I am pleased to announce that Unutterable Horror: A History of Supernatural Fiction has now officially been published by PS Publishing. I believe the book is currently available only from the publisher: http://www.pspublishing.co.uk/unutterable-horror-a-history-of-supernatural-fiction—-vol-1—st-joshi-1592-p.asp. A big and expensive set of books! I will be getting copies shortly and should have a small number to peddle myself. As the book will cost approximately $112 (£70), not counting postage, I am prepared to let readers have it for $90 (which includes postage to US customers). So drop me a line if you’re interested, and I’ll let you know when my copies arrive. This is the product of five years of research and writing—and decades more of more or less systematic reading in the field.
The third issue of Weird Fiction Review (2013) is now out from Centipede Press. I have a small number of copies available for purchase, which I will let go for $20 (postage included for US customers). I can also announce that our rates of payment will go up as of the 2014 issue: we will pay 4 cents a word for fiction (up from 2 cents), 2 cents a word for articles (up from nuttin’!), and (although the publisher has not definitively agreed on this, as we have not discussed it) at least a token payment for poetry. So please feel free to send me submissions—especially of articles, of which I have none for the next issue.
Centipede Press has also expressed an interest in a large volume of writings by W. C. Morrow (1854–1923), the California writer (originally from Selma, Alabama) who became a friend of Ambrose Bierce and wrote the piquantly titled The Ape, the Idiot and Other People (1897). Stefan Dziemianowicz and I assembled a selection, The Monster Maker and Other Stories (Midnight House, 2000), but this volume is long out of print; in any case, it did not even include all the stories in Ape (we dropped the ones that were not explicitly “weird”), although it did include some uncollected stories. But over the years, I have assembled a large batch of uncollected Morrow stories from California newspapers and magazines, and these will now be included. Among them is a serialised short detective novel, A Strange Adventure (1880), which could be considered a pioneering work in its field.
Stefan and I will also be working on a W. F. Harvey volume for Hippocampus Press. Harvey’s work is scattered through many volumes, and I figure that the Tartarus Press volume of some years ago (The Double Eye, 2009) is long out of print; it is, in any case, a selection, and we intend to assemble a fairly exhaustive omnibus of all Harvey’s short fiction, whether it is nominally “weird” or not.
I still have one copy of The Dead Valley and Others (Arcane Wisdom) available for $40. The book is selling fast, so better not wait to snap it up!
Not much else to report, although things are in their usual hectic state around here. I work alternately on the Clark Ashton Smith bibliography (the index of which is driving me crazy!), the Le Fanu book for Centipede Press, and many other projects. I believe that the first volume of The Madness of Cthulhu—the two-volume set of original stories that I am to compile for Titan Books—is pretty much complete, but I am waiting to receive a few more stories for Volume 2 before declaring that project done. And I am already assembling stories for Black Wings IV, although that book may not be published until late 2013 at the earliest and maybe not until early 2014.
I am aware that it is somewhat short notice, but my choir, the Northwest Chorale, is giving its annual Christmas concert on December 8 and 15. The venues are Northminster Presbyterian Church (7706 25th Ave NW, Seattle) on Dec. 8, and Luther Memorial Lutheran Church (13047 Greenwood Avenue N, Seattle) on Dec. 15. The concert is made up of a variety of old and new Christmas pieces ranging from Bach and Brahms to such modern composers as Morten Lauridsen and Daniel Pinkham. There’s even a rousing choral version of the Gospel song “Go Tell It on the Mountain”!
I do in fact have a few spare copies of my newest book, The Dead Valley and Other Stories (Volume 2 of H. P. Lovecraft’s Favorite Horror Stories), from Arcane Wisdom. Copies can be purchased from me for $40 per copy.
I have been asked by Oxford University Press to prepare a bibliography of Lovecraft for some online venue. The idea is to present a list of the most important works by and about Lovecraft, with an emphasis on scholarly books and articles on all aspects of Lovecraft’s life, work, and thought. The bibliography will be continually updated. I have already prepared a rough draft of the work and hope to send it to the publisher well in advance of the due date of December 31.
My edition of Clark Ashton Smith’s tales, prose poems, and poems—tentatively titled The Dark Eidolon and Other Fantasies—is due to the publisher on May 1, for publication in March 2014. Permission has evidently been secured from William Dorman, the owner of the Smith literary estate. I have also been asked to write a brief introduction to a volume of Poe—The Raven: Tales and Poems—as part of a hardcover series entitled Penguin Horror. I am not sure what other authors or works are to be in this series, but Penguin will reprint my American Supernatural Tales (2007) in hardcover as part of the series.
I am pleased to announce that I have come to terms with Fedogan & Bremer for a new anthology of original stories, tentatively titled Searchers After Horror, to be published in early to mid-2014. This will NOT be a Lovecraftian anthology, although neo-Lovecraftian material will be considered. The approximate theme of the anthology will be “weird places,” as indicated by the title—derived from the first few words of Lovecraft’s “The Picture in the House”: “Searchers after horror haunt strange, far places. . . .” I have already received a splendid story by Ramsey Campbell, and other interesting have come in. Please note that this anthology is by invitation only, so please do not send unsolicited submissions to me.
I am about to prepare a proposal, to be sent to Prometheus Books, for an anthology titled The Enlightenment Atheists—a selection of writings from French, British, and American philosophers of the 18th century devoted to atheism, secularism, and freethought. Only a small number of these thinkers were actual atheists, but their writings collectively established the groundwork for the later atheism of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries.
Otherwise, things progress on various fronts: the Clark Ashton Smith bibliography; the volume of Le Fanu stories for Centipede Press’s Masters of the Weird Tale series; my work on the American Rationalist; and so on and so forth. Never a dull moment here!
I’ve heard reports that my newest book, The Dead Valley and Other Stories (Volume 2 of H. P. Lovecraft’s Favorite Horror Stories), is now out from Arcane Wisdom. It’s best to order this from the Miskatonic Books site (http://www.miskatonicbooks.com/THE-DEAD-VALLEY-AND-OTHERS.html). I may have one or two copies available for sale, in which case I would let them go for $40; if any readers wish to reserve a copy, let me know and I’ll make arrangements as soon as my copies arrive.
I returned not long ago from a relatively uninteresting World Fantasy Convention in Toronto, the only highlights of which were meeting such friends and colleagues as Richard Gavin, Paula Guran, Simon Strantzas, Lois Gresh, Steve Saffel of Titan Books, and a few others. I spoke briefly with Ellen Datlow and was pleased to make the acquaintance of Gemma Files, whose long story “[Anasazi]” (15,000 words) I will be publishing in A Mountain Walked (due out from Centipede Press next summer). I came home to very satisfactory election results—results that (as far as the presidential election is concerned) I predicted in a “Stupidity Watch” column I wrote in early October (before the first presidential debate) and which will appear in the November/December issue of the American Rationalist. At an election party here, we went through three bottles of champagne!
I continue to work on a bibliography of Clark Ashton Smith, a task that has consumed a surprising amount of my time of late. In the course of this work I recently came upon several recent Japanese editions of Smith. We know the publishers of these volumes but not their contents, so if any readers have access to Japanese books, it would be helpful to track these books down so that their contents can be analysed.
