Joel Lane, 1963-2013

Joel Lane died a couple of days ago. He was fifty. I never met him – and by all accounts, this is my loss – but I was always excited when I saw his stories in Black Static and elsewhere. Joel’s work was good, and utterly unique. Many of his tales were instant classics, yet even when a piece seemed slight, it left you with a sense that you had somehow failed the story, rather than the other way around; that you’d failed to find its core. Because the core was there, alright. The core was Joel himself, and his singular take on the world. His work was of a piece. It was “urban horror” in the sense that he took the landscapes of modern Britain and invested them with an anxiety and apprehension it was hard to shake off after reading. This was fiction of unease, its characters uneasy with themselves and with the world around. When the strange or supernatural intruded, as it usually did, it would seem to have come straight from the protagonist’s own psyche, a confrontation with his own repressed and damaged personality. In this, Joel epitomised the British “slipstream” movement, though his stories defied categorisation. As a result, perhaps, he failed to gain the wider readership he clearly deserved, though he was revered by his peers and twice won the British Fantasy Society Award. His death has been met with deep sadness by those who knew him, and those of us who only knew him through his writing are left poorer for his loss. RIP, Joel. And thanks.

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2 thoughts on “Joel Lane, 1963-2013

  1. Pingback: Joel Lane 1963-2013: “There’s always a link between deprivation and fantasy.” | Rosanne Rabinowitz

  2. Pingback: Joel Lane 1963-2013 | in the pines

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