I am in receipt of two new items from Hippocampus Press: Spectral Realms No. 8 (Winter 2018) and the 4th revised and expanded edition of my compilation of Lovecraft’s Library: A Catalogue (2017). The former item hardly needs an introduction. The current issue of this journal of weird poetry contains spectacular contributions by such poets as Richard L. Tierney, Jessica Amanda Salmonson, Ashley Dioses, Adam Bolivar, Darrell Schweitzer, K. A. Opperman, Alan Gullette, Christina Sng, John Shirley, Ann K. Schwader, and—not least—two poems by Mary Krawczak Wilson. One of its “classic reprints” is a poem written by Farnsworth Wright and published in Weird Tales under a pseudonym. It also contains a long and rigorously argued article on “Verse vs. Free Verse” by Frank Coffman. The price of this issue has now been reduced to $10.00.
Lovecraft’s Library (now fittingly bearing David E. Schultz’s name as co-compiler) now lists a total of 1085 books in Lovecraft’s library, or more than 150 titles more than the original compilation of 1980. Schultz and I have also provided much more detailed notes about Lovecraft’s use of the various titles in his work and his citations of them in his letters. This edition is priced at $15.00.
I have a fair number of copies of both titles available to interested customers and am prepared to offer them for $10.00 (Spectral Realms) and $12.00 (Lovecraft’s Library). I still have 2 copies of issue #7 of Spectral Realms, and 6 copies of issue #6. Should anyone be interested in any two issues, I would be happy to let them go for $15.00. All three issues can be purchased at $20.00.
My attention has been drawn to an interesting crowdfunding campaign to finance a new “complete” (intégrale) edition of Lovecraft’s stories in French: https://fr.ulule.com/lovecraft-prestige/. I believe this is from the same publisher that recently issued the three-volume Clark Ashton Smith edition, which I can assure you is—at least from a physical standpoint, and probably from other standpoints as well—a superlative job of book production. In fact, I believe I have been asked to supply an introduction or other commentary for the edition. So any interested readers are urged to support the venture.
And now I trust I may be allowed to vent a little.
I have to say that recent responses to my various essays and reviews on contemporary weird fiction have been even more disheartening than I had expected. I suppose I was not fully aware of the extent to which certain writers are so pathetically insecure that they cannot endure even the slightest and most constructive criticism of their immortal masterworks. They have gotten so puffed up with arrogance, self-importance, and delusions of impeccability that anything less than undiluted praise strikes them as some kind of lèse-majesté (for those of you who don’t know French, that phrase basically means treason).
But it is not the grotesque and contemptible antics of the authors themselves that is the worst part of this whole sorry spectacle. Their rabid, uncritical, and still more insecure toadies and sycophants exhibit an even more despicable and hysterical response to criticism. What they tend to do is to react in fury at such perceived slights to their lord and master and, in classic mob fashion, attempt to gang up on the bold and outspoken critic for his or her temerity in questioning the superlative greatness of the author whom they have chosen (for reasons that often remain opaque, but appear to have more to do with tribal affiliation than abstract literary merit) to idolise.
I should point out that my own essays and reviews say virtually nothing about the personalities of the authors I discuss. Even my satirical piece on Brian Keene made no mention of his character (about which I know—and want to know—nothing); I merely made some harmless witticisms directed at his multifarious crimes against the English language. And yet, he and his claque uniformly responded as if he and they have been personally attacked, and as a result their own ripostes were nothing but personal attacks upon myself. But given that these furious screeds do not address any of my fundamental critical points—or, at best, single out some tiny and insignificant issue, distort it wildly, and turn it into an attack on my character (usually—predictably enough—from the perspective of race or gender), I am forced to conclude that none of my attackers can actually find any meaningful rebuttal to the essence of my argument, and that leaves me more convinced than ever that my judgments are sound.
If these disreputable lickspittles think they can silence me with this tsunami of vitriol, they had better think again. I am more resolved than ever to utter my critical opinions fearlessly and defiantly. It is apparently a widespread belief that casting evaluative judgments, as I habitually do, is somehow not even a legitimate function of criticism; but to me it has always been central to the critic’s role. There is a great need for the critic to take on, at times, the job of a sanitation worker—clearing away literary rubbish so that works of genuine aesthetic merit can be more readily perceived by readers.