I look forward to the appearance of the three-volume edition of George Sterling’s Complete Poetry, which should appear soon from Hippocampus Press. We are lucky in having received an agreement from Kenneth Starr, the noted historian of California, to write a foreword—an item that should help to bolster sales among libraries.
I have received an offer from a Brazilian publisher, Hedra, to translate the abridged version of my Lovecraft biography, A Dreamer and a Visionary: H. P. Lovecraft in His Time (Liverpool University Press, 2001), into Portuguese. This means that each of the three versions of the biography has been or will be translated. The Necronomicon Press edition—H. P. Lovecraft: A Life (1996)—appeared in Polish a few years ago, and the full version—I Am Providence (2010)—will be translated into German.
I am preparing an edition of J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s short stories and novellas for Centipede Press’s Masters of the Weird Tale series. I have plunged into detailed work on the status of Le Fanu’s texts, which is a more complicated matter than I had assumed. Since Le Fanu himself did not assemble many of his stories into collections during his lifetime, one is forced to return to magazine appearances (chiefly the Dublin University Magazine) for the texts. Along the way I have discovered that later editors of Le Fanu, ranging from A. P. Graves (who assembled The Purcell Papers, 1880) to E. F. Bleiler (Best Ghost Stories, 1964), seriously tampered with Le Fanu’s texts, rendering these editions highly suspect. I am receiving help from leading Le Fanu scholars such as Jim Rockhill and Brian J. Showers in assembling this edition.
I am pleased to be working on a large omnibus of Matt Cardin’s short fiction for Hippocampus Press. The book is to be called To Rouse Leviathan and will contain the complete fictional contents of Divinations of the Deep (Ash-Tree Press, 2002) and Dark Awakenings (Mythos Books, 2010), along with new matter. A second volume, containing many of Cardin’s provocative essays on weird fiction, will appear later.
I ran out of time to write a new blog before my latest trip, but in some ways that’s all to the good, for I am now prepared to make a momentous announcement: I have at last been given the go-ahead to compile a volume of Clark Ashton Smith’s writings for Penguin Classics. This book was long in the making, and I suppose my persistence paid off. It could appear as early as next year. The editors want a roughly 80/20 split between prose fiction and poetry, recognising (alas) that poetry does not sell. I had wanted a somewhat higher proportion of poetry, but that’s a small point. I have already consulted with Scott Connors (who has forgotten more about Smith than I ever knew) on a list of the stories to be included; there will also be a substantial section of prose-poems, where Smith also did outstanding work. Whatever the actual contents, it will be a landmark in the recognition of Clark Ashton Smith as a significant American author.
My trip was an engaging visit to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul, where I was guest of honour at a small convention focusing on Lovecraft and weird fiction, Arcana 42. This convention grew out of the old MinnCon of the 1970s, in which many members of the Minnesota/Wisconsin weird fiction gang used to participate. I was certainly asked to sing for my supper, for I was asked to be on numerous panels and also conducted an interview with the organiser of the convention (Eric Heideman) and gave an hour-long reading (I read the early chapters of my novel, The Assaults of Chaos). Along the way, I was thrilled to meet for the first time John J. (“Jack”) Koblas, whom I had heard of as a virtual legend in the field from my earliest days of Lovecraft fandom in the 1970s. Koblas has published at least 75 books and has also written scripts for television and other work. I also met Dwayne Olson, Roger A. Lasley, and other stalwarts of the area. Donovan and Pam Loucks were also on the scene—but won’t be for long, for they have at long last purchased a house in Providence, R.I., and will move there next spring. Lucky stiffs!
Mary and I arrived a few days before the convention, so that we could spend time with her many friends and relatives in the area. These included her mother, Nancy Krawczak (whom I had met before when she visited us in Seattle last year), one of her three sisters, Katie Kurmis (the other two are in Arizona), and sundry nieces and nephews. One of these, Emily Marija Kurmis, is a skilled photographer and took some new photos of me; some of these may end up on this website or on my book jackets. We also met one of Mary’s oldest friends, Amy Lindgren, and had a wonderful dinner with her and her husband, Bruce, at a splendid Vietnamese restaurant.
Mary’s mother wished to buy a copy of my new pictorial biography, H. P. Lovecraft: Nightmare Countries, which has just hit the Barnes & Noble bookstores. I do think it is a reasonably attractive-looking book. I now see that the book is at long last listed on the B&N website (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hp-lovecraft-s-t-joshi/1002238415?ean=9781435141520), although without its subtitle. Although it is an instant “bargain book,” the price on the website is a tad cheaper than the retail price, perhaps to account for shipping.
I have just been asked to be the keynote speaker at a conference on weird fiction to be hosted by Birkbeck College, London, around November 8, 2013, just after the World Fantasy Convention in Brighton. Since I will be at WFC, I have accepted the offer. I believe China Miéville will also be a guest speaker. I may appear on panel discussions as well.
I will probably not be able to write another blog until mid-November, when I expect to be relishing (among other things) the successful outcome of the presidential election. I hardly need to inform my readers what I consider a “successful outcome.”
I am pained and disappointed that no one has snatched up my spare signed/limited copy of Black Wings II, which seems a bargain at $60.00. So come and get it! I also forgot to announce that I have one spare copy of Jonathan Thomas’s The Color over Occam (Arcane Wisdom), which exists only in a limited hardcover edition of 150 copies. I can let me copy go for $30.00. I am also in receipt of a sheaf of new books from Hippocampus Press, which I am prepared to offer at the following discounted price:
There should be a few more items coming out from Hippocampus Press this year, including the long-awaited paperback edition of Clark Ashton Smith’s Complete Poetry and Translations, Dead Reckonings No. 12 (Fall 2012), Richard Gavin’s splendid story collection At Fear’s Altar, and possibly my anthology Dreams of Fear: Poems of Fantasy and Terror. Oh, yes—and of course the Complete Poetry of George Sterling (3 vols.), which I can announce with pride (and relief) is NOW FINISHED (pending proofreading by the ever-vigilant Derrick Hussey).
Speaking of Black Wings II, it does seem as if the book has been released a tad covertly. There hasn’t been much press about it, and the only review I have found is this one from the Innsmouth Free Press site (http://www.innsmouthfreepress.com/blog/?p=18904). A nice review, but there should be more of ’em!
David E. Schultz and I were so preoccupied with work on the paperback of the Smith poetry and the George Sterling edition that we have fallen behind on our work on the two-volume edition of the letters of H. P. Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith. But we hope to have that project ready for publication in early 2013.
My 500-word obituary of Gore Vidal has appeared in Free Inquiry (October/November 2012), p. 8. Although it is largely a recycling of my discussion of Vidal in Icons of Unbelief (2008), I hope it may eventually lead to further work on Vidal. During his lifetime I had proposed to Vidal such projects as an edition of his collected plays (probably extending to at least two volumes), a volume of his poetry (manuscripts of which exist at Harvard), and a volume of his uncollected essays. There are also two novels that appeared early in Vidal’s career under pseudonyms, and a third novel (apparently lacking the final chapter) in manuscript at Harvard. I may take up these projects with Vidal’s literary executor, Jay Parini, with whom I have been sporadically in touch.
