S. T. Joshi's Blog

March 23, 2017 — The Stupidity Watch Published

I have self-published a collection of my writings (essays, reviews, and columns) from the American Rationalist, under the title The Stupidity Watch: An Atheist Speaks Out on Religion and Politics (https://www.amazon.com/Stupidity-Watch-Atheist-Religion-Politics/dp/1544821646). The book is available both as a print book and as an ebook. This is the first official title of my own imprint, Sarnath Press, although I may someday republish my collection of reviews, Driven to Madness with Fright, under this imprint.

The book contains a sheaf of my pungent reviews attacking religion and religious apologists. I truly channel Bierce and Mencken in these killer reviews! (You can find some of them in the “Selected Writings” section of this website.) The second half of the book consists of my column, “The Stupidity Watch,” which has run in every issue of the American Rationalist since I took over the editorship with the July/August 2011 issue. Here is the complete table of contents:

I have ordered some copies and should get them soon. If people are interested in purchasing this book directly from me, they are welcome to do so; but I will have to charge a price ($15.00) slightly higher than the list price for the privilege. You can reserve your copy in advance, and I will mail them out when they show up here.

Other books are progressing. Dark Regions Press has sent out a press release for Michael Shea’s Demiurge: The Complete Cthulhu Mythos Tales of Miichael Shea, which I edited. Here is the publisher’s webpage about it: http://www.darkregions.com/press-release-demiurge-complete-cthulhu-mythos-tales-michael-shea. The book contains the title story (an unpublished novella that is indirectly Lovecraftian), along with the complete contents of Copping Squid and Other Mythos Tales (2009), along with several other stories. A splendid book overall!

Dark Regions Press has also sent out a press release about my Lovecraftian anthology The Red Brain: Great Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos (http://www.darkregions.com/press-release-red-brain-great-tales-cthulhu-mythos-edited-s-t-joshi). This will also be a humdinger, so order soon!

March 17, 2017 — Lovecraftian Memoirs Moving Along

I have made tremendous progress on the writing of my Lovecraftian memoirs, What Is Anything? The book already stands at nearly 100,000 words, with about 20,000 more to go. I will probably continue to add to it into early 2018, so that it can be as up-to-date as possible. The book’s overall outline is as follows:

  • Preface
  • 1. From India to Illinois (1958–1968)
  • 2. Indiana I (1968–1972)
  • 3. Indiana II (1972–1976)
  • 4. Brown (1976–1980)
  • 5. Brown and Princeton (1980–1984)
  • 6. Chelsea House I (1984–1990)
  • 7. Chelsea House II (1991–1995)
  • 8. New York (1995–2001)
  • 9. Seattle I (2001–2005)
  • 10. Moravia (2005–2008)
  • 11. Seattle II (2008–2012)
  • 12. Seattle III (2012–2018)
  • Epilogue

At a later date I’ll come up with more interesting titles than these. So far I’ve already written the first eight chapters and am more than halfway through the ninth. Lots of ground to cover! I keep having to go back and fill in things that I’d forgotten to mention. I have (egotistically) not made as many mentions of my colleagues as I would have liked, but that may change as I go over the whole book at a later stage. I hope it will provide readers with at least a fraction of the entertainment it has provided me in writing it.

I still have copies of Gothic Lovecraft here and am prepared to let them go at an even greater discount from the list price: $35.00 for the trade edition and $65.00 for the signed/limited. Come and get ’em!

I see that Cadabra Records is soon to release its recording of Robert W. Chambers’s The Yellow Sign. I wrote the liner notes for this LP. The cover art certainly looks appealing. I imagine I will eventually have some copies to sell to interested customers.

Cover of Cadabra Records' LP of The Yellow Sign
Cover of Cadabra Records’ LP of The Yellow Sign

I have received some updates from Centipede Press about the many projects (ten of them, totalling twelve volumes) that I have assembled. I now hear that my Arthur Machen compilation, the first of the three new volumes of the Centipede Press Library of Weird Fiction, may appear around August. The immense Masters of the Weird Tale volume of Robert W. Chambers is due out in September, while a slim volume of D. H. Lawrence’s weird tales is scheduled for October. The two-volume Robert Aickman edition may appear in November. Perhaps coming out sooner than any of these is a volume of John Metcalfe’s complete weird tales. So some progress is being made! Other volumes (Bierce [Library of Weird Fiction], Stoker [Library of Weird Fiction], W. C. Morrow, Le Fanu, E. F. Benson) are still far off. I also assembled a second volume of W. H. Pugmire’s stories, and that should be out this summer or fall.

