" It is new, indeed for I made it last night in a dream of strange cities: and dreams are older than brooding Tyre, or the
contemplative Sphinx, or garden-girdled Babylon" The Call of Cthulhu

Sunday, March 27, 2016

More New Eldritch Tomes

After offering up my credit card, yet again, still more accounts of the dark deeds and secret histories; that will one day rise to claim, more than just our peace of mind; have appeared.

While I didn't love all of Joshi's choices in the first 3 volumes I enjoyed them enough that I have purchased Volume 4. That said, I loved all four covers, illustration Gregory Nemec, background by Jason Van Hollander. So far I have read two stories, the first was "Black Ships Seen South of Heaven" by Caitlin R Kieran. In this tale we are treated to a post-rising story of the last days of earth, as good as or better that anything in the excellent anthology Cthulhu's Reign edited by Darrell Schweitzer. This story alone was worth the price of this anthology in my mind. But the second story I read was the very good "Half Lost in Shadow" by W.H. Pugmire. His Pickman inspired story " Inhabitants of Writhwood" in Volume 1 was a  powerful story that has certainly stuck with me. In "Half Lost in Shadow" we make a visit to Kingsport and the bottle collection of HPL's "The Terrible Old Man" which I though was a bold choice. Pugmire then infused HPL's ideas with the bleak nihilism of Thomas Ligotti and a bracing touch of a fantastic sea port reminiscent of those found in the work of James P. Blaylock, whose contribution to the mythos, "The Shadow on the Doorstep" appeared in the Arkham house volume, Cthulhu 2000. So two for two so far.

These stories written in 1917 and 1918 feature Professor Arnold Rhymer, an occult detective and doctor, as their protagonist. As a man who invested a hefty sum for the 6 volume, Popular Library set, of the Adventure of Jules de Grandin, by Weird Tales stalwart Seabury Quinn, concerning the adventures of another occult detective and doctor, how could I resist? Warning the author lost a son in World War One and the anti-German rhetoric is certainly strong in one of the two stories I have read so far.

Ralph E. Vaughan maintains the wonderful Book Scribbles blog on genre fiction  see Blogs I Follow. I have only dipped into this volume, but I am glad I did not read "The Woods, The Watcher & The Warding" at night while staying at our cabin with all the trees of the Aspen Parkland drawing branches across the roof and throwing shadows against the curtains.

Monday, March 21, 2016

New Eldritch Tomes

Lavisly illustrated, by Shasta Phoenix 
Forward by Rowena, Written by Stephen D. Korshak with J. David Spurlock

As a lover of Weird Tales I could not resist this book on the preeminent Weird Tales cover artist Margaret Brundage. I have to admit my favourite pulp magazine cover artist is probably Frank R. Paul with a nod to Virgil Finley, but you cannot deny that she did some of the most iconic covers for stories by the likes of Robert Howard,  Seabury Quinn, David H. Keller,  Edmond Hamilton and of course C.L. Moore.

Howard never had any luck getting on a Weird Tales cover during his life time. although he did get some lovely covers from  Astounding, maybe some covers would have sweetened him a bit on Margret, of course he would have needed to add more naked women and whips to the mythos.

From the back cover
" The human figure is as worthy a subject matter as any other object of beauty. But I don't see what the hell Mrs. Brundage's undressed ladies have to do with weird fiction."

H.P. Lovecraft

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Lovecraft Manuscript Found

Lovecraft Manuscript Found

The Dark Brotherhood, (Nice) Jacket 
by Wisconsin artist Frank Utpatel

"The Cancer of Superstition, a non-fiction treatise commissioned from author H.P. Lovecraft, was found in a memorabilia collection in a defunct magic shop. Magician Harry Houdini asked Lovecraft to ghostwrite the text for a book project, but died shortly thereafter. Now it goes to auction."