I am in receipt of Dennis Drabelle’s The Great American Railroad War: How Ambrose Bierce and Frank Norris Took on the Notorious Central Pacific Railroad (St. Martin’s Press, 2012), detailing how Bierce took on the railroad baron C. P. Huntington in 1896. I had provided Drabelle with the texts of Bierce’s 60-odd newspaper articles on the subject. I still think these articles should themselves be reprinted in an annotated edition.
I am moving forward in preparing an enormous omnibus of Dennis Etchison’s collected short fiction for Centipede Press. To date, I have already scanned in the texts of Etchison’s first three story collections—The Dark Country (1982), Red Dreams (1984), and The Blood Kiss (1988)—and will shortly be tackling the two other original collections, The Death Artist (2000) and Got to Kill Them All (2007), although the latter contains a number of reprints. There may still be time to get this out for the World Fantasy Convention in Brighton next year…but time is slipping away fast.
A number of choice items have appeared recently, and I feel it is my obligation (and my pleasure) to make note of them. First on the agenda is the long-awaited appearance of Jonathan Thomas’s splendid novel The Color over Occam from Arcane Wisdom. Graced with a spectacular dust jacket illustration Alex McVey, this is—as I have said before—not merely one of the best Lovecraftian novels ever written, but one of the finest horror novels of any sort written in the last 50 years. This is a limited edition of 150 signed hardcover copies, so you’d better act fast! (See: http://www.miskatonicbooks.com/THE-COLOR-OVER-OCCAM-by-Jonathan-Thomas-Signed-Limited-Edition-Hardcover.html). There will be a paperback edition later, but the hardcover is well worth the price.
I am also happy to report that Philip Haldeman has reissued his fine novel, Shadow Coast, under his own imprint, English Hill Press. This is an attractive hardcover edition selling for $26. It would probably be best to order it from Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Coast-Philip-Haldeman/dp/0984654305/), as the publisher does not yet have a website. Readers will recall that this novel first appeared in 2007 as a paperback original from Hippocampus Press, but disagreements between the author and the publisher compelled Philip to withdraw the book and regain the rights. Now it is available in a hardcover edition that will sit admirably on anyone’s shelves.
The signed/limited edition of my own Black Wings II has now appeared, and it is a thing of beauty. It is not “traycased,” as with Black Wings I, but slipcased, and I believe the publisher is offering it for £49.99 (http://www.pspublishing.co.uk/black-wings-ii—-new-tales-of-lovecraftian-horror-signed-slipcase-edited-by-st-joshi-1334-p.asp). I believe that would translate to about $75.00. I have one spare copy of this edition (signed by all the contributors and myself) that I am willing to part with for $60.00, so better write me soon!
In the pursuance of my bibliography of Lord Dunsany, I have been obliged to purchase a number of incredibly shoddy print-on-demand editions that have appeared recently, merely to record their contents, since they constitute “new” selections of Dunsany’s work that need to be set down. One particularly crappy edition came out from the celebratedly disreputable publisher Kessinger, entitled Idle Days on the Yann and Other Stories (first published, apparently, in 2004). Technically, the title of this edition is false and deceptive, since it only contains the title story and one other tale (“The Shop in Go-by Street”). This constitutes two-thirds of the section “Beyond the Fields We Know” in Tales of Three Hemispheres (1919), and there is no apparent reason why Kessinger didn’t include the third story of the trilogy—“The Avenger of Perdóndaris”—especially given the fact that the edition has any number of blank pages at the end. … But this edition is surpassed in wretchedness by something called Some Short Stories by Lord Dunsany (Read Books, 2011—evidently a UK firm). This edition attempts the novelty of arbitrarily retitling some of Dunsany’s more famous stories in order to create the impression that it contains new and uncollected tales. Hence, “A Narrow Escape” is titled “The Magician”; “Fairy Gold” is titled “The Crock of Gold” (the title of a celebrated fantasy novel by James Stephens); “A Fishing Story” is titled “An Unlikely Haul.” Chapter 22 of The Curse of the Wise Woman (1933) is reprinted here under the title “The End of the Rainbow.” And so it goes.
I am experiencing the pleasure of reading a number of interesting manuscripts by contemporary writers, and I hope to be able to steer them toward publication. One is a short story collection by James Robert Smith, who has published one or two horror novels with Tor and has submitted a volume tentatively titled A Confederacy of Horrors (a play on the fact that he himself resides in North Carolina). I may mention that Smith (who also coedited the last Arkham House book, Evermore ) has submitted a pungent essay on his “deconversion” from religious faith, which will be published in the November/December issue of the American Rationalist. My protégé Michael Aronovitz has sent in a draft of a novel-in-progress, currently titled Four Leaf Omen, in which I found much to praise. I suggested some revisions, and he has apparently made them. I look forward to reading the new draft. Aronovitz’s superb ghost novel Alice Walks will appear (next year, I hope) from Centipede Press.
A colleague, Amber Faith, is offering a choice item for sale—the Summer 1936 issue of the Californian containing R. H. Barlow’s splendid tale “A Dim-Remembered Story.” It has just been put up on eBay; here is the link: http://www.ebay.com/itm/261087309505. Better put in a bid soon!
I have delayed the writing of this blog for more than a week because I wished to wait until all (or most) details were in place before making a momentous announcement: My Lovecraftian novel, The Assaults of Chaos, will be published by Hippocampus Press in 2013! The deal has just been concluded with my agent. The current thinking is that Hippocampus will release a hardcover edition of 1000 copies, of which 250 to 350 copies will be a signed/limited edition. (I am going to suggest to the publisher that a bonus text of some sort—perhaps a rare piece of Joshi juvenilia, or even my recent story “Suicide in Brooklyn,” which actually has Lovecraftian elements—be included in the signed/limited to enhance its appeal.) I am hopeful that this book will appear by the World Horror Convention in New Orleans, now set for June 13–16.
The other big news is that I have finally received some copies of Black Wings II from the publisher. I have a very small number of spare copies that I am prepared to sell to interested persons for $35 (for US customers). The list price is £24.99 from PS Publishing (about $40), so I hope this is a good deal for Joshi devotees.
My colleague Michael Saler has notified me of an interesting article by one Graham Harman in the Spring 2012 issue of New Literary History, “The Well Wrought Broken Hammer: Object Oriented Literary Criticism,” in which he writes of a relatively new philosophical movement called speculative realism. Harman remarks: “The speculative realists have all pursued a model of reality as something far weirder than realists had ever guessed. It is no accident that the only shared intellectual hero among the original members of the group was the horror and science fiction writer H. P. Lovecraft.” Steven J. Mariconda points out that Harman is on the verge of publishing a book entirely devoted to Lovecraft, Weird Realism: Lovecraft and Philosophy (John Hunt Publishing, 2012). Here is the Amazon entry: http://www.amazon.com/Weird-Realism-Philosophy-Graham-Harman/dp/1780992521/. I had no idea, when writing my own philosophical treatise, H. P. Lovecraft: The Decline of the West (1990), that it would help to spawn a new philosophical movement….