Hippocampus Press is already gearing up for the NecronomiCon with an array of new publications. I have mentioned that my Varieties of the Weird Tale is due out soon, as well as my edition of Lord Dunsany’s The Ghost in the Corner and Other Stories. I am currently compiling the index to the huge edition of the joint correspondence of Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith, to be titled Dawnward Spire, Lonely Hill. The book will be close to 800 pages. I have also gone over Jonathan Thomas’s next story collection, titled Naked Revenants and Other Fables of Old and New England. We have also agreed to publish a Lovecraftian short novel written by W. H. Pugmire and David Barker, Witches in Dreamland, but I’m not sure this will be out by the convention. Many more publications will no doubt appear!

March 2, 2017 — Progress on Books

Things continue to hum along here in their usual hectic fashion. There finally seems to be some signs of a break in the logjam of my completed books (numbering nearly 30 at present). Hippocampus Press has announced the imminent publication of my volume of essays entitled Varieties of the Weird Tale (http://www.hippocampuspress.com/mythos-and-other-authors/nonfiction/varieties-of-the-weird-tale-by-s.-t.-joshi), announced for this month, and also of the edition of Lord Dunsany’s uncollected and unpublished stories, The Ghost in the Corner (http://www.hippocampuspress.com/mythos-and-other-authors/fiction/the-ghost-in-the-corner-and-other-stories-by-lord-dunsany), which I compiled with the invaluable assistance of Martin Andersson; this book should appear in April.

I appear not to have announced that I have completed my treatise Varieties of Crime Fiction, which is now making the rounds of a few publishers. The final table of contents is as follows:

I am so taken with some of these writers that I continue to read them in my spare time. However, that spare time may become much more limited soon, because I am contemplating writing a book called 21st-Century Horror, which will discuss some of the leading weird writers of our day—Caitlín R. Kiernan, Laird Barron, Jonathan Thomas, Michael Aronovitz, Jason V Brock, Kelly Link, Elizabeth Hand, Glen Hirshberg, John Langan, and others. In essence, this might constitute the third volume of my Unutterable Horror: A History of Supernatural Fiction, since I was only able to cover a few of these authors (and in a somewhat cursory manner) in that treatise.

Sean Moreland’s anthology of criticism, The Lovecraftian Poe: Essays on Influence, Reception, Interpretation, and Transformation, is scheduled to be published later this year from Lehigh University Press. I wrote the foreword to the book. It contains some fine essays on Poe’s influence on Lovecraft, including pieces by Michael Cisco, Robert H. Waugh, and John Langan; it concludes with an afterword by Caitlín R. Kiernan.

I have been informed that my anthology Black Wings I (2010) will appear in a French translation under the title Chroniques de Cthulhu (The Chronicles of Cthulhu). I cannot seem to find information on who the French publisher is, but I trust I will receive a copy of the book when it appears, so I will provide further data at that time.

The bulk of my time lately has been given to writing my “Lovecraftian memoirs”! The official title (so far) of this book is What Is Anything? Memoirs of a Life in Lovecraft. I have already written more than 45,000 words and am not even through my undergraduate years at Brown! I am frightened at how long this book may turn out to be. As it is, I am deliberately suppressing information on many personal matters and focusing on my work and my association with other Lovecraftians. But the story has a long way to go! This will presumably appear from Hippocampus Press around the time of my 60th birthday (June 22, 2018).

February 17, 2017 — Annotated Fungi from Yuggoth Arrives!

I am immensely proud to announce that I have received copies of David E. Schultz’s landmark edition of Lovecraft’s Fungi from Yuggoth: An Annotated Edition, just out from Hippocampus Press in hardcover. This book, quite literally decades in the making (I saw a draft of it when I first met David at Steve Mariconda’s wedding in 1986), is just about the last word on this sonnet cycle. Not only does it contain the text of the cycle (with splendid illustrations by Jason C. Eckhardt for each sonnet), but it also features a reproduction of Lovecraft’s handwritten manuscript and exemplary commentary on the poem by Schultz. The editor rightly recognises that the cycle was written at roughly the midpoint in Lovecraft’s career, thereby summing up what had gone before and being a vanguard for what would come after. The book is distinctive in printing all type in a highly attractive (and readable) green type, and is also graced with a fine dust jacket with an evocative illustration by Eckhardt. This edition is currently being sold at Hippocampus for $45, but I am happy to dispose of my few spare copies for $40.

And I have now received copies of the beautiful signed/limited edition of Gothic Lovecraft. Copies of this edition are available for $70. I still have some copies of the trade edition available for $40.

Another item that has reached me is an anthology, Another Dimension: Tales in the Tradition of Twilight Zone and Night Gallery, edited by Angel McCoy (Wily Writers, 2016). This contains my article, “On Rod Serling’s ‘Clean Kills and Other Trophies,’” along with other articles by Joe Young and David Afsharirad, and stories by Gary A. Braunbeck, “Amber Bierce” (surely a pseudonym!), S. C. Hayden, and others. I have exactly one spare copy that I am prepared to let go for $10.

