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Evenings With Demons

Stories from 30 Years

by
Whitley Strieber


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Synopsis

Evening with Demons: Stories from 30 Years
Published 1997 in two limited editions:
- signed limited edition of 350
- signed & lettered leatherbound edition of 26
A Borderlands Press Book

“Evenings With Demons is the outcome of thirty years of struggle with personal demons and for the superstitious among you, I do not mean that literally! I am speaking of symbolic demons, not actual ones, if such things even exist. The book explores the hidden side of my close encounter experience and contains numerous previously unpublished stories that reflect my deep unconscious struggle to cope with it.”–Whitley Strieber

Whitley Strieber has been a prolific author of short stories for thirty years, but not one who generally submits them for publication. The result of this is that a great number of these stories have never been seen before. In these pages you will find a completely hidden Whitley Strieber who has written powerful stories about the Texas of his boyhood, and a more familiar dark master who has created such resonant works as the hitherto unpublished “Resurrection of the Inquisition in P. Salter,” a stunningly vivid imagining of the Inquisition, and the deeply disturbing “Underneath the Old Oak Tree,” written in the early seventies, that appears to be a dark prefiguring of some of the material that emerged into his conscious memory only with the publication of his 1997 book The Secret School.
     
Included in these pages also is the infamous story “Pain," which he began the morning after the encounter experience that led to the writing of Communion. This story reveals, at the very least, the overwhelming emotional impact of that experience on Strieber’s mind, and may well tell more of its truth than anything he has written since, if only because it is the only time his unconscious mind has ever given voice to its understanding of his “visitors.”
     Also in this lifetime collection, Strieber’s considerable humor is given voice in stories like “Falling Apart,” about a man who does just that, and the incredibly imaginative “Bughouse,” which will not soon be forgotten by those who are uncomfortable around cockroaches.
     These stories represent the full compliment of Strieber’s work. The only ones that remain unpublished now are a few very early works. As many of these stories were found in a moldering cardboard box, it is fortunate that they have even been preserved, let alone published.

Introduction
A Texas Romance
Hearts of the Country
Secret Zoos
Dawson of the Flowers
The Resurrection of the Inquisition in P. Salter
Old Man Talking
Tim's Story
Under the Old Oak Tree
Falling Apart
Hunting Tom Codfey
Remembrance of Earth Past
Bughouse
Flies
Snow
The Nixon Mask
I Walk the Night
Pain
Vaudeville
The White Moths
Perverts
The Pool
The Crawford Wing
Scorpions
The Properties of the Beast
Horror Story


Notes

“A gentleman named Tom Monteleone is publishing my short stories,” Whitley Strieber explained in an interview with Sean Casteel.“ I've written short stories for thirty years but rarely do I publish them. I only publish them when a friend happens to want one or in anthology with a group of friends. I never send them to magazines or anything. So, most of these stories are unpublished.”

Thomas F. Monteleone, the owner of the limited edition publishing company Borderlands Press, was also the editor of the Borderlands horror anthology series to which Whitley Strieber had contributed. Evenings With Demons was one of the last books published by Borderlands Press. “The press is alive, ” Monteleone reported in 1997 a few weeks before publication, “but not in any vibrant way. The collectible book market is near comatose and doesn't show many signs of getting better. We're doing a collection of short stories by Whitley Strieber that is really excellent, and a Douglas Winter/J.K. Potter project, but after that we don't know. ...Why should [the current generation] read it when they can pop in a CD-ROM game and be right in the middle of the adventure? Perhaps we are in the twilight of the word? I hope not. ” [interview with Paula Guran, 2/97]
     
Borderlands actually created two limited editions of Evenings With Demons. Simultaneously with the release of the 350 limited edition hardcovers (all of which featured a signed front piece), Borderlands Press also produced 26 signed & lettered leatherbound editions that went for $150 a piece, a princely sum at the time. We have never seen one of these editions, but reportedly it came in some kind of clamshell case or display box which was similarly leatherbound. An 8 x10" glossy photo of the cover art was laid into the inside front cover of the traycase, and this edition also has very distinct marbled endpapers. (See image)
     A regular hardcover edition may have been planned or was at least prepared for, indicated by a second, lower, price printed on the dust jacket of the limited edition. An alternative possibility to explain this second price printed on the dust jacket may be that any unsigned copies from the run of 350 would have been sold at the lower price. However, I believe all copies were signed.
     Since no regular edition was ever produced, this book is the most scarce of all Whitley Strieber titles, with only 376 total copies made available to the public (and most likely a few more copies were produced for internal use).


No previously published short stories were omitted from the Evenings With Demons collection, so there is no need to search through older anthologies if you already own Evenings With Demons. A total of ten stories that appear in Evenings With Demons were previously available in multi-author anthologies or in magazines. Excerpts from the novels The Hunger, Catmagic, and WarDay have also appeared in anthologies and/or magazines.

In late July 2000 Whitley Strieber made the short story “Pain” available as a download from his official website (it was originally published in the 1986 anthology Cutting Edge). Themes that later appeared in Communion (1987) surfaced in this short story first; this story was written, Strieber says, in the days after his initial alien abduction experience in upstate New York, and was duly inspired. The new download version featured an original color cover by Dana Augustine, and new introduction. This first venture into online releases has since been followed by the official online release of a selection of his short stories, excerpts from works-in-progress, and even outlines of books that he never completed.


