Masters of the Weird Tale

Charles L. Grant


Stephen King once opined that Charles L. Grant was, “one of the premier horror writers of his or any generation.” This wasn’t just an offhand plug either. King was offering up a well-guarded secret to the uninitiated. As horror fiction’s talisman, he couldn’t let a good secret — or story — go to waste. And as a fellow horror alum, he couldn’t sit idly by while Grant’s work quietly beckoned for a wider audience.
       Though, high praise alone doesn’t cement one’s place in the canon of horror fiction. An author must put in the effort, and Grant was a master at churning out high-quality fiction at a dizzying pace. But what set him apart from the rest of his contemporaries was his methodical approach to storytelling, one that doesn’t go for the gore jugular. Although, you’ll be left gutted just the same.
       His stories float into existence like half-remembered dreams, lulling his readers into tranquility. Then the smoke clears, the curtains are withdrawn, and the door is nailed shut. Escape from harm’s way is nigh impossible. Classics like “Temperature Days on Hawthorne Street,” “The Three of Tens,” “Coin of the Realm,” “Come Dance with Me on My Pony’s Grave,” and “If Damon Comes” are all examples of this lush-filled swooning into oblivion.
       But some of his most unsettling stories feature the most innocent among us. In “The Gentle Passing of a Hand,” little Jay may be special in more ways than one, but it’s his innocence that makes his sleight of hand more than just a parlor trick with air up his sleeve. And they say a mother is a son’s best friend. But they’ve never met young Davey from “Old Friends.” Nor have they met his friends who come out to play when the lights go out and his mother is nowhere in sight.
       Despite his proclivity toward horror, Grant could also be found dabbling in science fiction. His grandest statement of all may be the Nebula award-winning novelette, “A Glow of Candles, a Unicorn’s Eye.” In it a man whose love for the art of acting knows no bounds. It’s enough to drive him from devoted thespian to determined psychopath. But perhaps life, death, and the limelight are all in the eye of the beholder. Or maybe it’s all just a part of a dream that won’t soon die.
       And Grant never shied away from smoldering, psychological torments that often lead to a menacing catharsis. “The Key to English” isn’t just a clever play on words. It’s a dark parable about the truth hidden behind locked doors and the reluctant students who should fear much more than their expulsion. While “Something There Is” includes a writer consumed by madness who will stop at nothing to find his muse. But his only stop is discovering more than he bargained for ready to greet him on the other side.
       With nearly a hundred stories culled from the entirety of Grant’s career, including some of his most lauded work, this massive two-volume collection will keep you guessing and resisting the pull of repose for many sleepless nights to come.

This two-volume collection is enclosed in a handsome slipcase with ribbon marker and illustrations by Andrew Smith, Allen Koszowski, Jill Bauman, and others, with dustjacket artwork by David Ho and Michael Whelan. The complete contents are shown below.
       The edition is limited to 250 signed and numbered sets, with around 40 unsigned sets.

edition information

  • Limited to 250 copies, each signed by Steve Rasnic Tem, Jill Bauman, David Ho, Allen Koszowski, Andrew Smith, Beth Gwinn, and a facsimile signature by Charles L. Grant.
  • Oversize at 7½ × 11 inches.
  • Introduction by Steve Rasnic Tem.
  • Slipcase, ribbon marker, head and tail bands, full color wraparound dustjacket art.
  • Two volumes, 1064 total pages.
  • Original book price: $335.
  • Published May 2023.
  • ISBN 978-1-61347-060-2.