There is, in my judgment, only a single author in our field today who deserves the unstinting praise that these authors and their bootlickers fondly seek; and that is Ramsey Campbell. But even he is not immune from criticism! I like to think of myself as one of his champions, but I do not care for some few items in his extensive output. What is more, Campbell himself takes negative criticism in stride—and even makes a game of it. Consider the pamphlet Two Obscure Tales (Necronomicon Press, 1993). On a page facing the title page, under the bland heading “Other Works by Ramsey Campbell,” he has provided a bevy of extracts from hostile reviews of his various books up to that time. What is widely regarded as one of his superior novels (and, hence, one of the superior novels in all weird fiction), Incarnate (1983), was regarded as “plodding” by Library Journal and as “slow, meandering” by Kirkus Reviews. (I believe Arthur Machen takes the prize in matters of this sort, as his Precious Balms  is an entire volume of negative reviews of his work.)
Here’s my advice to these delicate flowers who cannot endure any criticism short of slavish encomium: Don’t publish your work. Just hand it out individually to those of your cronies who, in your estimation, are certain to lap it up with relish and tell you so (whether they actually enjoy it or not). That will save you the agony of less-than-enthusiastic notices of your work at the hands of insensitive oafs such as myself.
My general point is that authors, by the very act of publishing, do not get to choose their readers, nor their critics. You’d better get used to that idea if you have any inclination to maintain your status as a professional writer. I myself have developed a pretty tough hide over the decades; and when my own books come out (such as my memoirs, or a thick volume of my collected mystery and horror fiction, or my novella Something from Below, which will all appear later this year), I fully expect any number of hostile or negative evaluations. But I, for one, am capable of distinguishing between genuine criticism and vindictive vituperation. Are you?
There seems to be an unwarranted belief that I don’t care for any contemporary weird fiction—a strange attitude for people to have, given my enthusiasm for the recent work of such writers as Ramsey Campbell (the third volume of whose Lovecraftian trilogy, The Way of the Worm, I have just read in ms.—and found spectacular), Caitlín R. Kiernan, Richard Gavin, Simon Strantzas, and many others, not least of whom are my own (former) protégés Jonathan Thomas and Michael Aronovitz. (I say “former” only because I cannot regard them as “protégés” anymore, as they are now veteran writers with several books—novels and story collections—under their belts.)
All this reminds me (and I suppose I am only confirming my status as an old coot as I mention this) of those old Life cereal commercials, where a little boy named Mikey has a notorious dislike of any and all cereals—until he comes upon Life, which he gobbles up with gusto. The analogy is particularly apt in that I myself have been a devotee of Life cereal (usually with blueberries or strawberries) for many years.
So I now present a chapter on John Langan from 21st-Century Horror which I hope will indicate that I can say good things about a contemporary writer. My views of John’s work are, to be sure, mixed, and I do not indulge here in unstinted praise; but I find far more to admire in his work than to deprecate, and I trust that readers find some value in my analyses. I discuss only a portion of his third story collection, Sefira and Other Betrayals, which is not yet complete: John has not submitted the final two stories in the book, including the title story. And the publication date of 2018 is also a tad optimistic, given that the Hippocampus Press schedule for this year is rapidly filling up. But we do hope to get the volume out as expeditiously as possible once John submits those final two stories.
Otherwise I have been working diligently on the Clark Ashton Smith bibliography, which is likely to be about 400 pages in print. The index alone (names, titles, periodicals) comes to 88 single-spaced pages on my computer! I like to think it is a pretty exhaustive compilation, although no doubt we have missed some foreign editions. (I am trying to find detailed information on seven Japanese editions, dating from 1974 to 2011, but have so far found such information on only one.)
I have begun examining David E. Schultz’s toweringly impressive edition of Leah Bodine Drake’s collected writings, tentatively titled Song of the Sun. Although I will be listed as a co-editor of this volume (which I hope can appear later this year from Hippocampus), I am merely a freeloader. David has done about 95% of the work so far, and I am now adding my two-cents’ worth on various textual points and matters of annotation. Drake published the first single-author poetry collection with Arkham House (A Hornbook for Witches, 1950), but that is the least of her virtues as a poet. Her “weird” poetry is in fact a relatively small facet of her overall poetic work, which has considerable merit for its simple elegance, its fascination with myth and legend, and its depth of emotion. She also wrote some weird tales (one published in a late issue of Weird Tales) that are creditable.