Addendum:

Since the publication of Evenings With Demons, Whitley Strieber has written and published several new short stories:

The Open Doors - presented in the anthology Revelations (UK anthology title Millenium) (Netherlands anthology title Angst & Apocalyps) (1997)

  In his novella The Open Doors, Whitley Strieber speculates on the terror that gripped the scientist John von Neumann as he died in 1957. Called by the press 'the smartest man in the world,' he was one of the founders of the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton, and his 1932 paper "Mathematical Basis for Quantum Mechanics" is a key building block of quantum theory.
     Although his family vehemently denies it, Dr. Von Neumann has been identified as a key member of Majestic-12, and is believed to have formed the conceptual basis for the secrecy that surrounds the issue of alien presence to this day.
     In this story, Whitley Strieber speculates on the inner workings of the mind of the man who had understood the devastating reason that has made it essential for government to conceal and deny alien contact, and why his death brought him such extreme fear.

Ten Minutes - written especially for and read at the Copyright Texas event held in San Antonio in November 1997

  Synopsis unavailable.

Desperate Dan - presented in the anthology Murder on the Run (1998)

  Mr. Daniel Grace was a wealthy member of 1886 high society. Now he's a thief on the run, dodging bullets and old friends while he tries to escape from New York.

Show Us the Way - presented in the anthology Murder Among Friends (2000)

  Synopsis unavailable.

Father Bob and Bobby - presented in the anthology Borderlands 5 (2003)

  Whitley Strieber gives vent to his outrage and disappointment about sexual predators invading the priesthood of his beloved Catholic Church in a brilliant and devastating story, published for the first time in Borderlands 5. Publishers Weekly synopsis: “In Father Bob and Bobby, Whitley Streiber maps the mind of his priest protagonist, whose thoughts are an unsettling mix of Christian imagery and pederastic fantasy.” Ray Olsen of Booklist says “Gary Braunbeck's collection-opener, John Farris' revenant yarn, and especially Whitley Strieber's angry anticlerical piece are excellent, and Stephen King's cautionary volume-closer about heart-healthiness, Stationary Bike, is as artful as anything he has ever written.”

Kaddish - presented in the anthology Dark Delicacies: Original Tales of Terror and the Macabre by the World's Greatest Horror Writers
edited by Del Howison & Jeff Gelbe. Published September 9, 2005. (2005)

  Synopsis unavailable, but according to reviews the story envisions what the world would be like a few years from now if the ultra-conservatives and Christians (the "neoCons") dominate America. Blurbs about Whitley's story: "...a great piece of speculative fiction." - Bookgasm; "...portrays a grim near-future where horror and politics go hand in hand" - Library Journal; "...Strieber contributes the most chilling...a compelling vision of extremism in all its forms." - Locus "Strieber's 'Kaddish' has a Gothic grandeur that would surely make Flannery O'Connor proud, a story replete with Southerners, Bible-thumpers and comeuppances." - Los Angeles Times

Cloud Rider - presented in the anthology He Is Legend: An Anthology Celebrating Richard Matheson from Gauntlet Press, edited by Christopher Conlon. Published February 2009. (2009)

  Synopsis unavailable

The Good Neighbor - presented in the anthology Twilight Zone: 19 Original Stories on the 50th Anniversary,
edited by Carol Serling. Published September 1, 2009. (2009)

  Description by Mark Graham: “If youíve seen District 9, you will have some ready-made images in your mind as you read Whitley Strieber's The Good Neighbor. Having aliens move in to the house next door isnít the greatest thing for property values.” Amazon.com public reviewer Jason A. Miller reports, “Like some of the strongest TZ episodes, a thinly veiled racial allegory about a social climber who goes all KKK on his alien neighbors and lives to regret it.”

The White Moths - unknown. Presented as an audio recording October 2010. (2010)

  As noted October 2010 on Whitley's official website, “just for subscribers, Whitley has started a project of reading some of his short stories in the 'Whitley's Room' section of the subscriber section. His first story is a provocative story called 'The White Moths'.”

The Journey to Dog Heaven - audiobook (June 2015)

 

As described by Whitley Striber on GoodReads: “Dog Heaven is about dogs and their love, and the love we share. Mostly, the story viewpoint is that of a ranch dog called Bob. His master is Buddy and Buddy has to leave the ranch for reasons that Bob cannot understand. There follows Bob's journey, searching for the love of his life. It is a journey taken by many a dog, but also one that we take in our hearts, searching for love we have lost.
     When I was a boy, I had a little rat terrier called Candy, and while she was not a big ranch dog, I did model Bob's love for Buddy and loyalty to him on Candy's for me. But I didn't really need a single model. All dogs are the model. Once give, a dog's love is forever. Candy used to sleep beside me at night. We shared the same pillow. When my wife first came down from New York to meet my family, she peeked in on me while I was sleeping, and saw Candy in her usual spot. She thought, 'do I have a rival?' No, but I learned a lot about love from that little dog.
     She waits for me still, I know it, just as Bob waits for Buddy. It's often been said that animals don't go to heaven. If that's true, then it can't really be heaven, not as far as I am concerned. The Journey to Dog Heaven is also about how just plain lovely it is to have a pet in your life.”

Evenings with Demons
© 1997 Whitley Strieber
Synopsis courtesy of Borderlands Press
Jacket Illustration by Steve Neill