Monday, October 19, 2020

31 Days of Halloween - Day 19 - Book

If the Dead Knew - The Weird Fiction of May Sinclair edited by S.T. Joshi. Hippocampus Press. 2020

This volume contains all thirteen weird tales written by May Sinclair ( 1863-1946). The stories tend to involve ghosts, reincarnation, spirit transference and the afterlife. Even the lighter stories here, seem somewhat bleak and pessimistic. Unlike a lot of ghost stories from this time period, these do have a bit of bite to them. Sinclair focuses her work on the interpersonal relationships of the characters in the stories and less so on simply having someone encounter the strange. Many of these relationships involve betrayal of some kind which ties in to the supernatural elements, providing them with some genuine horror often lacking in Victorian ghost stories. Sinclair, herself, apparently never had an intimate relationship of her own, which may be why the relationships in her stories are often sour ones, often with keen observations. Of the thirteen tales, only a couple left me unfulfilled. The rest were pretty great. The amazing cover art is by Aeron Alfrey.

1 comment:

immaterial said...

Hi John — If you’ve never seen the adaptation of Sinclair’s The Intercessor done for the British series Shades Of Darkness, it is absolutely one of the finest films involving a ghost ever made. I saw it on PBS when I was a teen, but missed the opening, and it took me decades to finally track it down. Happily, there is a DVD box set of the entire series, and that single episode is well worth whatever it now costs. It’s even better than O Whistle And I’ll Come To You, for my money. Also, are you aware that The great Richard Sala died this year? You and he are responsible for some of my favourite horror comics of all time, not least because of the love of the genre in every word. I wish I had new comics to look forward to from both of you. I’m really enjoying your latest round of Halloween posts. Thanks!