Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bibliofilia: Wordsworth Editions

Coming off just having picked up a hard-to-find copy of William Hope Hodgson's Carnacki the Ghost Finder (published by Wildside), it reminded me of this thread at a forum about psychic detectives given that Carnacki is a type of a Sherlock Holmes for the supernatural and the occult.

Personally, I've had limited reading experience with this type of sub-genre (the combination of mystery and the supernatural) but I can't help but be attracted to check this out. After all, the pattern of these stories indicate an otherworldly/quirky protagonist who has face the Other-ness of reality and these bear a marked similarity to some of my own stories.

Unfortunately, there is a dearth of new material with regard to this subgenre (except for Sarah Monette's collected stories of Kyle Murchison Booth, The Bone Key which came out in 2007). However, one well-known publication that does is Wordsword Editions, with its category Mystery and Supernatural reserved for that subgenre.

Going through their library, I see they have their own version of the Carnacki book (The Casebook of Carnacki the Ghost Finder), as well as Alice and Claude Askew's Aylmer Vance: Ghost Seer. They also have a collected set of stories on the subgenre The Black Veil & Other Supernatural Sleuths edited by Mark Valentine, with its blurb reading like a who's who:
Here are encounters from the casebooks of the Victorian haunted house investigators John Bell and Flaxman Low, from Carnacki, the Edwardian battler against the abyss, and from horror master Arthur Machen’s Mr Dyson, a man-about-town and meddler in strange things. Connoisseurs will find rare cases such as those of Allen Upward’s The Ghost Hunter, Robert Barr’s Eugene Valmont (who may have inspired Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot) and Donald Campbell’s young explorer Leslie Vane, the James Bond of the jazz age, who battles against occult enemies of the British Empire.
(Meanwhile, they also have some great non-subgenre classic titles I wouldn't checking out like Robert W. Chambers' influential The King in Yellow and Lafcadio Hearn's Oriental Ghost Stories.)

All in all, an excellent selection of books available here.

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