S. T. Joshi's Blog

February 4, 2016 — Hippocampus Journal Named!

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 nemesis.submissions@gmail.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.

January 22, 2016 — Too Many Forthcoming Books!

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?

January 4, 2016 — A New Hippocampus Press Journal of Weird Fiction

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!

Entries from 2015…