Copies of Spectral Realms #8 have gone out to contributors, but have not reached here yet. I also understand that some ARCs of my memoirs, What Is Anything?, have been prepared and will be sent out to (very) select reviewers and reviewing venues. I think the best things in the book are my baby pictures.
Here’s hoping the attendees of StokerCon in Providence, R.I., can literally hold on to their hats (does anyone wear hats these days?) as they dodge the nor’easter plaguing the East Coast!
I suppose it was to be expected that I would be raked over the coals in certain circles for my critical (in every sense of the word) essay on Jeff VanderMeer. Somehow I had overlooked the plain fact that he is among those privileged few writers who are self-evidently immune from any and all criticism. I am not sure how one enters this highly exclusive and lofty club, for it is abundantly obvious that I myself am persona non grata with a vengeance.
One of the earliest defenders of Mr. VanderMeer, predictably, is the eminent Laird Barron, who also feels he is a member of that exclusive club. And yet, the sum total of his criticism of my article rests in his citing the following quotation from it:
“It is amusing to note that among VanderMeer’s characters are a black woman (Grace Stevenson), a Hispanic man (John Rodriguez), a gay man (Seth Evans), and a lesbian woman (Grace Stevenson). All very proper according to the canons of politically correct multiculturalism.”
I should have predicted that this comment would be quoted in this manner; for, taken by itself, it might suggest that I have a problem with depictions of non-white (or non-heterosexual) persons in fiction. That would be very bad—if it were true. But I beg to point out the inconvenient fact that Mr. Barron did not quote my full remarks on the subject:
“The only problem is that these figures are all so indistinguishable from one another that their ethnic or sexual characteristics are of little relevance to their overall personalities and have no bearing upon the actions that their author mechanically forces them to carry out. In particular, the scenes with Seth and his lover are so mortifyingly wooden and clumsy as to seem like parodies of gay lovemaking.”
Ah! This puts a very different complexion (pardon the pun) on my comment! One must not of course assume that Mr. Barron deliberately failed to quote this latter passage; that would make him appear disingenuous and duplicitous, at the very least. No doubt the white heat of his righteous anger blinded him to the full text.
But Mr. Barron’s citation generated a predictable barrage of faux outrage on the part of his own sycophants. One charming fellow opined that I was somehow on his “friend list” and immediately expressed the desire to “find [me] and delete [me].” I can only imagine his discomfiture when he made an awkward discovery: “Oh, I can’t find him on social media.” I am aware that, in this technological age, one’s absence from social media is tantamount to being a Flat-Earther. Or is it possible that I deliberately avoid social media in order to get some actual work done and be a productive member of society?
Otherwise, it appears that I have been accused of being a bigot, a misogynist, a transphobe, and sundry other derelictions. To which my only response is: *Sigh.* I suppose most of my antagonists are unaware that I myself have compiled books on some of these very subjects; to wit, Documents of American Prejudice (1999) and In Her Place: A Documentary History of Prejudice against Women (2006). The amount of research that went into these volumes is probably inconceivable to most of my valiant opponents. It would then appear—if my antagonists are correct—that I paradoxically compiled these volumes to promote the very evils I was ostensibly condemning! Anyone who reads my introduction and commentary in these books will find that interpretation a trifle implausible.
People, do you not realise what you are doing? By flinging such accusations around recklessly and with no regard for evidence, you are playing into every right-winger’s caricature of the dogmatic, intolerant liberal fascist. You are thereby bringing disrepute to the very causes you claim to be championing. You are, in fact, not liberals but dictator-wannabes (rather like our current “president”). You are no different in temperament from a rabid Christian fundamentalist or a Second Amendment absolutist. Fanaticism on the left has an uncanny similarity to fanaticism on the right, and the basis of that similarity is a mutual and fatal tendency toward authoritarianism. We have already witnessed one entire political party (the G.O.P.) descend into the abyss of cultivated ignorance, fact-denial, corruption, hypocrisy, and now a thirst for tyranny; there is no need for members of the other party to follow it.
Mr. Jason V Brock has written cogently and pungently on this very subject in a recent statement. In spite of its length, I urge everyone to read it carefully: http://www.jasunni.com/2018/02/22/the-risks-of-being-different/.
