Keep Out The Night: Volume One
of the new 'Not At Night Series'
(PS Publishing, £45, 248 pages, hardback, limited edition, signed
by the editor; also available signed by all contributors priced £
65; published October 2002.)
Jones and Peter Crowther have joined forces, as editor and publisher
respectively, in the gallant attempt to revive the famous Not at
Night series of anthologies edited during the '20s and '30s by Christine
While Thomson chose to reprint stories mostly from the legendary magazine
Weird Tales, Jones has decided to contact a group of contemporary
horror writers and ask them to select favourite stories of theirs which
they felt had been overlooked for some reason either by readers or editors.
The idea itself is excellent, biding well to provide reprint anthologies
where there is no risk of finding once again the usual tales that by
now every reader knows by heart. On the other hand the faithful horror
fan (your current reviewer among them) will recognize good stories he
can still remember, even though their exact location on his bookshelves
remains often elusive.
The contributors are all first-rate, although their choices are sometimes
Hugh B Cave provides an obscure but effective story in the pulp fiction
tradition ("Invasion from Inferno"), Brian Lumley reproposes an
old, spine-chilling tale of terror ("The viaduct"), but both Sidney
J Bounds ("Homecoming") and Dennis Etchison ("One of us") seem to be
fond of stories of theirs which appear quite unimpressive and had rightly
fallen into oblivion.
The lady writers display much better taste, by choosing a disquieting,
beautifully written tale ("Spindleshanks" by Caitlin R Kiernan) and
a heartbreaking love story with a tragic ending ("Nothing of him that
doth fade" by Poppy Z Brite). Neil Gaiman ("Feeders and eaters") and
Tim Lebbon ("The unfortunate") also hit the target convincingly, while
Kim Newman's "Is there anybody there?" could have easily remained on
The two real standouts are two stories which, even if you still remember
them quite clearly (as I did), are so good to be fully enjoyed every
time you read them. The first one is "Dear Alison" by the talented Michael
Marshall Smith, an elegiac, offbeat story of vampirism which previously
appeared in The Mammoth Book of Dracula, and the other one is
Basil Copper's "The gossips", originally published in his Arkham House
collection From Evil's Pillow, a standing example of great
storytelling which should teach something to many contemporary writers.
Finally, a very embarrassed note about Ramsey Campbell's contribution
("Needing ghosts"). If I'm allowed to commit sacrilege against a great
master of horror (and, incidentally, one of my favourite authors), I
confess that I found his story frankly boring ...
All in all, Keep out the Night, despite a few weak stories,
is a very good reprint anthology, including many excellent tales. I
wholeheartedly advise horror fans to get a copy before it goes out of
print and urge Stephen Jones and Peter Crowther to carry on with their
Review by Mario Guslandi.
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