Saturday, July 4, 2009

Devil's Drums and Veils Of Fear

My knowledge of Vivian Meik, author of the two horror story collections Devil's Drums (1933) and Veils Of Fear (1934) went, until today, no further than an entry on pages 362-363 of Shadows in The Attic: A Guide to British Supernatural Fiction 1820 - 1950 (review here), the entry found on the online Guide to Supernatural Fiction, and having read the two volumes mentioned above.

Meik (1894 - 1955), it turns out, led a fascinating life, at one time returning to the United States with as "One outstanding feature... when he arrived in the US was that he was missing his left eye", according to the very detailed online biography with a wealth of other details The Complete Vivian Meik.

Meik, who died in California, not only wrote the horror story collections mentioned above, but also The People of the Leaves (1931), reviewed in one entry on the Complete Vivian Meik as " absorbing account of the obscure Juang or Patuas (meaning people of the leaves or leaf-wearers) tribe located in Orissa. How he fell in love with this extremely shy, withdrawn people makes for fascinating reading..."

A view that was not shared by this contemporary review, published in 1931 in Texas state newspaper San Antonio Express that I found.


  1. I wish I knew when the expanded edition of Devil's Drum I edited for Midnight House would come out. This publisher has had the final text, completely copyedited and including the introduction, for something like six years now, but it never seems to get scheduled. If it ever does come out, I think readers will find Meik's stories of central African magic to be refreshingly different from the usual, and compellingly readable.

  2. I have brought up my desire to see this collection in print every time John and I have been in contact over the past few years. From Bleiler's description of it in his GUIDE, I did not expect much, but the stories are fresh, vivid, and compelling. They are precisely what I had hoped to encounter while working my way through reams of almost invariably disappointing pulp adventure stories during my teens and early twenties.


  3. I'm the fellow who wrote up Vivian Meik on my blog, and that was two years ago. Doug, If I've been anxiously waiting that long for your book to come out, I can only imagine how you feel.

    I do hope it's soon, but I also understand the reality of independent book publishing. (I guess we have to?)

    -- Steve