Egad! It has been nearly a month since I last appeared before you! I’m not sure what has kept me so occupied, unless it be my ongoing work (now abated for a time) on the immense Lovecraft/Clark Ashton Smith letters, which will be titled Dawnward Spire, Lonely Hill: The Letters of H. P. Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith. (The title, brilliantly devised by David E. Schultz, is an adaptation of two of the more memorable lines in Smith’s poignant elegy “To Howard Phillips Lovecraft”: “How hast thou wandered hence /…beyond the dawnward spires of Providence? /…For even upon / this lonely western hill of Averoigne …” This book, which will exceed 700 pages, is on track to be published later this year.
Not to be outdone, I have now begun working on the immense task of editing Lovecraft’s letters to his close family members—his mother (Sarah Susan Phillips Lovecraft) and his aunts (Lillian D. Clark and Annie E. P. Gamwell). There are only 2 or 3 letters to his mother, but the letters to his aunts—which come to about 450,000 words—are among the richest treasure-houses of information about Lovecraft’s daily life (especially during his New York years) and his travels that one is likely to find. But the task of editing and annotating them is staggering. We expect to issue these letters in two huge volumes in late 2017 or early 2018. There will be other letters volumes appearing in the interim.
This is somewhat old news by now, but a Lovecraft devotee in Hungary, Jószef Tomasics, who runs a Lovecraft website called The Black Aether, has posted an interview of me. There is a version in my original English (http://www.theblackaether.com/2016/06/18/s-t-joshi-interview/) as well as in a Hungarian translation (http://www.theblackaether.com/2016/06/18/s-t-joshi-interju/). Mr. Tomasics has also sent me some valuable information on previously unknown Hungarian translations of the work of Clark Ashton Smith, for the new bibliography that Scott Connors, David E. Schultz, and I are on the verge of completing.
I recently saw a preliminary version of a documentary on Ambrose Bierce that Kirk Whitham has prepared. It is a fine piece of work, running to about 58 minutes. I appear extensively in the film, along with one other Bierce scholar (of whom I have never heard, and whose name I cannot now recall). I can’t remember the title of the documentary (I do not have it at hand, as I lent my copy to Wilum Pugmire), but once it is commercially released, I’ll let everyone know.
I have heard that Black Wings I will be translated into French by the publisher Bragelonne. I confess that I have never heard of this publisher, but I will assume they are a significant concern. I have no idea when the translation will appear, as Titan Books has just begun negotiating terms for the project.
Speaking of Black Wings, I understand that at least one reader has received a copy of Black Wings V that he advance-ordered from the publisher, PS Publishing. So far, my copies have not come—but you can be assured that I’ll let you know the moment they do!
I am happy to announce the completion of my anthology Nightmare’s Realm for Dark Regions Press. It came to about 90,000 words. I will not print the table of contents here, as my publisher chided me for printing the list of stories in The Red Brain in my last blog (alert readers will have noted that this part of my previous blog was quickly deleted). So I will wait until I have the publisher’s word that I can make the announcement.
I am also coming close to finishing Black Wings VI (I have about 80,000 words in hand) and the first issue of Nemesis (about 64,000 words in hand—I’m looking for 80,000). And more anthology ideas are bubbling to the surface. Jason V Brock and I are in the early stages of hatching what we believe will be a very exciting anthology (or perhaps a series of anthologies)—but more on this later!
I still have some copies of the new Hippocampus Press books that I announced last time, including 1 copy of HPL’s Letters to J. Vernon Shea and Others, 2 copies of Cody Goodfellow’s Rapture of the Deep and Other Lovecraftian Tales, 2 copies of Donald Sidney-Fryer’s Hobgoblin Apollo, and 4 copies of Don Swaim’s The Assassination of Ambrose Bierce. I am prepared to offer the latter 3 volumes at a discount: 2 for $25, 3 for $35. Get ’em while they’re hot!
(Updated June 14, 2016)
I have received a shipment of new Hippocampus Press books from the printer. The titles are as follows, and I can offer them to interested readers at the prices given in parentheses:
An edition of Robert E. Howard’s Lovecraftian stories has just appeared in a Portuguese translation from a leading publisher in Brazil. I wrote an introduction specifically for this edition, and have just received a copy of it. I have no spares to pass out, but interested readers may be able to secure copies either from the publisher (http://loja.sitelovecraft.com/) or from some other venue. The publisher’s site also lists books by Lovecraft and Robert W. Chambers (a translation of The King in Yellow).
Marc Severson has added to his “Chaos” series of Lovecraftian novels by publishing a second volume, The Streets of Chaos. I have not read this work, but I daresay it is as interesting and vivid as its predecessor. Here is a page describing the work: https://www.createspace.com/6288968.