The quote above is from boingboing

It seems the manuscript was a collaboration between Lovecraft and C.M. Eddy at the request of Harry Houdini. The entire work was never completed due to Houdini's death. A synopsis and one chapter, "The Genesis of Superstition" was published in the Arkham house volume  The Dark Brotherhood and Other Pieces in 1966. S.T. Joshi provides an excellent overview of the collaboration in the Guardian article below. C.M. Eddy collaborated with Lovecraft on a number of works including "Ashes", "The Ghost Eater", "Deaf, Dumb, and Blind", and "The Loved Dead" probably the most, at the time, controversial story Lovecraft ever wrote. All of these stories as well a a number of 
Lovecraft's other collaborations and revisions can be found in the volume  The Horror in the Museum, Arkham House Publishers Inc. 1989. This volume also provides S.T. Joshi's  (he's everywhere) notes discussing the working relationship between Eddy and Lovecraft. 

The Horror in the Museum, Jacket by Raymond Bayless

Lost HP Lovecraft work commissioned by Houdini escapes shackles of history
Long-lost H.P. Lovecraft manuscript found


Monday, March 14, 2016

The (Great) Lovecraft Reread

The (Great) Lovecraft Reread

As part of this blog, I hope to highlight some of the good HPL resources I find on the web. The  following reread at Tor.com offers some really interesting takes on some of HPL's classic stories. I also like that Emmrys and Pillsworth, both authors who work with Mythos themes, also include stories by some of Lovecraft's friends, influences, and contemporaries. Included are Frank Belknap Long's "The Hounds of Tindalos", E.F. Benson's "Negotium Perambulans", M.R. James "Count Magus",  Robert W. Chambers " The Repairer of Reputations" , Edgar Allan Poe's "Fall of the House of Usher, C.L. Moore's "Shambleau, T.E.D. Klein's " Black Man with a Horn" etc. 

And Tor.com also offers the full text of Ruthanna Emrys's "The Litany of the Earth" one of the best Mythos stories I have read in many years. (Hopefully the subject of a future post)

So stop by and take a look.


From the tor.com webpage

The Lovecraft Reread

Ruthanna Emrys and Anne M. Pillsworth

Welcome to the H. P. Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers—Ruthanna Emrys and Anne M Pillsworth—get girl cooties all over old Howard’s original stories. Together they hope to explore both the awesome and the problematic, both the deliberately and accidentally horrific. Reading order will be more or less random. As the Great Race of Yith would point out, if they cared enough to do so, linear time is merely an illusion anyway.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

New Eldritch Tomes

The black gate of a thousand pastiches remains unclosed and has spawned a new series of tales to trouble our dreams and haunt the dark corners of our waking mind.

I have to say that Volume One did not thrill me, I found most of the stories okay at best. I liked Harry Turtledove's The Fillmore Shoggoth, The Warm by Darrell Schweitzer, The Dog Handler's Tale by Donald Tyson, I am undecided about Shea's Under the Shelf I have to reread it. The best tale for me was Last Rites by K. M. Tonso despite some geological silliness that was hard to ignore even in a Lovecraft pastiche. 

I have just started Volume Two and I have already found superior tales by Stableford, Jones, and worth the price of this volume by itself, The Hollow Sky by Jason C. Eckhardt. And I still have most of the book to read.

Foreword by Kim Newman
Introduction by S. T. Joshi
20,000 Years Under the Sea by Kevin J. Anderson
Tsathoggua’s Breath by Brian Stableford
The Door Beneath by Alan Dean Foster
Dead Man Walking by William F. Nolan
A Crazy Mistake by Nancy Kilpatrick
The Anatomy Lesson by Cody Goodfellow
The Hollow Sky by Jason C. Eckhardt
The Last Ones by Mark Howard Jones
A Footnote in the Black Budget by Jonathan Maberry
Deep Fracture by Steve Rasnic Tem
The Dream Stones by Donald Tyson
The Blood in My Mouth by Laird Barron
On the Shores of Destruction by Karen Haber
Object 00922UU by Erik Bear and Greg Bear

Brian Stableford has produced some very good Lovecraft pastiches as well as a vast amount of SF. I have encountered his work in other collections Tsathoggua’s Breath (above), From Beyond, and The Truth About Pickman, also in this volume and been quite impressed so I was pleased to find this collection. I have not read most of the stories here but I am expecting great things. 