I have written the foreword to a volume of Lovecraft’s Short Stories, published by the London firm of Flame Tree Publishing (http://www.flametreepublishing.com/Lovecraft-Short-Stories.html). The book is an attractively produced hardcover edition that contains many of Lovecraft’s tales early and late.

David E. Schultz and I are working hard on preparing editions of Lovecraft’s letters for publication with Hippocampus. The Letters to C. L. Moore (also containing the letters to Fritz Leiber, Henry Kuttner, and Frederic J. Pabody) will be out soon, and the mammoth Dawnward Spire, Lonely Hill: The Letters of H. P. Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith should follow (in a hardcover edition) in May. Lots of good stuff here!

February 5, 2017 — Gothic Lovecraft Here!

Just a short blog this time, chiefly to announce the arrival (at long last) of copies of Gothic Lovecraft (Cycatrix Press, 2016). This all-original anthology has been magnificently designed by Jason & Sunni Brock of Cycatrix Press, and, all apart from its contents (which I think are also pretty fine), is a superlative job of book production. I have numerous copies of the trade edition, which is currently selling for $45.95, but I will be happy to let copies go for $40.00 on the usual terms.

I do not yet have copies of the signed/limited edition, but expect to have those very soon. It is currently being sold for $74.95, and I am happy to let it go for $70.00. People can reserve their copies and I will send them out as soon as they are here (probably about a week or so).

Just a reminder on the table of contents of the book:

  • The Shadow over Lear by Donald R. Burleson
  • The Revelation at the Abbey by Don Webb
  • Old Goodman Brown by Jonathan Thomas
  • Square of the Inquisition by Lois H. Gresh
  • The Rime of the Cosmic Mariner by John Shirley
  • A Yuletide Carol by Mollie L. Burleson
  • Curse of the House of Usher by Donald Tyson
  • The Rolling of Old Thunder by Mark Howard Jones
  • Always a Castle? by Nancy Kilpatrick
  • As Red as Red by Caitlín R. Kiernan
  • Four Arches by Robert S. Wilson
  • The Old Schoolhouse by Gwyneth Jones
  • Dream House by Orrin Grey
  • The Unknown Chambers by Lynda E. Rucker

I also have received multiple copies of the full-length LP of my readings of Clark Ashton Smith’s poems and prose-poems, The Muse of Hyperborea (http://www.cadabrarecords.com/2017/01/clark-ashton-smith-the-muse-of-hyperborea-read-by-s-t-joshi/). I haven’t actually listened to the recording as yet, but it contains a full 18 works by Smith, ranging from the inexpressibly cosmic “Ode to the Abyss” to the exquisitely poignant “From the Crypts of Memory.” I will be happy to dispose of my spare copies for $20 each.

January 24, 2017 — Spectral Realms Not Dead!

I am thrilled to announce that Derrick Hussey of Hippocampus Press has decided to continue publication of our weird poetry journal, Spectral Realms, beyond issue #6, which is about to come out. Although sales of this journal have not been as robust as we would like, it seems to be a great hit among the poets themselves—and I like to think that it is providing a valuable and appealing venue for the dissemination of weird poetry. There are so many good poets out there that they need a forum like this (and many others!) to broadcast their work to readers. Now let’s hope we can do something to boost those sales!

I seem to have given a great many interviews of late. One of them, conducted by Henrik Möller, has now appeared as a podcast on a Swedish website: https://soundcloud.com/henrik-moeller-180995804/udda-ting-avsnitt-17-st-joshi. Henrik informs me that this is “95% in English,” so I trust interested listeners can enjoy it.

I also gave an interview to Hector R. Laureano, a young man in Boston who is working on a book on horror fiction, film, and music. Hector states that the book’s focus is “why we actively seek out horror.” Let’s wish him the best of luck!

Maxwell I. Gold conducted an interview of me (by email), and he has now posted it: https://thewellsoftheweird.com/2017/01/18/the-historian-of-the-supernatural-the-keeper-of-weird-fiction/. A most impressive-looking site!

I believe there are still others, but they have not been put up yet.

I am interested to see that Studies in the Fantastic, an academic journal that I began with University of Tampa Press, which lasted only two issues, has been revived. Two further issues have now come out, and this second one (#4 in all) now has a fine article by Chris Brawley on Thomas Ligotti, as well as an article that discusses Lovecraft in part: http://www.ut.edu/TampaPress/pressDetail.aspx?id=32212257271. I have not read the Lovecraft piece, but Brawley’s Ligotti article is a splendid piece of work.