I have written a brief foreword to a book edited by Charles Lovecraft, Avatars of Wizardry, which will be published soon by P’rea Press in Australia. This is an anthology of poems inspired by two of the pinnacles of weird poetry in the twentieth century: George Sterling’s “A Wine of Wizardry” and Clark Ashton Smith’s The Hashish-Eater. Included are poems by Richard L. Tierney, Leigh Blackmore, Wade German, Kyla Lee Ward, Alan Gullette, Bruce Boston, Michael Fantina, and Earl Livings. It is a most evocative volume of weird poetry and should be sought out by all lovers of the genre.
I am now in the process of proofreading and indexing Volume 2 of Unutterable Horror: A History of Supernatural Fiction, to be published later this year by PS Publishing. The proofs are being sent to me piecemeal by Robert Wexler, who is laying out the book. So far I have received about 250 pages of Volume 2, with at least 150 more to go. The combined index to Volumes 1 and 2 has already come to 45 single-spaced pages!
Plenty of other work going on right now…the George Sterling edition…the Dunsany bibliography (and anthology of critical essays)…the Hodgson bibliography…and so on and so forth. No rest for the weary!
I will probably not write another blog until mid-September, whereupon I shall resume my twice-monthly blog (I hope).
Much to my surprise, I have already received copies of H. P. Lovecraft: Nightmare Countries, the illustrated biography of HPL that I wrote for the book packager Becker & Mayer. The packager informs me, however, that the book will not actually be available for purchase until around October 18, when it will be distributed exclusively in Barnes & Noble bookstores (and also on the Barnes & Noble website). It is a “bargain book” costing only $19.98, but has a great many interesting illustrations: copies of HPL’s marriage and death certificates, the first page of his will, facsimiles of the first page of the handwritten manuscripts of At the Mountains of Madness, “The Thing on the Doorstep,” and “The Shadow out of Time,” photographs of HPL, his family, his friends, his houses; and much else besides. So look for it—in three months!
I have now seen a copy of Black Wings II, now out from PS Publishing, but have not received my own copies. It is a fine-looking book. The jacket is identical to that of Black Wings I, but the colour is now a kind of brown or burgundy instead of black. A paperback edition for US and UK distribution will be out by the time of the World Fantasy Convention in Brighton (UK) in October 2013. I will be attending that event. I have nearly completed the assembly of Black Wings III (one more story is to come), and Pete Crowther of PS Publishing is already asking about a Black Wings IV…
My work on Lord Dunsany has resumed with vigour, and I am working on both a revised version of the bibliography that Darrell Schweitzer and I compiled two decades ago (Scarecrow Press, 1993) and on an anthology of essays on Dunsany. I have now received promises from such scholars as Darrell Schweitzer, Max Duperray, Iris Fernández Muniz, and Faye Ringel to write new pieces on Dunsany for the book. I have now also received from Megan Mitchell both a master’s thesis (1989) and a Ph.D. dissertation (1993) on Dunsany that she wrote for University College Dublin. The latter could well be reworked into a monograph for my Scarecrow Press series. No word yet on permission clearance for my volume of uncollected Dunsany, A Walk in the Wastes of Time (Hippocampus Press).
I understand that I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H. P. Lovecraft will be translated into German. Derrick Hussey of Hippocampus Press has recently concluded a two-book deal with a German publisher involving this title along with The Annotated Supernatural Horror in Literature. Further details will be provided when they are known.
I suppose I can celebrate (if that is the right word) forty full years of writing; for it was in the summer or fall of 1972 (I think) that I first attempted to be a writer, generating a three-page short story called “Murder.” I believe I actually still have the autograph manuscript of this blundering attempt at psychological terror. What I do not have is the published version: it appeared in a Burris Laboratory School annual publication called Literary Lapses, presumably issued at the end of the 1972–73 school year, or the end of my freshman year of high school. Joshi bibliographers will need to hunt hard for that item!
On a related note, I have surprised myself by writing an 8000-word short story, tentatively titled “Murder in Brooklyn,” which I hope my agent can sell to Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine or Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. I am not sure there are any other viable markets for this item. It involves my usual detective, Joe Scintilla, and is set in 1931. If I can write 10 or 12 more such tales, I suppose I could assemble a collection—Joe Scintilla, Private Investigator or something of the sort.
The big news from my end is that Black Wings II has now been published by PS Publishing in the UK. I myself, however, do not yet have any copies, although I hear they were mailed to me on the 13th. My good friend Wilum Pugmire purchased one and received it a few days ago, and I believe he showed it on a YouTube video. I expect to get together with him on the 21st, and we will no doubt do a more extensive YouTube video to promote that book and other projects.
My main goal in recent days has been to prepare the index to the first volume of Unutterable Horror: A History of Supernatural Fiction, proofs of which I received from PS Publishing. I will say that the book looks superb, and I think everyone involved can take pride in the project—it will be a splendid endeavour. I imagine the proofs of Volume 2 will arrive soon.
I can’t even remember if I’ve mentioned that I have another H. L. Mencken book in the works—Bluebeard’s Goat and Other Stories—with Dufour Editions (Chester Springs, PA). I have long sought to get Mencken’s short stories back in print, and Dufour has accepted the volume and is preparing it for publication. I haven’t yet read proofs, but the electronic file has been examined by two different proofreaders in-house. I imagine the book will come out this fall.
Among the dozen or so books on which I’m working for Centipede Press is a substantial volume of Fred Chappell’s weird writings, which will include the novel Dagon (1968), the complete contents of the story collection More Shapes Than One (1991), at least four uncollected stories, and perhaps some other matter. As Fred doesn’t use e-mail, it has been a bit of a challenge to communicate promptly with him, but I expect to get files of his various texts soon. It will be a whale of a volume!
Meanwhile, my Providence colleague Jonathan Thomas is closing in on the assembly of his third short story collection, which will appear next year from Hippocampus Press. One difficulty is that some stories that he has written recently may not be published in magazines or anthologies for another year or so, meaning that they can’t be included in the collection. But I believe Jonathan will be able to write several more stories that can fill out the volume. Don’t delay in ordering his splendid novel The Color over Occam (discussed in a previous blog)—one of the best Mythos novels ever written!
Aside from plodding through the proofreading of the complete poetry of George Sterling, my other main task at the moment is the revision and updating of the bibliography of Lord Dunsany. There has been a substantial amount of new work both by and about Dunsany published in the last two decades—and I don’t refer merely to crappy print-on-demand editions of his books, although there are certainly plenty of those. I have recently come upon an academic article, Patrick Maume’s “Dreams of Empire, Empire of Dreams: Lord Dunsany Plays the Game” (New Hibernia Review, Winter 2009), which is one of the most penetrating articles on him ever written. It is a keen analysis of Dunsany’s social and political views over his whole career, especially in regard to Ireland. I have already received tentative permission from the author to reprint it in a volume of essays on Dunsany that I am thinking of assembling for Scarecrow Press. This volume will consist largely of reprints, going all the way back to Edward Thomas’s review of The Gods of Pegana in a British newspaper in 1905, but should have some original material also—by me, Darrell Schweitzer, and perhaps others. I am also attempting to get in touch with one Megan Mitchell, who wrote a dissertation on Dunsany for University College Dublin in 2009. I may wish to use an extract of this in the Dunsany volume, and perhaps might arrange for the publication of the whole work as a monograph with Scarecrow.
