My choir’s performance of Handel’s Messiah on December 7 and 14 went splendidly, particularly the latter. That concert was indeed attended by the local luminaries I had mentioned earlier, and some of us retreated to our house for refreshments and chat afterwards (although I was so exhausted, and my voice so raw, that I was unable to participate extensively). Now for a little rest…and then we start rehearsals in January for a performance of the Requiems of Maurice Duruflé and John Rutter. I have sung the Rutter before, but not the Duruflé, and look forward to adding this celebrated piece to my repertoire.
Paul Maclean (“Paul of Cthulhu”) has posted an interview of me (discussing The Assaults of Chaos) online: http://vimeo.com/81747721 (password: aoc). I fear I may be a little late with this announcement, for Paul tells me it will only be available until the 19th! Paul tells me this is a “private link,” so perhaps a more public one will be available later. On a related note, Don Webb has written a most flattering review of Assaults that will appear in a future issue of the New York Review of Science Fiction.
My 201st book has appeared—The Original Atheists (Prometheus Books), an anthology of the writings of the 18th-century philosophers (French, German, English, American) on the subject of religion. There are fiery works attacking religion by Voltaire, La Mettrie, Kant, Hume, Bentham, Jefferson, Madison, Tom Paine, and others. Here is the link to the publisher’s web page for the book: http://www.prometheusbooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=35_6&products_id=2196. I have a few spare copies that I would be happy to let go for $15.
The fourth book in my Studies in Supernatural Literature has come out—Gary William Crawford’s splendid anthology of essays, Ramsey Campbell: Critical Essays on the Master of Modern Horror. This volume contains pieces by Andy Sawyer, Leigh Blackmore, Richard Bleiler, James Goho, Simon MacCulloch, Stefan Dziemianowicz, John Llewellyn Probert, the late lamented Joel Lane, Anthony J. Fonseca, and Crawford himself—as well as an original piece by me, “Master and Pupil: August Derleth and Ramsey Campbell’s First Book,” in which I examine the letters between Campbell and Derleth to paint a portrait of the compilation of The Inhabitant of the Lake and Less Welcome Tenants (Arkham House, 1964). I have one spare copy of this expensive book (list price $80.00), which I will be happy to let go for $50.
I have at last read proofs of Black Wings III for PS Publishing, which promises to get the book out by January 2014. I apologise to the various authors for not allowing them to examine their stories, but time was of the essence. I am also about to submit the ms. of Black Wings IV, which the publisher, Pete Crowther, optimistically promises for September 2014 (the same he says he will publish my edition of the Campbell-Derleth letters). I actually think it would be best if Black Wings IV came out, say, in January or February 2015, lest I compete with myself. As it is, I will have at least three other anthologies out next year: A Mountain Walked (Centipede Press, January?); Searchers After Horror (Fedogan & Bremer, spring or summer); and The Madness of Cthulhu 1 (Titan, summer). I have in fact received proofs of Searchers After Horror, and in this instance I did allow authors to look over their individual contributions.
My work on the Variorum Lovecraft continues apace. I spent more than a week inputting the thousands of textual variants in At the Mountains of Madness—which resulted in the addition of 45 pages to the text. In my textual notes to “The Shadow over Innsmouth,” I discovered several excised passages toward the end—all apart from the “Discarded Draft of ‘The Shadow over Innsmouth,’” which is found on the versos of early pages of the handwritten draft. The textual notes for “The Shadow out of Time” will also take up much space. As an appendix, I will print things like the very early juvenilia (1897–1902), the “Discarded Draft,” and “Of Evill Sorceries done in New-England, of Daemons of No Humane Shape”—the fragment that August Derleth incorporated (with extensive alterations) into The Lurker at the Threshold (1945). It does not appear as if I or anyone else has ever published this document, in its original form.
Well, it has happened: my 200th book has appeared. It is, of all things, my edition of Sax Rohmer’s Brood of the Witch-Queen [and others] from Centipede Press: http://www.centipedepress.com/horror/broodofthewitchqueen.html. Let’s be honest: Mr. Rohmer was a pretty trashy writer, but some of his works at least provide some low-grade entertainment. This book contains 15 stories that are either actually supernatural (as in the celebrated “Tchériapin”) or quasi-supernatural, along with the novel Brood of the Witch-Queen (1920), a tale of Egyptian horror that Lovecraft enjoyed. You will see that the list price of the book is a substantial $65, but I have two spare copies that I am prepared to let go at $40 (postage included for US customers). Buy it while supplies last!
I have just had the pleasure of reading three of Ramsey Campbell’s recent books: the story collection Holes for Faces (Dark Regions Press, 2013), the novel The Kind Folk (PS Publishing, 2013), and the short novel The Last Revelation of Gla’aki (PS Publishing, 2013). I will be writing an omnibus review of these books for the “Fall 2013” [sic] issue of Dead Reckonings, which shall probably not appear until January 2014 at the earliest. I will also be writing a separate review of Lois H. Gresh’s anthology Dark Fusions (PS Publishing, 2013).
I have just read proofs of my Penguin Classics edition of Clark Ashton Smith’s The Dark Eidolon and Other Fantasies. Everything looks pretty much in order, and I will be eager to see the book published (it is due out in March 2014, I believe). I’ve also read proofs of the Titan Books paperback of Black Wings II, to be titled (to my mortification) Black Wings of Cthulhu II. I’m not sure about the publication date of this book; probably it will be next spring.
I thought my 200th book might be the Hippocampus Press edition of Lovecraft’s Letters to Elizabeth Toldridge and Anne Tillery Renshaw, but this fat book is still being proofread by Derrick Hussey. I believe Derrick is also slogging through my immense collected essays on Lovecraft, Lovecraft and a World in Transition. It is possible these books will still come out by the end of the year. And I also expect the first four volumes of the Centipede Press Library of Weird Fiction (editions of Poe, Lovecraft, Blackwood, and Hodgson) to come out before the year is out. So I will probably delay publication (through Hippocampus) of my 200 Books by S. T. Joshi until early next year. I had hoped to publish, as an appendix to this immortal work, my very first “literary” attempt—a three-page story entitled “Murder” (1973). But I am currently unable to find the pencil draft of this priceless document, and I don’t think I have its published text either (it appeared in a school publication called Literary Lapses—a most fitting title!). Well, there is probably some other bit of juvenilia that I can embarrass myself with.
It appears that Jerad Walters of Centipede Press may be on the verge of securing permission to publish an omnibus of Robert Aickman’s 48 stories in his Masters of the Weird Tale series, followed by a shorter selection of Aickman’s tales for the Library of Weird Fiction. I shall be thrilled to assemble these volumes if the requisite permission comes through.
My renewed interest in Lord Dunsany is paying off with the assemblage of his Collected Plays for Hippocampus Press. The edition will almost surely have to be published in two volumes, as the text already comes to nearly 1000 pages. This will have nearly 50 plays, several of which are unpublished. I still hope to get other work by Dunsany reprinted by other publishers.
I was happy to forward to Scarecrow Press a new book for my Studies in Supernatural Literature series—Jason V Brock’s Disorders of Magnitude, a wide-ranging study of weird fiction in various media (books, films, comic books, television) over the past two centuries or so. The book will be graced with numerous photographs and will feature articles, reviews, interviews, and other interesting matter. Scarecrow usually works pretty quickly on these books, so it may be out as early as next spring.
My choir, the Northwest Chorale, will be performing Handel’s Messiah on December 7 and 14: http://www.nwchorale.org/. Several local luminaries should be in attendance at one or the other concert, including Jason & Sunni Brock, Philip Haldeman, W. H. Pugmire, David & Marian Verba, and perhaps others. Both concerts should be splendid (assuming that I, as one of the leading tenors, can recover in time from a nagging cold and sore throat!).
My first trip to England in 25 years (and my first trip to Ireland ever) were thrilling events. Far too much happened for me to relate them in detail. Suffice it to say that the World Fantasy Convention (Oct. 31–Nov. 3) and the “weird” conference at Birkbeck College (Nov. 7–8) were full of interesting events, chiefly my meeting with various individuals whom I had never met before or had not met in a long time. Among them were Ray Russell (publisher of Tartarus Press), longtime scholar and bibliographer Mike Ashley, Brian J. Showers, Martin Andersson, Joe Doyle (the archivist at Dunsany Castle), John Clute, my publisher Pete Crowther (PS Publishing) and various members of his capable staff, and many others—not to mention such familiar faces as Jason Brock, Bill Nolan, Lois Gresh, Nancy Kilpatrick, Jerad Walters, and others. I received two copies of the hardcover program book of the convention, and if any reader wishes to secure this rare tome (which contains my section on Arthur Machen from Unutterable Horror) I will be happy to part with it for $20.
I was of course gratified to win the World Fantasy Award for Unutterable Horror, but was disappointed—nay, dumbfounded—that Pete Crowther didn’t win the Special Award Professional. I can hardly imagine any publisher in our field more distinguished than PS Publishing. But the vagaries of judges are perennially inscrutable. At least PS won two other awards—for best collection (Joel Lane’s Where Furnaces Burn) and best anthology (Danel Olson’s Exotic Gothic 4, which had previously won a Bram Stoker Award).
As a chorister, I was thrilled to find in Dublin the exact site where Handel’s Messiah was first performed (April 13, 1742). The building is quite nondescript, but there is a plaque that commemorates the event. Mary and I had lunch next door in the George Frederic [sic] Handel Hotel, where a waitress proved to be well-informed on the matter. The Northwest Chorale is working on a Messiah performance at this moment, with concerts set for December 7 and 14. More on those later.
But the highlight of my time on the other side of the pond was my visit to Dunsany Castle on Nov. 6–7, where I was delighted to renew my acquaintance with Maria Alice Plunkett (now the Dowager Lady Dunsany), and her son, Randal Plunkett, the 21st Lord Dunsany. Randal has become a filmmaker in the horror field. So far he has only directed short films, but now he is working on a full-length apocalyptic SF/horror film that will no doubt be most entertaining. But he does not wish to adapt any of his great-grandfather’s works, since he believes (correctly) that it would be better if someone else did so. We have some plans in that direction. I was thrilled to see many of Dunsany’s handwritten manuscripts, as well as paintings and curious little figurines that he made, and all kinds of other paraphernalia. I may go back to the castle next summer (with Martin Andersson) to make a proper catalogue of the manuscripts there.
