Robert Aikman (2)

Robert Aikman isn’t as widely known or as appreciated as some of his contemporaries, but his tales of the uncanny still resonate with modern aficionados of the strange. If you’re unfamiliar with the name, think on a lineage that encompass M.R James, passes through Aikman, onto Roald Dahl – in Tales of the Unexpected mode – and then out into the psychodramas of J. G. Ballard and Will Self. Not necessarily overt horror, or monster of the week, but something more sub-dermal and terrifyingly closer to home.

Despite having over 50 short stories published in his life time, Aikman’s commercial success was perpetually hampered by a lack of public attachment and the near constant distraction of numerous extra curriculum activities. Today, however, there’s a growing number of advocates of his work among the more esoteric echelons of publishing and broadcast.

Sword and sorcery pioneer Fritz Leiber, horror author Peter Straub and co-creator of the League of Gentleman Mark Gaitiss have all paid their respects or produced adaptations of the writer’s works. Now author, publisher and all round Aikman fan, Storm Constantine, is about to release her own homage to this fellow writer of “strange tales”.

Dark in the Day is an anthology of the weird, penned by such luminaries as Tanith Lee set alongside those new to the genre. It’s publication comes as a result of a collaboration between Immanion Press and Staffordshire University, and is co-edited by Paul Houghton – senior lecturer in creative writing. Reason enough you might think to endear itself to this site, but there’s also the personal (and delightful) boon of having my own story – The Vigil – included within its pages.

The book will be on sale direct from the publishing house next month, and more details of this eldritch tome and other books of oddity can be found here.

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