I have written three reviews for the 19th issue of Dead Reckonings (supposedly a “Spring 2016” issue), but it seems to be delayed and I have no idea when it will appear. I reviewed Jacqueline Baker’s superb novel about Lovecraft, The Broken Hours (Talos Press, 2016), Ross E. Lockhart’s mediocre anthology Cthulhu Fhtagn! (Word Horde, 2015), and Orrin Grey’s creditable story collection Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts (Word Horde, 2015). At the risk of inviting more opprobrium at my less-than-reverential treatment of certain hallowed figures in our field, I will make the review of the Lockhart volume available here (http://stjoshi.org/review_lockhart.html).
I am working hard on the Lovecraft/Clark Ashton Smith correspondence, a volume that will exceed 700 pages and will be full of all manner of good stuff. Let’s hope my colleague David E. Schultz and I can wrap up all the remaining details and get it out late this year!
Dover Publications is churning out my volumes one after the other. I now have in hand my anthology The Cold Embrace: Weird Stories by Women (http://store.doverpublications.com/0486805050.html), a book that spans about a hundred years of weird writing, from Mary Shelley’s “Transformation” (1830) to May Sinclair’s “Where Their Fire Is Not Quenched” (1922), and including stories by E. Nesbit, Gertrude Atherton, Edna W. Underwood, and Virginia Woolf. These stories are all in the public domain. Dover had originally planned to have me compile one or two further anthologies of weird work by women writers, bringing the series all the way down to the present day; but the editor I was working with at Dover, Drew Ford, has left the company, and I am not sure whether they wish me to do any further work. Well, at least this book got out! I have many copies available and would be happy to offer it to interested customers for $10.
This Dover volume was my 229th published book; unexpectedly, my 230th (previously unaccounted for) is H. P. Lovecraft: Early Stories, coedited with Steven Philip Jones and published by Caliber Comics. (I cannot find a listing of this book on the publisher’s website or anywhere else.) I had provided my corrected texts to Jones and did not expect to be listed as an actual coeditor; but there it is. The book contains nine stories, from “The Alchemist” (1908) to “The Lurking Fear” (1922), each illustrated by a different artist. Quite a striking volume in its way! I have only one spare copy, so if anyone wants this for $10, I will be happy to let it go.
I now have in hand multiple copies of my 45-rpm vinyl recording of Clark Ashton Smith’s poems, Inferno, as previously announced. The publisher’s website rather confusingly lists three different states of the item, and I’m not even certain which state I have. But in any case, the item is very choice, so customers are welcome to it for $10. If they wish to purchase this in conjunction with the recently issued Fungi from Yuggoth CD (of which I still have a fair number of copies), they can get both items for $20.
Mary and I spent a harried six days on the East Coast, first in Philadelphia, where my niece Anjeli Elkins was graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, then in New York City, where I met many members of the Lovecraft/weird fiction gang. Our time in Philadelphia was very brief, and we had no time to look up colleagues such as Darrell Schweitzer or Michael Aronovitz amidst the rush of graduation- and family-related activities. In New York we were delighted to meet Derrick Hussey, Stefan Dziemianowicz, Fred Phillips, Steven J. Mariconda, T. E. D. Klein (who, now that he is officially retired from Condé Nast, promises to finish his second novel, Nighttown, suspended about thirty years ago!), and many others. All great fun!
The trip was sandwiched between the two performances of my choir, on May 14 and 21. The second performance was recorded, and it was a splendid performance indeed. We performed works by Franz Josef Haydn—namely, his “part songs” (13 songs written for 3 or 4 voices—we performed 8 of these, all in German) and his great Lord Nelson Mass, a rousing piece with lots of trumpets and drums. We will perform the part songs again at our local Folklife festival on May 29. May 30 will be the annual Joshi-Wilson cookout, where such luminaries as W. H. Pugmire, Jason & Sunni Brock, and others should be in attendance.
Lovecraft continues to flourish in the media, as witness a new CD of H. P. Lovecraft’s Fungi from Yuggoth and Other Poems, read by longtime HPL devotee William E. Hart, with spectacular music by Graham Plowman. I wrote the liner notes. Aside from the sonnet cycle, a dozen additional poems (including “Despair,” “Nemesis,” and “The Ancient Track”) are included. Here is a page from the website of the publisher (Fedogan & Bremer) about the item: https://cthulhuwho1.com/2016/04/11/pre-order-h-p-lovecrafts-fungi-from-yuggoth-and-other-poems-cd-now-for-only-12-95/. I already have some copies that I would be happy to let go for $15 to interested customers.
