One of the Christmas presents I received (and have only just watched) was the DVD release of the BBC filmed versions of M.R James Whistle and I’ll Come to You. The DVD is great and I enjoyed both the original and the new interpretation, though I felt the pacing of the Miller version better suited the story (but I did enjoy the scrabbling fingers under the door in the new version, a distinctly j-horror element that worked rather well.)
One of the extras was Ramsey Campbell reading his story ‘The Guide’, and also a very interesting (if badly shot) introduction by Campbell, where he talks about James, as well as his successors, during which he reads a little of Smoke Ghost, as well as talking about Leiber and his ghost stories. Campbell has included Leiber’s fiction (including Dark Wings in Superhorror) in the numerous anthologies he has edited.
I am sure most of the readers of this site have read Ramsey Campbell’s excellent work, if you haven’t, then rush out and buy some now! Ramsey is a great admirer of Fritz and his work (and Fritz liked Campbell’s The Doll Who Ate His Mother), and he has spoken of seeing Leiber’s cycle of Chicago and San Francisco horror stories as something of an inspiration.
I first discovered Ramsey Campbell in the late eighties when I purchased Dark Feasts, which has a glorious cover. I can think of no other author who is so efficient at creating an unsettling mood, whose stories are both dreamlike and pin sharp at the same time, in the same way Fritz bought the horror into the city, Ramsey brings it further, into the heart of your home and daily life.
Dark Feasts is rammed full of fine stories and I cannot recommend it highly enough. He has has produced a fine array of novels as well, from The doll who ate his mother, right through to The creatures of the pool, which I have only just finished, and thoroughly enjoyed.
I also purchased one of Dark Regions Press beautiful editions of his new collection Holes for Faces, which is as good as anything I have read by him, and copies are still available. My favourite? Probably his wonderful chap book, Needing Ghosts, a story that has stayed with me since first reading it in the early nineties. So next is Ghosts Know, which is sitting on my bookshelf…