I continue to enjoy editing the American Rationalist. I have just written one of the most pungent reviews of my carrer—a review of Alain de Botton’s Religion for Atheists (Pantheon, 2012). The final paragraph of the review begins: “This must be one of the most foolish and useless books on record.” To read the whole review, you’ll have to buy the September/October issue.
I have made a mid-year resolution to be a bit more regular in the writing of this blog, with the idea of writing new ones around the 1st and 15th of the year. Right now, as it happens, my schedule is lightening up a bit—but there’s no telling how long that (and, hence, my new resolution) will last. But to proceed…
The sale of my house at 12545 19th Avenue NE, here in Seattle, means that I am quite literally “home free.” Here’s hoping that I don’t do anything to jeopardise my tenancy of my girlfriend Mary K. Wilson’s house!—Otherwise, she may have to banish me to our newly built shed. This is the first time I haven’t owned property since the fall of 1993, when I purchased my co-op in Manhattan (10 West 15th Street, Apt. 312).
My newest H. L. Mencken book has appeared: The Collected Drama of H. L. Mencken: Plays and Criticism (Scarecrow Press). Here is the publisher’s URL for the book: https://rowman.com/ISBN/9780810883697. The book contains half a dozen of Mencken’s one-act plays along with the full-length play Heliogabalus (1920), cowritten with George Jean Nathan—an extremely amusing farce about one of the most degenerate Roman emperors (but the play also ends up being a satire on Christian priggishness). Hippocampus’s own David E. Schultz designed the book in his usual impeccable fashion. I have exactly one spare copy of the book and would be happy to peddle it to anyone for the bargain price of $30.00.
Scarecrow Press has also given contracts to myself and Darrell Schweitzer to publish a revised and updated edition of our bibliography of Lord Dunsany, a book that is now sadly out of date since it appeared in 1993. The work will be challenging, since various stray items of Dunsaniana have come over the years and I have not always kept good track of it. Mike Ashley, for example, has found at least two stories by Dunsany that were previously unknown, but he himself may not have full information on them. So we’ll see how things go.
I seem to have lit a fire under Pete Crowther of PS Publishing, for he now promises to bring out the long-delayed trade edition of Black Wings II by the first week of July. Here is the publisher’s URL about the book: http://www.pspublishing.co.uk/black-wings-ii---new-tales-of-lovecraftian-horror-jhc-edited-by-st-joshi-1333-p.asp. The signed traycased edition may be a bit more delayed, but that is not of much consequence. I doubt that I will have many copies to dispense on my own, so interested readers are urged to secure the book through their usual book channels. Pete Crowther also promises to get out my two-volume history of supernatural fiction, Unutterable Horror, on schedule this fall. He even wanted to bring out Black Wings III as early as December, but I urged him to wait until at least the spring, summer, or even (as originally scheduled) fall of 2013, when he could unveil it at the World Fantasy Convention in Brighton (UK), which I will be attending. I told Pete that one doesn’t wish to compete against oneself in terms of the various awards in our field, which are based on books published in a given calendar year.
I am hopeful that an additional array of Hippocampus Press books will appear soon. Dead Reckonings No. 11 (Spring 2012), somewhat delayed, is now apparently out, although I have not received any copies as yet. I am no longer the editor of this journal, but I contributed three items to this issue: 1) a joint review of Ross E. Lockhart’s Book of Cthulhu and Paula Guran’s New Cthulhu; 2) a review of Ramsey Campbell’s Inhabitant of the Lake and Other Unwelcome Tenants and Ghosts Know (his new novel); and 3) my “Weird Scholar” column, where I assess the merits of Laird Barron and Joe Hill. Other of my Hippocampus books, including Dreams of Fear: Poems of Fantasy and Terror, should also be out soon. My edition of uncollected writings by Lord Dunsany, A Walk in the Wastes of Time, has been done since about 2008, and I think it can finally move ahead.
My Literature of the Supernatural series with Scarecrow Press is moving briskly forward. I understand that contracts have been offered to Gary William Crawford, for an anthology of essays on Ramsey Campbell; to Robert H. Waugh, for an anthology of essays on Lovecraft (focusing on influences upon his writing and his influence upon others’ work); and William Touponce, for a volume studying the work of H. P. Lovecraft, Lord Dunsany, Ray Bradbury, and Thomas Ligotti. I am certain that other volumes will be signed up soon—including the U. S. edition of my own Unutterable Horror, although that will not appear until the spring of 2014 at the earliest. I am attempting to get in touch with one Emily Alder, who in 2009 completed a Ph.D. dissertation in the UK on William Hope Hodgson, the first such ever written. A cursory examination of this work indicates that it is a sound piece of criticism, and I hope I can secure it for my series.
I apologise for the long delay between blogs, but things have been very hectic here, what with the imminent sale of my Seattle house (I have a buyer, and the closing should occur on June 29), work on various projects, and sundry other matters. One of these was a week-long trip by car (May 30–June 7) down to Carmel Valley, CA, where I attended my niece Anjeli Elkins’s graduation from high school. This fall she will be entering the University of Pennsylvania—where, incidentally, my father, T. M. Joshi, received his Ph.D. in 1959.
On the way back home, we stopped in for an afternoon and evening with Michael and Linda Shea in Healdsburg; the next day we dropped in on Scott Connors at his new digs in Red Bluff, and were treated to a fine home-cooked dinner and the company of his lovely cat, Nicea. Our own cats were certainly glad to welcome us home!
Upon arriving home, I found at last a box of the new Hippocampus Press publications—some of which, in fact, have been out for months, at least since the World Horror Convention last March. But in any case, I now have some spare copies of the following titles for purchase:
The prices indicated include postage for US customers; for overseas customers, I shall have to add a little extra. The 3rd ed. of Lovecraft’s Library adds at least 25 new titles, and in the revised edition of Supernatural Horror in Literature I have radically overhauled and expanded the bibliography.
I also hope that my legions of fans don’t overlook my work on the American Rationalist, of which I have been the editor for more than a year. I believe I have a few spare copies of every issue I’ve edited (July/August, September/October, November/December 2011; January/February, March/April, May/June 2012; $5 each). Each of them contains work by such noted Lovecraftians as Donald R. Burleson and Robert M. Price, although of course the subject of their work here is atheism and freethought. And how can any Joshi devotee go without reading my pungent column in every issue, “The Stupidity Watch,” where I take aim (in the manner of Ambrose Bierce and H. L. Mencken) of present-day follies in religion and politics?
I am looking forward to attending the Locus Awards banquet on June 16, to be held here in Seattle. My chief reason for going is to serve as proxy for Jonathan R. Eller, whose splendid literary biography, Becoming Ray Bradbury (2011), is up for an award. It is one of the best biographies of its kind that I have ever read, and I hope it wins. It has, of course, gained greater relevance given the somewhat unexpected demise of the 91-year-old Ray Bradbury only a few days ago. Professor Eller is at work on a second volume, covering Bradbury’s literary life from the 1950s to the present day.
David E. Schultz and I are working hard on two large projects for Hippocampus Press: the Complete Poetry of George Sterling in 3 volumes, and the joint correspondence of H. P. Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith in 2 volumes. We are also wrestling with getting a paperback edition of Smith’s Complete Poetry and Translations ready for publication; we may be including one or two poems by Smith that escaped us when we prepared the hardcover edition.
