S. T. Joshi's Blog from 2009

Entries from 2010...

12 December 2009

I am currently working on a number of projects. Nearly complete is The Encyclopedia of the Vampire, a one-volume project commissioned by Greenwood Press (www.greenwood.com). It will contain entries, ranging from 250 words to 3000 words, on all aspects of vampirism in literature, history, media, and culture, with important contributions by Paula Guran, Elizabeth Miller, James Holte, Joyce Jesionowski, Tony Fonseca, and many others. The book is a little late, but I am still hopeful that it can appear in late 2010.

For years I have been working on a comprehensive historical anthology of supernatural poetry, in conjunction with Steven J. Mariconda. In a sense, it is an attempt to replace or update August Derleth’s admirable anthology, Dark of the Moon (Arkham House, 1947), which remains the most exhaustive volume of its kind. Our anthology spans the spectrum from Homer, Dante, Milton, and Shakespeare, through the Romantic poets, the leading Victorians (including Longfellow, Lowell, Hardy, and many others), down to our own day with such leading poets as Ann K. Schwader, Richard L. Tierney, and Leigh Blackmore. Mythos Books has expressed interest in the volume.

In the wake of my Rise and Fall of the Cthulhu Mythos, I have (somewhat paradoxically) joined the bandwagon and compiled two separate volumes of contemporary Mythos (or, more generally, Lovecraftian) writings, one original and one largely reprint. The original anthology anthology is entitled Black Wings: New Tales of Lovecraftian Horror, and will be published in March 2010 by PS Publishing in the UK (www.pspublishing.co.uk). It contains splendid tales by Caitlín R. Kiernan, Michael Shea, Nicholas Royle, Laird Barron, W. H. Pugmire, David J. Schow, Ramsey Campbell, and many others. The other anthology is titled Spawn of the Green Abyss, and will be published by Mythos Books (www.mythosbooks.com). It contains what I regard as some of my favourite Mythos tales, including Ramsey Campbell’s “The Franklyn Paragraphs” and Stanley C. Sargent’s “The Black Brat of Dunwich”; it also has three original stories, by Joseph S. Pulver, Sr., Donald Tyson, and Cody Goodfellow.

In the same spirit, I have teamed up with Cody Goodfellow and Adam Barnes of Perilous Press to initiate a line of original Mythos writings. The first volume, Michael Shea’s Copping Squid and Other Mythos Tales, appeared in late 2009 and debuted at the World Fantasy Convention in San Jose. The second volume will be a pair of novellas by Brian Stableford, which we hope to release for the World Horror Convention in Brighton, England. Please check the Perilous Press website (www.perilouspress.com) for details. Later volumes may include work by Richard A. Lupoff, Kim Newman, and others.

I recently gave a lecture on Poe and Lovecraft at IUPUI (Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis). It turns out that the university has a Ray Bradbury Center, run by two of the leading scholars on Bradbury, Jon R. Eller and William Toupence. I am now working with them (as well as with longtime Bradbury collector Donn Albright) on various projects relating to Bradbury, particularly a comprehensive bibliography of Bradbury’s writings. Albright, as it happens, is a native of Muncie, Indiana, and attended my high school (Burris Laboratory School) about twenty years before me. He still has a house in Muncie, a few blocks from my family home.

I have just completed the first volume of a comprehensive history of supernatural fiction, entitled Unutterable Horror: A History of Supernatural Fiction. Ohio University Press has expressed interest in the book and is reviewing the manuscript. It came to 150,000 words and goes down to the end of the 19th century. I hope to complete the second volume by the end of 2011.

Two of my most important publications on Lovecraft are out or soon to be out. The exhaustively revised edition of my 1981 bibliography, now titled H. P. Lovecraft: A Comprehensive Bibliography, is available from University of Tampa Press. At 700+ pages, it includes extensive information on publications by Lovecraft (including hundreds of translations into 25 or more foreign languages) as well as an immense list of Lovecraft criticism. Check the publisher’s website (utpress.ut.edu). Even more significantly, the unabridged and updated edition of my 1996 biography, now titled I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H. P. Lovecraft, will be published in 2010 by Hippocampus Press—by subscription only. The book, which will be published in two volumes and more than 1200 words, contains at least 150,000 words more than the original edition, and will contain numerous photographs. Check the publisher’s website (www.hippocampuspress.com). The sooner you order, the sooner it can be published!

A rather different book of mine is Junk Fiction: America’s Obsession with Bestsellers, just published by Borgo Press (now a division of Wildside Press). This substantial treatise discusses the work of such popular writers as Danielle Steel, Nora Roberts, James Patterson, Clive Cussler, Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code), and numerous others, in an attempt to ascertain their true aesthetic merits and the reasons for their popularity. There is a lengthy chapter on popular horror writing as represented by Stephen King and Dean R. Koontz. Check the Wildside Press website (www.wildsidebooks.com).

On the atheism front, I am now working on a book entitled The Infidels: The Roots of Modern Atheism, for Prometheus Books. It will contain chapters on leading atheists and agnostics of the past century and a half, including Thomas Henry Huxley, Friedrich Nietzsche, Bertrand Russell, H. P. Lovecraft, H. L. Mencken, and such contemporary writers as Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens. The book is due on June 1, 2010, and I hope to finish it before then.

Now that my wife and I are back in Seattle, we have rejoined the Northwest Chorale, one of the leading community choirs in the city. In the spring of 2009 we gave two performances of Bach’s B Minor Mass, one of the most difficult and grueling choral works ever written. The second performance was recorded and, I believe, can be purchased through the chorale’s website (www.nwchorale.org). On December 6 and 12, 2009, we performed Handel’s Messiah, but I do not believe these performances were recorded.

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