On a related media note, I have received a demo of the 45-rpm vinyl recording of my reading of Clark Ashton Smith’s “Inferno” and four other poems. I find, however, that I do not have the adaptor that will allow me to listen to the item on my turntable. But I’m sure it sounds fabulous! I believe the official release will occur soon; indeed, I now see that the item is cited on the website of Cadabra Records: http://www.cadabrarecords.com/2016/04/clark-ashton-smith-inferno-read-by-s-t-joshi/. I imagine I will get some spare copies to pass on to customers.
I have received some copies of a leatherbound edition of Lovecraft’s The Complete Cthulhu Mythos Tales (Barnes & Noble, 2016; http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-complete-cthulhu-mythos-tales-hp-lovecraft/1115399083?ean=9781435162556). This is actually a reissue of a paperback edition that came out in from Fall River Press in 2013. I did not actually edit the book, but I did consult with the in-house editor, noted weird scholar Stefan Dziemianowicz, about the selection. This new edition looks superb, and also includes a separate poster (“Cthulhu Rising”) by British artist John Coulthart. The list price is $20, so I will be happy to dispose of my two spare copies for $15.
Darin Coelho, who is diligently working on a documentary on Clark Ashton Smith (and came to Seattle to interview me about it a while back), is now undertaking a campaign on Indiegogo to raise funds for the venture: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/clark-ashton-smith-the-emperor-of-dreams#/. I urge everyone to support this project, as it promises to be a splendid production.
As for my own projects, some of them are at last lumbering toward publication. I have seen proofs of my large edition of the complete short stories of John Metcalfe from Centipede Press, although the publisher is not certain whether the book will be part of the Masters of the Weird Tale series or my Library of Weird Fiction series. And I have seen proofs of Gothic Lovecraft, which should be out later this year from Cycatrix Press.
I have also seen proofs of Black Wings V from PS Publishing, and the publisher’s latest newsletter has a flattering writeup of the book. It is now available for preorder: http://www.pspublishing.co.uk/black-wings-v-hardcover-edited-by-s-t-joshi-3931-p.asp. I have already collected nearly half the contents for Black Wings VI, although (with the publisher’s permission) this volume may run a bit longer than its predecessors, as it may be the last in the series for a while. I intend to compile a non-Lovecraftian anthology, Apostles of the Weird, for PS after I finish Black Wings VI.
One of the relatively few trips I will take this year for literary purposes will occur in July, when I attend the Fossil Convention in Madison, Wisconsin (http://www.thefossils.org/ajconference.html). The Fossils are the alumni association for amateur journalism, and I will participate on a panel discussion on Lovecraft and amateur journalism with Kenneth W. Faig, Jr., and David E. Schultz. It should be great fun! One week before that, I will be in Muncie, Indiana, attending my fortieth high school reunion. Egad! I attended my thirtieth in 2006 and had a hugely entertaining time. I have very vivid memories of my high school years—no doubt they will be extensively chronicled in the “Lovecraftian memoirs” I will begin writing presently. The book—What Is Anything? Memoirs of a Life in Lovecraft—will appear around the time of my sixtieth birthday in June 2018. As a dubious character says in “The Whisperer in Darkness”: “Expect great revelations!”
I have now received an abundance of copies of my second recent Dover book, Edward Lucas White’s The Stuff of Dreams: The Weird Stories of Edward Lucas White (http://store.doverpublications.com/0486806154.html). This is of course a paperback reprint of an extremely limited hardcover edition published by Arcane Wisdom in 2013. I would be happy to let copies go for $10.
In fact, given that customers did not exactly rush to purchase my previous offerings of Spectral Realms #4 and Maurice Level’s Thirty Hours with a Corpse, I will now offer a package deal: all three items for a mere $20! Come and get ’em!
One other book I can offer is a paperback edition of A Much Misunderstood Man: Selected Letters of Ambrose Bierce, just released by Ohio State University Press. The hardcover edition (still technically in print from the publisher, at a pretty high price) came out in 2003. (Some used copies of the hardcover edition are going for $300 or more.) Absurdly, neither the publisher’s website nor any of the standard online book venues list the paperback edition as yet, so I do not know what its price is. But I have a few copies that I would be happy to dispose of for $20 each.
I have finally received copies of volumes 7, 8, and 9 of the “Lovecraft Illustrated” editions published by PS Publishing. These are The Call of Cthulhu, The Colour out of Space, and The Whisperer in Darkness (here is the publisher’s web page for the first of these: http://www.pspublishing.co.uk/the-call-of-cthulhu-hardcover-by-h-p-lovecraft-3735-p.asp). Aside from scintillating illustrations by Pete Von Sholly, each volume contains a number of associational items that provide insights into the story in question. I received only one copy of each volume, so I cannot offer any copies to customers. But I trust that people can order them directly from PS or from a distributor in the US or UK.
