Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Fontana Book of Great Ghost Stories

Annual Anthology series: 20 vols, 1964-1984. The first eight vols were ed Robert Aickman 1964-1972 (missing 1965) and the remainder were ed R Chetwynd-Hayes. Aickman's volumes relied wholly on reprinted material (apart from his own stories), including some Victorian, but selected primarily from the golden age of Ghost Stories in the years immediately before and after WWI. His erudite introductions established a pedigree for the ghost story, identifying it as an artform. The examples he chose – including works by E F Benson, Algernon Blackwood, L P Hartley, M R James and Vernon Lee – were presented as superior; these volumes remain among the best selections of ghost stories ever published. Fontana, however, felt sales suffered from the inclusion of old material and brought in Chetwynd-Hayes to update the series. Although he retained some reprints, by #12 (anth 1976) the contents were predominantly new, though the quality was seldom as high. In addition to Chetwynd-Hayes's own stories, the series presented new material by Sydney J Bounds (1920-2006), Ramsey Campbell, Steve Rasnic Tem (1950-    ), Rosemary Timperley (1920-1988) and Elizabeth Walter.

A companion annual (missing 1974 and 1976) series was The Fontana Book of Great Horror Stories (anth 17 vols 1966-1984), #1-#4 ed Christine Bernard (1926-2000) and the rest by Mary Danby (1941-    ). This series also ran ghost and other Supernatural Fictions, but relied mostly on nonfantastic fiction. The same editors also produced a junior version, The Armada Ghost Book (anth 15 vols 1967-1983), with #1-#2 ed Bernard and the rest ed Danby. [MA]

Bibliography: The Fontana Book of Great Ghost Stories (anth 1964), Second (anth 1966), Third (anth 1966), Fourth (anth 1967), Fifth (anth 1969), Sixth (anth 1970), Seventh (anth 1971), Eighth (anth 1972), these 8 ed Robert Aickman; Ninth (anth 1973), Tenth (anth 1974), Eleventh (anth 1975), Twelfth (anth 1976), Thirteenth (anth 1977), Fourteenth (anth 1978), Fifteenth (anth 1979), Sixteenth (anth 1980), Seventeenth (anth 1981), Eighteenth (anth 1982), Nineteenth (anth 1983) and Twentieth (anth 1984), these 12 ed R Chetwynd-Hayes.

The Fontana Book of Great Horror Stories (anth 1966), Second (anth 1967), Third (anth 1968), Fourth (anth 1969), these 4 ed Christine Bernard; Fifth (anth 1970), Sixth (anth 1971), Seventh (anth 1972) Eighth (anth 1973), Ninth (anth 1975), Tenth (anth 1977), Eleventh (anth 1978), Twelfth (anth 1979), Thirteenth (anth 1980), Fourteenth (anth 1981), Fifteenth (anth 1982), Sixteenth (anth 1983), Seventeenth (anth 1984).

The First Armada Ghost Book (anth 1967), Second (anth 1968), both ed Christine Bernard; Third (anth 1970), Fourth (anth 1972), Fifth (anth 1973), Sixth (anth 1974), Seventh (anth 1975) Eighth (anth 1976), Ninth (anth 1977), Tenth (anth 1978), Eleventh (anth 1979), Twelfth (anth 1980), Thirteenth (anth 1981), Fourteenth (anth 1982), Fifteenth (anth 1983).

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.