I note with interest the demise of William Peter Blatty on January 7. Given, however, that very little of his work subsequent to The Exorcist (1971) is of any particular interest, and given that he recently supplied a blurb to a vicious anti-Hillary Clinton polemic, I am not sure that the passing of this person is much to be mourned.

Far more to be regretted, in my mind, is the passing of Kevin Starr, a pioneering scholar of California literature: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/16/us/kevin-starr-dead-california.html. Starr was gracious enough to have written the foreword to our edition of George Sterling’s collected poetry, and for that alone I shall be greatly in his debt.

I am sorry to report that Joe Morey of Dark Renaissance Books has been forced to retire from publishing because of health reasons. But luckily for me, Hippocampus Press will pick up the eight-volume Classic Weird Fiction series that I compiled for Joe. So watch for these books emerging over the next few months (and years)!

January 2, 2017 — Weird Fiction Review 7 Now Available

The other day I received copies of Weird Fiction Review 7 (Fall 2016), just out from Centipede Press. I believe this is another superlative (and large!—360 pp.) issue, with fiction by Steve Rasnic Tem, John Shirley (in collaboraton with Don Webb), Jonathan Thomas, Nicole Cushing, and Mark Howard Jones; two articles on Robert E. Howard (by Charles A. Gramlich and Benjamin Garstad), along with articles by James Goho (on Caitlín R. Kiernan), John C. Tibbetts (on Jack Finney), J.-M. Rajala (on some lost works by Ambrose Bierce), Jason V Brock (a comparison of David Bowie and Franz Kafka), and others; and poetry by Ann K. Schwader, John Shirley, Wade German, K. A. Opperman, Ashley Dioses, Ian Futter, Christina Sng, and others (including reprints of poems by H. P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard); an interview with William Hjortsberg; and still other items. I see that Centipede Press is currently offering the issue at a substantially discounted price (http://www.centipedepress.com/anthologies/wfreview7.html). I have a few spares available and will be happy to make them available for $20 to interested customers.

I trust that Hippocampus Press is gearing up to publish some items that should have come out in 2016, including David E. Schultz’s landmark edition of Lovecraft’s Fungi from Yuggoth. I see that Dead Reckonings Nos. 19/20 (dated, I believe, Fall 2016) is announced as available, but I have not received any copies yet. I have as many as six reviews in it. I believe my edition of Dunsany’s The Ghost in the Corner and Other Stories should be out soon, along with my collection of essays, Varieties of the Weird Tale. And there are editions of Lovecraft’s letters (to Clark Ashton Smith; to C. L. Moore, Henry Kuttner, Fritz Leiber, and others; and the “family letters,” to his mother, aunts, etc.) that are close to done and should come out later in the year.

Not even counting the above, I see that I have 26 books forthcoming from various publishers. This includes 13 from Centipede Press:

I have 8 books coming out from Dark Renaissance Books (in the Classic Weird Fiction series):

Then there are other titles from random publishers:

I was thrilled to read Ramsey Campbell’s new novel, The Searching Dead (PS Publishing), apparently the first in a trilogy of Lovecraftian novels that he is writing. This novel’s Lovecraftian elements are somewhat subdued, but I suspect Ramsey is setting the stage for more overt references later. But the novel is splendidly atmospheric, with subtle and cumulative hints of weirdness throughout. Set in 1952, the novel also seems to be heavily autobiographical, as it appears to reflect Campbell’s own Catholic upbringing and his eventual renunciation of orthodox religious belief. The book seems to be a bit difficult to acquire in the US, so readers may have to order from the publisher: http://www.pspublishing.co.uk/the-searching-dead-hardcover-by-ramsey-campbell-4047-p.asp. Possibly copies are available with Mark Ziesing or Subterranean Press.

Another book I read recently is a more problematical item. This is Paul La Farge’s novel The Night Ocean (due out in March from Penguin Press) http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-night-ocean-paul-la-farge/1124019928?ean=9781101981085. This is an historical novel about Lovecraft’s relations with R. H. Barlow, especially as the former visited the latter in Florida in the 1930s. But, aside from making all manner of silly errors regarding the work of Lovecraft and others, the author cannot help suggesting that Lovecraft and Barlow had some kind of homosexual relationship—even if the work that Barlow is supposed to have written, in which this relationship is told in graphic detail (under the title Erotonomicon), proves to be a hoax. And in spite of the fact that La Farge comes down hard on the malice and intolerance of the “social justice warriors” (his term) who have excoriated Lovecraft for his racism and anti-Semitism, La Farge’s book itself leaves the reader with the impression that Lovecraft is nothing more than the sum of his prejudices. No attempt is made to account for the universal and ever-growing popularity of Lovecraft’s work around the world. Nevertheless, the novel is compelling, and readers should make up their own minds about the kind of portrait of Lovecraft it presents.

Entries from 2016…