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Aickman's Heirs

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  169 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
"Robert Aickman was a master of what he called 'strange stories,' and though his fiction has been categorized as horror, it's actually its own beast.

As we move further away from the horror boom of the last century and its focus on the mainstream appeal of small town horrors, we are encountering successive generations of writers open to exploring new avenues of the subtly b
Paperback, 263 pages
Published May 2015 by Undertow Publications
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May 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Table of Contents:

ix - Introduction
3 - “Seaside Town” by Brian Evenson
21 - “Neithernor” by Richard Gavin
35 - “Least Light, Most Night” by John Howard
47 - “Camp” by David Nickle
61 - “A Delicate Craft” by D.P. Watt
73 - “Seven Minutes in Heaven” by Nadia Bulkin
85 - “Infestations” by Michael Cisco
101 - “Drying Season” by Lynda E. Rucker
119 - “A Discreet Music” by Michael Wehunt
135 - “Underground Economy” by John Langan
147 - “Vault of Heaven” by Helen Marshall
165 - “Two Brothers” by Malcolm Devlin
Jun 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
In his introductory note, editor Simon Strantzas describes the new anthology Aickman’s Heirs as “a sampler of how Robert Aickman’s work has become a significant source of inspiration for contemporary writers.” The volume’s fifteen original tales have been contributed by some of today’s finest practitioners of strange fiction.

What is it about Aickman’s work—often described as “quiet horror”—that continues to influence and intrigue? For one thing, his most compelling, frequently noted stories are
Nancy Oakes
somewhere between a 4 and 4.5 on the 5-star scale.

Well, I must say that there is nothing like writing about a book two months after you've read it, but I saw this book just sitting here and realized I'd never posted about it. Doh! I do have a long post about it here at the strange/weird fiction page of my online reading journal if you're really inclined to read a brief blurb about each story. If not, let me just say this:

Last year when I was first started looking at Aickman's work, and as I w
Mar 04, 2017 rated it liked it
I felt it needed more chills and less ambiguity.
May 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Aickman is in my top handful of horror/weird authors, but calling his stories "horror" does them a disservice because people have too many preconcieved notions about what that entails. Aickman called his stories "strange stories." His writing is subtle, nebulous, unsettling and haunting, often long-term. He's probably the most "sophisticated" writer of horror I could name.

Aickman's writing isn't surreal or dream-like as is the case with a lot of weird fiction by prominent writers like Michael Ci
Oct 30, 2016 rated it liked it
The first words you read in this book are from the editor: ‘Let’s get this over with, right off the bat: if you’ve picked up this book because you’re a fan of Robert Aickman’s fiction and are looking for more of the same, you’ve come to the wrong place.’ Oh. Right. Well, first of all, most of us won’t have ‘picked up’ this book, we’ll have paid for it. It seems disingenuous at best to mention Aickman eponymously if you weren’t looking to attract a demographic that wanted more of the same. You co ...more
Bill Hsu
Jul 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
While this just won the 2015 Shirley Jackson award in its category, I think it's a bit of a mixed bag. I didn't go into it expecting Aickman tributes, but it did make me recall and appreciate more Aickman's best work.

There are writers here that I love and trust (and ones that I don't, but let's not worry about that). I can't remember where I've come across Brian Evenson's "Seaside Town" before, but it's a terrific and darkly funny story, with a surprising twist at the end that comes out of nowhe
Bryan Alexander
Sep 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gothic
I found this book at the Necronomicon 2017 conference, and it called out to me. I was in the mood for weird, dark lit, and am also an Aickman fan. (If you don't know Robert Aickman, and he has little traction outside the UK, he was a 20th-century writer and editor. As a writer, he described his tales as "strange stories". I view them as supernatural or weird fiction, touching on the Gothic, gently building up a sense of unease: far removed from gory horror. He reminds me of the great M.R. James, ...more
Nicholas Kaufmann
May 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Robert Aickman's stories were all about the irrational and the unknowable. The authors in this homage anthology put those same qualities to good use in fifteen intriguing tales of the unknowable's intrusion upon seemingly normal lives.

The writing is uniformly beautiful, although this reader will admit to finding a few of the stories frustratingly oblique. Regardless, there were many standouts for me, including Brian Evenson's "Seaside Town," which makes great use of the dream or nighttime logic
James Jacobs
The middle stories lagged a bit, but those stories at the beginning and end more than made up for it.
Bill Wallace
Jul 10, 2016 rated it liked it
I'm a huge fan of Robert Aickman's work and was curious to see what an anthology of modern writers working to one degree or another under his influence would be like. My favorite tales here are Lisa Tuttle's and John Langan's, both writers whose work I enjoy. Lisa is an old friend too, so she and I have traded Aickman enthusiasms for many years. Far too many of the other stories in this book, however, are missing the essential frisson that makes a ghost story (or a strange story, to use Aickman' ...more
Jun 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This anthology just won the Shirley Jackson award for best anthology. It is that good.
I am not a Robert Aickman fan, but the quality of fiction produced by those who feel his influence is astounding. I will need to dig out my Aickman collections and reread them. Maybe it'll click.
In the meantime, buy this anthology. Show some actual support for the small presses you claim to love. This anthology will 'f**k your couch'!
Seregil of Rhiminee
Jul 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Originally published at Risingshadow.

