Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Aickman's Strange Stories

Robert Fordyce Aickman was an English writer of what he called 'strange stories'.

Writing from the 1950s up until his death in 1981, his short stories are elegant, modern, and packed full of disturbing imagery. Dreamlike, yet pronouncing sharp insights into human nature and relationships. Reading his tales can feel as if they are veiled by a scrim. Not through lack of clarity in language, as his prose is some of the clearest you'll read - but there is an itching to see through the words, behind the story - and it is this discomfort that Aickman was an expert at producing, leaving you with a real sense of unease. And you're never entirely sure why.

His other life's work was as the co-founder of the Inland Waterways Association, formed to preserve the canal system that runs through the UK, and still active today. The plaque pictured is a memorial that was laid at one of the locks, also named for him.

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