Don Swaim reports receiving copies of his novel The Assassination of Ambrose Bierce: A Love Story from Hippocampus Press (http://www.hippocampuspress.com/mythos-and-other-authors/fiction/the-assassination-of-ambrose-bierce-by-don-swaim). I myself have not received any copies as yet, but I can wholeheartedly recommend this vivid and compelling imaginative flight, which envisions what might have happened to Bierce after he disappeared in Mexico in late 1913, and also provides flashbacks to key events in Bierce’s earlier life. I wrote an introduction to the book.
I was delighted to hear from Nic Wassell, director of Strange Day Films, who is working on an adaptation of the Barlow-Lovecraft story “The Night Ocean” under the title The Distant Sea. Nic reports that “It’s a loose adaptation to be sure, but we’re really committed to trying to capture the mood and atmosphere evoked in the story.” As this story is one of my personal favourites, I wish him all the best. Nic is starting a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the film, and I urge interested persons to support the venture (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1787624857/the-distant-sea-short-film).
Work continues for me on many fronts: my anthologies The Red Brain (Dark Regions Press), Nightmare’s Realm (Dark Renaissance Books), and Black Wings VI (PS Publishing); my editions of Lovecraft letters (the letters to J. Vernon Shea and others will soon be out; work is progressing on the letters to F. Lee Baldwin, Duane W. Rimel, and Nils Frome, as well as the Lovecraft/Clark Ashton Smith letters); my usual array of magazines (I have just completed my 30th issue of the American Rationalist, and I am in the midst of assembling the 5th issue of Spectral Realms, the 7th issue of Weird Fiction Review, and the 10th issue of the Lovecraft Annual [which will have an index to issues 1–10]); and so on and so forth.
Meanwhile, none of my twenty-seven forthcoming books are published yet!
Let it not be thought that I am unwilling to admit my errors when they are pointed out to me. After posting my previous blog regarding the newly discovered chapters of the Houdini-Lovecraft-Eddy manuscript of The Cancer of Superstition, my colleague Marcos Legaria pointed out to me that he had evidence that the actual chapters (in addition to the synopsis) were also ghostwritten by Lovecraft, rather than Eddy. The handwritten manuscript of these chapters were apparently once in the possession of John Vetter, the author of the article “Lovecraft’s Illustrators,” published in The Dark Brotherhood and Other Pieces (Arkham House, 1966), where the synopsis and the first chapter of Cancer appeared. The matter is not absolutely clear-cut, and the whereabouts of the handwritten manuscript are now unknown; but my feeling, after re-examinining that first chapter as published in Dark Brotherhood, is that the text was in all probably written by Lovecraft, not Eddy. Relatively few examples of Eddy’s nonfictional prose are extant (the piece “Walks with H. P. Lovecraft” in Dark Brotherhood doesn’t offer much evidence, and in any case it was probably revised by August Derleth), but my feeling is that Eddy was not capable of writing the Cancer chapters, even if the raw data for those chapters came from elsewhere (as undoubtedly it did). So I think that, at least provisionally, we can consider both the chapters and the synopsis as largely the work of Lovecraft. (Eddy may well have typed the existing typescript, of course.)
I finally have copies of Spectral Realms #4 (Winter 2016), and a fine-looking issue it is. I am happy to offer copies to interested customers for the bargain price of $10 a copy (the list price is $15).
Another item that has come in is my edition of Maurice Level’s Thirty Hours with a Corpse and Other Tales of the Grand Guignol (Dover) (http://store.doverpublications.com/0486802329.html). This is a truncated version of my edition of Level’s Tales of the Grand Guignol (Centipede Press, 2011). This edition omits the two novels (The Grip of Fear and Those Who Return) I had included in the Centipede volume. I have a ridiculous number of copies of this book, so I can dispose of these at $10 per copy also.
My colleague Marc Severson has just published an entertaining Lovecraftian novel, Chaos Territory, as a Kindle book (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01D9995WC). I read a previous version of this and found it most engaging, and I am confident this expanded version is even more engaging. I see that it is the first volume of a series. Severson combines Lovecraftian elements with the Wild West and other elements in a manner that is most distinctive, and am I confident others will be as entertained by this work as I was.
PS Publishing has signed up Pete Von Sholly to produce three more volumes in the “Illustrated Lovecraft” series—covering “The Mound,” “The Thing on the Doorstep,” and “The Haunter of the Dark.” (Volumes 7, 8, and 9 of the series—The Call of Cthulhu, The Colour out of Space, and The Whisperer in Darkness—are supposedly out, but I have not yet received any copies.) Now Pete Crowther of PS Publishing says he will eventually issue all the Lovecraft stories in illustrated form—although subsequent volumes are likely to include several stories rather than a single one. As with previous volumes, we will try to include interesting articles on the stories or previous works that influenced the Lovecraft stories. For example, the volume containing “The Haunter of the Dark” will include Hanns Heinz Ewers’s “The Spider.”
