Not at Night (fiction anthology series)

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Not at Night 1925 UK Edition

Details

Publisher: Selwyn & Blount, LTD. (London, UK)

Page Count: varies

Editors: Christine Campbell Thomas

Authors and Contents: (see contents, below)

Description

Not at Night series dust jacket art

An anthology series of popular Weird Tales stories, published in hardback format for a British audience; for many of the authors anthologized, this would be their first exposure both in hardback format, and to British readers. The series took its name from the first book in the series, the complete list of anthologies in the series includes:

  1. Not at Night (October 1925; reprint, 1936). Not to be confused with the Herbert Asbury collection of the same title (see below) which is a limited selection (to 1928) from the British series; nor with the title published by Arrow Books which is also a selection from the series.
  2. More Not at Night (Sept. 1926). Not to be confused with the title published by Arrow Books which is a selection from the series.
  3. You'll Need A Night Light (Sept. 1927).
  4. Gruesome Cargoes (July 1928).
  5. By Daylight Only (Oct. 1929). Not be confused with the title Only By Daylight which is a paperback reissue of the Arrow compilation Still Not at Night.
  6. Switch on the Light (April 1931).
  7. At Dead of Night (Nov 1931).
  8. Grim Death (Aug 1932).
  9. Keep on the Light (July 1933).
  10. Terror By Night (Aug. 1934).
  11. Nightmare By Daylight (April 1936).
  12. Not at Night Omnibus (April 1937). 35 stories, selected from across the whole series of 11 volumes and representing the editor's favourite stories of the series.


Contents

Not at Night, 1925 UK Edition

Editor: Christine Campbell Thomas, 1925 UK

  • "Monsters of the Pit", Paul S. Powers. A man tells the tale of how he lost his arm in a remote part of Africa, thanks to a mad scientist and the monstrous things he had created.
  • "Four Wooden Stakes", Victor Roman. Remson contacts his old friend Jack with an urgent request for him to visit his ancestral home. Remson's family members have been dying of an inexplicable wasting disease that strikes in the night, and only Remson is left…
  • "The Third Thumb-Print", Mortimer Levitan. Guy Steel visits Professor Sanders to learn about the latter’s revolutionary new discovery: he can determine whether a person has the potential to be a murderer simply from a thumb-print. The meeting will take an unexpected and horrific turn.
  • "Lips of the Dead", W.J. Stamper. When a Haitian dictator brutally executes his democratic opposition, the decapitated head of the victim prophesizes the fall of the tyrant.
  • "The Devil Bed", Gerald Dean. When an antiquities dealer finds a secret drawer in his centuries-old writing desk, it puts him on the trail of an exceedingly rare bed with a murderous history — and murderous proclivities.
  • "Death-Waters", Frank Belknap-Long, Jr. When two New Yorkers travel to Honduras in search of fresh spring water to bottle, one of them runs afoul of a native with supernatural powers. The native summons forces that leads to a deadly and painful end.
  • "Black Curtains", G. Frederick Montefiore. Seeking inspiration for his art, a painter focuses intently on the black curtains separating his studio from his neighbor’s home. This puts him into a nightmarish fever dream about his neighbor that involves love, greed, and murder. Or was it a dream?
  • "The Plant-Thing", R.G. Macready. A journalist goes to interview Professor Carter, a scientist who has bred a carnivorous plant into something much, much larger, smarter — and hungry.
  • "His Family", C. Franklin Miller. In the remotest depths of the Congo, an explorer comes across a reclusive colonel who has been in hiding to protect himself and his family. But the colonel and his family also hold a terrible secret.
  • "A Hand from the Deep", Romeo Poole. When the Whitby home explodes in some sort of gasoline-fueled accident, there is only one survivor — a patient who has had his arm reattached by Doctor Whitby using methods that got the doctor banned from practice. But why does the patient insist that the bandages be kept wet, not dry, and what is happening to the rest of his body?
  • "The Tortoise-Shell Cat", Greye La Spina. Althea Benedict, a student at an exclusive girls’ school in New York City, immediately notices that there is something strange about her new roommate Vida. Students and teachers who run afoul of Vida seem to have very unpleasant things happen to them, and Vida seems to know about this and unable to stop it. Althea’s cousin suspects dark magic is involved.
  • "The Case of the Russian Stevedore", Henry W. Whitehill. In a testimony about the horrific death of Doctor Dinwoodie, the narrator explains how the doctor, known for animal experimentation, was living in fear of a massive, hardly human, Russian Stevedore that seemed to have followed the doctor halfway around the world.
  • "The Leopard's Trail", W. Chiswell Collins. Traveling in Western Africa, Chisholm and Hodgkins run afoul of a sinister native cult known as the Leopard Society and are targeted as the cult’s next victims.
  • "The Last Trip", Archie Binns. The driver of a long passenger car is making his last trip for the night, which seems quite routine. However, the route of the passengers seems to be taking them inexorably toward the cemetery, and the driver has a dark secret that will come back to haunt him.
  • "The Purple Cincture", H. Thompson Rich. A physician, learning of his wife’s infidelity, breeds a horrific disease that can inexorably take its victims apart, piece by piece. He infects the man who cuckolded him and seems to get away with a particular gruesome murder. However, guilt — or supernatural vengeance — brings ironic punishment back upon the doctor.


