When you buy this book from Tartarus Press it comes with a 53 minute DVD, Robert Aickman: Author of Strange Tales, produced by R.B. Russell and his partner Rosalie Parker. I haven’t read the book yet so this review at this time is strictly about the DVD. I watched it and it gives a pretty good overview of Aickman’s life, work, and influences. I’m actually re-watching it as I type. There are film clips, photographs, drawings, sound clips, interviews with acquaintances, critics, and aficionados. It really is almost the quality of a BBC documentary. Reggie Oliver and Jeremy Dyson are featured commentators and one of his girlfriends is even interviewed!
Not only does the disc deal with Aickman as a writer and editor, but also his work with the Inland Waterways (we call them canals on this side of the pond) and his relationship, personal and professional, with strange tale authors L.T.C. Rolt and Elizabeth Jane Howard.
Russell narrates and is pleasant and easy to listen to. Several stories are featured with excerpts read as iconic “Aickmanesque” in order to define this odd adjective, which is almost an impossibility.
Tartarus Press books seem pricey to many but with this volume containing six unpublished and uncollected Aickman stories along with poetry, nonfiction, and this DVD it is actually quite a value, as if that mattered.