I had forgotten to mention a curious detour into media celebrity on my part. During my trip to Muncie (Feb. 24–March 6), I was interviewed by Ekaterina Eremenko, a Russian filmmaker who is working on a film about Antarctica (chiefly focusing, I believe, on some Russian expedition there). She had wished me to discuss the relevance of Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness. When I told her that I would probably be unavailable for the brief time (early March) when she would be in the United States, she replied that, by coincidence, she was showing some of her films at IUPUI (Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis) at that very time! I requested that she come up to Muncie, since I was too busy to come to Indianapolis. She and a cameraman did so, and we had an entertaining interview. I also read substantial portions of the novel, which will evidently be used as background somehow. Anyway, I will wait to hear of the progress of this film (which I believe will be in English, as at least one previous film of hers is).
There has been much talk lately about the “discovery” of a Lovecraft manuscript called The Cancer of Superstition, which he was ghostwriting for Harry Houdini in the months before Houdini’s sudden death on October 31, 1926, derailed the plans and caused the project to be dropped. Here is a site talking about the manuscript: https://www.finebooksmagazine.com/fine_books_blog/2016/03/found-lovecraft-manuscript-with-connection-to-houdini.phtml. But what has been overlooked by most commentators is the fact that this manuscript is not “unpublished”: at least some of it appeared in The Dark Brotherhood and Other Pieces (Arkham House, 1966), where one chapter along with a synopsis were printed. What is more, although the synopsis was apparently written by Lovecraft, August Derleth—who assembled The Dark Brotherhood and was in touch with C. M. Eddy, Jr., who was collaborating with Lovecraft on the Cancer of Superstition project—says that the actual chapters were written by Eddy! So I am not at all sure that we should be all agog about the discovery of a “new” Lovecraft text when in fact it may be by someone else.
I spent an extended period of time (February 24 – March 6) in Muncie, Indiana, clearing out my family home, as my mother has moved into an assisted living facility. A few interesting items came to light, including:
I am also in receipt of several copies of an LP, H. P. Lovecraft’s The Hound and The Music of Erich Zann, read by Andrew Leman and with liner notes by me. It has just been issued by Cadabra Records (http://www.cadabrarecords.com/2016/03/the-hound-the-music-of-erich-zann-now-sold-out/). The website states that the LP is already sold out! I have no idea what the list price is, but I would be happy to be relieved of my spare copies for $20 each.
I have at last received a copy of Caitlín R. Kiernan’s Beneath an Oil-Dark Sea: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan, Volume 2 (Subterranean Press, 2015), for which I wrote the introduction (http://subterraneanpress.com/store/product_detail/beneath_an_oil_dark_sea_the_best_of_caitlin_r._kiernan_volume_two). It appears that the trade edition is sold out, so readers will have to secure the limited edition or the ebook. I fear I have no spare copies to offer to customers. My introduction will be reprinted in Varieties of the Weird Tale, coming out later this year from Hippocampus.
Hippocampus has released the fourth issue of Spectral Realms (http://www.hippocampuspress.com/journals/spectral-realms/spectral-realms-no.-4). It is a fine issue, but as yet I have received no copies (I have, however, seen my wife’s contributor’s copy—she has two poems in the issue). Once I get my copies (I usually get 10), I will be happy to offer them to customers.
A colleague named Kerry Taylor who has been doing research on Charleston, S.C., has unexpectedly made a notable find. While doing research on Lovecraft’s essay on Charleston (the document written for H. C. Koenig in 1936 and published by him in a mimeographed booklet that year), Kerry found the booklet on Charleston published by the Edison Company that printed some of Lovecraft’s drawings of Charleston architecture. This item has long been known (it was mentioned by Lovecraft in a letter), but never been found. Now it has! I print a scan of the Lovecraft drawings, as provided to me by Kerry. Hats off to her for the discovery!
I believe I have previously mentioned a superb poster of Lovecraft’s “The Shadow out of Time” designed by the artist Ken Shaw. This poster is now available through the H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society (http://store.cthulhulives.org/collections/frontpage/products/shadow-out-of-time-fine-art-print), and, as anyone can see, it is a splendid and evocative item. All devotees of Lovecraft are urged to secure this distinctive work!
And did you catch the dropping of “Necronomicon” in a New York Times op-ed piece by the conservative columnist Ross Douthat? (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/21/opinion/sunday/clash-of-the-populists.html) How much more mainstream can you get than that?
