|DUSTJACKET BLURB: Keith Roberts's last collection of stories,
Ladies From Hell, received widespread critical acclaim: 'These would be
stories of distinction in any genre' (Sunday Telegraph), 'dazzling'
(Literary Review), 'magisterial confidence and quality' (Books and
Bookmen), 'one of the best ever British science fiction writers'
(Guardian). In The Lordly Ones, his first collection in seven years, he
offers once again a wide variety of sf and fantasy (and even a ghost story).
The title story is a vision of near-future Britain collapsing in social
disorder told from the viewpoint of a slow-witted lavatory attendant; Roberts's
empathy with his narrator fashions from these unlikely elements a remarkable
and poignant tour de force. Another tale, 'The Comfort Station'
approaches a similar situation from a quite different perspective. In other
stories we see Roberts in more light-hearted vein: 'The Checkout', another of
his series of stories about a modern-day witch, Anita, or 'Diva', a tale of a
singer of unique abilities. In 'Ariadne Potts' a man's wish brings a classical
statue to life, with, inevitably, unfortunate results. 'The Castle and the
Hoop' is an atmospheric ghost story set around the pubs of Southwark. And
'Sphairistike' is perhaps the only sf story ever to centre on the game of
tennis. The Lordly Ones is sure to be received with pleasure by Keith Roberts's