Aickman's Heirs (edited by Simon Strantzas) is an impressive and outstanding anthology of strange stories to readers who love the weirder side of speculative fiction and want to be mesmerised by skillful storytelling and quiet horror. On the pages of this anthology, you'll find fascinating strangeness and exquisite storytelling seasoned with beautiful literary prose.

Robert Aickman and his stories are doubtlessly known to many readers of strange fiction, but i
Chris Cangiano
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: weird-fiction
A superior anthology collection of short stories all paying tribute to the influence of Robert Aickman. Aickman's "strange stories" managed to convey an unparalleled sense of the eerie and unsettled that lurked beneath the surface of everyday life and, with their equivocal and opaque endings, he managed to give us some of the 20th Century's most wonderfully surreal and entertaining weird fiction. Simon Strantzas has done a masterful job of putting together an incredibly solid line up of authors ...more
Ryan Pidhayny
Sep 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Robert Aickman has his own unique brand of story that cannot be mimicked. Within this anthology are not simple pastiches, but stories, unsettling in their own right, that borrow some of the magic that Aickman evoked in his own. As Simon Strantzas so eloquently states in his introduction: "You may not understand what follows. But you will remember it." My favorite stories were "Camp" by David Nickle, "Seven Minutes in Heaven" by Nadia Bulkin, "The Dying Season" by Lynda E. Rucker, and "The Vault ...more
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, short-fiction
Good, but not Aickman good.
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: weird-fiction
Nah. Robert ain't ever gonna be your daddy. However, if it is any consolation to our esteemed contributors, I suspect that he would administer goodly spanking to some of you...

John Howard story is kinda good, tho. No ambiguous interactions with a freudian father figure for you, Mr. Howard. Sorry.
David L
Jan 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The late Robert Aickman wrote what he called “strange stories,” tales in which very weird things happened, not because of supernatural influences, but rather because of deeply buried psychological forces. Editor Simon Strantzas said that reading his tales was like reading other author’s dream journals. Strantzas here collected homages from authors who professed to have been influenced by Aickman. He did not want them to try to imitate Aickman’s style but rather his method: tales based on dumpste ...more
Oct 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If you're a fan of Horror and the Weird, you probably already know about Undertow Publications. Every anthology that this small press cranks out is top-notch, including this collection of strange tales from contemporary writers that have been influenced by Robert Aickman, the late British author of atmospheric, unsettling stories. Simon Strantzas has done an excellent job of editing and selecting the stories in this anthology. While some are more difficult to decipher on first read than others, ...more
Jun 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: autographed, owned
There's a ton of talent represented in this ToC, which includes names that will likely be familiar to people who read weird fiction as well as writers who are newer, but show definite potential. There isn't a story that isn't a solid pick in the whole collection, which is a testament to the judgment of editors Simon Strantzas and Michael Kellly.

Strantzas wisely points out that it would be impossible to truly emulate Aickman's singular style, so the stories vary significantly in some respects. T
Pearse Anderson
Sep 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Never having heard of Robert Aickman before I picked up this collection, I was pleasingly surprised, and ended the book knowing the style and types of stories Aickman probably wrote. Strantzas was a good editor as always, and these stories were mostly satisfying, although I felt their similar structures wear on me after a while. The English seaside resort, the lack of coherent or alive characters, the hidden grimoires and Eldritch art, the histories unknown to both protagonist and reader, these ...more
Joe Gola
May 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
A solid collection of strange and creepy tales. Some of the standouts for me were "Camp" by David Nickle, "Seven Minutes in Heaven" by Nadia Bulkin, "The Dying Season" Lynda E. Rucker, "The Lake" by Daniel Mills, and "The Book That Finds You" by Lisa Tuttle. The gem, however, is "Infestatioms" by Michael Cisco, a strange, subtle, and masterfully crafted story that creates a real sense of ickiness and unease.
J.T. Glover
May 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A very fine anthology of stories written in honor of Robert Aickman. Does not disappoint on any count. Good selection of authors, both prominent and new. The best anthology I've read this year.

For more detail, I wrote at greater length on my site, but the short version is that I'd gladly buy this again --
Jul 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: weird
A great collection of memorable stories, subtly unsettling with the occasional well-placed shock.
Bill Kte'pi
Nov 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Every anthology is a mixed bag, of course, but the Brian Evenson story alone makes this worth the purchase, and the Nadia Bulkin and Lisa Tuttle stories are excellent.
John Boden
rated it liked it
Sep 22, 2015
robert aston
rated it really liked it
Jan 03, 2017
rated it really liked it
Jul 17, 2017
Davide Ariasso
rated it really liked it
Sep 09, 2017
Ksenia Korniewska
rated it it was ok
May 17, 2017
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Spells, Space & S...: Aickman’s Heirs 7 10 Jun 16, 2018 05:20PM  
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Simon Strantzas is the author of Nightingale Songs, Beneath the Surface and Cold to the Touch and has been nominated for the British Fantasy Award. His work has been appeared in The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror (ed. Stephen Jones), The Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror (edited by Paula Guran), Cemetery Dance, and Postscripts. A fourth collection, Burnt Black Suns, is due in 2014 from Hippoc ...more
More about Simon Strantzas

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“I believe people have the right to diminish themselves if they so desire. I” 1 likes
“I had neither the complexion nor the stamina for excavation proper: in proper sunlight I curl up and wither like a slug.” 0 likes
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