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.


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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 He claims that after receiving strange messages broadcast on an outdated Cold War radio station he is able to travel in time.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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Elliot Barton is haunted by a tragic mistake. At the time it seemed like the end of his world, but somehow he has managed to rebuild his life, and now lives happily with his partner, Lana, in their house on Sapphire Street. But Elliot’s good fortune threatens to implode when his old schoolfriend, Vincent, reappears. He has become a Christian, and wants to tell the authorities what happened so many years before.


Rather than simply following the teachings of Christ, however, Vincent also claims to have met him. Elliot becomes involved with Vincent’s millennialist church, which prophesied that the world would end in the year 2000. But what happens to the Messiah and his church when that prophesy does not come to pass?


And can Elliot navigate his way through the chaos of incredible experiences back to his happy existence on Sapphire Street?


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It is 1989 and Lawrence Moore has left University and is working in a record shop. He has written a series of lyrics that have come to the attention of Richie Young, a faded pop star attempting to make a come-back. The lyrics are inspired by dark and unexplained events from six years before, when Lawrence had been at school: a disappearance, a suicide and a hit-and-run. When the record is released Lawrence is accused of exploiting these tragedies and is attacked by the newspapers as well as by friends and family.


The past returns to haunt Lawrence Moore, but the attendant publicity also brings developments...


A murder mystery with the slightest hint of the supernatural, this is R.B. Russell’s first novel.


She Sleeps has been reprinted by Tartarus Press in paperback.

About R.B. Russell


R.B. Russell is a publisher, co-running Tartarus Press with Rosalie Parker. He writes novels, short stories and non-fiction, and composes music.


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.[10]


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.

Copyright R.B. Russell, 2022