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April 2003
 
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The Not At Night Series edited by Christine Campbell Thompson (1925-1937)

For fans of classic horror fiction, and collectors of Weird Tales in particular, the Not at Night series of anthologies is one of the genre's best-kept secrets.

Beginning with the book from which the series took its name, Not at Night, published in October 1925, literary agent and author Christine Campbell Thompson (aka "Flavia Richardson", 1897-1985) edited twelve volumes which appeared from British publisher Selwyn & Blount over a period of a dozen years.

After Thompson began selling stories by her husband Oscar Cook to Weird Tales, a copyright arrangement meant that the Not at Night series became the British edition of the legendary pulp magazine. However, not only did Thompson reprint stories soon after their publication in Weird Tales but, in at least one case, she included a tale before its appearance in "The Unique Magazine".

Out of the 170 stories collected in the series, 100 came from Weird Tales, providing early hardcover publication for such authors as H. P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, August Derleth, Frank Belknap Long, Seabury Quinn, David H. Keller and numerous others.

The final volume was the Not at Night Omnibus (April, 1937), which collected thirty-five stories from the earlier books, before Thompson decided to bring the series to an end because of a lack of good enough material. She left behind a legacy of not only one of the first regular series of weird fiction anthologies, but also a dozen volumes which should be considered a cornerstone of any Weird Tales collector's library.

—Stephen Jones

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