The “weird” conference at Birkbeck College was entertaining enough, although I’m sorry to say that I found some of the papers a bit stuffy and pompous. Still, many of them were very lively, and I was particularly pleased to meet Dr. Emily Alder, a leading authority on William Hope Hodgson. I have suggested to the organiser of the event (James Machin) that the papers be published as a book. My keynote address—“Two Revolutionaries: Poe and Lovecraft”—seemed to be received pretty well.
Before I left for the UK, I was interviewed by the editor of an online journal, Former People, and also reviewed Laird Barron’s new story collection, The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All (Night Shade, 2013). The URL for the interview is: http://formerpeople.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/a-literary-history-of-weird-fiction-an-interview-with-s-t-joshi/; the URL for the review is: http://formerpeople.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/a-northwesterly-chill/.
I have also written a brief foreword to Cthulhu Cuymraeg: Lovecraftian Tales from Wales, edited by Mark Howard Jones (Screaming Dreams, 2013). I confess that I have not actually read the stories in the book, but there are some good authors here (John Llewellyn Probert, Rhys Hughes, etc.), and I’m confident the book is a substantial one. I have one spare copy of the book and will be happy to part with it for $15 to any interested reader.
My Scarecrow Press series, Studies in Supernatural Literature, progresses apace. Just out is William F. Touponce’s Lord Dunsany, H. P. Lovecraft, Ray Bradbury: Spectral Journeys, an extraordinarily penetrating analysis of these three writers. I have just submitted my revised Dunsany bibliography (compiled with Darrell Schweitzer), and it will appear before the end of the year. Books by James Goho and Jason V Brock are forthcoming.
In terms of my own output, I am stuck on book no. 199, and don’t exactly know what my 200th book will be. Probably it will be my edition (with David E. Schultz) of Lovecraft’s Letters to Elizabeth Toldridge and Anne Tillery Renshaw. Or it could be my collected essays on Lovecraft, now titled Lovecraft and a World in Transition. Whatever the book turns out to be, I am nearly ready with my appalling exercise in egotism, 200 Books by S. T. Joshi (a delibate homage/parody of August Derleth’s 100 Books by August Derleth—the poor fellow never managed to make it to 200), which has already come to more than 150 pages and which Hippocampus will publish in due course of time.
I figure I’d best get off a blog before I head out to England/Ireland for the World Fantasy Convention and other events. At WFC, I will be on three panels—one on Machen (it is Machen’s 150th birthday), one on Machen’s influence on Lovecraft and other writers, and one on Lovecraft as a “franchise.” That last panel will apparently be videotaped and eventually put online by Paul Maclean (“Paul of Cthulhu”) on his website (www.Yog-Sothoth.com). After WFC is over, Mary and I will spend two days in Dublin and one day (and a night) at Dunsany Castle. We have been officially invited to the castle by Maria Alice, the Dowager Lady Dunsany. She says to dress warmly! The castle is apparently a bit drafty. But it will be a thrill to see the home of the writer whom I most admire aside from Lovecraft. Then we hotfoot it back to London for the “weird” conference at Birkbeck College, where I’ll be delivering the first keynote speech at 10 a.m. on Friday, November 8. Back home on the 9th.
The latest book in my Scarecrow Press series, William F. Touponce’s Lord Dunsany, H. P. Lovecraft, and Ray Bradbury: Spectral Journeys, is now out. I fear I have no spare copies of the book, which I daresay is a bit expensive. (I haven’t checked the price, but I figure it must range between $75 and $80.) But this book contains some of the most perspicacious discussions of the three writers in question that I have ever read, so I hope readers can fish out the book in a library or some other manner. More books in my series are forthcoming: an anthology of essays on Ramsey Campbell assembled by Gary William Crawford; a splendid book of essays on weird fiction (from Charles Brockden Brown to Fritz Leiber) by James Goho; the revised Dunsany bibliography; and Jason V Brock’s Disorders of Magnitude, an assemblage of his interviews, essays, and reviews.
I delivered an hour-long talk on the history of atheism at the CfI [Center for Inquiry] Summit on October 24 in nearby Tacoma. This talk actually preceded the summit itself, which was co-sponsored by the Council for Secular Humanism. Somehow I managed to get 2500 years of (Western) atheism into 49 minutes, with some lively discussion thereafter. The talk has inspired me at least to make an outline of my eventual multi-volume history of atheism, although when I’ll ever be able to undertake that immense project is anyone’s guess.
With considerable assistance from my co-editor, Martin Andersson, I have reassembled my long-planned volume of Lord Dunsany’s uncollected stories, formerly titled A Walk in the Wastes of Time and now retitled The Ghost in the Corner. The volume has been completely overhauled: we have dropped the early stories (1908–20), because many of these are soon to be printed by Pegana Press; we have dropped all the essays in the book; and we have augmented the fiction (now ranging from 1931 to 1957) with a number of uncollected and unpublished stories that Martin and others have found. We hope to secure permission from the Dunsany Estate in due course of time. I am also lobbying for an edition of Dunsany’s collected plays, which will probably fill two large volumes.
I am approaching completion of Black Wings IV—I have filled 90,000 words and am waiting for stories from Caitlín R. Kiernan and Jason V Brock, which will probably finish the book. Pete Crowther of PS Publishing promises to get Black Wings III out by December of this year and Black Wings IV by September 2014. Quick work! This means that I will have six anthologies out between now and 2015:
Meanwhile, I am attempting to write a story for Lois H. Gresh’s Innsmouth anthology. I have written exactly one page, but hope to resume work after I return from England.
I have experienced the great pleasure of writing another “killer” review—this time of a book on religion and politics, Robert P. George’s Conscience and Its Enemies: Confronting the Dogmas of Liberal Secularism (ISI Press, 2013). Since I myself am a liberal secularist, I figure that George’s arguments are directed pretty much toward me. I wrote a long review that will have to appear in the November/December issue of the American Rationalist in severely truncated form, so I figured I’d supply the full review here. I’m now thinking of writing an entire book dealing with such Christian apologists as George, Aleister McGrath, Richard Swinburne, Alvin Platinga, and others. Readers of this blog might find it entertaining to get a sample of my polemical style as applied to religion, philosophy, and politics, as opposed to weird fiction. So please click here for the review.
I was thrilled to see a lengthy and on the whole positive review by Michael Dirda of my Unutterable Horror: A History of Supernatural Fiction. The review appeared in the online version of the Weekly Standard (http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/horror-horror_757204.html?nopager=1), although Dirda says it will appear in the print version also. He also wishes to let it be known that he does not subscribe to the conservative politics of this magazine! What sane person would?
I have at last received a copy of David Simmons’s critical anthology New Critical Essays on H. P. Lovecraft (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013). The book has been out for some time, but for some reason it took a while for a copy to reach me. I wrote the foreword to the book. It has twelve substantial essays on Lovecraft’s work and his influence on later writers. While such familiar scholars as Donald R. Burleson and Robert H. Waugh are included, many of the contributors (chiefly English, it would seem) are unfamiliar to the Lovecraft community. The book is not cheap (see the Amazon listing: http://www.amazon.com/New-Critical-Essays-H-P-Lovecraft/dp/1137332247/), but it does constitute a significant addition to the scholarly literature on Lovecraft.
A very different sort of book is The Complete Cthulhu Mythos Tales (Fall River Press, 2013), a collection of Lovecraft’s original stories (and several revisions) that feature the Cthulhu Mythos. I wrote a brief introduction to this book. The publisher is a division of Sterling Publishing, the parent company of Barnes & Noble, so it can presumably be purchased only at B&N bookstores or through the B&N website (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-complete-cthulhu-mythos-tales-hp-lovecraft/1115399083. The book is an incredible bargain, and well worth getting.
We are grateful to Terence McVicker for some striking new discoveries in Lovecraft bibliography. Terence, going through the amateur journal collection of Hyman Bradofsky, has discovered the first (and only) known publication in HPL’s lifetime of the poem “New-England Fallen.” It appeared in an amateur journal called Here and There 1, No. 1 (October 1914). I do not know the editor of this journal—he or she is not identified in the scanned pages that Terence was kind enough to send me. Perhaps some authority like Ken Faig can shed light on the matter. It is highly embarrassing to discover that the poem contains a three-paragraph prose preface that is as blatantly racist as any published document (or even unpublished letter) he ever wrote. (This preface is not found in the manuscript of the story, at the John Hay Library.) Terence has also found the first known book publication of HPL’s elegy to Jonathan E. Hoag (“Ave atque Vale,” 1927). It was printed in a booklet called Poetical Melanges issued by C. W. (“Tryout”) Smith. The information provided by Terence doesn’t supply the date of this booklet or the pages on which the HPL poem appeared, but no doubt that information will be forthcoming. Terence has generously sold these two items at a bargain price to the John Hay Library, so they can presumably be consulted once the library opens after its renovation in the fall of next year.
Work continues on my Variorum Lovecraft, and I continue to make small changes in the text as I review the textual history for each story. I am beginning to think that I may want to issue a two-volume edition of the revisions and collaborations at a later date, since there is very interesting textual information to record in those stories also. I now find, by the way, that I am in need of the Tryout (November 1920) appearance of “The Cats of Ulthar.” If anyone has that appearance and can provide a scan, I would be most grateful!
I am happy to announce the receipt of the six volumes of the “Penguin Horror” series, whose general editor is Guillermo del Toro. This is a hardcover series (no dust jacket) that reprints what del Toro believes to be important works of 19th- and 20th-century horror. Three volumes in which I was directly involved are included in the series. I have received an embarrassing number of copies of two of these volumes, along with three copies of the other four. I will list them herewith, along with their list price:
I am happy to offer these volumes for $15.00 each at the usual terms (i.e., postage included for US customers). The Thing on the Doorstep volume is of course the book I edited in 2001. I essentially edited the Poe volume, but I am not credited as the editor, so I will not consider this as part of my total of written or edited books. I did contribute an introduction to it. The Frankenstein edition is the one with an introduction by Elizabeth Kostova (2007), probably a Penguin Classic. Each volume has a quite lengthy introduction (22 pp.) by del Toro (the same in each book), giving his understanding of the nature of weird fiction; it concludes with a brief discussion of the individual book in question. He has some nice things to say about my work on Lovecraft and on weird fiction in general.