An interview of me, conducted by Lynne Jamneck, has just appeared on the Weird Tales website. See http://weirdtalesmagazine.com/2012/06/14/interview-s-t-joshi-on-weird-fiction/.
My trip to the Midwest (April 20–28) was a thundering success both personally and professionally. On April 20–22, Mary and I stayed with David and Gail Schultz, and David and I accomplished much work on our forthcoming editions of George Sterling’s complete poetry and the paperback reprint of Clark Ashton Smith’s complete poetry and translations (which will have a number of significant revisions). Mary and Gail ditched out on Saturday, April 21, to watch a movie while David and I pored over mounds of paper.
When we reached my mother’s home in Muncie, I was surprised to find that she had in her possession a number of my early publications, especially those published by Necronomicon Press. I must have sent them to her when they appeared, as a proof of my increasing fame as a writer and scholar. I am now happy to offer these publications for sale to anyone who is interested. Please note that these items are in near-mint condition, as they have never been read. Some, I see, are going for pretty high prices on used-book venues, when they come up for sale at all. Here are the items, with prices indicated:
Kenneth W. Faig, Jr., H. P. Lovecraft: His Life, His Work ($20) [contains my “Chronology of Selected Works by H. P. Lovecraft”]
Lovecraft’s Library: A Catalogue (1980) ($25)
H. P. Lovecraft, History of the Necronomicon (first Necronomicon Press printing, July 1980) ($15) [contains an afterword by me]
S. T. Joshi and Marc A. Michaud, ed., H. P. Lovecraft in “The Eyrie” (1979) ($75)
H. P. Lovecraft, Uncollected Prose and Poetry (1978) ($50)
H. P. Lovecraft, Uncollected Prose and Poetry 2 (1980) ($35)
An Index to the Selected Letters of H. P. Lovecraft (1980) ($75)
Lovecraft Studies No. 1 (Fall 1979) ($50)
Lovecraft Studies No. 2 (Spring 1980) ($50)
Twilight Zone (August 1983) [Lovecraft issue] ($15)
The Cynick (March 1977, June 1977) ($15 each) [my ’zine for the Necronomicon apa]
Issues (March 1977) [Brown University student magazine] [contains a short story by me, “A Musical Theory”]
As a bonus, I am even prepared to offer copies of my high-school monthly magazine, The Forum (November 1975, December 1975, January 1976, February 1976, April 1976), and a coverless copy of The First Annual The Best of the Forum (1975) ($10 each), all containing various contributions (fiction, poetry [!], etc.) by me.
Please note that, in general, I have only one copy of each of the above publications.
Just before leaving for my trip, I was pleased to find copies of H. P. Lovecraft’s Medusa’s Coil and Others: The Annotated Revisions and Collaborations of H. P. Lovecraft, Volume 2 (Arcane Wisdom), a superb-looking volume. I have only 2 or 3 copies available for purchase, at $40 (postage, as always, extra for overseas members), so better get them quick!
Arcane Wisdom is also taking advance orders for the second book in my Modern Mythos Library, Jonathan Thomas’s The Color over Occam (see http://www.miskatonicbooks.com/THE-COLOR-OVER-OCCAM-by-Jonathan-Thomas-Signed-Limited-Edition-Hardcover.html). In my opinion, this is not only one of the finest Lovecraftian novels ever written, but one of the finest weird novels of any kind in the past fifty years. A loose sequel to “The Colour out of Space,” it features a climactic scene in the sewers of Occam (the original rendering of the town of Arkham, in Thomas’s worldview) that is one of the most terrifying passages in the history of weird fiction. Make sure to put in your order soon!
Toward the end of my trip, I managed to get to the Popular Culture Center at Bowling Green State University, where I consulted the original manuscript of Robert Aickman’s unpublished novel Go Back at Once. I managed to fill in all the blanks in my transcript, although two or three words remain a bit puzzling to me. Now the quest must be undertaken to persuade Aickman’s agents to allow the work to be published. Pete Crowther of PS Publishing seems interested in the project, so one can be cautiously optimistic that it may appear in the not too distant future.
An interesting article on Lovecraft has appeared in the Providence Phoenix, written by Philip Eil, and based on interviews with myself and others. Here is the link: http://providence.thephoenix.com/arts/137626-are-rhode-islanders-finally-ready-to-recognize-pro/. I am also waiting for an article to appear in the Chicago Tribune about vampires, for which I was also interviewed.
I am happy to announce the publication of The Ghost of Fear: H. P. Lovecraft’s Favorite Horror Stories, Volume 1, from Larry Roberts’s Arcane Wisdom imprint (see http://www.miskatonicbooks.com/THE-GHOST-OF-FEAR-AND-OTHERS-H.-P.-Lovecraft-s-Favorite-Horror-Stories-edited-by-S.-T.-Joshi-Signed-Limited-Hardcover.html). It is a superb-looking volume of only 150 hardcover copies (so far), selling for $50.00. I have a few spare copies of the hardcover and would be happy to let them go for $40.00 to interested readers at the usual terms (postage included for US customers; extra postage of $15.00 for overseas customers). A second volume will appear in due course of time; and I believe that the second volume of my Annotated Revisions and Collaborations of H. P. Lovecraft is due imminently from Arcane Wisdom.
I am most grateful to John Pelan for providing me with a copy of the typescript of the original version of Fritz Leiber’s “Adept’s Gambit.” Some will recall that Lovecraft read this story in late 1936 and commented extensively on it in a letter of December 19, 1936; in that letter he thanked Leiber for making glancing references to his myth-cycle. These references are, indeed, very glancing: an oath (“By Chthulu!” [sic!]) and random references to Shub-Niggurath and (I think) Yog-Sothoth. That’s it. The novelette can really not be called Lovecraftian in any meaningful sense. Nevertheless, it seems substantially different from the version published in Night’s Black Agents (1947). I have already received permission from Leiber’s agents (Richard Curtis Associates) to publish the text in a limited edition from Arcane Wisdom, probably to be accompanied by the long Lovecraft letter commenting on it.
On a very different note (pardon the bad pun!), my choir, the Northwest Chorale, is gearing up for its annual spring concert—a performance of Mendelssohn’s superb oratorio Elijah. In my previous performance of this work, some years ago, I somehow did not find it very interesting; but as I now work on the piece again, I see it as a work of great power and beauty (and difficulty!). Those in the Seattle area who wish to see me perform are urged to attend one or both of the two performances of the work, on May 12 and May 19. Here is more information: http://www.nwchorale.org/concerts.htm.
The concert will take place after a hasty trip to the Midwest, planned for April 20–28, during which Mary and I shall (a) visit David and Gail Schultz in Milwaukee, (b) visit my mother in Muncie, Indiana, and (c) visit a friend of Mary’s in Columbus, Ohio. On that final leg of the trip, I shall take a quick trip up to Bowling Green to check the manuscript of Robert Aickman’s unpublished novel Go Back at Once, which is in the rare book library of Bowling Green State University. I have completed my transcription of this curious work and need to check some passages in the text (mostly handwritten revisions by Aickman) that are difficult to read on my copy. I do not expect imminent publication of the work, since it appears that Aickman’s agents are not keen on allowing it to be published.
