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I discovered William Hope Hodgson's work via the splendidly lurid Sphere paperback reprints of the early 1980s. I became involved in the fantasy and supernatural small press around that time, and contributed an essay, "Against the Abyss: Carnacki the Ghost Finder", to Ian Bell's booklet William Hope Hodgson: Voyages and Visions (1987): later I also wrote on Carnacki in a column on "The Other Detectives" for Sherlock Holmes magazine (issue 24, 1998). Hodgson's psychic sleuth was one of the influences on my own aesthetical occult detective, The Connoisseur, whose first volume of adventures was published as IN VIOLET VEILS (Tartarus Press, 1999): I am slowly completing a second volume.

I've also also written a biography of Arthur Machen (Seren Books, 1995), am secretary of The Friends of Arthur Machen and have co-edited their journal, Faunus. With Roger Dobson, I publish The Lost Club Journal, devoted to obscure and neglected authors.

"The Inward Seer" was written in direct response to Andy Robertson's call for stories set in the Night Land and would not have been completed without some good creative editing by Andy. It is intended to raise the question of whether the Redoubt would fall from within before it succumbed to the forces outside, human societies being what they are. It also gave me the opportunity of revivifying another favourite occult detective, by bringing in to the story an avatar of the elegant and ennui-ridden Prince created by M.P. Shiel.