I am working hard on preparing the first volume of my Variorum Lovecraft, which I believe will be a major undertaking. Indeed, I believe this edition (scheduled for publication in four volumes by Hippocampus Press) will become the standard edition of Lovecraft’s fiction, because I am in fact making some small but significant alterations in the texts of some stories based on my renewed examination of their textual history. I am now thinking that I might wish for two volumes to appear in 2014 and two in 2015, assuming I can get the work done. For those of you who are in the dark about what a “variorum” edition means, it means an edition where the textual variants are presented. Hence, for every published story by Lovecraft I present the textual variants found in all the textually relevant appearances of that story. In a sense, this will bring my scholarly work on Lovecraft back to its roots, since I assembled these textual variants during my years at Brown University (1976–82).
On that note, I find that I am missing some appeaerances that I need to complete the textual work. For example, I cannot find my copy of the Marvel Tales (May 1934) appearance of “Celephaïs” or the Tryout (November 1920) appearance of “The Cats of Ulthar.” If anyone has these appearances, I would be happy to receive a copy.
Speaking of publications, I realise that I made an error in calculating my total number of books published. It now stands at 198 (not 197), since I failed to count the two-volume I Am Providence as two books. My webmaster, Greg Lowney, and I have worked hard in correcting my list of published books on this site, and I think we are finally in sync. The only issue is that I myself do not count my edition of Dunsany’s The Last Book of Jorkens (2002) as a true book, and I myself number it as 39A. Greg is unable to introduce this kind of numbering in the list, so the current bibliography on this site gives my total of books as 199.
My 199th and 200th books will probably appear from Hippocampus Press: one of them will be a somewhat delayed edition of Lovecraft’s letters to Elizabeth Toldridge and Anne Tillery Renshaw, and the other will be Lovecraft and a World in Transition: Collected Essays on H. P. Lovecraft, a volume that extends to 620 pages of text and on which I have just completed the index. For some reason Derrick Hussey wishes to publish this book in hardcover—a flattering gesture, but I hope it doesn’t dissuade readers from purchasing it. At some point thereafter Hippocampus will publish my 200 Books by S. T. Joshi, a volume that has already extended to more than 150 pages.
I have heard from Centipede Press that my anthology A Mountain Walked: Great Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos will not come out until January 2014. I have read the proofs on this book, and they look splendid. There are a number of portfolios of splendid weird art by such artists as David Ho, Allen Koszowski, and others. A book well worth waiting for! Since I am not at all confident that Pete Crowther will be able to get out Black Wings III this year (even though he has vaguely promised to do so), it is likely that I will have four anthologies in 2014: A Mountain Walked, Black Wings III, Searchers Aftter Horror (Fedogan & Bremer), and The Madness of Cthulhu 1 (Titan). Madness 2 will appear sometime in 2015. Titan did recently ask for the electronic files of the stories in Black Wings II, so perhaps the paperback edition will come out in early 2014.
I have at last received copies of the new Hippocampus Press publications, so I am able to offer them for sale at slight discounts from the list price. My price is provided in parentheses after the title:
As before, these prices include postage for US customers. Postage for overseas customers (inc. Canada and Mexico) will have to be determined on an individual basis. In some cases I only have 3 spare copies, and in no case do I have more than 5 spare copies.
My 197th book, Critical Essays on Lord Dunsany, is now out from Scarecrow Press. It is a substantial and nice-looking hardcover, uniform in format and design with the first title in my series, Studies in Supernatural Literature, which appeared a few weeks ago—Lovecraft and Influence, edited by Robert H. Waugh. The list price of this book is a hefty $80.00, but I have 2 spare copies that I am prepared to let go for the bargain price of $50.00.
I have now submitted the revised Dunsany bibliography to Scarecrow Press—just in time, for they tell me it will appear at the very end of the year. I imagine it too will be pretty expensive, but it will be well worth the price for any devotees of Dunsany. It contains hundreds of items new and old not listed in the previous edition of 1993.
I forgot to mention last time that Laird Barron graciously provided me with a copy of his new story collection, The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All (Night Shade, 2013). I was thinking of reviewing this for Dead Reckonings, but it appears that Scott Connors has already been tapped to review this book. The “Spring 2013” [sic] issue of Dead Reckonings is imminent—I believe I have 2 reviews and my “Weird Scholar” column (probably the last I will write) in the issue. The next issue (“Fall 2013”—probably due out in January) will have 3 reviews by me: one of Lois H. Gresh’s Dark Fusions anthology (PS Publishing), one of William F. Nolan’s Like a Dead Man Walking (a new collection of horror tales due out soon from Centipede Press), and one of 3 books by Ramsey Campbell.
I am also in receipt of Gavin Callaghan’s collection of essays on Lovecraft, H. P. Lovecraft’s Dark Arcadia (McFarland, 2013). This is a $40.00 paperback and contains what appear to be substantial and interesting essays on curious aspects of Lovecraft’s life and work (e.g., his attitudes toward sex, his treatment of the Magna Mater in “The Rats in the Walls,” etc.). I may review this for the next Lovecraft Annual. At the NecronomiCon I also received a copy of James Arthur Anderson’s Out of the Shadows: A Structuralist Approach to Understanding the Fiction of H. P. Lovecraft (Borgo Press, 2011). The book has apparently been out for a long time, but I was only given a copy now. I wrote a foreword to it—a fact I had entirely forgotten.
An article of mine, “A Triumvirate of Fantastic Poets: Ambrose Bierce, George Sterling, and Clark Ashton Smith,” has just appeared in Extrapolation 54, No. 2 (Summer 2013): 147–62. This article was written years ago as an introduction to a proposed anthology of the weird poetry of Bierce, Sterling, and Smith, but the volume never materialised. I am glad I have gotten some mileage out of the piece, which I don’t think is half bad.
Once again, no more time or space for grammar lessons—but be warned that you won’t be so lucky next time!
I am still basking—as I suspect other attendees are—in the glow of the NecronomiCon in Providence, R.I., even though I was worked like a dog during the entire event—both in the day preceding the convention (August 22) and the convention itself, where I appeared on 12 panels. Indeed, Jason V Brock heard from one attendee who said that he got tired of hearing me on panels—an entirely justifiable response, as I was quite overexposed. Let’s hope that in the 2015 convention I have a bit more time to sample other panels and events from the anonymity of the audience.
It appears that my speech at the First Baptist Church on August 22 has been posted online (http://www.teemingbrain.com/2013/08/24/h-p-lovecrafts-literary-reputation-joshis-keynote-address-at-this-weekends-necronomicon-video/). This speech was delivered largely off the cuff (although I had prepared some notes for it), as I thought that would be more interesting than merely reading a transcript. But the fact that the church was so incredibly hot (and that I was wearing a suit) probably addled my brain a bit, so I didn’t quite say all I wished to say. Nevertheless, the speech appeared to be well received. I plan to prepare a transcript of it and publish it in Lovecraft and a World in Transition: Collected Essays on H. P. Lovecraft, which Hippocampus Press plans to release later this year. (Warning: the book is already about 620 pages!)
Many interesting new publications appeared at the convention, including a number by Hippocampus Press:
At this moment, however, I have no spare copies of these books; but they will be reaching me shortly, so I hope to offer them for sale next time.
In addition, Sam Gafford has revived his press (formerly named Hobgoblin Press) and renamed it Ulthar Press. In spite of its title, I suspect its focus will be, not on Lovecraft, but on William Hope Hodgson. His first two publications are a splendid first issue of the journal Sargasso (of which I am managing editor) and a slim collection of essays by Sam, Hodgson: A Collection of Essays. Sargasso is a substantial publication (204 pp.) containing articles, poetry, and short fiction relating to Hodgson, by such contributors as Jane Frank, Mark Valentine, Emily Alder (author of a superb 2009 Ph.D. dissertation on Hodgson), Leigh Blackmore, Phillip A. Ellis, and Pierre V. Comtois. For further information see www.ultharpress.com (the website does not seem to be active as yet).
I was also happy to have spent some time with Dennis E. Weiler, the chief figure in the revived Fedogan & Bremer. He handed me an advance copy of Stephen Jones’s forthcoming anthology Weirder Shadows over Innsmouth. This looks like a substantial work, containing no fewer than three stories by Caitlín R. Kiernan (whom I publicly embarrassed by declaring on a panel that she and Ramsey Campbell were the leading weird writers of the past 50 years) and other stories by Campbell, Kim Newman, Reggie Oliver (a bit of a surprise), Brian Hodge, and even Brian Lumley. This book is scheduled to appear in November. My own Searchers After Horror is scheduled for next summer, and F&B also plans to issue a collection of stories by Scott Nicolay (splendidly illustrated by my friend David Verba) around that time.
I now see that John Haefele has written an angry response to my review of his Look at the Derleth Mythos. I have no particular interest in perpetuating this debate, especially since Haefele makes no attempt to deal with the central point at issue—his distortion of both Lovecraft’s and Derleth’s work in making his implausible case that Derleth somehow legitimately carried on Lovecraft’s pseudomythology. Haefele seems to think I have suddenly “turned” on him, even though he had been publishing sections of his treatise in the Esoteric Order of Dagon amateur press association (of which I am Official Editor) since 2006. But it is a well-known fact that constraints on my time prevent me from actually reading any of the contributions to the EOD, and I strive to “puff” them in the official organ (Nuclear Chaos) as an enticement to members to read and comment on them. Haefele cannot be surprised at the tone of my review, since he snipes at my views on nearly every page of his book—in many cases deliberately distorting what I said to make it seem as if I have made an error. (I am sorry the book didn’t have an index; I suspect I am mentioned more frequently than either Lovecraft or even Derleth.) I did not focus on this issue in my review because I wanted to keep the focus on Lovecraft and Derleth, not Joshi and Haefele. I have never been shy in declaring that, when Haefele is not riding his Derleth hobbyhorse, he is an able critic: I am happy to have published articles by him in both the Weird Fiction Review and the Lovecraft Annual, and also have steered articles to Jason V Brock’s Nameless, of which I am managing editor. I even thought well enough of one of Haefele’s short stories to include it in Searchers After Horror. So I wish John Haefele the best—and hope that he gains some sanity and perspective on the Lovecraft-Derleth issue.