I recently received a batch of horror titles from Penguin/Penguin Classics, one of which includes William Hope Hodgson’s The House on the Borderland, evidently part of a series from the Penguin UK office titled “Red Classics.” I was startled to see another title listed on the back cover—The Dunwich Horror! What on earth could this be? It transpires that this is a volume of Lovecraft stories (The Dunwich Horror and Other Stories) that was published in 2008 in the UK. So far as I can tell, the book does not use my notes from my various Penguin Classics editions, although I suppose it is possible that it uses my texts. I cannot ascertain the contents of the volume, either from the Penguin UK site or from the Amazon UK site. I may have a significant announcement about my work for Penguin Classics in the near future.
Hippocampus’s (and Seattle’s) own David Verba has received a splendid writeup in the Spring 2012 issue of Fussed, a prestigious online art magazine. The writeup, by one Maxine Harris, features at least one Hippocampus Press cover. Here is the site: http://fussedmag.com/03-2012/blogs/ones-to-watch-david-verba.html.
Lots of other things going on—too much to write about!
Well, I figure it’s been long enough since my last blog—but I hope I have a good enough excuse, as I’ve spent much of the past month moving into the house of my girlfriend, Mary K. Wilson. The transition is now largely complete, and all that remains is to sort out a few boxes of material whose contents I have already forgotten…
I have a few copies of the Titan Books paperback of Black Wings available, and am willing to part with them for $10 each (which includes postage to US customers; for overseas customers, please add another $10). The book looks pretty nice, and I believe it will get good distribution throughout the US and the UK. Meanwhile, the PS edition of Black Wings II will probably appear in late March or early April. This is the trade edition; a signed/limited edition may appear a bit later than that, as authors have still not received the signing sheets from the publisher.
I was privileged to see the initial pages (about 60 of them) of my huge critical study, Unutterable Horror: A History of Supernatural Fiction, due out from PS Publishing this fall. The pages look splendid—quietly dignified and elegant, to suit the scholarly (but not stuffily academic) nature of the book. I’m not saying that this will be my last word on weird fiction, but I doubt that I will write anything so extensive for many years to come.
On approximately the same subject, I was pleased to be asked by Scarecrow Press to initiate a series of scholarly or academic books on weird fiction. The series will, I believe, be called The Literature of the Supernatural. The exact parameters of the series have not yet been established (nor have I received a contract), but I have already solicited highly interesting proposals from such scholars as Gary William Crawford (an anthology of essays on Ramsey Campbell and also a monograph on Robert Aickman), Robert H. Waugh (an anthology of essays, Lovecraft and Influence, dealing both with the influence of earlier writers on Lovecraft and Lovecraft’s influence on later writers), William Touponce (a thematic study of Lord Dunsany, Lovecraft, and Ray Bradbury), Stefan Dziemianowicz (a study of pulp writers), and others.
I have seen proofs of my little Lovecraft biography, H. P. Lovecraft: Nightmare Countries, to be issued later this year by Becker & Mayer. The book overall looks good, but I have recommended that photos of such important colleagues as Clark Ashton Smith and Robert E. Howard be added; the initial proofs did not have images of these writers, but instead managed to dig out a photo of, of all people, Anne Tillery Renshaw (a photo I’d never seen before). But I think this will be a splendid-looking book when it appears.
I have persuaded Jerad Walters of Centipede Press to publish the first American edition of David J. Schow’s novel The Shaft (Macdonald, 1990). To my mind, this is one of the finest horror novels of the past fifty years, and it is incredible that it has not yet been published in the United States. I myself have prepared the electronic file of the novel, and I hope my transcription is accurate. I am pleased to be able to bring this book to the attention of American readers. I am also working on editions of the weird works of John Metcalfe, Sax Rohmer, David Case, and Dennis Etchison for Centipede Press.
That’s about all I have time for. Lots of other things going on but (in the words of a not-so-famous Lovecraft protagonist)…more later!
I am at last in receipt of the new Hippocampus Press publications, all of which should have come out last year (they are in fact dated 2011) but were delayed for one reason or another. I have limited copies of these items and will be happy to sell them to interested customers at the prices indicated: H. P. Lovecraft, Letters to James F. Morton ($20.00); Ann K. Schwader, Twisted in Dream: Collected Weird Poetry ($10.00); Adam Niswander, The Nemesis of Night ($15.00); Reflections in a Glass Darkly: Essays on J. Sheridan Le Fanu ($15.00); Robert H. Waugh, A Monster of Voices: Speaking for H. P. Lovecraft ($15.00). They are all sensational books, so better get them soon!
Another slightly delayed book is a splendid anthology of original stories edited by Jason V Brock and William F. Nolan, The Devil’s Coattails (Cycatrix Press, 2011), to which I wrote the foreword. This book contains wonderful new stories by Ramsey Campbell, John Shirley, Melanie Tem, and all manner of other writers. It can be ordered here: http://jasunni.mybigcommerce.com/cycatrix-press-books/special-the-devils-coattails-more-dispatches-from-the-dark-frontier-trade-hardcover/. On a related note, I am happy to report that my short story “‘You’ll Reach There in Time’” will be included in Jason Brock’s next anthology, tentatively titled Dark Fantastic: Interfacing with the Weird. This story was actually written all the way back in 1974, when I was sixteen years old, and actually won honourable mention in a Purdue University short story contest for high school students. I printed the original version in an EOD zine, Ken Neily’s Lovecraftian Ramblings (February 1987). When Jason asked me to write a story for his new anthology, I was a bit stumped. I actually wrote exactly one sentence of a story I had had in mind for quite some time, but could progress no further on it. Then I decided to resurrect my old story and see if it could be salvaged. I felt it could be, so I pruned some of the more embarrassingly ludicrous portions of it and sent it in. I actually think it’s a reasonably good story. Imagine having written it 38 years ago!
Another recent bit of writing was an essay, “Master and Pupil: August Derleth and Ramsey Campbell’s First Book,” a detailed examination of the stories that Campbell submitted to Derleth in 1961–63, especially those constituting The Inhabitant of the Lake and Less Welcome Tenants (Arkham House, 1964). I was aided in the task by my own edition of the letters of Campbell and Derleth (titled Letters to Arkham and due out this year—I hope—from PS Publishing) and Campbell’s The Inhabitant of the Lake and Other Unwelcome Tenants (PS Publishing, 2011), which includes all the stories in question and restores the title that Campbell had wished for his 1964 volume. My essay will appear in a volume of essays on Campbell. I am not sure who will be publishing this book, but I imagine it will be a good book.
I am happy to announce the completion of not one, not two, but three important projects. First, I have finished a draft of H. P. Lovecraft: Nightmare Countries, the little (37,000 words) biography of Lovecraft commissioned by Becker & Mayer, a book packager in Bellevue, WA, designed for distribution through the Barnes & Noble bookstores. I have already revised the book several times, based on astute comments made by my contact at B&M, Kjersti Egerdahl. Probably a few more revisions will be needed as the book works its way through the system, and of course there will be the matter of securing suitable illustrations of all different sorts. The book is due out this fall.
