Gruesome Cargoes

Horror fiction 1925-1937: ‘Not At Nights’ & ‘Creeps’

Archive for June, 2008

Mike Ashley: Unlocking The Night

Posted by demonik on June 14, 2008

There doesn’t seem to be much literary criticism of the Not At Night and Creeps series’. The article that I’ve found of most help to date is unquestionably Mike Ashley’s splendid Unlocking The Night in Stephen Jones & Jo Fletcher (eds.) Gaslight And Ghosts (World Fantasy Convention/ Robinsons, 1988) which I’ve heavily drawn on for my CCT and Oscar Cook info. I met Mr. Ashley briefly at the Zardoz book fair in 2005 but my brain wouldn’t go and therefore I completely wasted the opportunity to grill him about anything remotely relevant.


Micheal Foreman

Introduction: A Ripping Yarn – Stephen Jones & Jo Fletcher

James Herbert – Halloween’s Child
Neil Gamman – James Herbert: Growing Up In Public
Dianna Wynne Jones – The Green Stone
Clive Barker – The Rhapsodist
Hugh Lamb – Victorian Terror
Garry Kilworth – Beyond Byzantium
Brian Lumley – The Writer In The Garret
Ian Watson – The Case Of The Glass Slipper
R. Chetwynd-Hayes – Fog Ghost
Peter Tremayne – A Reflection Of Ghosts
Robert Holdstock – Time Of The Tree
Ramsey Campbell – Cat And Mouse
Brian W. Aldiss – Forgotten Life
Karl E. Wagner – Beyond Any Measure
Mike Ashley – Unlocking The Night
Terry Pratchett – Sphinx
Barbara Hambly – Immortal Blood
Lisa Tuttle – The Modern Prometheus
Adrian Cole – Grimander
Kim Newman – The Long Autumn Of 1888
Charles L. Grant – Snowman

If buying a book for a solitary article reeks of extravagance/ completist desperation, then rest assured that Gaslight And Ghosts has much else to recommend it including Hugh Lamb’s enthusiastic essay on Victorian Nightmares, Kim Newman’s annotated listing of Jack the Ripper movies and TV appearances The Long Autumn Of 1888 and some excellent fiction by Karl E. Wagner, Chetwynd-Hayes and Charles L. Grant among others.  It’s a weird amalgam of horror and fantasy stories, artwork, articles, extracts from then forthcoming novels, ads and co., loosely based around a  Jack The Ripper/ Victorian theme, although many of the items don’t come within spitting distance. The overall effect is like an extended, hardcover issue of Fantasy Tales magazine.

As to the short stories, Beyond Any Measure has to be the stand out, a vampire/ doppelganger classic, and the Campbell is resurrected from early Michel Parry anthology, Beware Of The Cat. Fog Ghost seems to have been written to order, but it’s mercifully free of the heavy-handed humour that blights some of RCH’s other work. Hallowe’en Child is reputedly based on a true incident on the night Herbert’s daughter was born.


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