Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Thursday, December 10, 2020


 Eerie, Weird and Wicked, edited by Helen Hoke (1977)

Helen Hoke (1903-1990) published over 100 books throughout her distinguished career.  Most of her work was for young readers (this was before anyone came up with the term "Young Adult").  She served as juvenile book editor for five different publishing houses.  Hoke was married to publisher Franklin Watts.

Eerie, Weird and Wicked was one of thirty similar anthologies Hoke edited from 1958 (Witches, Witches, Witches) to 1986 (Horrifying and Hideous Hauntings, edited with Franklin Hoke), all ostensibly for the juvenile market, but don't let that fool you.  That just means the stories don't have sex, swear words, or graphic violence and most were written for adults.  The stories date from 1909 (a minor but effective tale by Algernon Blackwood) to 1973 (a little chiller from Penelope Wallace).  Along the way there are soon pretty good stories, including classic stories from Lady Eleanor Smith and  Mrs. H. D. Everett.   Classic pulp is represented by Paul Ernst and Robert Bloch.  There are also undersung writers such as Joseph Payne Brennan, John Pudney, and Elizabeth Walter.  Add to this Howard Fast, Miriam Allen de Ford, and -- one I had never heard of -- Harold Rolseth.  All and all, a very readable and easily digestible collection.

The stories:

  • Paul Ernst, "The Thing in the Pond" (from Astounding Stories, June 1934; this popular tale has been reprinted at least six times)
  • Mrs. H. D. Everett, "The Death Mask" (from her collection, The Death-Mask and Other Ghosts, 1920; this one has been reprinted at least four times, including in the Magazine of Horror, September 1968)
  • Joseph Payne Brennan, "Levitation" (from his collection Nine Horrors and a Dream, 1958; reprinted at least eight times, including in Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone Magazine, November 1982)
  • Howard Fast, "The Cold, Cold Box" (from The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, July 1959; reprinted at lest four times, including in the UK edition of Venture Science Fiction, February 1965)
  • Harold Rolseth, "Hey You Down There!" (from Yankee, November 1971; reprinted at least twice; this was Rolseth's only listing in ISFDb; he published eleven short stories in the digest mystery magazine in the 1960s)
  • Robert Bloch, "The Strange Island of Dr. Nork" (from Weird Tales, March 1949; reprinted at least five times)
  • John Pudney, "Dunworthy 13" (from his collection Uncle Arthur and Other Stories, 1939; later reprinted in his collection It Breathed Down My Neck, 1946 [US title, Edna's Fruit Hat and Other Stories])
  • Penelope Wallace, "The Waiting Men" (from Richard Davis' anthology Spectre, 1973)
  • Elizabeth Walter, "The Tibetian Box" (from her collection Snowfall and Other Chilling Events, 1965; reprinted at least five times)
  • Algernon Blackwood, "You May Telephone from Here" (from The Westminster Gazette, February 27, 1909;  reprinted only in three different collections of Blackwood's stories)
  • Lady Elanor Smith, "No Ships Pass" (from Cassell's Magazine, April 1932; reprinted at leas ten times)
  • Miriam Allen de Ford, "First Dig" (frlm The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, May 1959; reprinted twice, including in the UK edition of Venture Science Fiction, November 1964)

Recommend for those, such as your humble blogger, who like this sort of thing.

1 comment:

  1. Another busy day, but I did take time to remember Helen Hoke and Kathleen Lines as rivals of Robert Arthur and Betty M. Owen as editors of the YA horror and related anthologies of my early literate youth...Seon Manley and Gogo Lewis and even Peter Haining trailed sligtly in comparison. Some lovely books, though I would've already seen "Levitation" (still one of the best vignettes in horror fiction and my favorite of JPB's stories) in Henry Mazzeo's HAUNTINGS...and Hal Cantor's GHOSTS AND THINGS was another notable apparent one-shot in the least in my literary development, such as it is.