Thursday, March 10, 2011

Creepy Onions, Boy

Of late, my bedtime reading material has been this great dusty old tome called A Century of Creepy Stories, a honkin' thick-as-a-brick anthology of creaky tales and gothic goodies.

Most of the usual suspects are here - Arthur Machen, Charles Dickens, D.H. Lawrence, Edgar Allan Poe, H.G. Wells, Ambrose Bierce, Honore de Balzac, Algernon Blackwood, and Daniel DeFoe (what, no H.P. Lovecraft or August Derleth?). However, the collection is loaded with names I knew not, such as Ann Bridge, William Gerhardi, Lady Cynthia Asquith, W.S. Morrison, Mary Webb, C.H.B. Kitchin, Hugh Walpole, Enid Bagnold, and Oliver Onions.

Oliver Onions?

Hang on then, that can't be right.

Hmmmmmmm, no, yes, that's what it says right here, Oliver Onions. Mr. Onions is represented with three short stories in this book, and damn fine they are, too. My favorite is one called "Two Trifles", which features morse code, Hertzian waves, and a guy named "Sir Egbert"; check it, it's gold. Just consulted the Wikipedia and lo and behind, old Onions is actually secretly famous. Says here he's the renowned author of Gray Youth (1913), The Tower of Oblivion (1921), Hand of Kornelius Voyt (1939), Bells Rung Backward (1953), Catalan Circus (1969), and a bunch of other books I've never heard of.

Also says here that a common theme in Onions' stories is the connection between creativity and insanity. I like him already.

- - JSH

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