Christine Campbell Thomson

Christine Hartley, better known as Christine Campbell Thomson (1897–1985) was a British horror fiction author best known for the Not at Night series. She also wrote under the name Flavia Richardson. [1]

As editor

Although an author in her own right, Thomson is best remembered in the fantasy field for her series of horror anthologies published in the 1920s and 1930s. The first, NOT AT NIGHT (Selwyn and Blount, 1925) lent its name to the whole series, which ran to eleven volumes, finishing with NIGHTMARE BY DAYLIGHT (1935) and an OMNIBUS (1937). [1] [2] In all, there were 170 stories and, according to noted fantasy bibliographer Mike Ashley, exactly 100 of these came from the legendary American pulp Weird Tales. The anthologies initially selected material primarily from that magazine and gave first hardcover publication, as well as first British publication, to such authors of as H. P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard. The books in the series were all published by Selwyn & Blount. Mike Ashley has written "although anthologies have perhaps earned a reputation greater than they deserve, they were nevertheless a landmark series in the history of horror short fiction".[3]

As author

Miss Campbell sold two stories in the 1920s as by Flavia Richardson to Hutchinson's Mystery Story Magazine – "Out of the Earth" (Jan 1925) and "When Hell Laughed" (Jan 1926). She contributed two of her own stories to Weird Tales also under the pseudonym under the alias "Flavia Richardson". Her story "The Red Turret" (first published in her own anthology Switch on the Light, 1931) was reprinted in the anonymously edited bumper anthology "A Century of Creepy Stories" (Hutchinson, 1934).[1]

She was married to the editor and author Oscar Cook, who also appeared in Weird Tales, most notably with "Si Urag of the Tail". Thomson and Cook were divorced in 1938.

For most of her life, Thomson worked as a literary agent serving as director of the firm Thomson and McLaughlin. She wrote a number of novels (none of them in the horror field) as well as a guide writing in THE RIGHT WAY TO WRITE SUCCESSFUL FICTION.

Thomson's own short horror tale "Message for Margie" (the only one which appears to have been published under her own name) appeared in such anthologies as The Fifth Pan Book of Horror Stories(1964, ed Herbert Van Thal); Terrors, Torments and Traumas (ed. Helen Hoke, 1978) and "Realms of Darkness" (ed Mary Danby, 1985). A number of her stories which had appeared in the Not at Night series as by Flavia Richardson were also reprinted in various other anthologies by editors such as Charles Birkin, Mary Danby, and Herbert Van Thal.

An occultist, and friend of Dion Fortune, she was a member of the Society of the Inner Light and wrote her two non-fiction occult titles, The Western Mystery Tradition (1968) and A Case For Reincarnation (1972) as Christine Hartley, using her the surname of her second husband, whom she had married in 1945.[4]

Campbell would later publish her autobiography I Am A Literary Agent (Sampson Low, 1951)

Death

Christine died, aged 88, on 29 September 1985. Six weeks later, Charles Birkin, ten years her junior died on 8 November. Between then, they had been responsible for arguably the two most intriguing anthology series of horror fiction to be published in England between the wars.

Not at Night series

  • 1. Not at Night (October 1925; reprint, 1936). Not to be confused with the Herbert Asbury collection of the same title (see below) which is a limited selection (to 1928) from the British series; nor with the title published by Arrow Books (see below) which is also a selection from the series.
  • 2. More Not at Night (Sept. 1926). Not to be confused with the title published by Arrow Books (see below) which is a selection from the series.
  • 3. You'll Need A Night Light (Sept. 1927) Contains "Out of the Earth" by Flavia Richardson.
  • 4. Gruesome Cargoes (July 1928) Contains "When Hell Laughed" by Flavia Richardson.
  • 5. By Daylight Only (Oct. 1929)[not be confused with the title Only By Daylight which is a pbk reissue of the Arrow compilation Still Not at Night – see below]. Contains "At Number Eleven" by Flavia Richardson (orig. published Weird Tales Oct. 1929 as "The Gray Lady")
  • 6. Switch on the Light (April 1931) Contains "The Red Turret" by Flavia Richardson.
  • 7. At Dead of Night (Nov 1931) Contains "Pussy" by Flavia Richardson.
  • 8. Grim Death (Aug 1932). Contains "Behinds the Blinds" by Flavia Richardson.
  • 9. Keep on the Light (July 1933) Contains "The Black Hare" by Flavia Richardson.
  • 10. Terror By Night (Aug. 1934). Contains "Behind the Yellow Door" by Flavia Richardson.
  • 11.Nightmare By Daylight (April 1936) Contains "Empty Stockings" by Flavia Richardson.
  • Not at Night Omnibus (April 1937) Contains "Behind the Yellow Door" by Flavia Richardson. 35 stories, selected from across the whole series of 11 volumes and representing the editor's favourite stories of the series.

