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Immaterial. Ghost Stories

ISBN 0-9586583-6-6

First published 2002
by MirrorDanse Books

Immaterial can be purchased from various specialist bookstores, online from the Australian Online Bookshop, from Amazon, or direct from the publisher.

Contents

• Nasty Little Habits
Dem Bones
• An Apocalpytic Horse
• Number 7
• Peripheral Movement in the Leaves Under and Orange Tree
• Blurred Lines
• Resonance of the Flesh
• Housewarming (with Paul Collins)
Rough Trade
• Grandma and the Girls
• Dead in the Glamour of Moonlight
• Maculate Conception
• A Place for the Dead
• Occasional Demons
• The Calling
• Plus an interview with the author (conducted by Kyla Ward)

 

The Genesis of Immaterial

In 2001, Bill Congreve of small-press publisher MirrorDanse Books decided it was time that I put together a retrospective-style collection of my stories, the last having been Day-Dreaming on Company Time back in 1988. Simultaneously I'd been dabbling with a thematic collection, having realised just how many of my stories are, in fact, stories about ghosts -- sometimes traditional and sometimes not.

It was clear that I'd been pursuing this theme for many years. While writing my YA novel Backstreets, I'd actually thought of it as a ghost story, though the supernatural is never more than a suggestive presence and, like many good ghost stories, the 'reality' of what is experienced by the protagonist remains open to question. The publisher, Hodder Headline, hadn't wanted or expected a ghost story -- they were after a naturalistic drama about loss and grieving -- and the novel can be read purely in those terms. But there's a definite ghostly aura about it.

Following on from there, the Shades series featured a group of ghostly beings whose name was used in Roman times to describe the dead. Though supernatural thrillers, the Shades books do take a somewhat more 'scientific' approach to rationalising their fantastical elements. Nevertheless the Shades are ghosts of a kind, no question.

On top of that, I'd just written a ghost story, "Maculate Conception", for the MirrorDanse anthology Passing Strange (actually, I'd re-written it -- the original having been penned several years before). And a young kid's book, Hard Rock Rodney, about the spirit of a dead heavy-metal guitar player. More ghosts. Suddenly I was doing research into Rudolf Hess and his stay in Spandau Prison, weaving it into a story I'd been intending to write for years -- a ghost story, of course.

Clearly I had, almost without knowing it, acquired another obsession.

So Immaterial was born. Bill wrestled with me about which stories to include, striving to make it as good a collection as possible. Mostly I concurred. Three new stories appeared, joining with older favourites. And the result is a collection I'm rather proud of.

Reviews

An excellent review on the ASiF! Australian Speculative Fiction in Focus website :

"The subtitle of this book is an example of understatement, as well as truth in advertising. While it might be true that this is a collection of ghost stories, that phrase does not adequately convey the breadth of Robert Hood’s talent, nor does it offer the prospective reader any real idea as to what to expect...

"...Through these ... stories, Hood demonstrates a talent for storytelling, as well as showing us his fascination, not only with the immaterial world that surrounds us, but also with the immaterial connections that form between friends, family and even strangers. Whether or not there are real ghosts here is not important – but each of the stories represents a journey away from the comfortable, the stable and the secure, pulling their protagonists towards a world where not everything is as solid as it appears." more

copyright©Robert Hood 2002-2006

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