And if you want an example of genuine and muscular liberalism, you might read my column in the next issue of Free Inquiry, entitled “The Party of Traitors.” You can read this dissection of the current Republican party on the Selected Writings page.
Meanwhile, I remain mystified at why Mr. VanderMeer’s followers believe that he—or any writer—should be shielded from critical scrutiny. What good can come of that? My essay on him was a critical judgment, not a statement of fact. The proper way to refute me is not to hurl insults at me, which always backfire by showing the hurlers to be petty, vindictive, and full of rage and resentment. The only way to rebut me is to demonstrate that my judgments are unsound. If there are any people out there who can show why Mr. VanderMeer left so many critical plot threads in his trilogy unresolved, why so many seemingly significant characters appear and then disappear seemingly at random, why every character (male, female, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, gay, straight, lesbian) is bland and undistinctive, and why his prose is so lacking in emotive resonance, they would be doing me and the whole field of weird fiction a great favour. But so far as I can tell, no one has had the critical acumen to make such a statement.
If we have really reached the stage where honest, hard-hitting criticism of weird fiction is verboten, then we’ve come to a pretty pass, haven’t we?
A short time ago I spent a week or two digesting Jeff VanderMeer’s “Southern Reach” trilogy (Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance), published in 2014. I was quite stunned at how appallingly bad it was. Whatever my opinions on VanderMeer as a person may be, I had actually been expecting his trilogy to be at least respectable, if not scintillating. It is very much otherwise. I here present my essay on VanderMeer for 21st-Century Horror.
[It is, of course, entirely a coincidence that I disseminate my essay on the day that the film version of Annihilation opens. I am not likely to see the film—although I saw a trailer for it the other day that made me scratch my head as to what the movie could possibly be about. One review states that the film made radical changes in the book’s plot—not surprising!]
On a much happier note, I have at long last received some copies of Black Wings VI from the publisher, PS Publishing. The book actually came out late last year, but my spare copies have only just arrived. It is selling for £25 in the UK, and I am prepared to offer my copies for $30.00 on the usual terms. I have only three spares, so better get them quick!
Coincidentally, I see that a reasonably favourable review of Black Wings V (the paperback edition, titled Black Wings of Cthulhu 5) has appeared in Publishers Weekly: https://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-78565-691-0. I was interested to note that the reviewer singled out the Nicole Cushing story, which (to my mind) was quite a departure from the usual run of stories that have appeared in Black Wings.
I am also prepared to announce the contents of a Best of Black Wings that PS Publishing will issue sometime in paperback:
|Lesser Demons||Norman Partridge|
|Howling in the Dark||Darrell Schweitzer|
|Passing Spirits||Sam Gafford|
|When Death Wakes Me to Myself||John Shirley|
|The Abject||Richard Gavin|
|Thistle’s Find||Simon Strantzas|
|Houdini Fish||Jonathan Thomas|
|Cult of the Dead||Lois H. Gresh|
|The Dark Sea Within||Jason V Brock|
|Night of the Piper||Ann K. Schwader|
|The Woman in the Attic||Robert H. Waugh|
|The Walker in the Night||Jason C. Eckhardt|
|The Organ of Chaos||Donald Tyson|
|The Shard||Don Webb|
|To Move Beneath Autumnal Oaks||W. H. Pugmire|
It was, as you can imagine, difficult to boil down the contents of six books into a single volume: every story had a right to be considered for inclusion. But this was the best I could do—and, all things considered, I think it is a pretty good selection. The final piece is of course a poem, as I felt the need to have at least one poem in the book to reflect the fact that the last three volumes of the series have included such items.
Just yesterday I gave an interview to Miguel Peromingo (a writer in Berlin) on the subject of Lovecraft’s autodidacticism. Here is the link: http://autodidacticon.com/interviews/howard-philips-lovecraft-the-pulp-genius-interview-with-s-t-joshi/. I could have gone on at considerably greater length, but I suppose I blabbed enough as it is.
I have also been in touch with an individual who wishes to do a documentary on William Hope Hodgson. An excellent idea! Meanwhile, I hope that the documentaries on Clark Ashton Smith and Arthur Machen, both of which are in progress, get finished soon.