US Pirate edition

Additionally, there was a US volume titled Not at Night: Creepy Tales! (ed. Herbert Asbury, NY: Macy-Macius, 1928). The story sources are, curiously, attributed to the English edition of Weird Tales; incorrect, as Thomson sourced her tales for the series from the original US editions of Weird Tales.[5] Asbury's anthology was in fact in fact a pirate edition of a selection of 25 stories taken from the first four volumes of the British Not at Night series. For a time Weird Tales (from which most of the stories derived) threatened to sue the publisher, but the publisher eventually withdrew the book from circulation. [6]

Paperback editions

Arrow books published between 1960–62 three paperbacks related to the series whose titles are rather misleading. They are in fact not reissues, but selections from the original series. Despite the titles of the first two selections being the same as those of the original Volumes 1 and 2, the contents are not identical to those original volumes.

  • Not At Night (1960) Contains "Pussy" by Flavia Richardson.
  • More Not At Night (1961, reprinted 1963; reissued 1973 as Never at Night) Contains "Out of the Earth" by Flavia Richardson.
  • Still Not At Night (1962, reprinted 1963; reissued 1972 as Only By Daylight – a confusing title since it is similar to that of Vol 5 of the original anthology series By Daylight Only; however, this Arrow compilation has entirely different contents from Vol 5 of the original series).

References

  1. ^ a b c Mike Ashley , Who's Who in Horror and Fantasy Fiction. Elm Tree Books, ISBN 0-241-89528-6. (p. 171)
  2. ^ Richard Bleiler, "Horror Anthologies", in Matt Cardin, Horror Literature through history : An Encyclopedia Of The Stories That Speak To Our Deepest Fears. Santa Barbara, California : Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-1-44084-201-6 (pp. 84-91)
  3. ^ Mike Ashley, [Obituary – Christine Hartley], Locus, No 299 (December 1985).
  4. ^ Mike Ashley, [Obituary – Christine Hartley], Locus, No 299 (December 1985).
  5. ^ Mike Ashley and William G. Contento. The Supernatural Index. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1995.
  6. ^ S. T. Joshi and David E. Schultz, An H. P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia.Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2001,p. 7

Further reading

Christine Campbell Thomson thread at Vault of Evil website: [1]

External links

Charles Birkin

Sir Charles Lloyd Birkin, 5th Baronet (24 September 1907 – 1985) was an English author of horror short stories and the editor of the Creeps Library of anthologies. Typically working under the pseudonym Charles Lloyd, Birkin's tales tended towards the conte cruels rather than supernatural fiction.

Christine Campbell

Christine Campbell is the name of:

Christine Campbell (character), title character in sitcom The New Adventures of Old Christine, portrayed by Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Christine Campbell (politician) (born 1953), Labor member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly

Christine Campbell (rower) (born 1964), American silver medallist at the 1987 World Rowing Championships

Christine Campbell (singer), British soprano

Dion Fortune

Dion Fortune (born Violet Mary Firth, 6 December 1890 – 6 January 1946) was a British occultist, Christian Qabalist, ceremonial magician, novelist and author. She was a co-founder of the Fraternity of the Inner Light, an occult organisation that promoted philosophies which she claimed had been taught to her by spiritual entities known as the Ascended Masters. A prolific writer, she produced a large number of articles and books on her occult ideas and also authored seven novels, several of which expound occult themes.

Fortune was born in Llandudno, North Wales, to a wealthy upper middle-class English family, although little is known of her early life. By her teenage years she was living in England's West Country, where she wrote two books of poetry. After time spent at a horticultural college she began studying psychology and psychoanalysis at the University of London before working as a counsellor in a psychotherapy clinic. During the First World War she joined the Women's Land Army and established a company selling soy milk products. She became interested in esotericism through the teachings of the Theosophical Society, before joining an occult lodge led by Theodore Moriarty and then the Alpha et Omega occult organisation.