No more time or space for additional grammatical disquisitions—but I’m not giving up on my lonely campaign to reform the world’s use of English!
I am pleased to report that I have now received copies of my novel, The Assaults of Chaos (Hippocampus Press). It is a fine-looking book, with a splendid cover by Pete Von Sholly. I have 6 or 7 copies that I am prepared to sell to interested readers for $20.00 (which includes postage to US members). There is, however, one hitch. I have not yet received copies of the little bonus publication—my short story “Suicide in Brooklyn”—that is meant to accompany the book. I will not get copies until I come to the NecronomiCon. So if readers wish this booklet also, they should let me know and I will mail out both the novel and the story upon my return (August 26).
I have just now finished work on the new edition of the Lord Dunsany bibliography. What a task it has been! The indexes alone took a week or more to compile. But it is incredible how much new information has emerged—both on publications in Dunsany’s lifetime and publications after his death (and, especially, in the 20 years since the first edition of the bibliography came out). I will be happy to turn this over to Scarecrow Press upon my return from the NecronomiCon.
Since returning from my cruise, I have not had much time to do much aside from the Dunsany bibliography. I have fallen behind evaluating some book manuscripts that some prominent authors have sent me—among them story collections by Rhys Hughes and Simon Strantzas. I am sure that both of these volumes will prove to be most entertaining, and I hope they can eventually be scheduled for publication with Hippocampus Press.
Let us return to the matter of grammar.
I am struck by one regrettable development in contemporary prose—the overuse of contractions. Not only does this usage give one’s prose a slangy, informal character that is oftentimes at loggerheads with the author’s intent, but it frequently creates ambiguity as to exactly what is being said. I have just read a novel manuscript by a writer who shall remain nameless. It is, overall, a splendid piece of work, but it is hampered by this overuse of contractions. Consider the following phrase: “The business of war’s waiting …” The author means “The business of war is waiting,” but the use of the contraction momentarily creates the impression that he is writing “war” in the possessive case (as in “war’s horrors”). A sentence or two later, the author has written: “The man’s somehow gotten it into his head…” Here is a different contraction (“man has,” not “man is”), and as a result more ambiguity is created. My view is that such contractions ought not to be used except when the context—and long usage—makes them easily understandable. Contractions in dialogue are of course acceptable, but I personally don’t care for such contractions (especially in narrative prose) as “might’ve,” “could’ve,” or “would’ve.” One never saw these contractions in prose of thirty or forty years ago, and to my mind they are ugly and inelegant.
A slight follow-up to my discussion of the nearly universal misuse of like for as or as if. I recall that H. P. Lovecraft, as early as 1920, addressed the issue in his essay “Literary Composition,” where he produced an exquisite example of the solecism in the sentence: “I strive to write like Pope wrote.” The humour of this example is augmented by the plain fact that anyone striving to write like Alexander Pope would never have committed an error of this sort. People of a certain age will no doubt remember the erroneous usage in some advertising campaigns of a few decades ago—“Winston takes good like a cigarette should,” or the notorious “Nobody can do it like McDonald’s can.” (This sentence would have been correct if McDonald’s had only omitted the “can,” for then the use of like would have been correct—as a strictly comparative conjunction.) When the company was criticised for its bad usage, it had the effrontery to come back with another slogan: “What do you want, good grammar or good taste?”—as if the two were mutually exclusive! (Of course, one doesn’t get either good grammar or good taste from McDonald’s, but that is another matter altogether.)
Hope to see many of you at NecronomiCon!
I have now had the misfortune of reading John D. Haefele’s A Look Behind the Derleth Mythos (H. Harksen Productions, 2012), one of the most pernicious and misguided books on Lovecraft ever written. I feel obliged to write a lengthy and somewhat severe review of it, lest its manifest errors, distortions, misconstruals, and outright lies be unchallenged. So please click here for the review.
Well, Mary and I have returned from our Baltic cruise. It was a splendid excursion—the best parts of which were meeting friends old and new in Helsinki (J.-M. Rajala), Stockholm (Martin Andersson), Copenhagen (Henrik Harksen), and especially Berlin, where we saw Joe Pulver, “Lady Lovecraft,” and five different people who had come all the way from Poland—Mateusz Kopacz, his fiancée, and three other friends. We had stimulating discussions in each of these places, and we were also given expert guided tours of the cities in question. We had to explore Tallinn (Estonia) and St. Petesburg ourselves, although we did sign up with the ship for some guided tours through these places. The few hours we spent in the Hermitage was criminally brief, rendered the worse by having our guide literally run through some exhibits simply in order to cover as much territory as possible. The next day we explord St. Petersburg largely on our own, but even so we saw only a tiny fraction of this fascinating and historic metropolis.
But now back to work!
In Copenhagen, Henrik gave me a copy of John D. Haefele’s A Look Behind the Derleth Mythos—a welcome gift (in spite of the fact that it appears to kick my butt on nearly every page), since the book is an attractive but quite expensive hardcover edition. Let’s hope a paperback edition can appear in due course of time. I may write a polite but firm review of this book presently.
Back in my office, I am already engulfed in work—chiefly the task of wrapping up the Dunsany bibliography. Martin Andersson, Jason Sturner, and others continue to unearth huge amounts of material, and I hope I have been able to incorporate it properly. I am now involved with the highly tedious task of preparing the three indexes to the book (names, titles by Dunsany, periodicals).
I can’t remember if I mentioned it before, but just before I left for the cruise I submitted Gary William Crawford’s splendid anthology of essays on Ramsey Campbell, compiled for my Scarecrow Press series. This book will probably be titled Ramsey Campbell: Critical Essays on the Modern Master of Horror. It is a superb compilation with contributions by many varied hands.
J.-M. Rajala reports that he will have a surprise publication for the NecronomiCon—I am not allowed to speak further of it, but it will be a most welcome volume. Rajala is also contemplating the immense task of compiling a Lovecraft Log—an account of Lovecraft’s actions on as many days throughout his life as can be chronicled. He thinks this is a task that may take decades; but for a person of his remarkable diligence, I suspect the job can be done much sooner.
On the cruise I read two anthologies—Simon Strantzas’s Shadows Edge (Gray Friars Press, 2013) and Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.’s A Season in Carcosa (Miskatonic River Press, 2012). Both had good work in them, along with some not-so-good work. I have written a review of them for Dead Reckonings. But what appalls me about the Pulver book is the woeful state of its copyediting and proofreading. I have rarely come across a worse job of both in my lifetime. I am aware that bad—or, rather, non-existent—copyediting and proofreading are the besetting sins of small presses in our field, but this one reaches a nadir of incompetence difficult to credit. I am becoming more and more irked at the apparent inability of many writers in this field to write prose that could by any stretch of the imagination be called English. Let me choose some examples purely at random from A Season in Carcosa:
Don Webb envisions a Roger Corman film entitled Edgar Allen [sic!] Poe’s The King in Yellow.
Gary McMahon writes: “I felt sober for the first time in years…like my whole body was being cleansed…” This is a now universal solecism—the erroneous use of like (a conjunction that can never introduce a verbal clause) for as or as if. The sentence should have read: “…as if my whole body were [present subjunctive] being cleansed…”
Laird Barron (!) writes: ‘The author was two decade’s [!!!] older than the editor…” Similarly, Allyson Bird writes: “This was the place where true Carcosian’s [!!!] go…”
Pearce Hansen (whose story verges on illiteracy) writes: “The Muni stops [in San Francisco] were mobbed by thousands of mass transit commuters fornicating, murdering each other in various creative ways…” The expression each other can only be used when two people are in question; when more than two people are involved, the expression one another must be used.
And so on and so forth. I may have more lessons in grammar and syntax in future blogs.
My other reading on the ship was three books by W. H. Pugmire: The Strange Dark One (Miskatonic River Press, 2012), Encounters with Enoch Coffin (with Jeffrey Thomas; Dark Regions Press, 2013), and Bohemians of Sesqua Valley (Dark Regions Press, 2013). But even Wilum, the best prose-poet in our field, sometimes nods. Imagine him writing “Oh contraire!” in Bohemians! Surely he knows this should be “Au contraire.” In the same paragraph in which this occurs, he writes “au revoir.” It’s a small blessing that he didn’t write “oh revoir.”
Wilum, as with so many others, has a bad habit of including a supernumerary “of” after “all”—i.e., “He would think about all of that at some other time.” This is not merely an infelicity of style; it is an actual grammatical error. One must write: “He would think about all that…” One can never write: “All of us kicked him.” One must write: “We all kicked him.” One can never write: “He kicked all of us.” One must write: “He kicked us all.” And so on.
I don’t wish to beat up on Wilum, whose grasp of English is far superior to that of most other writers in the field. But even he needs a little copyediting now and then.
My next blog probably will be in mid-August, just before I head out to NecronomiCon.
This blog is a few days late because I am desperately trying to finish up—or at least move along—several projects before our big Baltic cruise of July 8–21. These projects specifically include proofreading and indexing my anthology Critical Essays on Lord Dunsany, the third volume of my Scarecrow Press series, Studies in Supernatural Literature (the second volume, William F. Touponce’s Lord Dunsany, H. P. Lovecraft, and Ray Bradbury: Spectral Journeys, is apparently imminent); and completing the index to our edition of H. P. Lovecraft’s Letters to Elizabeth Toldridge and Anne Tillery Renshaw, which we (i.e., David E. Schultz and myself) hope to have ready for the NecronomiCon. Both projects are well in hand, and I in fact mailed back the corrected pages of the Dunsany book today.
I am in receipt of two splendid books by Centipede Press—Michael Aronovitz’s novel Alice Walks and the Arthur Machen volume in the publisher’s Masters of the Weird Tale series. I wrote a foreword to the Aronovitz novel, which is one of the finest ghost novels written in recent years, in my estimation. The list price is $60, but I am prepared to offer my one spare copy for the bargain price of $40. Come and get it! I contributed only minimally to the Machen volume: I believe I supplied the bibliography. I have no spare copies available for sale.
