Monday, 22 December 2008

The Weird Tale - A Quintessential Compendium

Once upon a time, in the halcyon days of yore, before "horror" fiction became a mass market which does little but pander to the tastes of arrested adolescence with the unending repetition of the same tired old tropes, ghost story anthologies were a literary institution and the treasured possession of any self-respecting fantast. Nor were the contents exclusively supernatural and the name "weird fiction" has been coined in recent years to describe the sort of literature designed to unnerve through a combination of imagination, atmosphere and insinuation.

The anthologies published by Pan and Fontana are now eagerly collected and it is unlikely that the world will see their like again. For those released today are invariably disappointing, seeming thrown together either without thought for the most representative works or so desperate to show their breadth that they end up being willfully obscure. Any book which purports to offer an introduction to the genre and omits The Willows, for instance, isn't worth the paper it's printed on.

Hence, in the tradition of Christmas ghost stories, I thought I would compile a list of the tales I believe should be included in any decent omnibus and as the majority of out of copyright, provide links for those wishing to investigate further. Sadly due to the vagaries of intellectual property law a couple of the finest pieces, including those of modern master Robert Aickman, aren't yet available which considering how difficult they can be to track down in print, is a good argument against the whole ludicrous system.

"A Strange Event In the Life of Schalken the Painter" by J. Sheridan Le Fanu (1839)
Le Fanu was arguably the first author of the "ghost story" as a distinct form and acclaimed by fellow master M.R. James as the finest practitioner of the form. Indeed, the Jamesian tradition owes a huge debt to Le Fanu. Schalken the Painter is probably his finest short work, containing disturbing sexual undertones which are quite remarkable for the mid-Victorian era.

"The Signalman" by Charles Dickens (1866)
Whilst he was responsible for tainting supernatural literature with the cloyingly sentimental A Christmas Carol, this short story, also published for the festive season, is a much more unnerving proposition. It's force derives partly from its biographical roots and Dicken's own fear of trains following his involvement in the Staplehurst rail crash some years previously.

"Man Size In Marble" by Edith Nesbit (1893)
A far cry from the comfort of her cherished novels for children, Five Children & It and The Phoenix and the Carpet, the wonderfully titled Man Size In Marble is Nesbit's most accomplished ghost story, finely portraying the uncaring malignancy of supernatural forces. The story is lent much resonance through its appropriation of a legend which recurs throughout British folklore.

"The Crimson Weaver" by R. Murray Gilchrist (1894)
Gilchrist is scarcely the best known of supernatural authors, even amongst aficionados of the genre, and indeed, much of his work is unremarkable. This short vignette (almost a prose poem) is different, possessing a strange power in its dream-like symbolism which recalls the work of the Pre-Raphaelite painters and certainly hints at the fin-de-siecle Decadence of the Yellow Nineties.

"The Lost Stradivarius" by J. Meade Falkner (1895)
The Lost Stradivarius has been called the novel M.R. James might have written, although Falkner's tale pre-dates James's slightly and there is no evidence they were familiar with each others' work. Nonetheless, this tale of possession and obsession is set in a similar antiquarian milieu and the atmosphere is built consummately over its duration as it roams from the university cloisters of England to the villas of Italy.

"The Yellow Sign" by Robert W. Chambers (1895)
Taken from a larger work called The King In Yellow, a collection of short tales connected by the linking device of a forbidden, eponymous tome which proved a great influence on H.P Lovecraft's infamous Necronomicon. The Yellow Sign is the most unnerving story in the collection and in addition to the supernatural element, owes much to Decadent and Symbolist traditions.

"The Dead Valley" by Ralph Adams Cram (1895)
Whilst this American architect Cram only published one slim volume in the genre, The Dead Valley stands amongst the finest weird tales in American literature and was justifiably praised by H.P. Lovecraft. It is the very definition of weird fiction, concerning the uncanny rather than the overtly supernatural, and potently atmospheric in its evocation of desolation and loneliness.

"Vaila" by M.P. Shiel (1896)
Although he reworked this story in 1911 as "The House of Sounds", toning down his florid language, this original version is arguably more characteristic of Shiel's style. Few English writers have conjured the baroque Decadence of the Yellow Nineties quite so powerfully and whilst it certainly owes a large debt to Poe, it is a remarkably visionary work.

