From underappreciated minority taste, English weird and dark fiction author Robert Aickman seems on the fast track to resurrected greatness. And one further step in the process is the release by Undertow Publications, publishers of the very wonderful Shadows and Tall Trees, of Aickman’s Heirs, “an anthology of strange, weird tales by modern masters of weird fiction, in the milieu of Robert Aickman” and paying tribute to his legacy, edited by notable weird fiction author Simon Strantzas. The table of contents for this volume has just been announced and includes contributions by John Langan, Richard Gavin, Lynda E. Rucker, D.P. Watt, and other major figures in the genre.
For fresh insight into what makes Robert Aickman special, I need only quote the brilliant entry by Laird Barron – yet another modern giant of the field and subject of a tribute anthology of his own – in the series “101 Weird Writers” for WeirdFictionReview.com. “The surest way to comprehend Aickman is to read a lot of Aickman. You’ll have to work for it,” warns Barron. “To interact with Aickman on any meaningful level is to experience a form of quantum entanglement. His ideas entrain the subconscious and mutate it in the fashion that transgressive art must. And yes, I’m implying that the old boy has fucked your mind. Buttoned down or not, it’s just what he liked to do.”
Aickman’s Heirs should make for fascinating reading. And Aickman’s heirs, as a group, will be likely to define how the horror/dark/weird fiction genre cluster evolves in future. As Barron adds, “Robert Aickman ruthlessly cracks one’s skull open and rearranges the furniture. He intimates we are merely passengers in this existence, trapped, albeit briefly, on a repeating coil.” Reruns of that vision in future are likely to evoke, time and again, the spirit of Robert Aickman.