Fritz Leiber - Night's Black Agents (Ballantine, June 1961)
Smoke Ghost The Automatic Pistol The Inheritance The Hill And The Hole The Dreams Of Albert Moreland The Hound Diary In The Snow The Man Who Never Grew Young The Sunken Land.
Smoke Ghost: (Unknown Worlds, Oct. 1941) "Have you ever thought what a ghost of our times would look like, Miss Millick? Just picture it. A smoky composite face with the hungry anxiety of the unemployed, the neurotic restlessness of the person without purpose, the jerky tension of the high-pressure metropolitan worker, the uneasy resentment of the striker, the callous opportunism of the scab, the aggressive whine of the panhandler, the inhibited terror of the bombed civilian, and a thousand other twisted emotional patterns. Each one overlying and yet blending with the others, like a pile of semi-transparent masks."
Mr. Catesby Wran should know what he's talking about as his journeys home from the advertising agency at night have become a horror to him thanks to the "black sack"-like entity lurking on the roofs of a particularly rundown section of town. And it seems to be growing in strength, even interrupting his visit to the psychiatrist he consults to assure himself that he's not experiencing a resurgence of the psychic ability he left behind in his traumatic traumatic youth. When even Dr. Trevethick flinches from a "black man" at the window and Catesby notices the smudged soot prints on the glass, he can no longer pretend that he's not being targeted by this very modern ghost, but for what purpose?
" ... that sodden, distorted face of sacking and coal dust, that boneless paw which waved back and forth, unmistakenly in his direction, as if reminding him of a future appointment ...."
The extended Sphere edition.
Fritz Leiber - Night's Black Agents (Sphere, 1977)
Smoke Ghost The Automatic Pistol The Inheritance The Hill and the Hole The Dreams Of Albert Moreland The Hound Diary in the Snow
The Man Who Never Grew Young
The Sunken Land Adept’s Gambit
“Fritz Leiber is author of the most frightening and thoroughly convincing of all modern horror stories”
– Damon Knight
Here at last in paperback is the premiere collection of fantasy and horror fiction which has long been a coveted collectors’ item in hardback. The first part of the anthology includes unsurpassable horror tales of the modern city. The second exemplifies the best in Leiber’s ‘Ancient Adventures’ and features those two world-famous characters of sword-and-sorcery fiction, Farfrd and the Grey Mouser. These are colourful, exciting fantasies in the great tradition of fantastic adventure.
The collection which fantasy and horror readers have all being waiting for!
From the first, I set myself against "literature"; the story was the thing, and no amount of style could persuade me to select a story that lacked genuine, unadulterated horror. For those who wanted something high-brow there was plenty. - Christine Campbell Thomson