North Yorkshire, UK; Tartarus Press; 2003. 1st edition hardcover, 2nd printing. STRANGE TALES by Quentin S. Crisp, Anne-Sylvie Salzman, David Rix, Brendan Connell, Rhys Hughes, Mark Valentine & John Howard, Adam Daly, William Charlton, Dale Nelson, Tina Rath, Nina Allan, Len Maynard & Mick Sims, John Gaskin, Don Tumasonis.
This collection of fourteen new stories, repressenting the best writing in the fields of super-natural, fantasy and horror fiction, will entertain, chill and delight in equal measure.
Immersed in both traditional themes and twenty-first century anxieties, the stories range from the folk-tale melancholy of Anne-Sylvie Salzman's 'Meannanaich', to the pleasing mystery of a new Connoisseur story by Mark Valentine and John Howard, 'The Descent of the Fire'; from the seductive horror of Quentin S. Crisp's 'Cousin X', to the visceral terror of Adam Daly's 'The Self-Eater'.
There are ghosts too; a Classically Greek one in John Gaskin's 'From Lydia with Love and Laughter'; and a fang-trace of vampirism in William Charlton's 'The Grand Hotel'. In 'Eye of the Storm', Don Tumasonis imbues a semi-autobiographical memoir with a troubling undercurrent of unease, whilst in Brendan Connell's 'The Maker of Fine Instruments' the horror is more up-front: it is a warped, Grimm-like morality fable that is not for the faint-hearted.
Fans of Rhys Hughes will delight in the post-modern pyrotechnics of 'The Itchy Skin of Creepy Aplomb', and Tina Rath's historical tour-de-force 'Mr Manpferdit' brilliantly evokes the eighteenth-century London, and the secret desires, of Boswell and Dr Johnson.
Strange Tales is a sewn hardback book of 289+vi pages with silk ribbon marker, head and tailbands, and d/w.
"A most impressive feature of the collection is the eclectic variety of style and content, and the way in which the various tales forge themselves into a collective exploration of 'strangeness' that is most disconcerting. As such, it fulfils the true purpose of an anthology: not simply a mix of interesting pieces, but a cohesive whole infused with a unifying vision, something greater than the sum of the total parts. Quite apart from the intrinsic merits of the stories, this book is, as much as anything, a triumph of editing by Rosalie Parker. . . This excellent volume is presented with all the quality one has come to expect from Tartarus." - Peter Bell, All Hallows.
Fine in fine dj.