"The Red Room" by H.G. Wells (1897)
Despite being remembered primarily for his prototypical science fiction (with The Invisible Man arguably bleeding in to the weird), Wells wrote this vignette which perfectly encapsulates the genre. For whilst in form it is an archetypal Victorian ghost story, the heart of the tale is its philosophical reflection concerning that conflict between reason and irrationality on which weird fiction so often trades.

"The Turn of the Screw" by Henry James (1898)
Henry James is one of the most respected writers in American letters, to such an extent that he even succeeded in giving the ghost story some literary respectability. Of course, anybody familiar with the genre will understand that The Turn of the Screw isn't quite as radical or unique as some critics claim, however it remains an expertly crafted and thoroughly disturbing work.

"Master of Fallen Years" by Vincent O' Sullivan (1899)
A largely forgotten luminary of the Decadent movement in the Yellow Nineties, despite his friendship with the likes of Oscar Wilde, Ernest Dowson, and Aubrey Beardsley, O'Sullivan also produced a number of subtle weird tales and Master of Fallen Years in particular adeptly evokes all the morbidity, baroque decay and existential ennui which characterises the Decadent world view.

"A Warning to the Curious" by M.R. James (1904)
Selecting the best M.R. James story is a thankless task. Almost every one is an expertly crafted masterpiece of the genre. This story (also recipient of a fine BBC adaptation) possibly comes close to being the most representative, exhibiting all the tropes which define his work including a recondite antiquarianism, the East Anglican landscape and the implacable malevolence of his spirits.

"The White People" by Arthur Machen (1906)
Of all the various prophets of the weird, Machen is perhaps the finest. His work so potently reveals those hermetic realities that reading it is like induction into one of the mystery religions of old. This is his finest effort in the short form, offering all his typical themes such as renascent paganism, debased mysticism and the numinous landscape in some of the most incantatory prose in English literature.

"The Willows" by Algernon Blackwood (1907)
As a former member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and outdoorsman intimately familiar with the power of the wilderness, Blackwood is able to endow his stories with a rare conviction. He is particularly adept at evoking the dread and awe inherent to remote regions and there is scarcely a finer example of this talent than The Willows, although The Wendigo runs it very close.

"August Heat" by W.F. Harvey (1910)
A much neglected author, the best of Harvey's tales undoubtedly fall into the weird category, resembling a combination of Walter de la Mare, Saki and a prototype Aickman in vignette. He is a master of ambiguity, insinuating just enough to let the reader's imagination rove freely. This classic story of premonitions and predestination seems slight at first but Harvey concludes it in such a way as to leave the possible fate of the protagonists lingering horribly in your mind.

"The Beckoning Fair One" by Oliver Onions (1911)
Like that of E.F. Benson, Onions work often suffers from a lack of cohesion, as if the ghost story were a literary exercise rather than an expressive vehicle. However, The Beckoning Fair One is an indisputable masterpiece and a particularly fine example of what is often referred to as the "psychological" ghost story, with the tension between the two interpretations of events masterfully balanced.

"Sredni Vashtar" by Saki (1911)
The stories of Hector Hugh Munro, or "Saki" as he styled himself, are masterpieces of economy and style. They mostly satirise Edwardian manners but many have a pronounced macabre streak and several cross surely into the territory of the weird tale. This vignette concerning an oppressed and imaginative child who sets up a ferret as his god is a fine example.

"The Man Who Went Too Far" by E.F. Benson (1912)
Whilst Benson is amongst the most prolific of Edwardian ghost story writers, he always has the air of a journeyman about him, with no distinctive voice of his own. Whilst the fiction of James, Blackwood, Machen and so forth was an expression of their personal philosophy, the same cannot be said for Benson. This story owes a great deal to Blackwood but remains a notable addition to the Pan sub-genre.

"No Man's Land" by John Buchan (1912)
Whilst Buchan's reputation rests today largely on his adventure novels such as The 39 Steps, he was adept at conjuring the presence of his native Scottish landscape and used this talent to fine effect in the various weird tales he published over the years. This story of atavism in the Highlands trades fully on his evocation of the desolate isolation of those wild places.

"The Whistling Room" by William Hope Hodgson (1913)
Hodgson is notable for two substantial contributions to the genre; the innovation of an almost psychedelic cosmic horror (remarkable for an Edwardian physical instructor) and in Carnacki the Ghost Finder, the archetypal representation of the occult detective. This story manages to incorporate both facets and even include the trappings of the traditional ghost story.

"Where Their Fire Is Not Quenched" by May Sinclair (1923)
May Sinclair's background in Modernism is not the most promising for supernatural literature as the economy of prose which that movement advocated has little atmospheric force. However, Sinclair had a genuine interest in supernatural phenomena, psychological insight and a talent for subverting expectations. Hence whilst this story lacks any malevolent force, it offers a particular bleak commentary on the illusion of love and eternity.

"All Hallows" by Walter de la Mare (1926)
Perhaps best known for his poetry (including that immortal work The Listeners) and children's stories, De la Mare was also a master of the weird tale. His more psychological tales such as Seaton's Aunt presage the works of Robert Aickman, whilst this story has much in common with the best works of Algernon Blackwood and Arthur Machen in its sustained evocation of a numinous dread.

"The Red Lodge" by H.R. Wakefield (1928)
Wakefield is often referred to as a writer in the tradition of M.R. James, but whilst there are similarities - especially in the implacable malevolence of the apparitions - Wakefield stories are generally much more urbane and varied in scope. This story, however, is simply a classic haunted house tale and an almost an archetypal example of how to write such a story, piling on every trick in the book to create an atmosphere rich with evil.

"Genius Loci" by Clark Ashton Smith (1933)
Although Clark Ashton Smith is habitually regarded as one of the seminal figures in the American weird tradition, second only to Lovecraft, I often find his dark fantasies too baroque and macabre even for my Decadent tastes. However, this is an exception. A haunting evocation of a particularly nasty example of the titular tutelary spirit, bristling with atmosphere.

"The Haunter of the Dark" by H.P. Lovecraft (1939)
Lovecraft is widely regarded as the founder of modern horror, and he is particularly influential in the development of cosmic horror, with his vision of the human race as insignificant dust motes adrift in a vast and indifferent universe holding as much terror as the monstrous deities he invokes. It could also be argued that his barely concealed neuroticism is essential in generating the atmosphere of the tales.

"Cwm Garon" by L.T.C. Rolt (1948)
A friend of Robert Aickman's, had Rolt written more than one volume of weird fiction his name would surely be better known. But at least that lone collection, Sleep No More, is absolutely flawless. Although his stories of haunted industrial landscapes are perhaps his most unique and characteristic contribution to the genre, this tale is arguably his finest piece, a tale of atavistic dread in the Black Mountains, owing much to Blackwood or Machen.

"Three Miles Up" by Elizabeth Jane Howard (1951)
Later wife of Kingsley Amis, Howard was for a while the paramour of Robert Aickman and the collection of ghost stories in which this first appeared was a joint one. The style so resembles Aickman that some have suggested that he actually wrote it. It contains a similar mixture of subtle psychological undercurrents and an uncompromising opacity far more unnerving than any tangible malevolence.

"Ringstones" by Sarban (1951)
Surprisingly, considering the title, Sarban's tale is not one of renascent paganism in the manner of Arthur Machen or Algernon Blackwood, but something much more unique and ambiguous. The subtle escalation of tension and unease is expertly controlled, reaching a crescendo with insinuations of a disturbing eroticism which place the work firmly as a late entrant in the Decadent tradition.

"The Desrick On Yandro" by Manly Wade Wellman (1953)
In the annals of weird fiction, there are few characters with as unique a voice as Wellman's creation Silver John the Balladeer and few locales as evocatively realised as the Appalachian mountains in these tales. Mixing Appalachian folklore with a bizarre bestiary of Wellman's own creation, these stories are idiosyncratic and utterly charming.

"The Inner Room" by Robert Aickman (1968)
Aickman is the finest practitioner of the psychological weird tale with much of the force coming from his fine dissection of the disappointed psyche. Many of his narratives make little sense on the rational level, more resembling dreams, allowing the ambiguity and grotesqueness to insinuate themselves into the subconscious. The Inner Room is particularly successful in this regard, with its disturbing final implication.

"The Events at Poroth Farm" by T.E.D. Klein (1972)
Klein is not exactly a prolific author and this short story was later expanded into the highly acclaimed novel, The Ceremonies but I think I prefer this original version. It was inspired by a line in Machen's The White People but whilst you might be surprised as to exactly which line, few have followed in his footsteps at once so faithfully and so freshly. The evocation of the stifling summer heat and an entirely alien menace is masterfully handled.

