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THE 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.

 

ASH-TREE PRESS.

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.   

 

MIDNIGHT HOUSE.

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 The 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.

 

OTHER PUBLISHERS, ALL WORTHWHILE.

Raymond Russell of Great Britain maintains Tartarus 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 fine Robert Aickman set , the Oliver Onions volume, and the very regrettably out-of-print Nightmares of an Ether-Drinker by French Decadent author Jean Lorrain.

Jeremy Lassen of Portland, Oregon runs Night Shade 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. Shiel.

You can listen to a very interesting radio news feature from National Public Radio concerning Arkham house by clicking here.

 

JOHNNY EATMAN, ALIAS "RBADAC."

"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 writings 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 the list."

 

 GUEST BOOK.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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