Reviews of my Unutterable Horror are finally starting to appear. Stefan Dziemianowicz’s long-delayed review has finally appeared in the July issue of Locus, although I have not seen this. But extracts from that review were quoted in another review (by Jim Rockhill, I believe), on the Wormwoodiana blog (http://wormwoodiana.blogspot.com/2013/07/s-t-joshis-unutterable-horror-and-its.html ). Rockhill was probably a bit peeved at my kicking his beloved J. Sheridan Le Fanu in the butt in my book, so his review is a trifle … let us say misguided. I have written a rebuttal that will presumably be posted presently on the site, if it is not already there.
As for our cruise—it is expected to take in a number of sites in northern and eastern Europe, and along the way we expect to meet such friends and colleagues as Martin Andersson (Stockholm), J.-M. Rajala (Helsinki), Henrik Harksen (Copenhagen), and, in Berlin, Joseph S. Pulver, Sr., Mateusz Kopacz, and several others. Great fun! My next blog will, as a result, probably delayed until after July 21, unless I manage to write one on the ship.
We are also rushing to assemble the next issue of the Lovecraft Annual for the NecronomiCon, and I believe it will be a fine issue. Several articles have come in at the last minute, and the issue looks to be pretty substantial—perhaps 200 pages or more. It will, of course, feature my pungent review of poor Roger Luckhurst’s edition of Lovecraft’s Classic Horror Stories, along with substantial articles by Kenneth W. Faig, Jr., Donovan K. Loucks, and many others—including myself (a brief article on “Excised Passages in ‘The Thing on the Doorstep’”).
Fred Chappell recently sent me a splendid long story, “Artifact” (9000+ words), which will go into Black Wings IV—a volume that, almost by accident, is already nearly half full, with substantial contributions by Ann K. Schwader, Donald Tyson, Gary Fry, and others. I cannot encourage unsolicited submissions, however, because I wish to leave room for contributions by my “usual” cadre of contributors, and there will just be enough room for them, and no more. Meanwhile, I wait patiently for proofs or the signing sheets of Black Wings III, which PS Publishing initially announced for this summer, but which will probably appear no earlier than the World Fantasy Convention in Brighton. I am also hoping that A Mountain Walked (Centipede Press) will appear by then, although work on that volume also seems a bit delayed. Well, all in good time!
I have now had a chance to give a close examination of Roger Luckhurst’s edition of Lovecraft’s Classic Horror Stories (Oxford University Press, 2013); it is even worse than I initially thought. I believe it is important to point out its manifest errors and failings without delay, so I am providing my review of it here. The review will also appear in print in the Lovecraft Annual, which will probably be out this August.
I can also note that I forgot to list one of my forthcoming books—my edion of the original version of Fritz Leiber’s Adept’s Gambit, due out sometime from Arcane Wisdom—giving me a full thirty forthcoming books.
Well, I’ve just returned from the World Horror Convention in New Orleans (June 13–16). The convention itself was a huge bore, and I attended no panels or sessions at all—and only grudgingly attended my own panel (on Lovecraft). That panel proved lively enough, with contributions by Denise Dumars, Matt Moore, Chad Hensley, and others. New Orleans was stiflingly hot and humid, but Mary and I managed to catch some of the highlights of the city. The high point, of course, was renewing my acquaintance with Caitlín R. Kiernan and Ramsey Campbell. I proposed to Ramsey to do another volume of his essays, columns, and reviews—a follow-up to Ramsey Campbell, Probably (2002). Caitlín won the Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel (for The Drowning Girl), an award that her previous novel, The Red Tree, should have won. Otherwise, the awards seemed largely an exercise in mutual back-patting by the HWA—aside from the special award given to Jerad Walters of Centipede Press.
My article “How Bad Are Lovecraft’s Revisions” will appear in a volume called The Best of the Scream Factory. I’m not sure when the book will be out, but I just read page proofs, so presumably the volume will appear imminently.
I have also just received page proofs of my anthology Critical Essays on Lord Dunsany, for my Scarecrow Press series. I will have to read the proofs (and compile the index) in something of a hurry, as the book is due out in August. It is, I think, a splendid mix of older articles on Dunsany along with 6 or 7 original pieces.
My total list of published books has actually fallen from 196 to 195. I have determined that books that appeared in series I have edited should not count in my total of book publications. So I have removed Michael Shea’s Copping Squid (2009) from the list. If I did not, I would have had to include the other book published in the short-lived New Millennium Mythos series (Brian Stableford’s The Womb of Time), along with the two volumes that have so far appeared in the Modern Mythos Library from Arcane Wisdom (Rick Dakan’s The Cthulhu Cult and Jonathan Thomas’s The Color over Occam), along with the first book of my Scarecrow Press series (Robert H. Waugh’s Lovecraft and Influence).
I have now seen the cover design for the Clark Ashton Smith volume for Penguin Classics. The publisher has chosen a painting by Smith—one that I have never seen before, but which seems notably effective—for the cover art. So I’m sure this will be a volume that Smith fans, and others, will cherish. I have still not been informed of a publication date, but the last I heard it was Spring 2014.
I am in receipt of a splendid book by Mara Kirk Hart, So Many Lovely Days: The Greenwich Village Years (Kirk Press, 2013), a book about Mara’s parents, George W. Kirk and Lucile D. Kirk. George, of course, was an intimate associate of Lovecraft, as our book Lovecraft’s New York Circle (2006) attests. So Many Lovely Days is a beautifully produced, illustrated account of the Kirk family during their New York years in the 1920s and 1930s; Lovecraft is mentioned throughout. It costs $15.00 (plus $3.00 shipping)—an incredible bargain. Order from Kirk Press, 205 West Kent Road, Duluth, MN 55812, or contact the author directly: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is a summary of the twenty-nine books that are forthcoming:
From Centipede Press are the following: omnibuses of the work of David Case; Fred Chappell; H. P. Lovecraft; Edgar Allan Poe; Algernon Blackwood; William Hope Hodgson; Dennis Etchison; John Metcalfe; Sax Rohmer; Robert W. Chambers; J. Sheridan Le Fanu; E. F. Benson (2 vols.); W. C. Morrow; Carl Jacobi; and the anthology A Mountain Walked: Great Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos. From other publishers are the following: Black Wings III (PS Publishing, summer/fall 2013); Searchers After Horror (Fedogan & Bremer, early 2014?); The Original Atheists (Prometheus, late 2013?); Critical Essays on Lord Dunsany (Scarecrow Press, August 2013); Lord Dunsany: A Bibliography (Scarecrow Press, late 2013?); Letters to Arkham (PS Publishing, date unknown); The Assaults of Chaos (Hippocampus Press, summer 2013); Collected Essays on H. P. Lovecraft (Hippocampus Press, 2014); The Madness of Cthulhu [2 vols.] (Titan, 2014); H. P. Lovecraft, Letters to Elizabeth Toldridge and Anne Tillery Renshaw (Hippocampus Press, August 2013); H. P. Lovecraft, The Ancient Track, rev. ed. (Hippocampus Press, August 2013); Clark Ashton Smith, The Dark Eidolon and Other Fantasies (Penguin, spring 2014). This doesn’t include some projects that are still somewhat nebulous or incomplete: e.g., the letters of HPL and CAS; Black Wings IV (nearly half assembled); and others that I can’t even remember right now.
Much news to report! Perhaps of greatest import (to me, at any rate), is the fact that the most extensive interview of me ever conducted has just appeared on the Ambrose Bierce Site (http://donswaim.com/). This interview—of which my contribution was more than 8000 words—goes well beyond my work on Bierce and covers many aspects of my life, my work on Lovecraft, Mencken, and other writers, and other matters. One could almost write a biography of me based on this interview!
I am thrilled to have at last received copies of the three-volume edition of George Sterling’s Complete Poetry (http://www.hippocampuspress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=10_13&products_id=119). As you can see, the limited edition slipcased hardcover edition is already sold out, but the regular hardcover edition is still available. I myself have two sets of the regulard hardcover edition available for interested readers, and I am prepared to sell them for the bargain price of $150. Better get them fast—there are only about 200 in existence!
I see that my novel, The Assaults of Chaos, is now available for pre-order from Hippocampus Press (http://www.hippocampuspress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=10_12&products_id=126). Only 500 hardcover copies will be printed, so you’d better order quickly! I imagine the book will be available by the NecronomiCon (August 23–25), but I’m not sure how much earlier. It will eventually appear in paperback, but that will probably not happen for a year or more.
Another item that is now available for pre-order is Michael Aronovitz’s scintillating novel Alice Walks, to be published in a limited hardcover cover by Centipede Press (http://www.centipedepress.com/horror/alicewalks.html). I wrote an afterword to this book, which is one of the most gripping and powerful weird novels written in recent years. You won’t go wrong in ordering this book!
One book you may go wrong in ordering is Roger Luckhurst’s edition of Lovecraft’s The Classic Horror Stories (Oxford University Press). I am grateful to Wilum Pugmire for passing on a copy of this book to me, as the publisher has so far refused to send me a review copy. A cursory examination reveals lamentable flaws and failings, the most crucial of which is the failure to use my corrected texts. Instead, Luckhurst has perversely gone back to pulp magazine texts, even in the case of the two stories (At the Mountains of Madness and “The Shadow out of Time”) that were butchered in Astounding Stories. There are many other problems with this book, as I intend out specify in detail in a long review that will appear in this year’s Lovecraft Annual. Wilum and I may do a YouTube video on the subject also. I fear that Professor Luckhurst is simply out of his depth, and I can’t imagine why a prestigious press like Oxford would have issued such a wretched book.
I have at long last received copies of the Famous Monsters of Filmland issue devoted to Lovecraft (May/June 2013), containing two articles by me. I understand that the issue may already be sold out, and I fear I myself do not have any spare copies, as I gave them to interested readers. My copies were delayed in reaching me because there was evidently a fire in the editorial offices of the magazine.
