The legacy of great, and greatly neglected, British horror and dark fiction writer Robert Aickman (1914-1981) has languished without mass market publication for many years. Tartarus Press carries a superb, but unfortunately expensive and hard to come by, series of hardback reprints of his original short story collections, and Faber Finds published three volumes of stories, both reprint collections and original recompilations, in 2008. Now, though, Faber has announced “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.”
Dark Entries, Aickman’s first collection dating from 1964 and the first reprint in the publication schedule with a June release date, is already up for pre-order on the Faber website, priced £7.99 ($13.20). “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,” the Faber blurb continues.
Unfortunately, three out of the six announced titles – Cold Hand in Mine, The Wine-Dark Sea, and The Unsettled Dust – look to be straight reissues of the Faber Finds titles from 2008, and those last two aren’t even original Aickman compilations. Some stories from Aickman’s later collections did make it into The Wine-Dark Sea, and The Unsettled Dust – but still, oh for Tales of Love and Death, Intrusions, and Night Voices from the 1970s and 1980s. Also, I hope that this time round Faber does a better job of proofreading and corrects some of the atrocious uncorrected OCR errors that marred the Faber Finds reprints.
Two cheers for Faber, then, on this news. But still, any new Aickman material is welcome, and the novels especially are a really welcome addition to the corpus. Should make for some very interesting, if chilling, evenings.