I was happy to receive some copies of the German translation of volume 1 of I Am Providence, which appears from Golkonda Verlag as H. P. Lovecraft: Leben und Werk (2017), translated by Andreas Fliedner. The publisher’s website (http://golkonda-verlag.de/cms/front_content.php?idart=625) is of interest in having some blurbs from German scholars or critics on my book; these must have been solicited by the publisher somehow. Very flattering! The book is selling for nearly 40 euros, and I have one spare copy of it, if anyone wants it. I’m willing to let it go for the bargain price of $25. It’s a big book (734 pages)! I think the second volume will appear later this year.
Speaking of German, I have now received an unauthorised translation of my compilation of Lovecraft’s writings on religion, entitled Against Religion (published in 2010 by Sporting Gentleman). The German edition appears as Gegen die Religion (JMB Verlag, 2017); my introduction (and Christopher Hitchens’s foreword) were removed, although my notes to the book were retained (without credit to me). Indeed, my name does not appear in the book anywhere, so far as I can tell. As I say, this book was unauthorised, and I later heard from the publisher, apologising for the violation of my copyright. My US publisher has now officially sold German rights to Festa Verlag, which has published much work by Lovecraft and other weird writers. An Italian edition of Against Religion is also forthcoming.
I present herewith the index to my memoirs, What Is Anything?, so that interested readers can find out who is—and is not—mentioned therein. Of course, the fact that some particular individual is cited in the index is no indication of what kind of reference I make to the person in question. To find that out, you’ll have to get the book!
A very strange thing has happened: I have just set a Lovecraft poem to music. I had long thought of setting one of Lovecraft’s nicer (i.e., non-weird) poems as a choral piece, so that my choir might perform it. After beginning such a venture some months ago, I wrote exactly four bars before giving it up. But lately, thanks in part to urging from Janice Klain (the president of the Northwest Chorale), I finished the job. I chose the three-stanza poem “Sunset.” The piece is set for a cappella (i.e., unaccompanied) four-part chorus. I believe this is the first time a poem by HPL has been arranged for chorus, since previous settings have been for solo voice. Whether the piece is any good or not is a debatable point. I shall have to get my choir director’s opinion on the matter sometime. But if the piece is found acceptable, it may be performed in our winter concert this December. To prove that I have actually done what I have said, I present herewith a facsimile of the rather untidy first page of my handwritten manuscript:
On to a more serious matter.
I am obliged to make some comments on one of the most contemptible kerfuffles in our field—and that is saying something. Evidently a tsunami of convenient outrage has been directed at Jason V Brock because of a single inconsidered comment he made regarding the singer Pink—a comment that was grotesquely (and, I must believe, disingenuously) misconstrued as a slur against transgendered people, even though Pink (i.e., Alecia Beth Moore) is a heterosexual white woman. Jason immediately took down his post and apologised to those he had offended, but that wasn’t enough to have him banned from participation at StokerCon.
Let us contrast the reaction to this incident—which, at worst, is indicative of a certain imprudence on Jason’s part, but is more pertinently indicative of an utter lack of humour on the part of his antagonists—with Ross E. Lockhart’s scurrilous and malicious “roast” (as he and his defenders now call it) of myself. It appears that Jason’s single-sentence comment is incalculably worse than the several-minute diatribe by Mr. Lockhart, which was clearly intended to wound and injure its target (although it of course fell far short of that goal). And whereas Jason apologised for his post, I am not aware that Mr. Lockhart has made any attempt to apologise to me or anyone else about his rant. Does he not believe he has anything to apologise for? If not, why not?
One has to wonder about the morality (and—dare I say it?—hypocrisy) of those who heap abuse on Jason but give Mr. Lockhart a pass in these matters. It would seem to be infinitely more heinous to direct a harmless jest toward a celebrated white woman (although, in my ignorance of popular culture, I had in fact never heard of her before) than it is to deliver a sustained farrago of abuse against a (male) person of colour. So the abuse of Jason (which also includes abuse of his wife) is condoned, while Mr. Lockhart (whose rant included abuse of my wife, my parents, and others) remains a member in good standing.
It appears that the outrage of certain persons is directed, not at a given offence, but at the person who happens to commit it. If you are part of the “in” crowd, you can pretty much do or say anything you like; but if you are one who refuses to kowtow to that crowd, then any amount of abuse directed at you is apparently not only forgiven, but actually encouraged.
