The Weird Realism of Robert Aickman

Episode 34 · November 21st, 2018 · 55 mins 25 secs

About this Episode

Although he is one of the luminaries of the weird tale, Robert Aickman referred to his irreal, macabre short works as strange stories. Born in London in 1914, Aickman wrote less than fifty such stories before his death in 1981. JF and Phil focus on one of his most chilling, "The Hospice," from the collection Cold Hand in Mine, published in 1975. In it, Aickman uses a staple ingredient of the classic ghost story -- a man is stranded on a country road at night, lost and out of petrol -- to concoct an unforgettable blend of fantasy and nightmare, reality and dream. Indeed, Phil and JF argue that Aickman deserves a place alongside David Lynch and a few others as one of those rare fabulists who can adeptly disclose how reality is more dreamlike, and dreams more real, than most of us would care to admit.

Header Image: Detail from photo by Ivars Indāns (Wikimedia Commons)


Robert Aickman, "The Hospice" from Cold Hand in Mine
Dante Aligheri, The Divine Comedy: The Inferno
David Lynch, Twin Peaks: The Return
David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
Weird Studies, Episode 22: Divining the World with Joshua Ramey
Norman Mailer, An American Dream