Talking Scared

76 – Ally Wilkes and Good Reasons to be Afraid of the Dark

January 25, 2022 Neil McRobert Episode 76
Talking Scared
76 – Ally Wilkes and Good Reasons to be Afraid of the Dark
Show Notes

Is it cold where you are? If so, do I have the book for you.

Our guest is Ally Wilkes, whose debut novel, All the White Spaces was my pick for the most anticipated horror novel of early 2022. I was NOT disappointed.

The book takes us to Antarctica in 1919, just months after the end of the First World War, in the dying years of the Heroic Age of Exploration. There, trapped in the frozen ‘overwinter’ the team of men are forced to confront a malignant presence that draws them out into the cold.

Did that give you a shiver? The good kind? Yes!

Ally’s book is the springboard for a great conversation about exploration and hauntings. We debate over what the thing in the darkness is. Is it a ghost, a god, an evil sense of anti-human geography?

But beyond that we also get into all kinds of meaty, chewy topics, such as how her novel unpicks and deconstructs the long-celebrated ideas of masculinity, heroism, nationhood and empire. 

Yet, despite all that, the Daily Mail still gave it a good review. It’s THAT good a book. 


All the White Spaces is released in the UK on January 25th by Titan Books, and on Mach 22nd by Atria in North America. 

Other books mentioned in this episode include: 

  • Tell Me I’m Worthless (2021), by Alison Rumfitt
  • Dead Silence (2021), by S. A. Barnes
  • Echo (2021), by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
  • Road of Bones (2021), by Christopher Golden
  • The Terror (2007), by Dan Simmons
  • Dark Matter (2010), by Michelle Paver
  • The Worst Journey in the World (1922), by Apsley Cherry-Garrard
  • Who Goes There (1938), by John W. Campbell Jr. (basis for the 1982 movie, The Thing)

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