The first book in my new Scarecrow Press series, Studies in Supernatural Literature, is now out: Lovecraft and Influence, edited by Robert H. Waugh (https://rowman.com/ISBN/9780810891159). I fear the book is not cheap, but it is a splendid discussion of influences on Lovecraft and his influence on later writers. I have submitted my anthology of essays on Lord Dunsany, as well as William F. Touponce’s study Spectral Journeys (a discussion of Lord Dunsany, H. P. Lovecraft, and Ray Bradbury). Gary William Crawford is on the verge of submitting his anthology of essays on Ramsey Campbell. So I’m hoping the series will do well, at least as far as library sales are concerned.
I have learned that Roger Luckhurst’s edition of H. P. Lovecraft’s The Classic Horror Stories (Oxford University Press) is now out. I have requested a copy from the publisher (I plan to review it in the Lovecraft Annual), but it has not come as yet. What has appeared is a review of it by one Jess Nevins—an author whom I have never heard of as a critic or scholar on Lovecraft or anyone else—in the Los Angeles Times Book Review, reprinted online in Salon.com (http://www.salon.com/2013/05/08/does_h_p_lovecraft_belong_in_the_canon_partner/). This review has more than a few remarks that are either bizarre, wrongheaded, or plainly false. To wit:
I am more interested in Luckhurst’s editorial work. Since I don’t have the book yet, I can only “peek” into it from the Amazon.com site. Here I find that Luckhurst did not in fact use my corrected texts, but went back to the pulp magazine texts and made a few “silent” corrections. What possible benefit could be served by this procedure? I have been generous in allowing others to use my texts—including Joyce Carol Oates (Tales of H. P. Lovecraft, 1997) and the Library of America (Tales, 2005), not to mention various foreign publishers going back to 1984. For anyone, at this late date, to resurect the butchered texts of At the Mountains of Madness and “The Shadow out of Time” from Astounding Stories is to commit an act of idiocy or insanity. And as to whether (in Nevins’s words) Luckhurst’s annotations are “exhaustive and informative”—I shall have to gauge how much he has borrowed from my own notes to the Penguin editions.
But to turn now to matters of much greater interest and import—my own activities and achievements:
I am happy to announce the completion of my anthology Searchers After Horror, prepared for Fedogan & Bremer. It has a distinguished list of contributors, as follows (listed alphabetically): Michael Aronovitz, Hannes Bok (a story written in 1939, supplied to me by Dwayne Olson), Ramsey Campbell, Gary Fry, Richard Gavin, Lois H. Gresh, John D. Haefele, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Nancy Kilpatrick, Nick Mamatas, W. H. Pugmire, Ann K. Schwader, Darrell Schweitzer, John Shirley, Brian Stableford, Simon Strantzas, Melanie Tem, Steve Rasnic Tem, Jonathan Thomas, and Donald Tyson. Although there are a few Lovecraftian specimens (including John Shirley’s piquant science fiction tale “At Home with Azathoth”), most of the stories are general weird specimens focusing broadly on the theme of the weirdness inherent in landscape, as embodied in the quotation from HPL’s “The Picture in the House” that serves as the basis of the title (“Searchers after horror haunt strange, far places”).
I have seen proofs of a new edition of my American Supernatural Tales (first published in Penguin Classics in 2007) that will soon appear in a six-book series, Penguin Horror, with Guillermo del Toro as general editor. This hardcover series will appear in September, and will also include a reissue of my edition of Lovecraft’s The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories (2001). I am not permitted to disseminate del Toro’s lengthy and fascinating series introduction, but I am gratified to see that he has some kind words about my own work as a scholar of Lovecraft and weird fiction.
It has come to my attention that some small presses in our field are tolerating and even encouraging the use of such bastardised forms as “alright” (i.e., “all right”). In my day, that would have brought out the ruler across the knuckles in no time. Indeed, I am sorry to report that I see a great many such ungainlinesses in books published in our field, and so I am prepared to offer my services to any small press as a freelance copyeditor. I will work cheap (perhaps a dollar per printed page)—not because I need the money, but because bringing some order to chaos and preserving the integrity of the English language are essential to my overall purpose in life.
My choir concert on May 11 was a rousing success, and I suspect that the one on the 18th will be even better. For those of you who may still wish to come, here are the details: http://www.nwchorale.org/concerts.htm. I understand that the larger-than-life Wilum Pugmire will be in the audience!
My 193rd book, an omnibus of Ambrose Bierce’s writings in Centipede Press’s Masters of the Weird Tale series, has just appeared. It is a typically beautiful Centipede Press product, with superior illustrations by Jason C. Eckhardt and enclosed in a slipcase. I see that the list price is $195, but Centipede is offering it for $175 (http://www.centipedepress.com/masters/ambrosebierce.html). I have two spare copies that I am prepared to let go for $150 at the usual terms. Only 200 copies printed, so don’t delay!
I count this as my 193rd book—not my 190th, as I announced last time—because, as I was preparing my bibliography for publication as 200 Books by S. T. Joshi, I discovered that I had omitted three titles (all edited books) from my list! Incredible. With the help of my skilled webmaster, Greg Lowney, these titles have now been inserted into the bibliography on this site. The preparation of the bibliography for publication is proving a bit onerous, since I am attempting to supply tables of contents for all the books. This may prove unfeasible, as it will make the bibliography enormously large, so that I may have to trim the tables of contents when the bibliography is published.
My edition of George Sterling’s Complete Poetry (books nos. 194, 195, and 196) is apparently out, but I have not yet received copies. But I’m sure it looks splendid. Another thing I have not received is copies of the issue of Famous Monsters of Filmland containing the two articles I wrote for its Lovecraft issue. Increasingly vocal complaints to the powers-at-be at FMF have proved unavailing. I suspect I will not have anything to do with this outfit in the future.
An interview of me, conducted by Tea Krulos, has now been posted on the Innsmouth Free Press site (http://www.innsmouthfreepress.com/blog/?p=21360). I understand that this interview is part of a larger piece on Lovecraft and Arkham House that Mr. Krulos is preparing.
Responding to the pleas of Darrell Schweitzer, who is editing an anthology of original stories dealing with historical encounters with the Lovecraftian creatures (That Is Not Dead, to be published by PS Publishing), I recently dashed off an 8000-word story, “Incident at Ferney,” in which Voltaire has such an encounter. Quite frankly, the story is not much good, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Darrell rejects it; but it was an amusement to write. I now have about 33,000 words of short fiction to my credit (if that is the right word)—although that figure includes a dreadful novella, “The Recurring Doom,” which I wrote at the age of 17 and which I unwisely allowed Robert M. Price to embalm in The Acolytes of Cthulhu (2001). If the time comes when I assemble a volume of my short stories, I shall have to give serious consideration as to whether I wish to resurrect this piece of juvenile folly.
I recently wrote a brief piece on the history of Lovecraft’s emergence from obscurity to canonicity for Niels Hobbs, who I believe will print it in the program booklet for the NecronomiCon convention (August 23–25). I have also heard that Stephen Jones will reprint my section on Arthur Machen from Unutterable Horror for the program booklet of the World Fantasy Convention in Brighton, England (October 31–November 3).
The first book in my Scarecrow Press series, Studies in Supernatural Literature, is apparently due to be published this month: Lovecraft and Influence, edited by Robert H. Waugh (https://rowman.com/ISBN/9780810891166). I fear the book is a tad expensive, since it is chiefly designed for libraries, but it is an outstanding volume that treats both influences on Lovecraft (Poe, Dunsany, the Munsey magazines, etc.) and Lovecraft’s influence on his successors (Frank Belknap Long, Ramsey Campbell, Stephen King, etc.). Maybe there will be an affordable e-book that the more impecunious of us can read!
I am happy to report the publication of my 188th and 189th books, Nolan on Bradbury (a volume of writings—essays, stories, and poetry—by William F. Nolan on the late great master of fantasy and science fiction) and Dreams of Fear: Poetry of Terror and the Supernatural (an historical anthology of weird poetry, from Homer to Leigh Blackmore, which I have coedited by Steven J. Mariconda). Both are published by Hippocampus Press, and I am prepared to offer them for sale for $15 each on the usual terms (postage included for US customers; $10 extra per volume for postage to non-US customers). I am itching to see my 190th, 191st, and 192nd books—i.e., my long-awaited edition of George Sterling’s Complete Poetry—but this does not appear to be ready yet.
As I approach my 200th volume, I plan to issue a completely self-indulgent publication, 200 Books by S. T. Joshi, analogous to August Derleth’s 100 Books by August Derleth (Arkham House, 1962). I am hopeful that Derrick Hussey of Hippocampus Press will indulge me in this. The book will essentially be an expansion—with full tables of contents—of the bibliography on this website.
Actually, it seems that my 190th book may already be out: a large selection of Ambrose Bierce’s writings in Centipede Press’s Masters of the Weird Tale series (http://www.centipedepress.com/masters/ambrosebierce.html). I have, however, not received copies of this book—and may in fact not have any spare copies to offer. It also appears that Centipede has unofficially announced—by way of postings on Amazon.com—of a series that I have long wished to announce: the Library of Weird Fiction. This series will consist of relatively affordable (at least by comparison with the Masters of the Weird Tale series) hardcover volumes of classic horror authors. The first four authors are H. P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, Algernon Blackwood, and William Hope Hodgson. Here is the Amazon listing for the Lovecraft volume: http://www.amazon.com/H-P-Lovecraft/dp/1613470487. It seems that all the books are scheduled to appear on December 17, although I imagine that they will be available earlier. I am hopeful that these books will be kept in print for as long as there is a demand for them.
Speaking of Centipede, I have a grotesque number of books coming out from them. Aside from those already mentioned, I have assembled omnibuses of the work of David Case, Fred Chappell, John Metcalfe, Sax Rohmer, Dennis Etchison, Robert W. Chambers, and J. Sheridan Le Fanu, and am working on omnibuses of E. F. Benson and Robert Aickman (assuming that Centipede can get permission from Aickman’s agents). This does not include the Weird Fiction Review or David J. Schow’s The Shaft, a novel whose reprinting I have facilitated by scanning the text. I do not know precisely when any of these titles will be out, but I imagine they will appear in the course of this year and next. Oh, yes—and don’t forget my huge anthology, A Mountain Walked: Great Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos, due out this summer!
