Monday, 11 April 2011

Dark Shadows Fall

This year's title from Sarob Press is a collection of stories by Mark Nicholls, whose day job is President and Librarian at St John's, Cambridge. If you think that means his stories are full of leather clad women with chainsaws fighting off zombies, you should read the previous sentence again. We're very much in M.R. James country, here - unworldly academics, country houses, servants with amusing accents and so on. However, these stories rise above mere pastiche of the Provost of King's, and some deliberately take  the ghost out of his/her/its traditional habitat - thus one story, 'In Eastern Waters', is very redolent of Conrad.

The fact that most of these stories were published in Ghosts & Scholars should tell you that they of a high standard, both in terms of the writing and the central ideas. So far I'm about half a dozen stories in and enjoying them a lot. However, according to Rob Morgan the collection is now sold out. I suspect this means copies can be obtained from various wily dealers, as per usual. Well worth making the effort. More detailed review of Dark Shadows Fall to come in ST20. l

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