British Weird: Selected Short Fiction, 1893-1937 edited by James Machin
Trade Paperback – Handheld Press – Oct 2020 – 290 pages
British Weird is a new anthology of classic Weird short fiction by British writers, first published between the 1890s and the 1930s. This collection – curated by James Machin – assembles stories to thrill, entertain, and chill.
The nine stories are: 1.‘Man-Size in Marble’ by Edith Nesbit (1893): immense church effigies walk at night 2.‘No-Man’s Land’ by John Buchan (1900): man find prehistoric tribe in Scottish Highlands 3.‘The Willows’ by Algernon Blackwood (1907): canoeing holiday on a haunted river 4.‘Caterpillars’ by E. F. Benson (1912): really bad country house hallucinations 5.‘The Bad Lands’ by John Metcalfe (1920): more hallucinations, but outdoors 6.’Randalls Round’ by Eleanor Scott (1927): a folk tune with deadly effect 7.‘Lost Keep’ by L. A. Lewis (1934): a terrifying experiment with human scale 8.‘N’ by Arthur Machen (1934): why looking for a lost London street can be dangerous 9.‘Mappa Mundi’ by Mary Butts (1937): 20thC American student gets lost in medieval Paris
British Weird also republishes an important 1933 essay by Mary Butts on the history of and recent work in supernatural writing: 10. ‘Ghosties and Ghoulies’: Uses of the Supernatural in English Fiction
Machin’s introduction describes the background for these excellent stories in the Weird tradition, and identifies their use of peculiarly British preoccupations in supernatural short fiction.