Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Creeps Library

UK book series published by Philip Allan (1884-1973) and edited by Charles Birkin, who remained uncredited throughout. The series began in 1932, though its roots can be traced to a privately printed annual, The Green Book (4 issues 1919-1922), issued by a disbanded group of Military Intelligence propaganda veterans, including Allan himself and Edward Heron-Allen (see Christopher Blayre). Several stories from The Green Book later appeared in the CL, which consisted primarily of a thrice-yearly Anthology and a series of single-author collections. The anthology series ran to 13 titles: Creeps (anth 1932), Shivers (anth 1932), Shudders (anth 1932), Nightmares (anth 1933), Quakes (anth 1933), Terrors (anth 1933), Monsters (anth 1934), Panics (anth 1934), Powers of Darkness (anth 1934), Thrills (anth 1935), Tales of Fear (anth 1935), Tales of Death (anth 1936) and Tales of Dread (anth 1936); the first three volumes were assembled as The Creeps Omnibus (omni 1935). Although initial volumes printed a number of Ghost Stories – by Elliott O'Donnell (1872-1965), Tod Robbins and H Russell Wakefield, among others – the later ones focused increasingly on the Conte Cruel, and ran mostly original material rather than reprints. CL was, though, the weakest of the notable series of this period, which included Not at Night and The Ghost Book.

Before inaugurating CL Philip Allan had published volumes of Weird Fiction, including Who Wants a Green Bottle? (1926) by Robbins and They Return at Evening (1928) by Wakefield; it was the publication of the next Wakefield volume, Imagine a Man in a Box (1931), that sowed the idea for the series in Allan's mind. Among these earlier volumes were: The Strange Papers of Dr Blayre (1932) by Blayre; Devil Drums (1933), Veils of Fear (1934) and The Curse of Red Shiva (1936) by Vivian Meik (1894-1955); The Three Freaks (1934) by Robbins; Mysteries of Asia (1935) by Achmed Abdullah; Horror on the Asteroid (1936) by Edmond Hamilton (1904-1977); Tales of the Grotesque (1936) by L A Lewis (1899-1961); and Devil's Spawn (1936) by Birkin. The Blayre and Lewis volumes are the most interesting in terms of original ideas. The series has served as a source for several later anthologies, especially those assembled by Richard Dalby and Herbert van Thal. [MA]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.