Small mementos of the ones we loved.
I have several Grant tokens in my library. Like most book lovers, I couldn’t resist the urge to have some of them signed by their authors.
The funniest of these signed copies is this one:
Black Wine was a book put out for the 1986 World Fantasy Convention in Providence. That year’s guests of honor were Ramsey Campbell and Charles L. Grant, artist guest of honor was J.K. Potter, and toastmaster was Douglas E. Winter. Some time later, I went to England, were Ramsey Campbell was a fixture at the British FantasyCon and Charles L. Grant a frequent attendee. J.K. Potter was here too.
To make a long story short, I could get my book signed by three of the four creators.
The first one to sign it was Ramsey who, with his usual generosity, scrawled a sentence and a signature that took two thirds of the page. Next, I think, was J.K. Potter, who squeezed in his signature below the title.
Third came Charles L. Grant. He looked at the book I was holding open for him, snarled something like “Not too much room left,” and signed the page.
When I looked at it, I could only laugh. He’d written in the tiny space:
“Jean-Daniel—Modestly, Charles L. Grant.”
The most moving signed copy is that of Les Proies de l’ombre, the 1988 collection I edited and translated for a French publisher. It was a pleasure to put this book together and to translate it. The only Charles L. Grant book I got to translate, alas, though I later on recommended his stories for a French horror anthology series.
But the most moving token is a gift I got a few months ago from Kathryn Ptacek: a cloisonné pin of H.P. Lovecraft’s bust, as imagined by Gahan Wilson. These pins were once given to World Fantasy Award nominees and Kathryn was kind enough to send a few of the twenty one Charles Grant got to friends and devotees.
These are the tokens I sometime look at, touch and even wear, for the last of them.
But I have several others in my heart: the wonderful and chilling stories Charles Grant wrote and which made me shudder, or flinch, or even cry.
They are still here, awakened by the moonlight, a chilly wind, a cry in the darkness, a growl somewhere behind me.
(C) Copyright Jean-Daniel Breque 2016
Born 62 years ago in Bordeaux, France, but now living near Toulouse, Jean-Daniel Breque has been a professional translator for 30 years and counting. Translating mostly books of Dark Fantasy, fantasy and SF, including works by Charles Grant (of course), Poppy Z. Brite, Lucius Shepard, Poul Anderson and many more. He is currently editing a line of mystery books from the late Victorian/Edwardian era, which he translates and publish as ebooks (Richard Marsh, Robert Barr, Grant Allen, Headon Hill are his favourites).
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