Robert Aickman is known for his ‘strange tales’, in fact, forty-eight complete strange tales, published between 1951 and 1981 in eight books. In 2015 Tartarus Press published a new volume, The Strangers and Other Writings, which included previously unpublished and uncollected short fiction, non-fiction and poetry by Aickman. Dating from the 1930s to 1980, the contents show his development as a writer. Six unpublished short stories, augmented by one written for broadcast, follow his fiction from the whimsical through the experimental to the ghostly, with ‘The Strangers’ a fully-formed, Aickmanesque strange tale. The non-fiction samples Aickman’s wide-ranging interests and erudition: from the supernatural to Oscar Wilde; from 1940s films to Delius; from politics to the theatre; from Animal Farm to the canals.
Accompanying The Strangers was a fifty-three minute DVD documentary ‘Robert Aickman, Author of Strange Tales’. Featuring rare film, photographs and audio recordings, the film sheds new light on Aickman’s role in the development of the ghost story, his interest in restoring the British canal system and his wider involvement with the arts. Jean Richardson and Heather and Graham Smith share their memories of Aickman’s friendship, and writers Jeremy Dyson and Reggie Oliver evaluate Aickman’s literary legacy.
Written, filmed and edited by Rosalie Parker with R.B. Russell