Thirteen Phantasms by James Blaylock

Thirteen Phantasms

13 Thirteen Phantasms Cover
Published by Ace, 2003 (PB)
ISBN 0441010148

Published by Edgewood Press, 2000
ISBN 0-9701306-0-0

Published by Subterranean Press (December 2005)
Paperback: 28 pages (title story - not the collection)
ISBN: 159606045X
Short stories mostly have an ephemeral publishing life, showing up briefly in magazines, chapbooks, or online, and then disappearing forever. It's often an unexpected pleasure, therefore, to find a collection of short stories by a favourite author, and that is certainly the case with Thirteen Phantasms from Edgewood Press. Gathered in this volume are:
  • Thirteen Phantasms
  • Red Planet
  • The Ape-Box Affair*
  • Bugs
  • Nets of Silver and Gold
  • The Better Boy*
  • The Pink of Fading Neon
  • The Old Curiosity Shop
  • Doughnuts
  • Two Views of a Cave Painting
  • The Idol's Eye
  • Paper Dragons
  • We Traverse Afar
  • The Shadow on the Doorstep
  • Myron Chester and the Toads
  • Unidentified Objects
* Readers of a scientific turn of mind may be flabbergasted by some scenes in these stories (I'm thinking particularly of the the ape's helium respirator in "The Ape Box Affair" and Bernard Wilkins' ether bunnies in "The Better Boy"), but don't let that stop you reading them anyway. Unless you're a fanatical Blaylock collector, it's unlikely you've read all or even many of these stories. Some, such as "Red Planet" and "The Pink of Fading Neon" seem to simply be dipping into a world of lunacy, while another old story of the same era, The "Ape-Box Affair", relates an hilarious misadventure of Langdon St. Ives, who would reappear later in "Two Views of a Cave Painting", "The Idol's Eye" and the novels Lord Kelvin's Machine and Homunculus. Throughout the collection we meet characters who pull away, intentionally or not, the curtain of the everyday world, revealing the leering, capering dwarf in a funny hat just outside the window who cocks a snook and scuttles off. As with most of Blaylock's stories, this collection is full of strange powers; obsessions, magical objects, and characters whose quirky perspectives sometimes plunge them into chaos or set them on the road to adventure.

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Audio Book

The chapbook containing just the story "Thirteen Phantasms" can be purchased from
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or from Amazon Canada
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