She came to believe that she was being contacted by the Ascended Masters, including "the Master Jesus", and underwent trance mediumship to channel the Masters' messages. In 1922 Fortune and Charles Loveday claimed that during one of these ceremonies they were contacted by Masters who provided them with a text, The Cosmic Doctrine. Although she became the president of the Christian Mystic Lodge of the Theosophical Society, she believed the society to be uninterested in Christianity, and split from it to form the Community of the Inner Light, a group later renamed the Fraternity of the Inner Light. With Loveday she established bases in both Glastonbury and Bayswater, London, began issuing a magazine, gave public lectures, and promoted the growth of their society. During the Second World War she organised a project of meditations and visualisations designed to protect Britain. She began planning for what she believed was a coming post-war Age of Aquarius, although she died of leukemia shortly after the war's end.

Fortune is recognised as one of the most significant occultists and ceremonial magicians of the early 20th century. The Fraternity she founded survived her and in later decades spawned a variety of related groups based upon her teachings. Her novels in particular proved an influence on later occult and modern Pagan groups such as Wicca.

List of horror fiction writers

This is a list of some (not all) notable writers in the horror fiction genre.

Note that some writers listed below have also written in other genres, especially fantasy and science fiction.

Oscar Cook

Richard Martin Oscar Cook (17 March 1888 – 23 February 1952) was a British author of novels, non-fiction works and short stories with a supernatural theme.

Robert Hale (publishers)

Robert Hale Limited was a London publisher of fiction and non-fiction books, founded in 1936, and also known as Robert Hale. It was based at Clerkenwell House, Clerkenwell Green. It ceased trading on 1 December 2015 and its imprints were sold to The Crowood Press.

Rogues in the House

"Rogues in the House" is one of the original short stories starring the fictional sword and sorcery hero Conan the Cimmerian, written by American author Robert E. Howard and first published in Weird Tales magazine in January 1934. It's set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age, and concerns Conan inadvertently becoming involved in the struggle between two powerful men fighting for control of a city. It was the seventh Conan story Howard had published.

Weird Tales

Weird Tales is an American fantasy and horror fiction pulp magazine founded by J. C. Henneberger and J. M. Lansinger in late 1922. The first issue, dated March 1923, appeared on newsstands February 18th. The first editor, Edwin Baird, printed early work by H. P. Lovecraft, Seabury Quinn, and Clark Ashton Smith, all of whom would go on to be popular writers, but within a year the magazine was in financial trouble. Henneberger sold his interest in the publisher, Rural Publishing Corporation, to Lansinger and refinanced Weird Tales, with Farnsworth Wright as the new editor. The first issue under Wright's control was dated November 1924. The magazine was more successful under Wright, and despite occasional financial setbacks it prospered over the next fifteen years. Under Wright's control the magazine lived up to its subtitle, "The Unique Magazine", and published a wide range of unusual fiction.

Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos stories first appeared in Weird Tales, starting with "The Call of Cthulhu" in 1928. These were well-received, and a group of writers associated with Lovecraft wrote other stories set in the same milieu. Robert E. Howard was a regular contributor, and published several of his Conan the Barbarian stories in the magazine, and Seabury Quinn's series of stories about Jules de Grandin, a detective who specialized in cases involving the supernatural, was very popular with the readers. Other well-liked authors included Nictzin Dyalhis, E. Hoffmann Price, Robert Bloch, and H. Warner Munn. Wright published some science fiction, along with the fantasy and horror, partly because when Weird Tales was launched there were no magazines specializing in science fiction, but he continued this policy even after the launch of magazines such as Amazing Stories in 1926. Edmond Hamilton wrote a good deal of science fiction for Weird Tales, though after a few years he used the magazine for his more fantastic stories, and submitted his space operas elsewhere.

In 1938 the magazine was sold to William Delaney, the publisher of Short Stories, and within two years Wright, who was ill, was replaced by Dorothy McIlwraith as editor. Although some successful new authors and artists, such as Ray Bradbury and Hannes Bok, continued to appear, the magazine is considered by critics to have declined under McIlwraith from its heyday in the 1930s. Weird Tales ceased publication in 1954, but since then numerous attempts have been made to relaunch the magazine, starting in 1973. The longest-lasting version began in 1988 and ran with an occasional hiatus for over 20 years under an assortment of publishers. In the mid-1990s the title was changed to Worlds of Fantasy & Horror because of licensing issues, with the original title returning in 1998. As of 2018, the most recent published issue was dated Spring 2014.

The magazine is regarded by historians of fantasy and science fiction as a legend in the field, with Robert Weinberg, author of a history of the magazine, considering it "the most important and influential of all fantasy magazines". Weinberg's fellow historian, Mike Ashley, is more cautious, describing it as "second only to Unknown in significance and influence", adding that "somewhere in the imagination reservoir of all U.S. (and many non-U.S.) genre-fantasy and horror writers is part of the spirit of Weird Tales".

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