I was surprised enough when Simon Strantzas invited me to write a story for the Robert Aickman tribute anthology he is editing. Double that surprise: He’s agreed to take the story, and I’ve scratched an item off my bucket list.
Aickman was such an unsung master. I won’t foam at the mouth about him here. Others, such as Laird Barron in his awesome essay on Aickman’s “The Hospice,” have done it far better, anyway. Aickman’s strange stories were fantastic on the surface while that disturbing and beautiful undercurrent threaded itself just below your reading. But it was also what swam under the surface that has always been so wonderful about his work. That intangible “yes, yes, this is what I look for in stories” permeates nearly every Aickman story.
Dunking my head under as a writer was a tremendous and rewarding challenge, and the result, “A Discreet Music,” will appear in Aickman’s Heirs, which is due this coming spring from the always-great Undertow Publications. I’m not silly enough to call myself an heir to Aickman, which I would consider a greater honor than being an heir to Lovecraft or probably any other writer of the weird. But I will be able to pay tribute to Aickman in an amazing collection, and that is enough. There are some incredible writers in this anthology–John Langan, Nina Allan, Helen Marshall, Richard Gavin, and D.P. Watt, just to name a few. And Mr. Strantzas knows his stuff, to say the least. This should be one of 2015’s very best publications, and I hope my story can hold its own.
The full table of contents can be found here.