by Ambrose Bierce's equally savage mentor W.C. Morrow,
and by Victorian gore specialists Dick Donovan &
Clive Pemberton. I can say this much, I have never
fallen asleep reading a book from John's press or regretted
spending the cash later.
PUBLISHERS, ALL WORTHWHILE.
Raymond Russell of Great Britain maintains
Press. Books from this press may be the most handsomely
printed and bound of any of the classic weird/ghost
fiction publishers. I'd especially recommend the very
Aickman set , the Oliver
Onions volume, and the very regrettably out-of-print
of an Ether-Drinker by French Decadent author Jean
Jeremy Lassen of Portland, Oregon runs
Books. His publications represent a nice balance
of affordability and production quality. I've been especially
pleased to see his 5-volume set of the collected nautical
and ghostly works of William
Hope Hodgson progressing along nicely over the past
two years. Night Shade's also reissuing several volumes
of works by Lord Dunsany.
Of course, the granddaddy of all these
presses would be Arkham
House, originally founded in 1939 by August Derleth
and Donald Wandrei to reprint their friend and mentor
H.P. Lovecraft's works in hardcover format. After
a decade or two of focusing mainly upon science fiction,
Arkham's more recently returned to reprinting horror
works by Hugh Cave, Ramsey Campbell, and Clark Ashton
Smith, among others. In the AH back catalogue,
you may still find editions by Joseph
Sheridan Le Fanu, Marjorie
Bowen, and M.P.
You can listen to a very interesting
radio news feature from National Public Radio concerning
Arkham house by clicking here.
EATMAN, ALIAS "RBADAC."
was a regular on both the old Horrornet ghost stories
board back in the 1990's and then at alt.books.ghost-fiction,
until his untimely
death just shy of New Year's Day, 2001. This
proved a great shock to all of the alt.books.ghost-fiction
regulars, as rbadac had been a much liked favorite of
everyone. His intelligence, erudition, wit, considerable
writing skills, and remarkable parodies and other humorous
impressed not only his fellow amateurs (myself included)
but also a sizeable number of well-published professional
writers and editors. This happened, despite the
fact that most of us never met him in person but only
as an online persona. Due to his largely self-deprecating
nature and the fact that he had come to discover this
talent a bit later in life, he never saw any of his
work published professionally. There had been
some talk of an attempt to gather his best writings
into a limited-edition anthology, but, to date, this
effort has faded quietly into obscurity.
I hope Jessica Salmonson
will forgive me for citing from her own remembrance
page about rbadac, by quoting from my own "in memoriam"
for our late friend:
"So, I might imagine a quiet dark winter's evening, as he & I drink a few
warm cups of Darjeeling while seated upon two old comfortable chairs in his
small lodgings, & he shows me his collection of rare volumes with boundless
enthusiasm & hilarious asides about their contents — but it will never
happen now. As we grow older, our catalogue of regrets, for things left undone,
grows steadily longer, & this fictional evening now resides near the top of