Introduction Brian Stableford

The Holocaust of Ecstasy
The Legacy of Erich Zann
The Seeds from the Mountains of Madness
The Truth About Pickman

From the wonderful publishing house of Fedogan & Bremer, with a soon to be classic cover, painting by Tim Kirk, cover design Michael Waltz, we have a collection from one of my favourite Lovecraftians, both as author and editor, Darrell Schweitzer. Yes the editor of the brilliantly bleak, soul-wrenchingly dystopian collection Cthulhu's Reign, hint nothing ends well, is also a great writer. Not all of the works are clearly Lovecraft pastiches but those that aren't are still cosmic in scale and some of the best stories in the collection. Just to mention two, the very powerful Howling in the Dark and The Clockwork King, the Queen of Glass, and the Man with a Hundred Knives. It was the latter tale that really cemented Schweitzer's stature in my mind. When I read this tale of a man "trapped?" between our reality and the kingdom of the Clockwork King and the Queen of Glass I was blown away. When I read this story I thought not of HPL but of Jonathan's Carroll's The Land of Laughs and the tantalizing fragments of the children's books, The Land of Laughs, The Pool of Stars, Peach Shadows, and The Green Dog's Sorrow that he attributes to the mysterious author Marshall France. And while I like HPL if you have not read Carroll's The Land of Laughs, A Child Across the Sky, Bones of the Moon, Outside the Dog Museum give Howard a rest and find one or more of these titles.

Introduction" S.T. Joshi
Envy, the Gardens of Ynath, and the Sin of Cain
Hanged Man and Ghost
Stragglers from Carrhae
The Eater of Hours
The Runners Beyond the Wall
On the Eastbound Train
Howling in the Dark
Sometimes You Have to Shout about It
The Head Shop in Arkham"
Innsmouth Idyll
Class Reunion
Why We Do It
The Warm
Spiderwebs in the Dark
The Corpse Detective
Jimmy Bunny
The Last of the Black Wind
In Old Commoriom
The Clockwork King, the Queen of Glass, and the Man with a Hundred Knives
The Scroll of the Worm with Jason Van Hollander
Those of the Air  with Jason Van Hollander
Ghost Dancing

Monday, March 7, 2016

The Real Shadow Over Innsmouth

The Real Shadow Over Innsmouth

The odd, possibly, in light of the current controversy, prophetic cover for this 1944 edition of Lovecraft's stories

As I have already noted in my introduction, HPL was a racist. It is clear to me that his strong aversion to the other, extended not only to non-Aryan groups but it also to people he considered lower class, the country folk of The Dunwich Horror, the squatters of The Lurking Fear, the poor " the two-year-old child of a clod-like laundry worker named Anastasia Wolejko had completely vanished from sight" in his story Dreams in a Witch-House. If he had used local instead of clod-like it would perhaps, have shown a degree of empathy that HPL apparently lacked when considering the death of a child. That he lived in racist times there is no doubt, we obviously still do, but so were the times that gave us the British Slavery Abolition Act of 1833, and the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, HPL sank rather than rose to the occasion. HPL's letters do not help his case because they demonstrate that he brought a vile and sadistic imagination to bear when he discussed encounters with non-Aryan peoples, that I suspect was extreme even in his own time. The reason that I am discussing this now, is that I intend to use this blog to highlight web resources that I think would be of interest to any reader of HPL's work. I recently read an excellent discussion of this topic, The "N' Word Through the Ages: The Madness of H.P. Lovecraft by Phenderson Djeli Clark, at Racialicious which provided excellent quotes from his letters.


I was directed to this post by the Salon article, Its Ok to admit that H.P. Lovecraft was racist, which I also recommend.


Will I close this blog down and sell off my books, not at present. I have been reading HPL's stories and letters for years as well as those of his contemporaries and I was aware of this unfortunate trend. While HPL was more extreme and/or possibly more vocal, racism and misogyny are common in both the early pulp fiction genre and the science fiction works that grew out of it. Often these ideas so dominate the works that the story or novel suffers when compared to the author's less polemic works. For that reason I suggest you skip the very badly written The Horror at Red Hook and read instead The Colour Out of Space, The Outsider, or one of my favourites for HPL at his world building best The Shadow out of Time