Today is, of course, the 79th anniversary of the death of H. P. Lovecraft. I trust we shall all commemorate it with suitable obsequies. I understand there is to be some kind of event at Lovecraft’s birthplace (454 Angell Street) in Providence, but I am unclear what the nature of that event is. Nevertheless, I believe we can be assured that, nearly eight decades after Lovecraft’s death, his place in world literature and culture is secure.
I was happy to receive copies of the paperback edition of Black Wings IV—entitled Black Wings of Cthulhu 4 and published by Titan Books. One of its many good features is a novella by Fred Chappell, “Artifact,” that is one of his strongest Lovecraftian tales—perhaps the finest since the novel Dagon (1968). The book has other fine contributions by W. H. Pugmire, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Cody Goodfellow, Ann K. Schwader, Simon Strantzas, and many other fine writers. I will be happy to sell copies to interested customers for $15.00 on the usual terms.
Speaking of Black Wings, I have only recently learned that the first Black Wings anthology appeared in Spanish all the way back in 2014. I was never sent a copy, but here is the listing on the Spanish Amazon site: http://www.amazon.es/Alas-Tenebrosas-G%C3%B3tica-S-T-Joshi/dp/8477027625/. I suppose I should pick up a copy before it becomes unavailable.
A few other new publications have drifted in. The “Fall 2015” issue of Dead Reckonings is at last available. I have four items in the issue: 1) a review of Reggie Oliver’s fine collection The Sea of Blood; 2) a joint review of Ramsey Campbell’s Visions from Brichester and Steve Rasnic Tem’s In the Lovecraft Museum; 3) a review of David Barker and W. H. Pugmire’s In the Gulfs of Dream and Other Lovecraftian Tales; 4) a “Weird Scholar” column containing a discussion of Thomas Burke (the item will serve as my introduction to my Thomas Burke collection from Dark Renaissance Books). I have one spare copy that I would be happy to let go for $10.00.
I also have one spare copy of a fine new monograph on Richard Matheson by June Pulliam and Anthony J. Fonseca, Richard Matheson’s Monsters: Gender in the Stories, Scripts, Novels, and Twilight Zone Episodes (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016). Here is the publisher’s page about the book: https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781442260672/Richard-Matheson's-Monsters-Gender-in-the-Stories-Scripts-Novels-and-Twilight-Zone-Episodes. I believe this will be the last volume in my “Studies in Supernatural Literature” series. The book is priced at an appalling $80.00, but I will be happy to let my spare copy go for $50.00.
I have written an essay—“Lovecraft and the Titans: A Critical Legacy”—for an anthology on Lovecraft’s “Supernatural Horror in Literature” being compiled by Sean Moreland. Sean has attracted the attention of Palgrave Macmillan (which previously published David Simmons’s anthology New Critical Essays on H. P. Lovecraft , for which I wrote the foreword), so I am hopeful that this new book will also find favour with them.
Michael Aronovitz talks about his fabulous new novel, Phantom Effect (soon to be released by Night Shade Books), and other matters in the following blogtalk: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/authorsontheairradio2/2016/02/12/michael-aronovitz-returns-to-thorne-cross-haunted-nights-live. In addition to being a superb fiction writer, Michael is also one of the most articulate spokesmen for the contemporary weird tale, so his words are always worth paying attention to.
Speaking of which, I see that Ramsey Campbell has discussed Lovecraft and other issues on Ghostwords TV (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIHOBE7QVqNlOi53KH1gnqA). I have actually not watched this myself, but I have to believe it is as cogent and incisive as Ramsey habitually is.
I am slogging through the preparation of an electronic file of the truncated version of my Lovecraft biography, A Dreamer and a Visionary: H. P. Lovecraft in His Time (Liverpool University Press, 2001), which is long out of print, and which Hippocampus Press is planning to release as an ebook (and perhaps also as a print book). I suppose the thinking is that those who do not wish to wade through my 1200-page I Am Providence will find the 400 pages of this “Reader’s Digest Condensed Version” of the biography more palatable. So I am happy to oblige!
Well, we have at last resolved on a name for the new Hippocampus journal of weird fiction: it is Nemesis. I understand that at least one other name was tossed out in various venues, but that was a premature announcement. We struggled to come up with a name that both was evocative and did not conflict with the names of other magazines or books currently in circulation, and this seemed the best compromise. Many thanks to all who came up with prospective titles! Now let’s see if we can actually put an issue together. The “first reader” for submissions will be the publisher, Derrick Hussey, so please send submissions directly to him at email@example.com.
