New Treasures: Dark Entries by Robert Aickman
Robert Aickman was an English ghost story writer who died in 1981. I bought his famous collection The Wine-Dark Sea over 10 years ago and was very impressed.
But it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a contemporary printing of his most famous books — especially in an affordable paperback format. So I was thrilled to see Faber & Faber recently reprint three collections in both digital editions and handsome trade paperbacks: The Unsettled Dust (September 4), The Wine-Dark Sea (August 7), and his very first collection, Dark Entries. All are well worth your time, especially if you’re a fan of British horror.
‘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
Aickman’s ‘strange stories’ (his preferred term) are constructed immaculately, the neuroses of his characters painted in subtle shades. He builds dread by the steady accrual of realistic detail, until the reader realises that the protagonist is heading towards their doom as if in a dream.
Dark Entries was first published in 1964 and contains six curious and macabre stories of love, death and the supernatural, including the classic story ‘Ringing the Changes.’
‘Robert Aickman was the best, the subtlest, and creepiest author of ghost stories of his time… still enormously readable, offering mysteries which get deeper and scarier with each return.’ — Kim Newman
Dark Entries was published June 5, 2014 by Faber & Faber. It is 256 pages, priced at £7.99 in trade paperback and $5.82 for the digital edition. The gorgeous cover is by Tim McDonagh; click for a bigger version.
This is wonderful news. For decades I’ve been making do with old book-club copies of Cold Hand In Mine and Painted Devils. The Collected Strange Stories that was issued many years ago can be found used – if you’re willing to go without food or electricity for six months.
They have also reprinted ‘Cold Hand in Mine’ which came out on July 3rd. I picked that up along with ‘Wine-Dark Sea’ and ‘Dark Entries’ I still have to grab ‘The Unsettled Dust’ The covers are lovely on all of these reprints. Two of his novels ‘The Late Breakfasters’ and ‘The Model’ also received reprints, although these are through ‘Faber Finds’ which seems to be an ‘On Demand’ imprint, with plain covers. Most of the stories from ‘Painted Devils’ appear in the other Faber collections ,although there a couple that appear in his Fontana paperback collection ‘Powers of Darkness’ from 1966, which has additional stories otherwise only in expensive Tartarus Press hardcover reprints. I ended up with two copies of ‘Dark Entries’ after I managed to pick up the 1965 Fontana paperback edition while in the U.K. for Worldcon. I intend to actually read some of it before the World Fantasy convention in November. Here is the Faber press release about the reissues:
Richard – Starfarer’s Despatch
I did wonder whether Aickmans ‘Dark Entries’ collection was where seminal goth band ‘Bauhaus’ picked up the name for their single ‘Dark Entries’. It’s certainly possible.
[…] a month ago, I reported (with some delight) on my acquisition of Robert Aickman’s Dark Entries, a reprint collection […]