2nd December 2023:
Fortean Times review
Ray Russell's Robert Aickman: A Biography, has received a very favourable review in the new issue of the Fortean Times (December 2023. Issue number 439), which concludes by calling the biography 'compelling'.
31st October 2023:
Aickman Discussion for Hallowe'en
Ray Russell joins Matthew Sweet, Andrew Male and Suzi Feay on Free Thinking on BBC Radio Three. It can be heard here.
19th June 2023:
"Reading R.B. Russell’s enchanting book – a unique hybrid of memoir, literary criticism and paean to the joys of bibliophilia – I was reminded of the countless hours I had spent browsing through the shelves of old, second hand bookshops..."
27th March 2023:
Alvaro Zinos-Amaro in his 2022 Year in Review at Locus has written of Robert Aickman: A Biography: "...we should indeed feel comfortable trusting Russell’s account, which is meticulously researched and stems from years of study and careful reflection on Aickman’s ‘'idiosyncratic stories'."
27th March 2023:
Fifty Forgotten Books
Stephen Ellcock at the LoveReading website recommends Fifty Forgotten Books: "A wonderfully idiosyncratic and engaging treasure trove of neglected, overlooked and forgotten (sometimes deservedly forgotten) books and their authors, Fifty Forgotten Books is also a love letter to a vanishing breed of raffish , vaguely disreputable booksellers and to the art of book collecting itself. "
Nancy Oakes at The Real Stuff also writes of Fifty Forgotten Books: "I'm just a reader, not a critic, but I know when I have something extraordinary in my hands, and this book definitely falls into that category. Very, very highly recommended."
27th January 2023:
Russell's short story "I Could Live In Hope" is published in On A Dark, Raging Sea, stories inspired by the band Low, published by Exile in the Margins, 2023.
27th January 2023:
Russell has co-edited (with Rosalie Parker and Mark Valentine), and provided entries for Literary Hauntings: A Ghost Story Gazetteer. It is a guide to the real-life locations for great fictional ghost stories. The first edition, a hardback limited to 350 copies has already sold out, but it is now available as a paperback.
5th December 2022
Matthew Keeley at Tor.com's Reviewers’ Choice: The Best Books of 2022 writes of Fifty Forgotten Books "I haven’t yet read this from cover to cover, but every entry I’ve flipped to so far has been a joy."
4th November 2022
Times Literary Supplement
In the Times Literary Supplement Margaret Drabble has reviewed An Attempted Biography by R.B. Russell, which she describes as "clear-eyed and dispassionate". She also writes of Aickman: "Equally strange, enigmatic and unclassifiable is the appeal of his fiction, which now has me unaccountably in thrall."
3rd November 2022
Heaven's Hill soundtrack
23rd October 2022:
Five New Reviews
‘Russell informs us that a recent survey found that, contrary to popular belief, there are "more second-hand bookshops now than there have ever been", and this engaging, idiosyncratic volume should send readers scurrying to them in pursuit of the curious and recherché works that it champions.’ The Spectator
‘An original take on the joys of second-hand books. . . . I hope this little gem will be discovered on dusty shelves by future generations of bibliophiles.’ Andrew Gallix, The Irish Times
‘Brilliant. . . an account of a personal reading journey into the half-lit corridors and haunted wings of literature in search of pure linguistic gold.’ Ian McMillan, The Yorkshire Post
‘The two best qualities of Ray Russell’s memoir are the eclectic nature of his list of titles and the delight a reader has in walking around in his library as the collector pulls volumes from shelves to tell stories of books, and of the booksellers, friends, and authors summoned in memory in the telling.’ Henry Wessells, The Endless Bookshelf
‘Fifty Forgotten Books may not lead readers to all too many books ... offers more than enough otherwise for any book-lover -- because, also, it is so clearly written by one --, and is certainly an appealing little read.’ M.A. Orthofer, The Complete Review
15th September 2022:
Fifty Forgotten Books on tour
R.B. Russell will be undertaking a series of talks and readings to promote Fifty Forgotten Books:
Thursday 22nd September: Sheffield City Library, Sheffield
Thursday 29th September: Lucius Books, York
Thursday 6th October: Maggs Bros, London
10th August 2022:
The New York Sun Review
Carl Rollyson has reviewed Robert Aickman: An Attempted Biography in The New York Sun: "Masterful. . . Russell is quite aware that a biography of Aickman can only be attempted because, from moment to moment, what Aickman experienced and what he imagined are hard to separate. It is a virtue of this biography that it shows how, for Aickman, experience was what he imagined."
9th August 2022:
Russell's story "The Sweetshop" has been included in Grotesqueries, A Tribute to the Tales of L.A. Lewis, edited by Mark Valentine, and the story "The Company You Keep" is in Fabulous Aesop: Classic Tales Revisited edited by Baby Dee, both books published by Jonas Plöger at Zagava.