My colleague Alan Bundy has forwarded a fascinating little bit about Lord Dunsany from a book written by Amelia Earhart, 20 Hrs., 40 Min.: Our Flight in the Friendship (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1928; rpt. Washington, DC: National Geographic Society, 2003), p. 95: “Speaking of Fog again, I know Dunsany would like to see the world above the earth. Irish fogs have been described in detail, and their bilious effect, and their fairies and their little people. But no one has written of a bird’s-eye view of one from an imaginative eye.” Earhart was the wife of George Palmer Putnam (of the Putnam publishing family) and was, I believe, personally acquainted with Dunsany.
I am thrilled to see Michael Aronovitz’s new novel Phantom Effect announced for advance order from Night Shade Books (http://www.nightshadebooks.com/book/phantom-effect/#.VrOiK_krKhd). As I have no doubt mentioned previously, this is one of the most scintillating and powerful weird novels I have read in many years, and it deserves the widest possible readership. Michael’s ability to draw character sensitively, and also to create intense horrific scenarios, may be unmatched in contemporary weird fiction.
My neighbour Jim Dempsey has brought my attention to a most amusing website, “The Call of Cthulhu Simplified” (http://imgur.com/gallery/I5Vpq), that is in effect a kind of Dr. Seuss for Cthulhu. I can’t tell if this is just a website or a book that can be purchased. Whatever the case, it is entertaining. As all the religions of the world know, we have to start our indoctrination at an early age!
I see that the fourth issue of Spectral Realms has now been announced as (nearly) ready: http://www.hippocampuspress.com/journals/spectral-realms/spectral-realms-no.-4?zenid=182f39918f1865f9ec8fa50a237a5cf3. I believe it is another exceptional issue, and I hope all devotees of weird poetry purchase it. Aside from the many fine poems included, it also features the first of Frank Coffman’s two-part essay on “The Poets of Weird Tales,” along with reviews of recent poetry books by K. A. Opperman and Wade German. Other books soon to appear from Hippocampus Press are superb collections of Lovecraftian fiction by Cody Goodfellow (The Rapture of the Deep) and John Shirley (Lovecraft Alive). Both include spectacular unpublished novellas that by themselves make the books worth securing.
I had forgotten to mention another book I have been working on—nothing less than a tribute book to the late Michael Shea, which will include several unpublished stories (including a few novellas), the multitude of poems that Michael included in his stories and novels, tributes to Michael by such writers as Laird Barron, Cody Goodfellow, Marc Laidlaw, Jason V Brock, and several others, along with some spectacular artwork that accompanied some of Michael’s writings. I am coediting the book with Michael’s widow, Linda Shea. This will appear presently from Hippocampus Press; the title is as yet undecided.
I see that my treatise A Subtler Magick: The Writings and Philosophy of H. P. Lovecraft (Borgo Press, 1996) has been issued as an ebook from Hippocampus Press: http://www.amazon.com/Subtler-Magick-Philosophy-Lovecraft-Criticism-ebook/dp/B01AS4ZFAM . This is one of the volumes of a new series of ebooks, Classics of Lovecraft Criticism, which also includes Peter Cannon’s H. P. Lovecraft (Twayne, 1989) and Donald R. Burleson’s H. P. Lovecraft: A Critical Study (Greenwood Press, 1983). I believe these books are also available on Amazon. More titles will surely follow.
I was saddened to hear of the sudden and unexpected death, on January 20, of David G. Hartwell. Whatever disagreements I may have had with him, I always had the highest admiration for him as an editor and critic. His work was chiefly in the realm of science fiction, but he also made lasting contributions to the study and appreciation of fantasy fiction and weird fiction. He will long be remembered.
I am in receipt of an interesting post from Terence McVicker on the recent controversy over Lovecraft’s racism, and I believe his words are worth pondering: http://www.batsoverbooks.com/?page=shop/post&post_id=9. It is unfortunate that this kerfuffle has caused such bad blood in our field, and I hope that cooler heads can eventually prevail.
I have also seen an interesting post that focuses on what is truly central to Lovecraft as a writer and critic—his advice on writing, derived from the early essay “Literary Composition” (1920): https://www.brainpickings.org/2013/01/11/h-p-lovecraft-advice-on-writing/. How welcome it would be if more writers observed these strictures!
I have been quite busy of late, but I don’t have anything earthshaking to report. I did finish my compilation of the W. W. Jacobs volume for Dark Renaissance Books and am still hopeful that (as the publisher has promised me) the six titles I have prepared for him will come out in the first half of this year.
I now find, however, that I have forgotten yet another forthcoming book that has been done for quite some time: my compilation of the weird tales of D. H. Lawrence, originally compiled for Ash-Tree Press (although I never received a contract from them), but now to be issued (someday) by Centipede Press. This gives me a total of twelve books to appear from Centipede, and a total of twenty-six forthcoming books. To review, here they are:
For Centipede Press:
For Dark Renaissance Books:
For other publishers:
Omigod! Have I miscounted again? This seems to make twenty-seven!
