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This first collection of stories by William Charlton shows just how wide a range of material can be used to create a genuine, contemporary tale of unease.

From the more traditional horror of ‘Undesirable Guests’, with its dubious visitors left in charge of children in an isolated north-country house, to the surreal, bureaucratic complexities of ‘The Area’, Charlton engineers the everyday into something far more warped and off-beam. ‘Travelling By Air’ has the quality of an unshakeable nightmare, while in ‘Hakanono’, European certainties are fatally undermined in a South Seas setting. ‘Norton Camp’ is a time-travelling ghost story with a military theme, and in ‘The Conference Centre,’ nothing can be taken for granted, not even the walls of the building itself.

The fourteen stories included in this volume explore, amongst other themes, scientific study, pagan beliefs and biological aberrations. Small shifts in time or space elicit troubling results. Perhaps the term ‘speculative fiction’ is best employed to describe these tales, but Charlton displays an assured, sometimes comic ease and a subtlety of style which makes them more akin to the works of L.P. Hartley than John Wyndham.

Undesirable Guests is a sewn hardback book of 239 pages. Limited to 300 copies signed by the author. Publication 20th September, 2002. Fine in fine dj. OUT OF PRINT.