Established in 1919, The Eden Book Society was a private publisher of horror for almost 100 years.
Presided over by the Eden family, it was handed down through the generations issuing short horror novellas to a confidential list of subscribers. Eden books were always written under pseudonyms and rumoured to have been written by some of the greatest horror authors of their day.
Until now they have never been available to the public.
Dead Ink Books is pleased to announce that it has secured the rights to the entire Eden Book Society backlist and archives. For the first time, these books – nearly a century of unseen British horror – will be available to the public. The original authors are lost to time, but their work remains, and Dead Ink will be faithfully reproducing the publications by reprinting them one year at a time.
Dead Ink hopes that you will join us as we explore the evolving fears of British society throughout the 20th Century and eventually entering the 21st. We will begin our reproduction with 1972, a year of exciting and original horror for the Society.
What is the Eden Society?
The Eden Book Society was a publishing house that produced horror novelettes for a private list of subscribers. It was established in 1919 by the Eden family and ran until 2006.
From 1919, six books were produced each year, supplying the archive with almost a century of unseen British horror. Dead Ink will be reproducing these books as a year-on-year subscription that replicates the original model. We’ll be beginning with 1972 and reproducing all of the books that were released that year, in as faithful a manner as possible.
We’ll also be going through the family’s archive and sending select finds to all of our subscribers through The Archivist’s Newsletter.
The 1972 Books
Plunge Hill: A Case Study
by J. M. McVulpin
Dear Maurice, I’m writing to you by candlelight again. Another power cut. I had to carry the papers back and forth in the dark, tiny flames flickering in the stairwells… They’ve got the petrol generators running in Ward 7 and the noise they make is like a swarm of bees has got into the place…
In 1972, during the chaotic days of miners’ strikes and the three-day week, Bridget ‘Brix’ Shipley moves to Plunge Hill to start her new job as a medical secretary at the local hospital. As she writes to Maurice, her younger brother, sick at home (who never replies), it becomes clear that not all is well at Plunge Hill. There are frequent power cuts and she has to work by candlelight. While she’d hoped this might inspire some blitz spirit and solidarity between her, the other secretaries and the medical staff, she’s increasingly isolated and seemingly ignored by her co-workers.
Choose Your Own
by Chuck Valentine
Jon’s dad was something of a pioneer in 1972, after writing a new kind of book – a book where readers could make their own choices and choose their own way through the story. Unfortunately, the idea was ahead of its time and his father died of a heart attack without ever finding the success he deserved.
It’s the summer and, between signing on to the unemployment allowance, Jon's moved back to his hometown to help his mum cope with her grief. Contending with his own grief, he loses himself in his father’s unpublished manuscripts. Fiction and reality blend perhaps a little too closely, and when he discovers a hidden appendix he finds that his father’s imagination was more terrifying and more powerful than he could have imagined.
by Jonathan Buckley
Richard and Juliette Willoughby live in an old farmhouse somewhere in North Yorkshire. The place has been called Starve Acre since anyone can remember and there is a local story about there being ‘something’ buried in the field. A 'something' which prevents anything from growing there. Quite what it is varies from one person to the next – a witch, or some tool once used by a witch, or the rope used to hang a witch – but there is general agreement in the area that it is a place to be avoided. In fact, the locals blame Starve Acre for Juliette’s illness, a degenerative mental condition that has transformed her into a vacant, ghost-like shell of her former self.
by L.G. Vey
It's a quiet house, sheltered, standing in a mass of tangled old trees called the Holtwood. Raymond watches it. He's been watching it, through a gap in the fence at the bottom of the garden, for weeks. Thinking about the elderly owners, Mr and Mrs Latch, who took him in one night when he was a frightened boy caught up in an emergency. Mr Latch showed him something that was kept in a wardrobe in the spare room. He can't remember what it was. He only knows how sick it made him feel. Raymond watches Holt House. He has to remember what he saw. He has to get inside.
by D.A. Northwood
London, early-1970s. In a city plagued by football violence, Republican bombings, blackouts and virulent racism, a new urban myth is taking hold. Among the broken down estates, crumbling squats and failed projects of a dying metropolis, whispered sightings of a malevolent figure nicknamed the Judderman are spreading. A manifestation of the sick psyche of a city, or something else?
The Evening Visitor
by Shirley Longford
Organ donation is in its infancy and Daisy Howard, who is giving a kidney to her aunt, is in the hands of a pioneering surgeon. After the operation, Daisy is desperate to get back to her family, yet the days go by and she remains in the hospital; meanwhile, an old friend keeps visiting with news of home, and Daisy becomes increasingly uneasy.
