New Editions of Robert Aickman’s ‘Strange Stories’ for His Centenary Year

Faber is delighted to announce the publication of four new editions in B format of the ‘strange stories’ of Robert Aickman – widely regarded as the twentieth century’s greatest English writer of supernatural stories – to mark the centenary of his birth in June 2014.

Faber Finds will also re-issue Aickman’s extremely rare novels The Late Breakfasters and The Model, both of which have been out of print for decades. Faber has World English P&E rights in the four collections of stories and The Model, and UK & Commonwealth rights in The Late Breakfasters.

Timetable for Publication in 2014:

Dark Entries (June)
Cold Hand in Mine (June)
The Late Breakfasters (June)
The Model (June)
The Wine-Dark Sea (August)
The Unsettled Dust (September)

For many years Aickman has been a ‘cult’ author somewhat unsung by the mainstream, but among the cognoscenti he is rated as an absolute master of the horror genre. His conspicuous fans include Neil Gaiman and the former League of Gentleman collaborators Mark Gatiss (Sherlock, Doctor Who), Jeremy Dyson (Ghost Stories) and Reece Shearsmith (Psychoville, Inside No. 9).

The new Faber editions will feature illuminating new introductions from Reece Shearsmith and Richard T. Kelly (author of gothic horror novel The Possessions of Doctor Forrest), and afterwords by close friends of Aickman’s, including Ramsey Campbell, Britain’s most respected living horror novelist, and Leslie Gardner, Aickman’s literary agent. All four new editions have elegantly chilling new cover art designed by Tim McDonagh.

Aickman is the centennial honouree at this year’s World Fantasy Convention to be held in Arlington, Virginia, from November 6-9 2014. (In 1975 Aickman won the Convention’s World Fantasy Award for Short Fiction for his story ‘Pages From a Young Girl’s Journal’, later collected in Cold Hand in Mine.)

Hannah Griffiths, Associate Publisher, Fiction, Faber & Faber:

‘Many of us at Faber have come to Aickman’s ‘strange stories’ since they appeared on the Faber Finds list. What a discovery! We hope our exquisite new editions appeal to the existing fans and introduce his unique vision to the new wave of literary horror readers out there.’

‘Reading Robert Aickman is like watching a magician work, and very often I’m not even sure what the trick was. All I know is that he did it beautifully.’ Neil Gaiman

‘Of all the authors of uncanny tales, Aickman is the best ever … His tales literally haunt me; his plots and his turns of phrase run through my head at the most unlikely moments.’ Russell Kirk

‘Every story you read by Aickman has something lurking within it that will stay with you long after you have finished reading it.’ Reece Shearsmith

‘The cumulative effect of [Aickman’s] stories is remarkable, and their hostile suggestiveness stays with the reader long after the book is closed.’ Tim Martin, Daily Telegraph

‘Robert Aickman was the best, the subtlest and the creepiest author of ghost stories of his time … still enormously re-readable, offering mysteries which get deeper and scarier with each return.’ Kim Newman

About Robert Aickman

Robert Fordyce Aickman was born in London in 1914. His maternal grandfather was bestselling Victorian novelist Richard Marsh, author of the supernatural thriller The Beetle (1897). He attended Highgate school and assisted his father’s architectural practice prior to his co-founding, in 1944, of the Inland Waterways Association, an organisation dedicated to the preservation and restoration of England’s system of inland canals. In 1951 he co-published a book of stories with Elizabeth Jane Howard (his secretary at the IWA), entitled We Are for the Dark, to which they contributed three tales apiece.

In 1964 Aickman published his first solo collection, Dark Entries, and in his lifetime he would go on to publish a further five volumes of what he called ‘strange stories’. In 1975 he received the World Fantasy Award for Short Fiction for his story ‘Pages from a Young Girl’s Journal’, subsequently reprinted in his collection Cold Hand in Mine. He also published a novel, The Late Breakfasters (1964) and a memoir, The Attempted Rescue (1966), and between 1964 and 1972 he edited the first eight volumes of the Fontana Book of Great Ghost Stories.

Aickman died of cancer on 26 February 1981 having refused conventional treatment. A number of his writings were then published posthumously: a final story collection, Night Voices (1985), a second volume of memoirs, The River Runs Uphill (1986), a novella, The Model (1987), and two noteworthy compilations of his finest ‘strange stories’, The Wine-Dark Sea (1988) and The Unsettled Dust (1990).