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Archive for April 22nd, 2009

Great Ghost Stories

Posted by demonik on April 22, 2009

R. Chetwynd-Hayes and Stephen Jones (eds.) – Great Ghost Stories (Cemetery Dance, Carroll & Graf, 2004)

[image]

Les Edwards

Foreword – Stephen Jones
Introduction – R. Chetwynd-Hayes

Amelia B. Edwards – The Four-Fifteen Express
Richard Middleton – On the Brighton Road
Ambrose Bierce – The Moonlit Road
G. B. S.- The Whittaker’s Ghost
S. Baring-Gould – The Leaden Ring
Sir Walter Scott – The Tapestried Chamber
Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu – Ghost Stories Of The Tiled House
F. Marion Crawford – The Dead Smile
Daniel Defoe – The Ghost of Dorothy Dingley
Anon – The Dead Man Of Varley Grange
E. Nesbit – John Charrington’s Wedding
Sydney J. Bounds – The Night Walkers
Amyas Northcote – Brickett Bottom
John Kendrick Bangs – The Water Ghost of Harrowby Hall
Stephen King – The Reaper’s Image
Jerome K. Jerome – Christmas Eve in the Blue Chamber
Steve Rasnic Tem – Housewarming
Ramsey Campbell – The Ferries
Tina Rath – The Fetch
Washington Irving – Guests From Gibbet Island
Garry Kilworth – The Tryst
Guy de Maupassant – An Apparition
Brian Lumley – Aunt Hester
Tony Richards – Our Lady Of The Shadows
R. Chetwynd-Hayes – She Walks on Dry Land

Can anyone see the sense in this? Take a series of everyman pocket paperbacks like The Fontana Book Of Great Ghost Stories, which, in their day were available in just about every newsagent and supermarket up and down the country, and like as not got several people on here reading the stuff. Make a random selection from volumes 17-20. Get Les Edwards to design you a terrific cover, fully in sympathy with the original series. Now, have the thing printed, making sure it’s as unnecessarily bulky as possible, and run off just enough copies so that it sells out prior to publication. Appealing to the “I’ve still got my factory sealed, never been opened, worth a bomb!” non-reading market is all very well, but it’s also driving another stake into the heart of what’s supposed to be ‘popular fiction’. Hope they won an award for it.

Anyway, here’s the Blurb:

Eerie atmospherics, a sense of foreboding, then the unease, a chill, a shudder, ghosts, terror — again and again, in the twenty-five superbly scary tales of this standout anthology, they’re conjured artfully, both by modern masters of the macabre, among them Stephen King, Garry Kilworth, Brian Lumley, Ramsey Campbell, and Tony Richards, and by literary greats like Ambrose Bierce, Washington Irving, Sir Water Scott, and J Sheridan Le Fanu. Culled from the renowned Fontana Book of Great Ghost Stories series, which was edited from 1972 to 1984 by horror fiction writer and erudite anthologist R Chetwynd-Hayes, these highly original, and often long-obscure tales reflect the enduring fascination in our literary tradition with phantoms, specters, ghouls, and wraiths. There’s a fetch (i.e., doppelganger) too — in Tina Rath’s nasty take on a violent husband, his shrinking wife, and a scheming woman. And behind Guy de Maupassant’s simply titled “An Apparition” lurks a tale that Chetwynd-Hayes places among the top ten most terrifying ghost stories ever written. From Daniel Defoe’s engaging period piece, “The Ghost of Dorothy Dingley,” set in 1665, to the subtle slice of contemporary ghostly life in Stephen King’s “The Reaper’s Image,” dread takes many fearsome guises in the three centuries of chilling fiction collected here, and solace lies only at the feet of a very dark angel.

Posted in R. Chetwynd-Hayes, Stephen Jones | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Gregory Pendennis – Piranhas in Petticoats

Posted by demonik on April 22, 2009

Gregory Pendennis – Piranhas in Petticoats (Elmslie & Co., 1913, 1934: Spear, 1975, 1980) )

THE MENACE WITHIN

“I mean, confound it all, you insolent baggage! Your country’s about to wage war on the Hun!”

On the surface, Rosie Prenderghast-Smythe seemed no different to any other correct young English debutante. Beautiful. Wealthy. Devoted to Daddy and ‘Mumsy’. Fiercely proud of the Great British way of life.

Why then, had top brass been seen fit to haul in the Duke de Risqué to explain his dearest grand-daughter’s recent muddle-headed outbursts at perceived “injustices”. Outbursts which may yet see her gaoled as a threat to national security?

The answer was more terrible than de Risqué dared fear. His dearest grand-daughter had fallen prey to an even deadlier enemy than Kaiser Bill, Satan and all their hordes combined. The young fool had been duped into joining the Suffragette movement.

Heavily disguised, securing employment far below his station, de Risqué learns from his ‘fellow’ gossiping pantry maids that, brainwashed by her Soviet pay-mistresses, Rosie is recruiting an all-women’s football team to challenge his Majesty’s first XI for the Football Association Challenge Cup at the Crystal Palace!

Can the Duke knock some sense into Miss Prenderghast-Smythe’s dizzy little head before she can bring the Empire to its knees?

Spear 1980 edition

Spear 1980 edition

*covers shown are the ’34 Elmslie and the 2nd Spear edition. If anyone has the originals, please scan ’em up!*

With apologies to Franklin Marsh (and the entire human race)

Posted in Gregory Pendennis | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »