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Old 11-14-2012, 01:09 PM   #1
BenG
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Hurray! Robert Aickman on the Kindle!

Just noticed that Amazon has three Robert Aickman collections for the Kindle. I bought all three even though I have two in hardback already. Aickman was a British writer of horror stories. He preferred to call them "Strange Stories" and they do tend to be unreal, elliptical, subtle and rarely explaining things outright. They are more unsettling (sometimes very unsettling) than scary.
"Pages From A Young Girls Diary"(which won a World Fantasy Award) in Cold Hand in Mine is the most straight forward horror story in the bunch.

He also edited the first eight "Fontana Book of Great Ghost Stories."

From Peter Straub's introduction:
Quote:
Unlike nearly everybody writing supernatural stories now, Aickman rejected the neat, conclusive ending. He was, you might say, Stephen King’s opposite. In his work there are no climactic showdowns, in part because his work uses almost none of the conventional imagery of horror. Aickman was sublimely uninterested in monsters, werewolves, worms, rats, bats, and things in bandages. (He did, however, write one great vampire story.) Absent from this list of horror conventions is ghosts, because Aickman was interested in ghosts, at least in a way – in the atmosphere a ghost creates, the thrill of unreality which surrounds it. Aickman was a queerly visionary writer, and ghosts, which are both utterly irrational and thoroughly English, would have appealed to him.

Last edited by BenG; 11-14-2012 at 01:15 PM.
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Old 11-15-2012, 01:35 AM   #2
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I've never heard of Robert Aickman. I just browsed his three titles in the Kindle Store and I'm really interested. For someone who hasn't read any of his books, which one do you think I should start with?
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Old 11-15-2012, 08:51 AM   #3
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At last someone else who understands the dark delight of Aickman! One of the most gifted and original talents to surface in the ghost story genre for a very long time, and a totally worthy successor to the great British tradition of Sheridan Le Fanu and MR James. It doesn't hurt that he can also rub his modernist credentials up against Borges or even Beckett with the best of them. Now all we need is for someone to digitize many more of his great stories.

Gazella, it's a really hard call, since all three volumes currently in Kindle are fabulous and you won't be disappointed. Easiest to buy all three, of course. But on balance, I'd say start with "The Wine-Dark Sea". For one thing, it has 11 stories, the most out of any of the three. Some are weird and unsettling but not overtly scary: the title story or the exquisite concluding piece 'Into the Woods', for instance. But others - 'The Inner Room', 'Never Visit Venice', 'The Trains' or 'Your Tiny Hand is Frozen' - are plain chilling. And his marvellous prose seldom falters. He's the kind of writer who leaves a mark on your awareness - even a stain, maybe? Fabulous stuff.
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Old 11-15-2012, 09:38 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by pstjmack View Post
Gazella, it's a really hard call, since all three volumes currently in Kindle are fabulous and you won't be disappointed. Easiest to buy all three, of course. But on balance, I'd say start with "The Wine-Dark Sea". For one thing, it has 11 stories, the most out of any of the three. Some are weird and unsettling but not overtly scary: the title story or the exquisite concluding piece 'Into the Woods', for instance. But others - 'The Inner Room', 'Never Visit Venice', 'The Trains' or 'Your Tiny Hand is Frozen' - are plain chilling. And his marvellous prose seldom falters. He's the kind of writer who leaves a mark on your awareness - even a stain, maybe? Fabulous stuff.
I wonder why his books aren't popular among readers because they seem fantastic! I'm assuming he's one of those underrated writers. Anyway, I'll be getting The Wine-Dark Sea. Thank you!
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:11 AM   #5
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I've been an Aickman fan since 1975, when I first discovered him.

However, it was only about 10 years later, upon re-reading him, that I truly began to appreciate his fiction.

As fans of his work know, he's been compared to M.R. James and Henry James.

He's what other writers call a 'writer's writer,' in that many professional writers admire his work.




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Old 11-16-2012, 07:12 PM   #6
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Thanks, BenG! I've added these to my wishlist.
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Old 11-17-2012, 08:28 AM   #7
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Thanks for the rec. Have just picked up "The Wine-Dark Sea" from Kobo, using a 40% off discount code
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Old 11-19-2012, 05:46 AM   #8
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Smart call, penguin.
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