I am pleased to see the publication of Michael Paulkovich’s treatise No Meek Messiah: Christianity’s Lies, Laws and Legacy (http://www.amazon.com/No-Meek-Messiah-Christianitys-Legacy/dp/0988216116). I supplied a blurb for this book, which is one of the most comprehensive and devastating investigations of the fallacies of the Christian religion and its deleterious influence on world civilisation ever written. Don’t hesitate to pick it up!
On an altogether different note, I would like to announce two upcoming performances of my community choir, the Northwest Chorale, on May 11 and 18 at various venues in the Seattle area (http://www.nwchorale.org/concerts.htm). This concert is quite a departure from our usual fare, as we will be performing various Broadway show tunes and other non-sacred works. Indeed, I don’t believe there is a single work of sacred music in the lot. So if you’re in the vicinity, do come!
Here’s something very bizarre. A colleague has informed me that there is a printed book about me: Jesse Russell and Ronald Cohn’s S. T. Joshi (Miami: Book on Demand, 2013). I see on copy for sale on the Abebooks.com website: http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=9882830450&searchurl=sts%3Dt%26tn%3Ds.%2Bt.%2Bjoshi. Yog-Sothoth Neblod Zin! I have no idea who Jesse Russell and Ronald Cohn are. This book seems to be a compendium of Wikipedia entries on me—although how there can be more than one is beyond my understanding. (While searching for this entry on Abebooks, I found several other books in which I am discussed—e.g., American Writers of Indian Descent—also consisting of my Wikipedia entry.)
I am happy to say that my edition of Clark Ashton Smith for Penguin Classics is nearly done. I just completed the introduction yesterday and have sent it to Scott Connors to make sure that there are no blunders in it. I readily acknowledge that Scott knows more about CAS’s life and work than I do. The book, which underwent some slight revision of contents in the process of compilation, contains 23 stories, 18 prose poems, and 57 poems, with introduction and notes. I like to think it presents the totality of CAS’s work to pretty good advantage.
I am also nearing completion on my Original Atheists book for Prometheus. Only the introduction needs to be written. I have worked pretty hard on this book also, revising the public-domain translations of French authors (and producing one new translation—a chapter from Condillac’s Traité des systèmes), writing extensive explanatory notes to all the selections, and compiling a bibliography of further reading on all the authors. I hope to submit the book in a week or two to the publisher.
Edward Lin from Barron’s (or, more precisely, Barrons.com) has gotten in touch with me about an article he is preparing for the lifestyle insert of his magazine, focusing on “the relatively recent trend of small presses doing limited runs of deluxe editions of books.” I answered a few simple e-mail queries and hope they were helpful. I’ll let readers know when the article appears.
I have received proofs of the first book in my Studies in Supernatural Series from Scarecrow Press—Lovecraft and Influence, edited by Robert H. Waugh. I will be compiling the index, while Bob reads the actual proofs. The book looks good overall, although the publisher has instituted a rather peculiar method of preparing the index. I have now submitted two further books in the series—William F. Touponce’s Spectral Journeys (containing discussions of Lord Dunsany, H. P. Lovecraft, and Ray Bradbury) and my anthology of essays on Lord Dunsany, which shall probably be called simply Critical Essays on Lord Dunsany. I am also continuing work on the revised bibliography of Dunsany, getting significant help from Martin Andersson, Jason Sturner, and others.
I have heard that my anthology Dreams of Fear is now officially published by Hippocampus Press, but I have not received any copies as yet. My gifted coeditor, Steven J. Mariconda, has just submitted his expanded collection of essays on Lovecraft, H. P. Lovecraft: Art, Artifact, and Reality, a solid book of more than 100,000 words which we will release by the NecronomiCon.
My young quasi-protégé Clint Smith has now submitted the complete manuscript of his story collection, Ghouljaw and Other Stories—a solid volume of 14 shuddersome tales that I hope Hippocampus Press can publish next year. I have been impressed with Smith ever since I published his story “Benthos” in the first issue of the Weird Fiction Review (2010). I have also been working with James Robert Smith in assembling a collection of his stories, and he has now submitted a book that looks very good. I am also hoping that Hippocampus will issue Michael Aronovitz’s chilling short novel The Witch of the Wood.
Lots of other things in the works, but this should do for now!
I am happy to announce the publication of my edition of Edward Lucas White’s The Stuff of Dreams (Arcane Wisdom), a substantial volume of White’s weird stories, taken from The Song of the Sirens (1919) and Lukundoo (1927). I see that the list price of the book is $49.00 from the publisher, so I am prepared to offer it at $40 at my usual terms. Get ’em while they last!
Please note that I still have copies of the books I announced in my last few blogs:
I also have such an abundance of spare copies of my American Rationalist magazine that I am prepared to offer them at a substantial discount. I have available the issues of: July/August, September/October, and November/December 2011; January/February, March/April, May/June, September/October, and November/December 2012; and January/February and March/April 2013. (For some reason I cannot find copies of the July/August 2012 issue, but they are probably around here somewhere.) That makes a total of 10 separate issues. I can offer these at $2.00 per issue, on condition that readers buy at least 5 issues. Lemme know and I’ll send ’em out! They’re a riot, if only for my pungent “Stupidity Watch” column.
Not a great deal else to report. I continue to work hard on my Penguin edition of Clark Ashton Smith, and also on my next atheism book (The Original Atheists) for Prometheus Books. I am also toiling on the W. C. Morrow edition for Centipede Press. Centipede has now expressed an interest in a complete edition of the ghost stories of E. F. Benson, and also the complete “strange stories” of Robert Aickman. Both of these editions will likely go to two volumes. The Benson volume is a go, but the Aickman project will have to await the sanction of Aickman’s agents, and I am not at all certain that they will comply. But something must be done to get Aickman’s works more widely disseminated. These editions, of course, will be limited and expensive ones (they will be part of Centipede’s Masters of the Weird Tale series), but they are likely to be reprinted later in a more affordable series that I will announce in due course of time.
A long-stalled project that may eventually get published is my edition of the weird tales of D. H. Lawrence, which I prepared some time ago for Ash-Tree Press. Ash-Tree has suffered some difficulties in recent years, but I heard from Christopher Roden a while back that he may now wish to proceed with this volume as a print edition. Let’s hope for the best.
I have been notified by the Horror Writers Association that I will be moderating a panel on Lovecraft at the HWA convention in New Orleans this June. I have titled the panel “Lovecraft’s Eternal Fascination” and provided the following description: “H. P. Lovecraft’s tales has been disseminated in countless editions around the world; his essays, poetry, and letters have been published, and he is one of the few horror writers regarded as a canonical American author. What is it about Lovecraft’s stories that keeps them relevant in the 21st century? And who are some of the contemporary horror writers who are taking Lovecraftian motifs in new directions?” I hope this will be of interest to attendees.
I understand that such Hippocampus books as Nolan on Bradbury and my Dreams of Fear anthology are imminent. I’ll inform everyone when copies actually reach me. Steven J. Mariconda is working hard on finalising his collection of essays on Lovecraft, which will be out by the time of the NecronomiCon convention in August.
This blog won’t be a particularly extensive one, chiefly because not much has happened since my last one; but I did want to announce the arrival of a sheaf of wonderful new Hippocampus Press books, which I am now prepared to offer at slight discounts from the list price:
The other news of consequence is that I have conducted a podcast with a person who goes by the initials KMO, dealing with Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, and Robert E. Howard. It is now available for listening: http://c-realm.com/podcasts/crealm/351-weird-tales-and-paltry-paychecks/. I believe there will be a separate, shorter podcast covering the issue of atheism, but this appears not to be up yet.
On Sunday, March 3, at 3 p.m. (PST), I will mosey on over to Wilum Pugmire’s house to hold some kind of discussion on the Lovecraft e-Zine. I am quite frankly not sure how exactly this is to be done, but I imagine I will catch on quickly enough.
I have at last received contracts from Penguin for my Penguin Classics edition of Clark Ashton Smith. I was a little alarmed to see that the due date is April 15 (I had thought it would be May 1), but I imagine I can make it. I have already plunged into the task of preparing the texts and writing annotations. I find that the landmark edition of CAS’s Collected Fantasies edited by Scott Connors and Ronald S. Hilger did not in fact annotate the stories beyond providing (very valuable) information on their genesis and publication history, so I guess I will be breaking a certain minimal amount of new ground here. But, like Dunsany, CAS’s work does not lend itself to the kind of exhaustive annotation that we find in Lovecraft’s work, since his tales do not contain the superabundance of historical, literary, and cultural references that are in HPL’s.
The Dunsany bibliography plugs along, and Martin Andersson is making remarkable discoveries of previously unknown appearances and previously unknown works—some of which may have appeared initially in newspapers in Singapore! We are still investigating this matter. Martin has also found an array of Dunsany’s stories in such London newspapers as the Daily Mail and (especially) the Evening News, some of which appear to be uncollected. More on this later!
I am awaiting the receipt of copies of several recent Hippocampus Press titles, among them Richard Gavin’s At Fear’s Altar, the paperback editions of my I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H. P. Lovecraft and of the Complete Poetry and Translations of Clark Ashton Smith, and a few other titles; but none have come so far, so I cannot offer them to my readers for purchase. I did get copies of Dead Reckonings No. 12 (Fall 2012), containing a review and a column of mine. I also see that such books as my compilation Dreams of Fear: Poems of Terror and the Supernatural and my edition of George Sterling’s Complete Poetry are now on the website, but I do not believe these books are published yet.
Speaking of Richard Gavin, I have been told that his story “The Word Made Flesh” will be reprinted in Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year. Wonderful news … and a well-deserved acknowledgment of Richard’s rising status in the field. Also, John Shirley’s “When Death Wakes Me from Myself” (from my Black Wings II) will be reprinted in Paula Guran’s The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror.
