This book is a collection, so obviously I didn’t write the whole thing. I did contribute two stories, Blackout, and Survivor, both of which originally appeared on this website. Three additional stories, Mort’s Maid, A Patient Man, and Predator, were written under my pen name, Jacob Thomson, as is the Introduction. All four of these stories also appear in This and That, which was published six years after this book.
Originally, Blackout and Survivor appeared on this website as well. At the time, I was quick to point out that reading them on the site, rather than buying the book, was an exercise in faulty logic. After all, printed books are easier to read than a computer screen, and you don’t have to worry about power failures. A book could be read under the covers with a flashlight. It’s awkward to do that with a computer, and you don’t have to worry about a book overheating and setting the blankets on fire. Even better, this book weighs only 8.3 ounces, and will fit in a man’s jacket pocket, a lady’s purse or, if you’re a Scot, in your sporran.
Well, that was then and this is now, and we have standard Kindles, and Kindle Fires, and Nooks, and other compact, dedicated readers and tablets. This particular book, however, is still available only in print, because the publisher didn’t license ebook rights to the stories.
The stories in this book cover quite a bit of territory. Linda L. Rucker contributed a particularly spooky tale called The Quilt, along with a lighter tale about a mystical Snow Globe. Hauntings and supernatural goings on come in various forms. Joshua Scribner contributed Corryanna, about mysterious events at a hospital. Brian W. Keen relates what happens to a young boy at The House on Levinston Street. Walter J. Willaert, who wrote one of my favorite novels, The Mecca Connnection, contributes The Creature in the Cellar. And, of course, there are the three Jacob Thomson stories, Mort’s Maid, A Patient Man, and Predator, featuring Cabalistic mysticism, an interesting take on revenge, and a beautiful vampire.
Rounding out the volume are three classic short stories. First is Edgar Allan Poe’s satirical tale of an ancient Egyptian brought back to life, Some Words with a Mummy. Then there is Robert Louis Stevenson’s spooky The Body Snatcher, with its connection to Doctor Knox and the Burke and Hare case in late 1820s Edinburgh. Finally, the collection concludes with Washington Irving’s The Devil and Tom Walker.
The original intent was that one of these collections would be published every year, hence the title. As it happened, this was the only year, but the book remains in print, and even if you’ve already purchased This and That, is well worth buying for the other stories.
Trade Paperback, 8-½ x 5-½, 172 pages, isbn: 978-1-932606-089 Published by Riverdale Books
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