Working name of UK editor and researcher Michael Raymond Donald Ashley (1948- ), whose special area of expertise is the history and development of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Supernatural Fiction, and the relationship between these genres and Legends. This has led to a number of ambitious reference works, in particular Who's Who in Horror and Fantasy Fiction (1977) – a seminal but all too brief coverage of some 400 writers – Monthly Terrors: An Index to the Weird Fantasy Magazines Published in the United States and Great Britain (1985 US) with Frank H Parnell (1916-1996), which covers many rare and small-circulation Magazines, Science Fiction, Fantasy and Weird Fiction Magazines (1985 US) with Marshall B Tymn (1937-2020), which remains the most comprehensive study of this protean field, and The Supernatural Index (1995 US) with William G Contento (1947- ), a painstaking index to over 2200 Anthologies of supernatural, fantasy and Horror fiction.
MA has long been working on a biography of Algernon Blackwood; spinoffs en route have included Algernon Blackwood: A Bio-Bibliography (1987 US) and two collections of Blackwood's stories: Tales of the Supernatural (coll 1983) and The Magic Mirror: Lost Tales and Mysteries (coll 1989). In the same vein MA has compiled The Fantasy Readers' Guide to Ramsey Campbell (1980 chap) and the collections Mrs Gaskell's Tales of Mystery and Horror (coll 1978) and Robert E. Howard's World of Heroes (coll 1989) (see Robert E Howard).
As an anthologist MA has striven to produce original work representative of its subject matter, as demonstrated in a series of Arthurian collections: The Pendragon Chronicles (anth 1990), The Camelot Chronicles (anth 1992), The Merlin Chronicles (anth 1995) and The Chronicles of the Holy Grail (anth 1996) (see Arthur), plus the mini-guide The Life and Times of King Arthur (1996 chap). Other anthologies of relevance are Weird Legacies (anth 1977), with stories drawn from Weird Tales, Jewels of Wonder (anth 1981), reprinting longer stories of Heroic Fantasy, The Mammoth Book of Short Horror Novels (anth 1988), The Giant Book of Myths and Legends (anth 1995) and the children's anthologies «Ghost Stories» (anth 1996) [completed and accepted but never published owing to cancellation of the YA line] and Fantasy Stories (anth 1996), containing stories of Quests and discovery. (see SFE for further bibliography.) [MA]
Michael Raymond Donald Ashley