Just a refresher on books I am working on at present:
This does not count the new Hippocampus journal of weird fiction, for which I have already accepted some stories, as well as the four other periodicals (Lovecraft Annual, Weird Fiction Review, Spectral Realms, American Rationalist) I edit. I am also thinking of assembling a volume of my reviews and other matter—those published subsequent to Classics and Contemporaries (Hippocampus Press, 2009). And I am not even counting the huge volume of the joint correspondence of Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith, which should be out at the end of this year but on which I have done very little as yet (my coeditor, David E. Schultz, has done the great majority of work on this volume).
The above list doesn’t count reprints (Dover is reprinting my edition of Maurice Level [in a truncated edition that includes only the short stories and not the two novels in the original Centipede Press edition] as well as my edition of Edward Lucas White). And Hippocampus Press is set to issue ebooks of some of my earlier titles, including H. P. Lovecraft: The Decline of the West (1990), The Weird Tale (1990), A Subtler Magick (1996), and The Modern Weird Tale (2001).
The overriding question is: Will I ever shut up?
I recently announced to selected colleagues the establishment of a new journal devoted to weird fiction, to be published annually (probably in summer or fall) by Hippocampus Press. I have received encouraging responses from my colleagues, but everyone associated with the magazine is faced with a perplexing difficulty: We do not have a name for the periodical! Can anyone out there help? Derrick Hussey, David E. Schultz, and I have been racking our brains for months over the issue, and have come up largely empty.
Otherwise, I can say that the magazine will consist of about 80,000 words, will pay 4 cents a word (first serial rights), and will be open to the widest array of weird fiction, from pure supernaturalism to psychological suspense. Lovecraftian fiction will not be emphasised; indeed, I am tempted to ban it altogether, although perhaps such a blanket proscription would be unwise. But there are plenty of other venues for the publication of such material—including my own Black Wings series. I have just requested that selected colleagues send me contributions for Black Wings VI, which I hope to complete by this summer, for publication in 2017.
I am also compiling a volume entitled The Red Brain: Great Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos for Dark Regions Press. This is a kind of follow-up to A Mountain Walked, which has done surprisingly well in the paperback edition that Dark Regions issued late last year. The Red Brain will again consist of both reprinted stories and original tales, and I hope to complete the compilation as early as April of this year.
I was thrilled to see that Michael Aronovitz’s forthcoming novel Phantom Effect (due out from Night Shade in February) received a rave review in Publishers Weekly: http://publishersweekly.com/978-1-59780-846-0. I am pleased to receive such an enthusiastic vindication of my own approbation of this splendid work. I hope everyone who reads this blog gets a chance to read this unforgettable novel.
My copies of Weird Fiction Review No. 6 (2015) finally showed up in late December. It is a spectacular issue of 375 pp., with a gorgeous cover (a parody of the Beatles’ Sgt. Peppers album cover) featuring the images of more than 70 authors of weird fiction: http://www.centipedepress.com/anthologies/wfreview6.html. The webpage of course lists me as editor, but my name was inadvertently omitted from the magazine itself (aside from being included at the head of the article I myself have in the issue). Well, no matter. I look forward to editing this flagship journal for many more years. I have several copies of the current Weird Fiction Review available for sale (let’s say $25.00) on the usual terms.
During the Christmas holidays Mary and I ventured down to Carmel Valley, California, where my sister Nalini lives; my other sister, Ragini, came up from Los Angeles, and my nieces Anjeli (Nalini’s daughter) and Annie (Ragini’s daughter) were also on hand. On the day after Christmas some of his made our way to Tor House, the stone structure (actually a series of structures) built by the poet Robinson Jeffers with his own hands: http://www.torhouse.org/. It was a wonderful visit, and I humbly explained my own indirect connection to Jeffers through my editing of George Sterling’s collected poetry. Sterling and Jeffers became acquainted during the last few years of Sterling’s life, and Sterling wrote an interesting little monograph on Jeffers in 1926.
By popular demand, David E. Schultz and I are undertaking the editing of letters by Clark Ashton Smith and some of his colleagues. Currently underway is an edition of the letters between Smith, Donald Wandrei, and R. H. Barlow; later projects might involve the letters of Smith and Samuel Loveman, as well as an immense volume of the letters of Smith and August Derleth. Of course, we do not wish to distract ourselves from our ongoing publication of Lovecraft’s letters, nearly 20 volumes of which remain to be edited.
In my last blog I mentioned 19 books of mine that are forthcoming. I refer to books that are actually complete and sitting at publishers’ offices waiting to be published. I find that there are at least six more such books:
This list does not of course include a dozen or more volumes that I am still working on. When all the completed books come out, I would reach a total of 251—a frightening thought!