Widely acclaimed as one of the first successful female science fiction authors, Mildred Clingerman returns with the exciting follow up to her 1961 science fiction collection, A Cupful of Space. Her stories tend to wed a literate tone to subject matters whose ominousness is perhaps more submerged than the horrors under the skin made explicit in the work of Shirley Jackson, but equally as deadly.
Clingerman’s new anthology, The Clingerman Files, includes all of her originally published stories; The Day of the Green Velvet Cloak, Mr. Sakrison’s Halt, Wild Wood, The Little Witch of Elm Street and many other favourites. Also included are previously unpublished works; Top Hand, Tribal Customs, The Birthday Party, Fathers of Daughters and many more soon to be favourites. The key to her stories is that they appear simple and straightforward, but each takes a twist or turn that, even when you’re tempted to guess where they’re heading, they take you there in a way you would never have bargained on.
Other writers of the period tried to make big splashes. Clingerman, it seems, prided herself in concealing her effects within her masterfully constructed sentences. They barely make a ripple on the surface; all their power and drive lurk deep down below. So many of her stories are alive with the underpinning notion that the cosmological vistas we spy at the end ends of telescopes and various other means of measurement belong to the very same universe under our feet. We’re not apart from the universe, we’re a part of it. Nearly every story here is alive with that sensibility, in the truest sense of that word. In every sentence there is a note (a gentle one, but insistent) of silent rebellion, a surreptitious snarl, entreating you to see that not the everyday, but an undiscovered marvel.
May these eloquent rebellions be undiscovered no longer.