7th August 2022:
Publishers Weekly review
‘Fifty “often overlooked and unloved” works of literature get their time in the sun as novelist and publisher Russell (She Sleeps) presents books that influenced him in this candid outing. . . . Filled with quirky observations and personal asides, this is just right for book lovers.’ Publishers Weekly
9th July 2022:
Barry Forshaw has reviewed Robert Aickman: An Attempted Biography at CrimeTime, writing that it is a "definitive assessment" of Aickman: "Finessing of Aickman’s reputation will be further enhanced by R.B. Russell’s detailed, intelligent and comprehensive biography, which is surely the last word on the author – it is impossible to imagine more justice being done to his reputation."
9th June 2022:
Fifty Forgotten Books
R.B. Russell's Fifty Forgotten Books will be published on 13th September 2022 by And Other Stories. A hybrid of memoir and literary essay, it is a guide to neglected and half-forgotten authors that Russell would like to recommend to readers.
It is available for pre-order direct from the publisher And Other Stories, as well as Amazon.
10th May 2022:
Robert Aickman: An Attempted Biography reviewed
"This book is formidably well-written and researched. Russell has interviewed many people who knew Aickman, and their responses have been exceptionally articulate and illuminating. These first-hand impressions of the man are one of the book’s great strengths. A good biography will tell you what it was like to know the subject; a very good one will give you an idea of what it was like to be the subject: Russell’s Robert Aickman attempts both and succeeds." Reggie Oliver, Wormwood 38
"...insightful, revealing information about a true master of horror." Dejan Ognjanovic, Rue Morgue
"The massive biography is, first of all, a work of love ... but also an effective display of Russell’s capacity as a devoted scholar in the genre of dark fiction." Blackgate.com
"An Attempted Biography" now enjoys a place of honor on my favorites bookshelf -- I am just completely in awe of what Russell has accomplished here." the real stuff
10th April 2022:
Waiting for the End of the World reviewed
Russell is an expert at making us love his characters, and he creates scenes on the page that will live in readers’ memories right alongside their won. As for his elements of the fantastic, Russell manages the unusual feat of creating something that seems grittily realistic, while at the same time being wildly, inventively imaginative. Suffice it to say that your charmed smile will give way to a dropped jaw more often than you will suspect. The combination is utterly unique; I’ve never read anything quite like it.
22nd March 2022:
The Washington Post
"Nobody knows more about this author of beautifully composed, hallucinatory short fiction than R.B. Russell. Robert Aickman: An Attempted Biography — the subtitle echoes Aickman’s memoir, The Attempted Rescue — reveals a man, both charming and rabidly opinionated, who seems to have polarized everyone he met. . . ."
22nd March 2022:
Edward Parnell (author of the acclaimed Ghostland) will be hosting an online Zoom talk by Ray Russell and Rosalie Parker this Thursday evening (24th March, 8pm UK time). We will be talking about Robert Aickman's life and work, with a Q&A session afterwards. Ticket holders will also be emailed a link to a recording of the talk that will then be available to watch at their leisure for the next couple of weeks.
Tickets are available here.
12th March 2022:
Heaven's Hill reviews
Heaven's Hill has been reviewed in Aurealis #148 by Belinda Brady
"Russell’s writing is effortlessly smooth and the flow of the story consistent, catching the reader’s attention from the first chapter. Scenes and interactions have impeccable and descriptive detail, and the trips back in time are an engrossing read. Heaven’s Hill is a wonderfully-fun read full of drama, mystery and time travel and one that any fan of these genres will proudly add to their collection.
"...a rollicking mash-up of all your favourite ITC shows such as 'The Champions', 'Jason King' and 'The Prisoner' alongside 'The Avengers' and a very healthy serving of 'Sapphire and Steel' through which Russell launches his characters on a mind bending journey through time . . . Don't be fooled though this is no mere pastiche but a love letter to a genre now pretty much consigned to history (and blogs like this one) but one written with an awareness of both it's absurdities and it's joie de vivre."
11th March 2022:
Copsford on Cassette
Copsford has been re-released on cassette by Warm Noise records via the Warm Noise Bandcamp page.
10th March 2022:
Waiting for the End of the World review
Nancy Oakes at Oddly Weird Fiction blog has posted a great review of Waiting for the End of the World: "This one I can certainly and very highly recommend. Like all of my favorite books, I can honestly and without reservation say that I've never read anything quite like it."
14th January 2022:
Robert Aickman: An Attempted Biography
Russell's Robert Aickman: An Attempted Biography, the first full-length biography of this fascinating author, and co-saviour of Britain's inland waterways, will be published on February 3rd, 2022. The book is a sewn hardback book of 396 + vi pages, including an index, and a 20pps plate section. It is limited to 500 numbered, signed copies.