Much more momentously, I have completed Unutterable Horror: A History of Supernatural Fiction, a cumulative total of 312,000 words. I just sent the file of volume 2 to Pete Crowther of PS Publishing yesterday (January 29). In the final chapter, covering work of the past two decades, I singled out Caitlín R. Kiernan for especial praise, although I had discussions of such writers as Steve and Melanie Tem, Laird Barron, Jonathan Thomas, and several others. I didn’t run a temperature over Joe Hill or over certain other writers who seem to have garnered praise or attention (Simon Clark, Brian Hodge, Terry Lamsley, etc.). The preparation of the index to this monstrous tome fills me with horror and trepidation.
I have also completed the revision of Lovecraft’s The Ancient Track: Complete Poetical Works for Night Shade Books. This job took quite a bit more effort than I expected, but I think it was worth the effort. I added two appendices—one containing those poems that Lovecraft revised (including the hilarious poem beginning “My soul has the arms of an octopus”), and the other containing those poems that HPL in some manner responded to (the Latin texts of poems by Ovid and Horace that he translated; original versions of the poems that he revised, where they exist; poems that impelled him to write poems of his own, etc.). And, of course, I augmented the notes significantly. I need to look over the electronic file of the book (generously prepared by David E. Schultz) before I send it to the publisher. I received valuable assistance on various matters from my Swedish colleague, Martin Andersson.
Speaking of new editions, it appears that Hippocampus is set to issue revised editions of The Annotated Supernatural Horror in Literature (this has actually been ready for some time) and Lovecraft’s Library. I have made significant additions and revisions to the bibliography of the first book; and as for the second, it seems that we have found about 25 new titles that were in his library, based on mentions in letters and other sources. I am not sure when these new editions will appear, but probably they will come out this year.
I am not yet in receipt of the new Hippocampus titles—which should have come out in 2011 but were delayed by printing snafus—but I believe they will be reaching me soon. They include: Robert H. Waugh’s A Monster of Voices (essays on Lovecraft); Ann K. Schwader’s Twisted in Dream (collected weird poetry); Adam Niswander’s The Nemesis of Night (new Mythos novel); Lovecraft’s Letters to James F. Morton (gawd, what a lot of work that was!); and a collection of essays on J. S. Le Fanu. I understand that the Letters to James F. Morton is on a preliminary list for some kind of award at the HWA’s Bram Stoker Awards, and that Hippocampus Press itself will receive a special award at the World Horror Convention this spring.
An online interview of me with Bill Marx, talking about Ambrose Bierce, has appeared on a website called The Arts Fuse (http://artsfuse.org/49835/fuse-interview-s-t-joshi-on-ambrose-bierce-the-underappreciated-genius-of-being-grim/). A rather nice piece, I think, with some nice illustrations (I’m not referring to my “standard” author photo, now about ten years out of date). Another interview of me—a very extensive one on Lovecraft and related matters—conducted by Matthew Marczi will appear presently.
Work is progressing on the issuance of Black Wings II from PS Publishing. I believe the trade edition is on schedule for (late) March publication, although the signed/limited may not appear until April. Meanwhile, I am, as many readers know, assembling three other Mythos anthologies (not counting A Mountain Walked: Great Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos, now complete except for stories from Laird Barron and Jeff VanderMeer; to be published by Centipede Press, probably in the spring of 2013): Black Wings III (PS Publishing), and two anthologies for Titan Books. For all these volumes, I have received highly meritorious stories from Alan Dean Foster, Jason C. Eckhardt, Donald Tyson, and several others. In all honesty, however, I cannot encourage unsolicited submissions, both because of my chronic lack of time and because the volumes will probably be largely filled with “name” contributors, making it difficult for others to break in.
It would appear that my edition of H. L. Mencken’s selected short stories (which I have titled Bluebeard’s Goat and Other Stories) has been accepted by Dufour Editions (Chester Springs, PA). At least, I was so informed by an editor there, although I have yet to receive a contract. But I imagine it will come. I believe my edition of Mencken’s plays (now titled The Collected Drama of H. L. Mencken) will appear this spring from Scarecrow Press.
Happy New Year! The year has begun with its usual array of variegated work. I am proud to see the emergence of my 175th book, Dissecting Cthulhu, a new anthology of criticism on the Cthulhu Mythos published by Miskatonic River Press. It is a splendid-looking book and contains fine work by Robert M. Price, Steven J. Mariconda, Will Murray, Stefan Dziemianowicz, and many others. Other books by this publisher appear to be rolling off the press, and it seems destined to establish itself as a major venue for Lovecraftian fiction.
I am honoured to have received from the author a copy of the deluxe lettered edition ($99.00) of W. H. Pugmire’s Gathered Dust and Others (Dark Regions Press). It is a fine collection of both older and newer work by this inimitable author, one of the greatest prose-poets now writing. His current health problems notwithstanding, Wilum intends to continue writing as best he can, and several more volumes—including the Hippocampus Press edition of his collection Uncommon Places—will appear later this year. There is a signed and numbered edition of Gathered Dust selling for $40.00 from the publisher.
Wilum recently gave me a copy of a Ph.D. dissertation on Lovecraft, written by one Sean Elliot Martin and entitled H. P. Lovecraft and the Modernist Grotesque. This work was (apparently) self-published by the author in July of 2011. It looks like a fine piece of work. I would like to get in touch with the author, as I may wish to publish the book in an actual edition from Hippocampus Press.
Another colleague, Michael Saler, has just published a book, As If: Modern Enchantment and the Literary Prehistory of Virtual Reality (Oxford University Press, 2012), that contains a substantial and informative chapter on Lovecraft. I assisted the author minimally on the chapter. It also contains chapters on Arthur Conan Doyle and J. R. R. Tolkien, along with some general chapters on the subject. It is a fine treatise and should be digested by anyone interested in the weird and fantastic.
An Indian journalist named Pradeep Sebastian has just published an article on me, based on an interview, in the English-language journal The Hindu. I believe this is the first time that an article on me has appeared in my native country. It can be seen at: http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/pradeep_sebastian/article2763441.ece.
Submissions are coming thick and fast to the various anthologies of Lovecraftian fiction that I am compiling this year—Black Wings III (for PS Publishing), Mountains of Madness (stories based on HPL’s At the Mountains of Madness), and The Madness of Cthulhu (a more general Lovecraftian anthology)—the latter two to be published by Titan Books. I have recently accepted some splendid stories by Joseph S. Pulver, Sr., Cody Goodfellow, and Will Murray, and more good material seems to have landed in my inbox.
Meanwhile, I am struggling to finish the reading for my history of weird fiction, Unutterable Horror. I expect to finish the volume by the end of January, so that the two-volume set can come out for the World Fantasy Convention in Toronto this fall. Currently I am digesting (at long last) the work of Laird Barron, and books by Joe Hill, John Langan, and others are awaiting perusal.
To my surprise, I continue to get requests for copies of my edition of Maurice Level’s Tales of the Grand Guignol, as the 100-copy hardcover edition from Centipede Press is already out of print. I have no more copies to dole out, and am urging the publisher to print another 100 or 200 hardcover copies. Let’s hope he follows through on the unexpected demand!