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1945 - Year in SF&F: Reviews



THE WONDER TIMELINE: SF&F RETROSPECTIVE
Read other issues here

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(left: art by for "Night of Impossible Shadows" by Allison V. Harding, Weird Tales Sep 1945; right image: art by Hugh Rankin for "Shadows in the Moonlight" by Robert E. Howard, Weird Tales Apr 1934, via)

Allison V. Harding
"Night of Impossible Shadows"
© Weird Tales, Sep 1945
--/ cool f story
--/ wonder award: shadows alive
--/ rare find


This a story by a somewhat mysterious writer, so mysterious in fact, that even Internet Speculative Fiction Database gets it wrong about who this person really was. According to researcher Douglas A. Anderson, Allison V. Harding (who published quite a few stories in "Weird Tales" in the 1940s) was none other than Lamont Buchanan, the associate editor of "Weird Tales" himself. His stories are not known as masterpieces of fantasy, but they do posses that special quality of thick, 1930s weird pulp atmosphere, comparable to works by early Kuttner, or even early Fritz Leiber.

In this story the troublesome shadows again are misbehaving and acquiring the mind of their own, but in a more sinister way. If in Clark Ashton Smith's lighthearted urban environment they were cavorting and scheming around quirky and carefree, then here we have the heavy, ponderous, unspeakably vague shadows IN THE DARK WOODS. This is a great "cabin in the woods"-kind of scenario that would be exploited in many B-movies decades later. Now I have to hunt down more fiction by Allison V. Harding, which only exists within the pages of "Weird Tales" pulp and has never been anthologized, or printed anywhere else.
(review by Avi Abrams)

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