More Not at Night, 1926 UK Edition

Editor: Christine Campbell Thomas

You'll Need a Nightlight, 1927 UK Edition

Editor: Christine Campbell Thomas


Not at Night, 1928 US Edition

Editor: Herbert Asbury, 1928 US; a "pirate" edition drawn from the first couple entries in the British anthologies and falsely attributed to the "British Weird Tales", Weird Tales threatened to sue the publisher, who eventually withdrew it from circulation:


The Gruesome Cargoes, 1928 UK Edition

Editor: Christine Campbell Thomas


By Daylight Only, 1929 UK Edition

Editor: Christine Campbell Thomas


Switch on the Lights, 1931 UK

Editor: Christine Campbell Thomas


At Dead of Night, 1931 UK

Editor: Christine Campbell Thomas


Grim Death, 1932 UK

Editor: Christine Campbell Thomas


Keep on the Light, 1933 UK

Editor: Christine Campbell Thomas


Terror by Night, 1934 UK

Editor: Christine Campbell Thomas


Nightmare by Daylight, 1936 UK

Editor: Christine Campbell Thomas


Not at Night Omnibus, 1937 UK

Editor: Christine Campbell Thomas


Comments / Trivia

Any factual trivia or comments go here.

  • The series was immensely popular in its time, leading to 11 volumes in total between 1925 and 1936. The first volume alone went through at least 7 reprints; mine is from October of 1927. 100 of the series' total of 170 stories were drawn from the magazine Weird Tales.
  • The series editor was a female horror writer named Christine Campbell Thomas who contributed to the series under the pseudonym 'Flavia Richardson' Some biographical details on her can be found [in this forum post].

Reviews and Links

Link to outside reviews or helpful pages.

  • "skullsinthestars blog" - Detailed descriptions of contents, photographs of cover (and fascinating bookplate), and review of UK 1925 edition; a comment by a reader adds details of the US 1928 edition: "First: most of them are not terribly good. They are utterly lacking in shock value, or even surprises... and are rather amateurish, in general.... Of all the stories, only 'The Purple Cincture' holds up as really worth reading today [as] a rather ghastly early example of body horror that makes up for its otherwise predictable plot. We can get a little feeling of the horror themes that captured readers' imaginations at the time by looking at the list of stories as a whole: [mad scientists, monstrous animals, Poe-like stories of vengeance and obsession, racism]. From that brief summary, one can see that the collection mostly reflects work that was done in the past and doesn’t represent any novel departure from the classics that came before it. For me, it really highlights how much the cosmic writings of Lovecraft and others revolutionized and revitalized the field of horror...."