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Some tall tales

The veteran anthologist Peter Haining (1940-2007, pictured right) only managed to make a decent living by having a number of different projects on the boil at once. Although it has been estimated that he published around 200 books, not all of his ideas came to fruition. One that didn’t excite publishers was ‘Tall stories ---an anthology of boaster’s tales’, which he was hawking around in April 1991 as a potential Christmas book.

Haining’s introductory presentation to one publisher promised stories by ‘a veritable galaxy of star names ‘ in which ‘ fiction outweighed the fact ‘. Some of these stories would be presented by their authors as ’ ostensibly true ‘ while others would be ’ unashamedly fictitious’.

Some of the material that he intended to reproduce included Spike Milligan’s ‘Agent 008’, Lord Dunsany’s ‘The Electric King’, Baron Corvo’s ‘ How I was buried alive’, Charles Dickens’ ‘’The Wide-awake Club’, Tom Sharpe’s ‘ Disaster in the Deep Bed’, Fitz James O’ Brien’s ‘ How I achieved perpetual motion’, Stephen Leacock’s ‘ The iron man and the tin woman’, and G.K.Chesterton’s ‘ The Club of Queer Trades.’

I’d certainly publish a book which included those titles, but perhaps the titles were better than the stories.

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