Ed Bryant on Charles Grant

I've known Charlie Grant for so-o-o long...

How long's that?

Well, let's see. We met clear back in the late 'seventies, so long ago that both he and I had garnered some repute as hot young science fiction writers.

Charles L. Grant? The quiet, writin' horror dude, an sf writer?

Absolutely. In 1978 he got the Nebula Award for the novelette "Glow of Candles, a Unicorn's Eye." But before that, Charlie'd published the indisputably science fiction novels The Shadow of Alpha and Ascension, shortly to be followed by Legion and Ravens of the Moon.

Then everything changed. It would have done a classic Alsatian lycanthrope proud. I can't tell you if it required the right full moon, but suddenly Charles L. Grant was a tried and true horror guy, with an ever-growing list of novels, collections, edited works, and short fiction, all lurking off in the sinister world of the dark fantastic. And so it's gone for another three decades and more.

Now Charlie's an actual Living Legend according to the precepts of the IHG. So what makes him that? Well, he's living (d'oh); and he's a legend. The living part, most of us can figure out. But the legendary aspect? It's a complex mixture of factors. Obviously I could endlessly catalog the titles he's published whether under his own name or a variety of other personas. But I think the legendary aspect of the Grant personality has a lot to do with influence.

As an editor, he's gathered up the work of an incredible variety of writers, and then presented it to a receptive world of readers, many of whom have been other writers and editors. Probably his monumental achievement in this area has been the 11 new collections and capstone best-of volume of Shadows. But one should also note that Charlie first contributed a third of the material to the very first Night Visions anthology; then edited the second volume.

This sort of participation in the process of recruiting and assembling prime collections of new material certainly influenced the mainstream of modern horror fiction. Yes, he did that. For the better. Period.

Charlie Grant, whether as author or editor, is frequently referred to as a partisan of "quiet horror." That's a bit misleading. That the Grant volume knob is usually turned down says absolutely nothing about tone and intensity. The resonances of Grant horror fiction carry. And they slide right up into the scarier recesses of the brain just as slick as, oh, a Teflon trepanning device.

To accomplish this as a writer and editor, and to make it look oh-so-easy, is the sort of sublimely difficult expertise that makes a creator clearly legendary. Charlie Grant's received life achievement recognitions in the past; this IHG Living Legend Award is only his latest. There will certainly be more.

One anticipates no less from a legend who has earned that reputation so fairly and deservedly.

Charles Grant Bio & Bibliography


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