If these are the morals that the members of the “in” crowd adopt, I thank my stars I am not one of them.
I have at last received copies of the 2017 issue of Weird Fiction Review (http://www.centipedepress.com/anthologies/wfreview8.html), which in fact was published just before the end of the year but didn’t reach Centipede Press until early January. I now have two copies to spare and am prepared to let them go for $20 each. It is the largest issue yet (nearly 400 pages), with a bountiful array of fiction (a total of ten stories), essays, interviews, and other matter of interest.
I also have two spare copies of my edition of Arthur Machen in the Centipede Press Library of Weird Fiction (http://www.centipedepress.com/masters/machenlwf.html), an enormous 700-page omnibus of his best tales, including the complete contents of The Three Impostors (1895) and Ornaments in Jade (1924), and many other tales. I will be happy to offer my spare copies for $30 each.
Other Centipede Press editions are slouching toward publication. My edition of D. H. Lawrence’s weird tales is almost ready, although the publisher informed me that there was a snafu regarding the signature page, so the book has been slightly delayed. And (momentously) I am just about to begin reading proofs of my two-volume edition of Robert Aickman’s collected weird tales, a project that totals 1352 pages. I imagine publication of this set is still a few months off, but it will be well worth waiting for.
On a very different note, I was tremendously flattered to have received a translation of my introduction to An Epicure in the Terrible (1991)—which, in my humble estimation, comprises a reasonably sound overview of Lovecraft’s life, career, and critical reputation—into Spanish from a colleague, Miguel Bernardo Olmedo Morell. The translation can be found here. I hope it will enhance the appreciation of Lovecraft in the Spanish-speaking world, and I understand that Mr. Morell will be distributing it on Spanish-language websites. Those interested in learning more about the translator should consult his own website: https://islasdepapelytinta.com.
I was delighted to receive, at long last, copies of the two-CD recording of my choir’s performance of Handel’s Israel in Egypt last May. Actually, the recording is a fusion of the two performances we had. I won’t say we were perfect in either performance, but I think the overall package is pretty nice. Sunni K Brock designed the sleeve; here is the front cover:
The Israel in Egypt CD
If anyone is interested in securing this item, I have a few spare copies that I am prepared to part with for $15.
I have now completed indexing my memoirs, What Is Anything?—but of course the book will not appear until June. The photo layout for the book (containing as many as 24 photos) is not quite complete, but close. Meanwhile, I have also been looking over the proofs of my collected mystery and horror fiction, The Recurring Doom, which checks in at nearly 180,000 words. This book will be released (in trade paperback, I believe) simultaneously with What Is Anything?, which will initially be published in hardcover.
I have lately—and not very enthusiastically—been reading Jeff VanderMeer’s “Southern Reach” trilogy, published in one volume as Area X (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2014). I will have more to say about the substance (or, as I am sorry to note, the lack of substance) of the work at a later time. Right now I wish to focus on some points of grammar and style that occurred to me as I read the first 200-odd pages.
From a grammatical point of view, what is notable is how frequently VanderMeer uses both correct and incorrect usage on exactly the same grammatical point—an alternation that strikes me as pretty irrational, and, more tellingly, a sign that VanderMeer really doesn’t even understand that he is sometimes committing a grammatical mistake and at other times (accidentally) using correct usage. To wit:
Misuse of “like” for “as” or “as if”: “My heart felt like an animal had become trapped in my chest” (29 [incorrect]); “Sometimes it felt as if I had been placed with a family rather than born into one” (29 [correct]). Note that this alternating usage occurs on the same page.
Erroneous use of “different than” rather than “different from”: “The psychologist was no different than she had been before” (25); “Old Flopper [was] so much different from Ugly Leaper” (30).
Erroneous use of “of” after “all”: “All of these tiny remnants” (33); “[I] turned on all the lights” (37); “all of his resolve” (150); “the decay of all that plant matter” (151).
I bypass such a slight thing as the us of “disassociation” (84), when proper usage dictates “dissociation.”
Let me emphasise that this book was published by a major New York commercial publisher, which presumably hired a professional copy editor to go over VanderMeer’s book. Evidently it was the author’s, copy editor’s, and/or publisher’s feeling that the above errors aren’t errors anymore; but in that case, why didn’t they enforce the erroneous usage (“all of,” “different than,” “like” for “as” or “as if”) uniformly? A perplexing quandary.