"The Voice of the Beach" by Ramsey Campbell (1982)
Whilst Campbell is more popularly known as a undeniably gifted writer of outright "horror," his background is in the weird tradition and many of his best tales reflect this. The Voice of the Beach was an attempt to go back to the roots of his most formative influence H.P. Lovecraft and produce a work of cosmic horror to equal Blackwood's The Willows. Combined with his own LSD experiences, Campbell succeeds in creating something in the same spirit and yet utterly unique.

"The Bungalow House" by Thomas Ligotti (1995)
Despite the strength of many modern writers of the weird, the vast majority are too beholden to their influences. Ligotti is one of the few to truly stand out as an original and whilst this tale exhibits the full extent of Lovecraft's influence, Ligotti takes the master's nihilism to whole new heights, presenting an inescapable metaphysical horror conveyed in an exquisite style resembling prose poetry.

"Vrolyck" by Mark Samuels (2003)
Another genuinely new voice in the weird tradition, Mark Samuels certainly shows the influence of Machen, Lovecraft and Ligotti, but he has still managed to bring something original to the genre with his economical yet lyrical prose and nihilistic vision. This story follows the cosmic horror pattern laid down by Lovecraft but manages to give it a uniquely 21st Century slant.

15 comments:

Andrew said...

I can't believe that no-one has commented on this list. The internet is full of people requesting ways into supernatural fiction. This is the best !'ve come across. Well done.

Kai Roberts said...

Thank you for your kind comment. It's precisely because I recall when I was first starting to read supernatural fiction the difficult of finding a good introduction that I wrote this post. I suspect the reason nobody else has taken notice of it is that I don't exactly go out of my way to promote this blog, sadly. I've added a few more stories which I've only recently encountered, by the way, and one which I can't believe I omitted in the first place.

Andrew said...

Kai,

Thankyou. One thing, however. It says I need a password to open the Vincent O' Sullivan short story.Am I missing something? Apologies for ignorance.

Kai Roberts said...

I'm not sure why it's asking for a password. The link's working fine for me. Sadly that seems to be the only version online or else I would suggest another site. You could always try going directly through www.horrormasters.com though and seeing if that works any better.

Warren-G said...

Absolutely outstanding list! I was gratified to see that I own, and have read, all of the stories you mentioned, except for two - the ones by Wellman and O'Sullivan (although I have several other O'Sullivan stories).

I highly commend your taste in weird literature (just because it agrees so well with mine, I suppose... ;-). If I were to compile a similar list, there would be a great deal of overlap with yours. The only omission from your list that disappointed me was John Metcalfe, whom I consider to be the Most Underappreciated Weird Writer in History. As such, his work is almost impossible to find, but it is absolutely classic at its best, and unique in many ways. In an ideal world, I would like to see his great story "Mortmain" added to your list.

BTW, I loved your takedown of Joshi, too. Well-deserved and right on target.

Kai Roberts said...

Many thanks for your generous comments on my list. The omission of Metcalfe is largely due to the fact that I simply haven't read enough of his work to make a judgement on what to put forward as his "archetypal" story. As you say, he's quite obscure: the Ash Tree collection is now out-of-print and selling for an eye-watering £200! I do keep updating the selection though so it may appear one day. Also, I'm intending to write a critique of the nonsense Joshi talks about Machen at some point, so watch this space...

Warren-G said...

I will definitely be watching for more Joshi-bashing. I thought his essays on Machen and M. R. James in "The Weird Tale" were nothing short of disgraceful. STJ is hard to figure out - philosophically, he's as much out-of-step with Blackwood as he is with Machen or James, yet he really seems to "get" Blackwood - I don't know why or how.

Re Metcalfe - yeah, I hear you. I bit the bullet some years back and bought the Ash-Tree Press volume, just because I was persuaded that Metcalfe was a unique and major weird writer (I had read several of his stories in obscure anthologies), much of whose work I might never have the chance to see again in my lifetime if I didn't buy the book. I'm happy to say that I wasn't disappointed - that book is one of my most prized possessions.

Don't know if there is such a thing as an "archetypal" Metcalfe story - but if asked to name his greatest story, I would have to go with either "The Feasting Dead" or "Mortmain", for whatever it's worth.

