The Night Wire and Other Tales of Weird Media, edited by Aaron Worth / From the British Library's "Tales of the Weird" series / ISBN 9780712354110 / 319-page paperback
A mysterious radio signal reports cosmic doom from an otherworldly location. Photography and X-ray evidence suggests there may be some truth to a sculptor’s claim that he has created a god. A spectral projection sows terror amid the flickering light of the cinema.
From the whispering wires of the telegraph and ghostly images of the daguerreotype to the disembodied voices of the phonograph and radio, the new technologies of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries gave their users miraculous new powers – and new nightmares. After all, if Graham Bell’s magical device could connect us with loved ones a half a world away, what was to stop it from reaching out and touching the dead – or something worse?
Tracing this fiction of fear from the 1890s to the 1950s, this new collection brings together the best tales of haunted or uncanny media from classic – and unjustly neglected – writers of the supernatural.
Aaron Worth is professor of Rhetoric at Boston University. He has edited collections of stories by Arthur Machen and Sheridan Le Fanu for the Oxford World Classics series, and was the author of Imperial Media, a study of how advances in media and technology shaped the British Literary Imagination in the late nineteenth century.