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Old 11-10-2015   #1
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James
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Saki

For the last week I have been checking out the works of Edwardian writer Saki through Wikisource and the like (I'm broke!). His macabre tales bring to mind the dark wit of Roald Dahl or Ambrose Bierce. He is classified as a weird writer by some, but so far of the stories I have read I would class very few under this umbrella, although The Music on the Hill feels like a sort of companion piece to Machen's The Great God Pan, with a greater focus on the psychological/emotional aspects which I look for in fiction.

My favourite Saki so far is a horror story, although not a supernatural one. It is entitled The Interlopers, which despite no weird elements contains a similar undiluted evocation of the futility of human endeavour under the indifferent, untameable spell of the wild universe. Instead of a tale of love conquering all, it is a tale of how the great All shall forever conquer love, with its ghoulish final twist being bleakly amusing. A perfect horror tale.

I am also fond of his beastly weird tale Sredni Vashtar, regarding dark youthful revenge, and of The Cobweb, which reminded me slightly of Walter de la Mare's more solemn, pensive tales of eerie spiritual disquiet. Another story of note is of course his famous ghost story subversion story The Open Window, which I may perhaps have encountered in school as it felt curiously familiar.

Any other fans of Saki on here? Any recommendations of other stories of his which could be considered 'weird fiction'?

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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