14th January 2022:
Russell's first novel, She Sleeps, previously available from PS Publishing, is now available direct from Tartarus Press.
14th December 2021:
Copsford on Vinyl
Russell's Copsford album, inspired by the book by Walter J.C. Murray, is now available (while stocks last), in a very limited lathe-cut vinyl edition from the incomparable Bladud Flies! In this process each copy of the record is cut in real-time. Michael Lawrence, aka The Bricoleur, has mastered and cut the record, while Lauren Winton has created a wonderful centre etching, and has overseen the design of all the artwork for the sleeve and insert. There are only forty one numbered copies. Please note - this issue has now sold out.
29th November 2021:
The House on Windmill Lane
Russell's short story "The House on Windmill Lane" has been printed by Raphus Press in Brazil in a hardback edition of only 90 copies. The book contains the story in both English and Portuguese. It is available from Ziesings.com. In a review, Des Lewis has written that the story "is genuinely touching and haunting".
12th November 2021:
She Sleeps reviewed
She Sleeps received a terrific review in the German magazine Rocks, by Gerrit Wustmann, earlier this year. "... a little gem that is as exciting as it is nostalgic... This has at first, a hint of High Fidelity, but written by a writer who in contrast to Nick Hornby can actually write."
12th November 2021:
Oddlyweirdfiction publishes a great review of the Swan River Press paperback, Ghosts, concluding by writing "Very highly recommended". Gerrit Wustmann has also written of Ghosts: "Read it ! It's a pleasure, every sentence, every page."
10th October 2021:
Swan River Press has republished Ghosts as an affordable, elegant paperback. It is available here.
10th October 2021:
The Green Book
The new issue of The Green Book from Swan River Press contains Russell's articles on W.B. Yeats and Harry Clarke. It is available here.
4th October 2021
The Manchester review of Books review
"Waiting for the End of the World is, as you would expect, a novel about apocalypse. Initially, a personal apocalypse – 'revelation', from the Greek: a secret, long hidden, is finally revealed . . ." The Manchester Review of Books
1st September 2021:
Russell's third novel, Heaven's Hill, is due to be published autumn 2021. It will initially be published by Zagava as a limited, numbered hardback edition (199 copies), and as a deluxe leatherbound lettered edition (24 copies) with a 7" vinyl record.
9th July 2021:
"The author pulls you in with his ability to write true-to-life characters. His description is nothing short of poetic brilliance. The reader is drawn into this world of suspense and flawed faiths. His ability to capture his audience lies in his talent to delve into the deeper questions, and present them from a rational stance. Elliot's humanity is explored beautifully through his love for his partner Lana. Waiting for the End of the World pulls from the depths of its character's souls. Their backstories are presented seamlessly, and tugs at the reader's emotions.
From the first chapter his passion and ability to tell a story are seen throughout the pages. R.B. Russell takes everyday activities, and creates a world that is both comforting and tragic. Each new person that is introduced within Elliot's past and present has a unique dialogue all of their own. The reader will find themselves wanting to know more about not just those involved, but the entire world that Russell has built. Waiting for the End of the World is an honest depiction of life and religion stripped down to its bones."
Russell's story 'A House of Treasures' is included in Infra Noir 2020, Zagava, April 2021. It was previously published by Zagava as a limited edition chapbook.
11th February 2021:
". . . incredible storytelling, compelling characters and a completely unpredictable plot. This book will suck you in, shake you up and spit you out wondering what on earth just happened . . . Ultimately, this story is unlike anything I’ve read before and kept me utterly gripped to the end." Siobhan O’Brien Holmes, British Fantasy Society
10th February 2021:
Another great review
"And when I say loaded, I mean it. Russell manages to pack the book with an enormous amount of moral philosophy and religious history, both mainstream and offbeat, while avoiding pomposity. . . . after an explosive and frequently confounding second half the final chapters strike the right balance between satisfying explanation and mystery. This is a novel aimed squarely at readers with an enquiring cast of mind, but it’s anything but dry and nerdy. The lush depictions of places and people bring life and colour to all those “big questions”, and Russell never fobs off the reader with easy answers." Daisy Lyle, Gingernuts of Horror
5th January 2021:
"Ploughing a similar sort of furrow as Andrew Michael Hurley although of perhaps a more cosmic and less earthy bent it is, as I said, an absorbing read and one that I devoured over two afternoons."
4th January 2021:
Bloody Baudelaire paperback
'Russell ... mixes menace, mystery and romance in a plot that keeps the reader teasingly off-balance and guessing how matters will resolve themselves until the tale’s final twist ending.' Publishers Weekly