Friday 21 May 2010

The Pan Book of Horror Stories

My friend Johnny Mains has had an incredible amount of success in reviving interest in the old Pan Book of Horror Stories, not only with his own tribute anthology, Back from the Dead, but in persuading Pan to reissue the very first volume this year, just after the 50th anniversary of its first publication.

Not only has he achieved this, though, but Pan have commissioned him to do an introduction to it. An accolade indeed!

If sales of this reissue are good enough, there is the possibility that Pan will restart the series with brand new stories. Which, after the dirth of anthologies from mainstream publishers for the last few years, is about as important a development for the horror genre that there has been for quite some time. Who knows - if sales are really good, we may yet see a revival of the kind of horror anthologies that were once so commonplace. And so much taken for granted by us.

Pan Book of Horror


  1. I enjoyed the books myself in their day, but I'm just not sure if a modern audience will appreciate something where the stories were written over 50 years ago - I guess only time will tell though.

  2. I suppose the big advantage with the first volume is that some its stories were quite considerably older and written by some of the best writers, not just in the horror genre, but in general, and by people like Angus Wilson. Quite a few in that first volumne were timeless and I doubt if they would date like many of the ones specifically written for the later volumes in the series.

    I actually think a very good portion of the first book will prove to have stood the test of time. Hopefully, if its sales are good enough, this might spur Pan on to take a look at publishing some new stories in a second volume. I don't think reprinting the original series after the first volume would be a good idea. Far from it!