Fifty Forgotten Books is a very special sort of book about books, by a great bibliophile and for book-lovers of all ages and levels of experience. Not quite literary criticism, not quite an autobiography, it is at once a guided tour through the dusty backrooms of long vanished used bookstores, a love letter to bookshops and bookselling, and a browser’s dream wish list of often overlooked and unloved novels, short story collections, poetry collections and works of nonfiction.
In these pages, R. B. Russell doesn’t only discuss the books of his life, but explains what they have meant to him over time, charting his progress as a writer and publisher for over thirty years, and a bibliophile for many more. Here is living proof of how literature, books, and book collecting can be an intrinsic part of one’s personal, professional and imaginative life, and as not only a solitary act, but a social one, resulting in treasured friendships, experiences, and loves one might never, otherwise, have enjoyed.
Filled with a lively nostalgia for the era when finding strange new books meant pounding the pavement and not just searching booksellers’ websites, Fifty Forgotten Books is for anyone who wishes they could still browse the dusty bookshelves of their youth, and who can’t wait to get back out into the world in quest of the next text liable to change their life.
Robert Aickman (1914-1981) is remembered today as the author of fascinating ‘strange stories’, and also as one of the saviours of Britain’s inland waterways. In Aickman’s mind these two apparently different interests were allied; he was an idealist and a Romantic who sought the ‘world elsewhere’ of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, because the modern world was not for him. Aickman believed that an alternative realm could exist in life and the creative arts, and he sought to offer this in his fiction, and to build a Utopia through the restoration of Britain’s inland waterways.
Aickman wrote two volumes of autobiography, The Attempted Rescue and The River Runs Uphill, and both are full of colourful personal details. However, his own versions of events cannot always be relied upon.
In this first full biography of Robert Aickman, R.B. Russell disentangles and examines the myths that have surrounded Aickman and his life. What is revealed is a man of vision and various talents. Determined to realise his ambitions, he often made enemies, but he also had a great capacity for love and friendship. Robert Aickman’s life and attitudes were far from conventional, but his legacy in literature and on the inland waterways of Britain is far-reaching.
Ruth Pritchard’s childhood friend, Oliver Dacey, works for GCHQ. He claims that after receiving strange messages broadcast on an outdated Cold War radio station he is able to travel in time. He involves Ruth and, inevitably, the authorities take an interest in both of them. At the heart of the mystery is Oliver’s mother, Dee, who directed them in games when they were children--games that bear an uncanny resemblance to the broadcast messages.
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About R.B. Russell
As an author he has had four collections of short stories, three novellas and one novel published. His story 'Loup-garou' was chosen for Ellen Datlow’s The Best Horror of the Year. 'In Hiding' was nominated for the 2010 World Fantasy Award, and 'The Beautiful Room' for the 2011 British Fantasy Award.
Michael Dirda has described Russell as '...among the leading practitioners of classic supernatural fiction'.
Russell's novella, Bloody Baudelaire, has been filmed by 3:1 Cinema with the new title Backgammon and was released 2016.
Russell is also a songwriter, having previously composed songs released by The Bollweevils. His first solo CD, Ghosts, was released by Klanggalerie in February 2012. The accompanying video presentation was premiered in Vienna in March 2012, and was subsequently shown at Dean Clough Galleries October 2012. Dean Clough Galleries presented The Romance of Shortwave Radio Numbers Stations as a video installation in 2018.