If you're interested, "Mortmain" can be found in a 1950s anthology called "Perturbed Spirits" edited by R. C. Bull, and also in "A Second Century of Creepy Stories" edited by Hugh Walpole. "The Feasting Dead" is in "The Mammoth Book of Short Horror Novels" edited by Mike Ashley. "Mr. Meldrum's Mania" is in "The Penguin Book of Horror Stories" edited by J. A. Cuddon. "Nightmare Jack" is in "The Second Fontana Book of Great Ghost Stories" edited by Robert Aickman. All of these volumes can be found, I think, at relatively cheap prices on abebooks.com. Metcalfe's short story "The Bad Lands" can be read on-line at horrormasters.com. Those are about the only affordable Metcalfe stories I know of, sorry to say.

Kai Roberts said...

Yes, Joshi's respect for Blackwood is rather odd, especially as it seems to me that he should perceive Blackwood as equally guilty of the things he criticises in Machen. Perhaps it's because Lovecraft called The Willows the greatest weird tale ever written and Joshi seems to have to slavishly follow Lovecraft in every opinion.

Thanks for the heads up on where to find some Metcalfe stories. I have read Nightmare Jack courtesy of the second Fontana anthology but I will be looking into tracking down some of the others. You've certainly piqued my curiosity with regard to Metcalfe's oeuvre!

Warren-G said...

Re Joshi: Maybe, although Lovecraft always rated Machen's "The White People" just behind "The Willows" as the greatest weird tale. His opinion of Machen was enormously high - much, much higher than Joshi's opinion of Machen. I think the difference in Joshi's attitude is that Blackwood was a pantheistic mystic, while Machen was a Christian mystic - and Joshi, like most militant atheists, is not so much anti-religion or anti-mysticism as he is anti-Christianity specifically. (Lovecraft was much more consistent in that he regarded all types of mysticism as equally nonsensical.)

Joshi just embarrasses himself whenever he starts touting Lovecraft as some kind of major philosophical thinker. (To his credit, Lovecraft himself would have mercilessly poured scorn and sarcasm on such a notion.) Lovecraft's "philosophy" was mostly a psychological defense mechanism - a way for him to deal emotionally with what he perceived as his own total failure as a man and as a writer. Taking the stance that the entire universe is a meaningless accident and that nothing matters at all is definitely an effective strategy for making one's own shortcomings and disappointments seem insignificant. (I say all this as one of the world's biggest Lovecraft fans, by the way - apart from his fiction, I have read about half a dozen volumes of his personal letters with great pleasure and interest.)

As long as Joshi sticks to criticism of weird literature, I have great respect for his opinions, even though he has a few large blind spots. But his pontificating on larger matters is cringe-inducing, since he is, in actuality, a philosophical troglodyte who is utterly unaware of the fact.

Re Metcalfe: Robert Aickman thought that "Nightmare Jack" was one of the best supernatural stories in English, while others (like T. E. D. Klein) don't care much for it. My own opinion of it would fall somewhere between those two. It's definitely not an archetypal, or even typical, Metcalfe story - even though it is creepy and enigmatic (two of his most characteristic qualities).

(BTW, if you don't appreciate me hogging your combox like this, just say so.)

Kai Roberts said...

No, it's fine; this is what the comments box is here for, after all! I think you're possibly right about Joshi's distinction between Blackwood and Machen. I've just had a flick through Lovecraft's Supernatural Horror In Literature and I'd forgotten quite how effusive he was about even Machen's later work. Indeed, Joshi's opinions on Machen and Blackwood seem to be an exact reversal of Lovecraft's.

It does seem to be Machen's Christianity which Joshi has the biggest problem with. It always amuses me that one thing he criticises Machen for is that his ideas show no development over his career. This is nonsense, of course. There's quite a distinct development from the Decadent hermeticism of The Great God Pan and The White People to the more redemptive mysticism of The Great Return or N. It's just not development in a direction Joshi approves of!

As with all the New Atheists he perceives progress as necessarily moving from superstition and mysticism to rational materialism. It's one of the things that infuriates me most about that whole movement (besides their errant Gradgrindism); they think that just because they're successful in one field, it entitles them to comment on metaphysics. Yet most of their attempts at arguments in this regard would get them laughed out of an undergraduate philosophy tutorial.

Warren-G said...

