Robert Aickman, the supreme master of the supernatural, brings together eight stories in which strange things happen that the reader is unable to predict. His characters are often lonely and middle-aged, but all have the same thing in common: they are brought to the brink of an abyss that shows how terrifyingly fragile our piece of mind actually is.
The Unsettled Dust, The House of the Russians, No Stronger Than a Flower, The Cicerones and Ravissante first appeared in the Sub Rosa collection in 1968, but the stories were published together as The Unsettled Dust in 1990. Aickman received the British Fantasy Award in 1981 for The Stains, which first appeared in the anthology New Terrors (1980), as well as the posthumous collection of Aickman's short stories, Night Voices (1985).
The Unsettled Dust
The Houses of the Russians
No Stronger Than a Flower
The Next Glade
Bind Your Hair
Robert Fordyce Aickman was born in 1914 in London. In 1951, he published his first ghost stories in a volume called We Are the Dark, written in conjunction with Elizabeth Jane Howard, then went on to publish eleven further volumes of horror stories, two fantasy novels and two volumes of autobiography. Dubbed ‘the supreme master of the supernatural’, he won a World Fantasy Award and British Fantasy Award for his short fiction, and also edited the first eight volumes of The Fontana Book of Great Ghost Stories. Aside from his writing, Aickman was passionate about preserving British canals and founded the Inland Waterways Association in 1946. He died in February 1981.
Reece Shearsmith is a talented actor and writer. He is most famous for co-writing and starring in the award-winning The League of Gentlemen, along with Steve Pemberton, Mark Gatiss, and Jeremy Dyson. In 2009, Shearsmith and Pemberton won Best New Comedy at the 2009 British Comedy Awards for Psychoville. Reece Shearsmith has just finished filming Ben Wheatley's horror A Field in England, out in July 2013.
"I think that Aickman is one of those authors that you respond to on a very primal level. 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. Yes, the key vanished, but I don't know if he was holding a key in the hand to begin with. I find myself admiring everything he does from an auctorial standpoint. And I love it as a reader. He will bring on atmosphere. He will construct these perfect, dark, doomed little stories, what he called 'strange stories’" (Neil Gaiman)
"We are all potential victims of the powers Aickman so skilfully conjures and commands" (Robert Bloch)
"This century's most profound writer of what we call horror stories" (Peter Straub)
"Superb tales of suspenseful unease... a contemporary master of the genre" (Publishers Weekly)
"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)
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- David Davis "I read a book once."