The Archivist's Newsletter
Each month we'll send out a newsletter from our resident archivist as they delve into the boxes of paperwork that we inherited from the Eden family. Including photographs, letters, notes and audio recordings, The Archivist's Newsletter will allow you to follow along as we uncover the secrets of the society.
We'll also delve into some of the more fantastical and interesting theories and conspiracies surrounding the family and their mysterious publications. After almost 100 years, they were not a family without secrets and controversies!
Share Your Theory!
Private subscribers? Pseudonyms!?
Number stations, occultism, hoax, psychological study, prophecy.
There are lots of theories (or perhaps gossip!) about what The Eden Book Society really was. As the archivist delves into their task, share with us your own theories about what all of this could have been about.
On Twitter use the hashtag #EdenBookSociety to discuss your own theories about what the society might be. You can find Dead Ink Books at @deadinkbooks or the Society itself at @edenbooksociety.
What is the Eden Society really?
The Eden Book Society does not exist.
It is a hoax, albeit a publicly acknowledged one.
Dead Ink has commissioned some well known British authors to imagine that the society did exist and contribute a novelette in the spirit of the hoax. We’ll be announcing publicly that these authors are writing for the society, but each book will remain under a pseudonym. Readers will be left to connect the true author to each book themselves.
We all remember the horror films we weren’t supposed to watch as a child. Eden exists to confuse the lines, introduce doubt, tease curiosity and invite the reader deeper. Horror is at its most effective when it chimes uncannily with our own memories; it forces us to doubt our own reason and question our certainties.
Artistically, we are also excited by what authors will produce when they are liberated from their own name. From Stephen King to JK Rowling, a pseudonym is the allure of a mystery that has to be solved, the excitement that perhaps you’ve discovered something – which, coincidentally, is how lots of horror stories begin!
The Archivist’s Newsletter will also be fictitious, creating its own narrative and slowly telling the story of the Eden family.
The six books will be written under pseudonym by...
Andrew Michael Hurley, author of The Loney
- The Loney winner of the Costa 2015 First Novel Award, The British Book Awards Book of the Year 2015 and Sunday Times Top 10 Bestseller.
- Andrew Michael Hurley in The Guardian: There is no place more terrifying than your own mind.
- Review of Andrew's latest novel, Devil's Day: Gothic ritual and horror come to the Lancashire uplands in this lively follow-up to The Loney.
Alison Moore, author of The Lighthouse
- The Lighthouse shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the National Book Awards and an The Observer Book of The Year.
- Alison Moore in The Guardian: I'd Like to See Somebody Else's Angle on My Book.
- Review of The Lighthouse.
Aliya Whiteley, author of The Arrival of Missives
- 2012 Runner-up in the British Fantasy Society Short Story Competition, 2015 and Shortlisted for Best Novella in the Shirley Jackson Awards and 2017. Shortlisted for Best Short Fiction in the BSFA Awards..
- The Beauty Reviewed by Strange Horizons.
Jenn Ashworth & Richard V. Hirst, authors of The Night Visitors
- Jenn Ashworth's first novel, A Kind of Intimacy, winner of 2010 Betty Trask Award.
- The Night Visitors winner of 2017 Best Novella at The Saboteur Awards
- The Night Visitors reviewed by Triumph of the Now.
Sam Mills, author of The Quiddity of Will Self
- The Guardian review of The Quiddity of Will Self
- The Times review of The Quiddity of Will Self
- The Independent review of The Quiddity of Will Self
Gary Budden, author of Hollow Shores
- From Hollow Shores: Breakdown featured in 2017 Best Weird Fiction, Greenteeth shortlisted for Best Short Fiction at The British Fantasy Awards.
- Gary Budden on writing The Hollow Shore
- Gary Budden's writing on The Learned Pig
Risks and challenges
Dead Ink is an imprint of Cinder House Publishing Limited. We publish books by new and emerging authors and are supported by Arts Council England to develop their careers. We are represented by Inpress Books and distributed by NBN International.
We regularly crowdfund books on our own website and have previously used Kickstarter to fund the book Know Your Place: Essays on the Working Class by the Working Class.
We are fully capable and experienced in creating books entirely in-house on a regular basis. We have good working relationships with several printers.
We do not anticipate any risks to this project once completely funded. We do recognise that a subscription service is new to us and anticipate that this may be a challenge. We have already looked into alternative options for distribution should we not be able to handle it ourselves and have received quotes from our printers for direct mailouts.
We have excellent working relationships with all of the authors participating in this project and have worked with a number of them previously. All of the authors participating have chosen to do so because of their love of the project and feel committed to what we are trying to achieve.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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