Owing to a glitch during some mainentance work, we had a post disappear yesterday. If only the Disappearing Spell worked on who we wanted to work on . . .
All seems to be back in working order, now, so (pausing only to make a ritual sacrifice to the gods of IT), here it is again:
William Sloane (1906-1974) was a playwright and publisher, who in his early thirties published two remarkable novels which combine sf and horror: To Walk the Night (1937) and The Edge of Running Water (1939). Subsequently he published no fiction, apart from a single story which he included in one of the two sf anthologies he edited in the early 1950s, pursuing instead a distinguished publishing career. But the reputation established by the novels has meant that they have been rediscovered from time to time in later years.
To Walk the Night depicts an alien from another dimension who takes the place of the wife of a famous physicist; The Edge of Running Water is about a widower, obsessed with trying to communicate with his dead wife. Both novels invite comparison with the work of H.P. Lovecraft, who died in the year the first was published, but whereas Lovecraft was a master of a particular kind of pulp excess, Sloane was a mainstream – almost literary – writer dealing in sf and horror tropes.
But don’t listen to us. Here’s what Stephen King had to say in his introduction to the most recent US reissue:
The general reader will find much here to enthral and entertain; those who have studied the horror genre but don’t know these books will find them a revelation for the way Sloane takes what he needs from multiple genres … and makes something new and remarkable from them…. My only regret is that William Sloane did not continue. Had he done so, he might have become a master of the genre, or created an entirely new one.
Sloane’s only two novels are now Gateway Essentials:
You can read more about William M. Sloane in his entry in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.