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The Incubations

Author Ramsey Campbell

Companion to the special, collectable hardcover edition for Ramsey Campbell's 60 years in publication.

When a weight landed on his legs he raised his head from the violently crumpled pillow. The bed already had another occupant, and as Leo flung the quilt back so that it wouldn’t hinder his escape the creature scurried up his body to squat on his chest, clutching him with all its limbs like half a spider…

The English town of Settlesham was twinned with Alphafen in Germany soon after the Second World War. During the war both towns were bombed, even though Alphafen seemed to have no strategic significance. To mark the fiftieth anniversary of the postwar reconciliation, pupils at the local schools were set to correspond with their opposite numbers. Leo Parker has been in touch with Hanna Weber ever since but has never previously visited her. As an adult he’s welcomed in Alphafen, but his stay seems idyllic despite the odd incident—a local who blames him for a hostile letter a schoolmate of Leo’s sent, a glimpse of an uncanny figure on an Alpine walk, a flapping intruder that seems to embody Hanna’s night fears, an encounter in a mountain restaurant with an English tourist who turns out to be there for his own disturbing reasons.

It’s only after Leo leaves the town that the nightmares begin: an airport turns into a labyrinth, his own words become treacherous if not lethal, a family meal grows unnaturally active, and what are those creatures that have appeared in the photographs he took? The man he met in the mountain restaurant hasn’t finished with him, and he has to deal with the town councillor who sent the warlike letter when they were teenage classmates. A local police inspector has reason to suspect his actions, even though the policeman is a friend of Leo’s parents. Even the therapy Leo undertakes becomes a source of menace. In his bid to cement international relations, Leo may have roused the source of an ancient Alpine legend and brought a supernatural infection home with him. Even once he understands what has travelled with him, his attempts to overcome its influence may lead into greater nightmares still…

The Ramsey Campbell Special Editions. Campbell is the greatest inheritor of a tradition that reaches back through H.P. Lovecraft and M.R. James to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and the early Gothic writers. The dark, masterful work of the painter Henry Fuseli, a friend of Mary Wollstonecraft, is used on these special editions to invoke early literary investigations into the supernatural.

Product details
Hardback, Deluxe edition, matt laminated, gold and silver foil stamped, embossed. Coloured page edges, 256 pages, 77000 words
ISBN: 9781787589292
Series: Special Ramsey Campbell Edition
Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.8 in
Available from 12 Nov 2024
Ramsey Campbell

Ramsey Campbell

Ramsey Campbell was born in Liverpool in 1946 and now lives in Wallasey. He has received the Grand Master Award of the World Horror Convention, the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Horror Writers Association, the Living Legend Award of the International Horror Guild and the World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2015 he was made an Honorary Fellow of Liverpool John Moores University for outstanding services to literature. 

His first book was published by the legendary Arkham House when he was eighteen years old. His later work draws on the British and American traditions of horror fiction. It ranges from the psychological to the ghostly, the subtly uncanny to the cosmic, the quietly disquieting to the terrifying, the poignant to the darkly comic. His Flame Tree books include Thirteen Days by Sunset Beach, in which a family on holiday encounters an ancient horror on a Greek island, and Think Yourself Lucky, where the internet lets loose the monsters lurking within people just like us. In Somebody’s Voice a writer finds his memory and personality threatened by trying to write the memoir of a victim of abuse. The Three Births of Daoloth trilogy – The Searching Dead, Born to the Dark and The Way of the Worm – pits three childhood friends against a terror as vast as time and space.

Three of Campbell’s novels have been filmed – The Influence (available from FLAME TREE PRESS), Pact of the Fathers and The Nameless (in development as a Netflix series). He reviewed films for the local BBC for nearly forty years, and is presently working on an appreciation of the Three Stooges, Six Stooges and Counting. A new supernatural novel, Fellstones, is in progress too.

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