Dying Embers out now

Dying Embers out now

Friday, 5 February 2016

Celebrating Robert Aickman

Recently, I was lucky enough to have been given a sneak preview of the forthcoming Celebrating Robert Aickman, an Anthology of Unsettled Dust, edited by Johnny Mains. My admiration for Aickman must be well known in these parts by now, so I was very excited to be given this unique opportunity.

Perhaps it's remarkable that there has not been a comprehensive publication along these lines before. Far from inhabiting the margins, as a a cult figure, Robert Aickman has become one of the few short story writers to have made the difficult transition to the literary mainstream. This has been thanks not only to his enduring influence over successful writers, such as Ramsey Campbell and Simon Strantzas, but also to media figures such as Reece Shearsmith, Jeremy Dyson and Mark Gatiss, who have helped make his legacy wider known. Aickman's shadow is indeed broad enough to cope with the increased scrutiny that this has created. This has meant that in recent years, many more people have been exposed to his remarkable 'strange stories' than would otherwise have been the case – and I'm very pleased to say that Celebrating Robert Aickman, an Anthology of Unsettled Dust can only take this further. It's a unique mixture of fascinating anecdotes and recollections of and about Robert Aickman, and new fiction inspired by the great man – written by some of the best authors of strange fiction around today. There are so many highlights in this package it's difficult to know where to start. Perhaps the most significant contribution is that of A Choice of Weapons: Robert Aickman and Tom Rolt, which is the transcript of an interview between Tom's son Tim  and Sonia Rolt. Much new light is shed upon Robert Aickman's relationship with Tom Rolt. Then, there is the very touching An Afternoon with Aickman, by T.E.D. Klein, which reveals a melancholy side to the great man's character... Robert Aickman Comes to Fantasycon by David  A. Riley consists of a fond memory from the second British Fantasy Society convention in 1976... John L. Probert writes about Adapting Aickman, commenting on various adaptations of Aickman's work for screen and radio... Richard Dalby writes of his Further Recollections of Robert Aickman... And there's an essay on Letters To The Postman by Philip Challinor. There is so much here for the Aickman enthusiast and we haven't yet delved into the new works of fiction. Among others there are stories by Simon Strantzas (The Flower Unfolds),  Lynda E. Rucker (The Vestige), Reggie Oliver (The Rooms Are High) and Steven Volk (The House That Moved Next Door). This feast of the Aickmanesque is topped off by In Conversation With Ramsey Campbell, in which editor Johnny Mains chats to Ramsey about all things Aickman. In addition to all this and more, there are many interesting photographs, images and contemporary clippings.
What more could the Aickman enthusiast want?
Johnny Mains has done a great job with this publication, and was very kind to let me read it at this early stage. Although still in draft, I've seen enough to be sure that Celebrating Robert Aickman will be a superb publication and a worthwhile addition to the library of anyone interested in Aickman or his rich and varied legacy.

6 comments:

  1. Now this is a book I simply must own, even more so from reading your very detailed account. However, it does seem to have bern awaiting release for quite a while now - are there any specific reasons for the delay?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Colin, well I'm not sure what the delay is. I can't wait for the finished item too. However, Johnny Mains did tell me to give his email address to interested parties, so if you like, give him a shout at johnnymains@rocketmail.com
      Cheers, Martin.

      Delete
    2. Aha! Cheers Martin, once I'm home I'll do just that.

      Delete
  2. Hello again. As an update to my last reply it still seems to be the case that this intriguing Auckman book has still yet to see the light of day. I emailed Johnny Mains last year about the book but sadly there was no response. Just wondering if there'd been some updates on it that I was unaware of as I'd hate to have missed out on it! Many thanks

    Colin

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Colin. Sorry, I've heard nothing on this book. I assume it's been shelved for now. I haven't heard from Johnny Mains either. I will certainly post any subsequent details when I get them. All the best

      Delete
    2. Cheers for that Martin. Sadly I thought this might be the case;three years on from the original release date does not after all bode well. Its a shame as amongst all the contents of the book, I'd really wanted to read the section on the Aickman adaptations. Its a subject very close to my heart, particularly so as I was the one who first brought the Night Voices episodes made by HTV up at the Aickman event at Halifax several years ago now and managed to find a copy of 'The Hospice' to boot (in the Aickman docu by Tartarus Presss the clips from it are sourced directly from my original copy!). Still, fingers crossed the book will eventually see the light of day; it really does sound worth it.

      Kind Regards

      Colin

      Delete