I have now received copies of some of my recent self-published books—to wit, Lovecraft and Weird Fiction (my selection of blog posts) and my edition of Robert Hichens’s splendid weird novel The Dweller on the Threshold. Both these books bear the Sarnath Press imprint. I now see that I still have copies of a previous Sarnath Press book, The Stupidity Watch (a collection of my writings on religion and politics, as published in the now-defunct American Rationalist). I offer these volumes at the following prices:
Any two of these can be purchased for a total of $18.00; if you wish all three, I can let them go for $25.00. (This price includes media mail postage for US customers; for overseas customers, we will have to negotiate an additional fee for postage.) Copies of all three volumes are very limited, so first come, first serve!
To prove that I can actually say something nice about someone when the occasion warrants it, I offer the following review of a new book by James Ulmer. Ulmer gets almost no press in the weird fiction field, in spite of the fact that he has two books of ghost stories, The Secret Life (2012) and the volume I have reviewed, The Fire Doll (2017). This review will appear in the next Dead Reckonings. I have read Ulmer’s earlier volume, a fine book (but The Fire Doll is better), and have now fused my discussion of it with my review to make up a chapter on Ulmer for 21st-Century Horror.
More later when time permits!
I spent the last several weeks slogging through the oeuvre of the esteemed Nick Mamatas. I was expecting the job to be pretty dreary, but after a time I began to wonder why I was bothering: there is some doubt as to whether his work even qualifies as “weird fiction,” let alone weird fiction of any quality or substance. However, readers can make up their own minds: here is my essay on Nick Mamatas, scheduled for inclusion in my book 21st-Century Horror.
Otherwise, my activities have been much more pleasant. My choir performed Handel’s Messiah twice in December, on the 2nd and the 9th. At the latter performance there was a reporter from the Everett Herald (Everett is a northern suburb of Seattle) who reported favourably on the performance and, more pertinently, several photographs of the event. I can be seen in one of them (the one with the caption “Dozens of musicians …”) in the second row, fourth from the left. I am, after all, just about the only person of colour in the group (aside from the director, Lynn Hall, who is African-American). Here is the link to the online version of the article: http://www.heraldnet.com/news/a-classic-for-the-holidays/.
Otherwise, I have resolved to finish work on the Clark Ashton Smith bibliography (which I spent years, off and on, compiling, in conjunction with Scott Connors and David E. Schultz). The bibliography is in reasonably good shape, but a number of incomplete items (including several foreign editions of Smith) need to be fleshed out, and the whole work needs to be updated to cover works that have appeared in the last year or two. The book will appear from Hippocampus Press later this year—which, I need hardly remind anyone, is the 125th anniversary of Smith’s birth. To commemorate this event we will be publishing at least one volume of letters by Smith (probably to August Derleth).
Speaking of books, other of my works are either out or soon to be out—including a fourth revised edition of Lovecraft’s Library (Hippocampus Press), Black Wings VI (PS Publishing), my compilation of Arthur Machen’s works for the Library of Weird Fiction (Centipede Press), my edition of D. H. Lawrence’s The Rocking-Horse Winner and Other Supernatural Tales (Centipede Press), and the first two volumes of my Classics of Gothic Horror series for Hippocampus, Mary E. Wilkins Freeman’s Lost Ghosts and E. Nesbit’s From the Dead. Oh, yes—and there is Weird Fiction Review #8, which was delayed in arriving from the printer to Jerad Walters’s house in Colorado, but copies of which I hope to have soon. I also expect to have a few copies of my book of blogs, Lovecraft and Weird Fiction. Please do not ask me to reserve copies of any of these items for you. I will alert readers to their official arrival here in a future blog, and interested customers can order copies at that time.
I have also seen preliminary proofs of my memoirs, What Is Anything?, handsomely designed by David E. Schultz. The book comes to 327 pp., not including the index. I continue to add tidbits to it here and there, and I am also working hard on assembling an interesting cache of photographs—as many as 25 scattered throughout the book, and depicting me from the age of six months to my current advanced age of fifty-nine. Naturally, many of these photos include family, friends, and colleagues, ranging from Derrick Hussey to David E. Schultz to Jason & Sunni Brock to Jonathan Thomas. The book should come out on schedule this summer, in time for my sixtieth birthday on June 22.