"Errant Gradgrindism" - that one sent me to Google! (Being a Yank, I'm not up on my Dickens.) Very apt, indeed.

FYI - here are some authors (besides Metcalfe) and stories that I might consider including if I were drawing up a list such as yours (in alphabetical order):

Ambrose Bierce ("The Damned Thing", "The Death of Halpin Frayser")

Marjorie Bowen("Kecksies", "Florence Flannery")

D. K. Broster ("Couching at the Door")

A. M. Burrage ("Between the Minute and the Hour", "The Green Scarf")

Bernard Capes ("An Eddy on the Floor", "The Green Bottle")

Basil Copper ("Camera Obscura", "Amber Print")

F. Marion Crawford ("The Upper Berth", "The Dead Smile")

Arthur Conan Doyle ("The Captain of the Polestar", "Lot No. 249")

L. P. Hartley ("A Visitor from Down Under", "Podolo")

Robert Hichens ("How Love Came to Professor Guildea")

Shirley Jackson ("The Haunting of Hill House")

Russell Kirk ("There's a Long, Long Trail A-Winding", "The Peculiar Demesne of Archvicar Gerontion")

Terry Lamsley (anything from the collection "Conference with the Dead")

Vernon Lee ("Amour Dure", "Dionea")

Fritz Leiber ("Smoke Ghost", "The Dreams of Albert Moreland")

A. N. L. Munby ("The White Sack")

Margaret Oliphant ("The Library Window")

Reggie Oliver (pretty much anything!)

Edgar A. Poe ("Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar", "A Tale of the Ragged Mountains")

Arthur Quiller-Couch ("The Seventh Man", "The Bend of the Road")

Adrian Ross ("The Hole of the Pit")

Karl Edward Wagner ("The River of Night's Dreaming")

Edward Lucas White ("Lukundoo")

Kai Roberts said...

I have to confess I'm not all that up on my Dickens either; Hard Times is one of only two I've actually read. I was also guilty of a slightly malapropism. It should've been "arrant Gradgrindism" rather than "errant", which doesn't make much sense.

Thanks for your further suggestion. I agree that Leiber, Jackson, Hartley and Lee should certainly be on it, although as yet, I don't feel I've read enough of their oeuvres to decide which stories. Burrage, Crawford and Bierce I've never warmed to, despite their reputations.

The others, I haven't read but will keep an eye out for. I would desperately like to investigate some Reggie Oliver. I saw a reading by him once and was very impressed but his books have always been prohibitively expensive. Fortunately, I hear Tartarus Press are producing a paperback collection of his best work, to b released in autumn.

Warren-G said...

That's really great news, if true, about Tartarus Press releasing a Reggie Oliver collection.... although it comes too late for me, since I already bit the bullet (I seem to do a lot of that) and bought the giant Reggie Oliver volume put out by Centipede Press ("Dramas from the Depths"), which contains virtually all his weird short fiction (nearly 1,000 pages of it). Again, despite the cost, I wasn't sorry - Oliver is one of the most consistently excellent weird writers I've ever read. I'd describe him as a cross between M. R. James and Robert Aickman.

Another recent writer I would urge you to check out is Terry Lamsley. His strongest collection - "Conference with the Dead" - was reprinted by Night Shade books and a good used copy should be affordable. I would describe Lamsley as a cross between Ramsey Campbell and Robert Aickman.

Among the older pieces I mentioned, I'd just like to underline D. K. Broster's "Couching at the Door" and Mrs. Oliphant's "The Library Window". Both are remarkably good, in my opinion. The Hichens story has often been anthologized and is usually considered a classic of the genre, although some people really don't care for it. As for Russell Kirk, Aickman thought he was the best ghost-story writer of the modern era. He is very, very good, although he is probably the most explicitly Christian of all weird writers (except maybe R. H. Benson) - this can occasionally work to the detriment of his stories, but more often adds an interesting dimension to them.

I always found that trying to track down these things in affordable editions was at least as much fun as actually reading them. Before the internet, it wouldn't have been possible. Enjoy!

litlfrog said...

Latecomer to this post, but I greatly appreciate the curating you've done here. This is my Halloween season reading material this year.

Kai Roberts said...

Many thanks for your appreciation, litlfrog. I hope you enjoy the stories! I really need to add a shedload more too. I've read a lot more in the five years since I wrote this. Sadly, most are still in copyright so I won't be able to include links to online versions.