Writers never really die; their stories live on, to be found again, to be told again, to scare again.
In Victorian London, a select group of writers, led by Arthur Conan Doyle, Bram Stoker and Henry James held an informal dining club, the price of entry to which was the telling of a story by each invited guest.
These are their stories, containing tales of revenant loved ones, lost cities, weird science, spectral appearances and mysteries in the fog of the old city, all told by some of the foremost writers of the day. In here you’ll find Verne and Wells, Tolstoy and Checkov, Stevenson and Oliphant, Kipling, Twain, Haggard and Blavatsky alongside their hosts.
Come, join us for dinner and a story:
Robert Louis Stevenson – Wee Davie Makes a Friend
Rudyard Kipling – The High Bungalow
Leo Tolstoy – The Immortal Memory
Bram Stoker – The House of the Dead
Mark Twain – Once a Jackass
Herbert George Wells – Farside
Margaret Oliphant – To the Manor Born
Oscar Wilde – The Angry Ghost
Henry Rider Haggard – The Black Ziggurat
Helena P Blavatsky – Born of Ether
Henry James – The Scrimshaw Set
Anton Checkov – At the Molenzki Junction
Jules Verne – To the Moon and Beyond
Arthur Conan Doyle – The Curious Affair on the Embankment
Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.
Interview with the author:
So what makes this short story collection so special?
Meikle: I love the idea that all these famous writers knew each other, and met for a meal, a drink, a smoke and some storytelling in an old London club / bar setting. It chimes almost exactly with my own idea of a good time. It’s special to me in that it’s a culmination of the past half dozen or so years of writing. Before this collection there were the Carnacki stories, the Holmes stories, the Challenger stories, and the collaborations with M Wayne Miller in numerous deluxe hardcovers. THE GHOST CLUB feels like an endpiece to all of that, a last celebration of everything I love about the era and the storytellers. Plus it’s the most ambitious piece of work I’ve undertaken in my writing so far, the cause of much worrying and fretting on my part, so seeing the lovely blurbs and comments from writers I have long admired makes it extra special to me.
Why should horror fans give Victorian Terror a try?
Meikle: It’s where we come from. The Victorian era storytelling tradition was the launching point for horror, and also for crime fiction, for science fiction, for fantasy and for much of how we see the world today. It gave us Sherlock Holmes, Dr Jeckyll, Dracula, the Invisible Man, Captain Nemo, and all manner of ghosts, spooks and spectres that still fill our entertainment of choice today. It’s my way of paying homage to that tradition. This is who I am.
How did you choose which authors to use in this book?
Meikle: Initially all I knew was that Doyle and Stoker were founder members of the club in London. Then I found out that Henry James was in London at the same time as them and it started to come together.
HERE ARE MY THOUGHTS AND REVIEW
Wow what a setting, a room full of the most talented authors and being witness to such tales. I can imagine this club meeting weekly and even the excitement of the members as a new story-teller joined to entertain the group, as payment for entry into this elite club within a club. As I read these stories I still wondered what the others listening thought and what response each one received when the tale came to an end. In my own imagination the only thing I could hear was the voice, be it male or female, telling their story in a silent room with the exception of a ticking clock, each listener fascinated by these Victorian Ghost stories that would be thought of as quite shocking for that time.
As these stories are as different as the people who tell them, some are to shock while others are a tale of caution, one thing that they all had in common was that to entertain. This era is remembered for parlours used for séance meetings to contact the dead. Many Victorians truly believed that loved ones could be contacted this way. So the stories told at the club would be very real and frightening to a lot of people of that time.
These are like camp fire stories told with hot chocolate and marshmallows, rather than a meal and port or sherry. I really enjoyed these tales which I savoured as the era they were created in. You have to take the whole package and literally get into the spirit of the moment.
There are fourteen tales from different club members, the three which were my favourites were,
Once a Jackass, Mark Twain
To the Manor Born, Margaret Oliphant
To the Moon and Beyond, Jules Verne
HERE IS A LITTLE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I’m a Scottish writer, now living in Canada, with more than twenty novels published in the genre press and over 300 short story credits in thirteen countries.
My work has appeared in a number of professional anthologies and I have recent short story sales to NATURE Futures, Penumbra, Read Short Fiction and Buzzy Mag. When I’m not writing I play guitar, drink beer and dream of fortune and glory.
ADDITIONAL AUTHOR INFO