I don’t have much more to say about some of the media items I mentioned earlier. A person named Digby Rumsey is working on a documentary film about Lord Dunsany, and we hope to get together in England later this year for an interview. I will also give a podcast this Thursday (February 21) at noon (Eastern Time) on the C-Realm Podcast out of New York. This was set up by my neighbour, Jim Dempsey, who knows the person (who goes only by the initials KMO) who runs the podcast. I will also appear on the Lovecraft E-Zine, along with Wilum Pugmire, on March 3. This past weekend, when Jason & Sunni Brock and William F. Nolan were up here, we all trooped to Wilum’s house and record two separate YouTube videos: Jason and Bill talked about the unjustly forgotten film director Dan Curtis, and Wilum and I talked about my usual array of current projects.
I am now working in earnest in preparing an edition of W. C. Morrow’s weird tales for Centipede Press’s Masters of the Weird Tale series. I will be editing the volume in conjunction with Stefan Dziemianowicz. We will be using fairly liberal selection criteria for the book, including a number of non-supernatural tales of varying degrees of gruesomeness—a mode of writing in which Morrow excelled. I may even want to include one of his Civil War tales, “The Bloodhounds” (1879), which is incredibly grim and chilling—although I in fact already reprinted it in my anthology, Civil War Memories (2000).
I am also working diligently on another atheism-related book, now titled The Original Atheists: First Thoughts on Nonbelief. This will be for Prometheus Books, and will reprint selections of a wide array of eighteenth-century philosophers, from Voltaire to David Hume to James Madison. All great fun!
I have heard of interest from an Italian agent in securing the translation rights to Unutterable Horror: A History of Supernatural fiction, and from a Spanish publisher interested in the translation rights to Back Wings. Nothing definite on either of these matters yet.
Lots of things happening in this little corner of the world! First, I am pleased to announce that I have written some critical essays for the first time in ages. The first is an article on Lord Dunsany—“Christianity and Paganism in Two Dunsany Novels”—dealing with The Blessing of Pan (1927) and The Curse of the Wise Woman (1933). This article will be published in my anthology of essays on Lord Dunsany—Beyond the Fields We Know—to be published by Scarecrow Press. The book is due to the publisher in April.
The second critical article is one that I wrote years ago for a planned anthology of weird poetry by Ambrose Bierce, George Sterling, and Clark Ashton Smith. This article—“A Triumvirate of Fantastic Poets: Ambrose Bierce, George Sterling, and Clark Ashton Smith”—will appear in the Summer 2013 issue of Extrapolation. I can’t say that these two articles will augur a burst of new critical work on my part, but it was fun to write them.
Actually, I have undertaken an entire critical volume—Varieties of Crime Fiction—which will discuss as many as 12 authors in the mystery/suspense field: John Dickson Carr, Margery Allingham, Rex Stout, Margaret Millar, Patricia Highsmith, L. P. Davies, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Ross Macdonald, P. D. James, Sue Grafton, and Ruth Rendell. This will be a “lighter” critical work, nothing so weighty as my history of horror fiction. I wrote on Davies already in The Evolution of the Weird Tale (2004) and will probably simply reprint or adapt that piece. I have of course written a whole book on Carr, but will reread selected works for a new analysis. I am reading Margaret Millar right now and enjoying her work hugely.
I have received copies of the second printing (January 2013) of Maurice Level’s Tales of the Grand Guignol from Centipede Press. This one actually has a dust jacket (with cover art by David Ho), which the first printing lacked. The printing is limited to 300 copies, selling for $50. I have copies that I would be happy to part with for $40 at the usual rates. … Copies of The Dead Valley and Others (H. P. Lovecraft’s Favorite Horror Stories, Volume 2) are still available at $40.
The two-volume anthology The Madness of Cthulhu is now finished—almost. I am waiting for one more story, probably from Amber Benson. The complete lineup of authors is: Kevin J. Anderson, Laird Barron, Erik & Greg Bear, Arthur C. Clarke, Jason C. Eckhardt, Alan Dean Foster, Cody Goodfellow, Heather Graham, Lois H. Gresh, Karen Haber, Mark Howard Jones, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Nancy Kilpatrick, J. C. Koch, Jonathan Maberry, William F. Nolan, Joseph S. Pulver, Sr., Darrell Schweitzer, John Shirley, Michael Shea, Robert Silverberg, William Browning Spencer, Brian Stableford, Melanie Tem, Steve Rasnic Tem, Jonathan Thomas, K. M. Tonso, Harry Turtledove, and Donald Tyson. All the stories are original except those by Clarke (“At the Mountains of Murkiness”) and Silverberg (“Diana of the Hundred Breasts”).
Some more nebulous things going on, chiefly in the realm of media … a possible podcast about Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, and related writers … a documentary film about Lord Dunsany … film rights to my Lovecraft biography. More on all these matters next time!
I am now happy to make a momentous announcement: The second revised edition of The Ancient Track: Complete Poetical Works of H. P. Lovecraft will appear later this year…from Hippocampus Press! It will be a trade paperback edition of some 600 pages, and will contain a dozen or more newly discovered poems not included in the original edition. The notes and introduction have been thoroughly overhauled, and I believe this book will remain tolerably definitive for the foreseeable future. I was forced to withdraw the book from Night Shade Books because that publisher did not seem to express any notable interest in publishing it in the near future, and I did not wish to see the book (which was largely completed a year ago) sit idle for much longer. I am not sure exactly when Hippocampus will release it, but it could happen within the next few months.
I am also happy to see the appearance of Avatars of Wizardry, a book of poems inspired by George Sterling’s “A Wine of Wizardry” and Clark Ashton Smith’s “The Hashish-Eater,” edited by Charles Lovecraft. This has appeared from P’rea Press in Australia and—aside from a brief foreword by me—has scintillating original poems by Richard L. Tierney, Leigh Blackmore, Alan Gullette, Bruce Boston, Wade German, Kyla Lee Ward, Michael Fantina, and Earl Livings. It is a splendid little trade paperback volume and well worth ordering. See www.preapress.com.
Another book that I will be happy to see out in due course of time is Michael Aronovitz’s first published novel, Alice Walks, which will appear later this year from Centipede Press. I have just finished going over the proofs and have written a brief introduction. It is one of the most terrifying and compelling short novels written in recent decades, and surprisingly brings a freshness to the old-time “ghost story” that I did not think was possible. Michael is nothing if not prolific, and I understand that Jason V Brock’s Cycatrix Press is scheduled to publish a short story collection of Michael’s later this year. And Hippocampus Press is considering another short novel he has written. I met Michael briefly in Princeton, N.J., last year and hope to see him and his wife at the World Horror Convention this June.
Another of my most distinguished protégés, Jonathan Thomas, is preparing his third short story collection for publication with Hippocampus Press later this year. It is as yet untitled, but it will contain a number of his more recent stories, several of them unpublished. More details to follow as I know them!
A few more copies of my edition of The Dead Valley and Others (H. P. Lovecraft’s Favorite Horror Stories, Volume 2) (Arcane Wisdom, 2012) have just drifted in, so readers are welcome to purchase it at the terms announced before ($40 for US customers [which includes postage]; extra postage for overseas customers to be determined).
I have already completed assembling my Collected Essays on H. P. Lovecraft for Hippocampus Press, although it will not appear any earlier than 2014. The book stands at 256,723 words. Of course, it does not include absolutely everything I’ve ever written on Lovecraft, even among my critical essays. (Reviews are excluded, since most of these already appeared in Classics and Contemporaries.) There were some essays that I decided were simply too inferior, or outdated, to include. But I did include some introductions to editions of Lovecraft’s work—such as the introduction to In Defence of Dagon (1985), The Annotated Supernatural Horror in Literature (2000), Against Religion (2010), and Miscellaneous Writings (1995), which I understand is out of print from Arkham House. The onerous task of compiling the index remains.
I understand that Pete Crowther of PS Publishing will be issuing separate booklets of Lovecraft’s The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath and “The Dreams in the Witch House.” I will be writing brief introductions to each of these works, and I have also provided Pete with my corrected texts.
Hippocampus Press is already gearing up for the NecronomiCon convention in Providence (August 23–25) by contemplating the issuance of a number of books relating to Lovecraft. Aside from the second edition of The Ancient Track, we are working on a book by David Goudsward, H. P. Lovecraft in the Merrimack Valley, which details Lovecraft’s explorations in the area around Haverhill, Newburyport, and environs and his use of it in his fiction. There is much new information about Lovecraft’s relations with Charles W. (“Tryout”) Smith, Myrta Alice Little, and other matters. Steven J. Mariconda is working on an expanded edition of his collected essays on Lovecraft, which should include some exciting new pieces—especially about the topographical setting of “The Colour out of Space” and on some background elements in The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.
Lots of other things in the pipeline! Next time I hope to have some further word on the status of my two-volume anthology, The Madness of Cthulhu, now nearly finished.
I was tremendously gratified by my readers’ response to the announcement of the publication of Unutterable Horror: A History of Supernatural Fiction, and I regret not being able to supply more customers with copies. I only had 6 to sell, and they seem to have been snapped up minutes after my last blog was posted. I hope others can trouble themselves to order either from the publisher or from some US dealers who may carry the book. My understanding is the Mark Ziesing and Subterranean Press will carry a limited number of copies, which will at least allow customers to avoid heavy air-mail shipping charges from England.
As a feeble recompense, I can announce that I have an abundant number of copies of my newest book, H. L. Mencken’s Bluebeard’s Goat and Other Stories (Dufour Editions, 2012). This trade paperback (list price $16.95) has a substantial number of stories by Mencken, many of them never reprinted. One of them—“The Window of Horrors” (Smart Set, September 1917)—is actually a horror story, although I reprinted this earlier in my anthology Great Tales of Terror (Dover, 2002). I can offer copies of Bluebeard’s Goat for $10 at the usual terms (i.e., postage included for US customers).
I see that a listing for my edition of George Sterling’s complete poetry has now appeared on the Hippocampus Press website: http://www.hippocampuspress.com/mythos-and-other-authors/poetry/george-sterling-complete-poetry?zenid=190d480e9f65adbc6636c6b0051fe618. This does not mean that the book is out, however: I believe we are still waiting for a foreword by Kevin Starr. Nevertheless, the book is imminent, and I expect it to appear within the first two months of the year. I doubt, however, that I will have very many copies for sale.
Stefan Dziemianowicz has written a nice review of my Black Wings II in the January 2013 issue of Locus. Stefan is also engaging in the unenviable task of reading through the entirety of Unutterable Horror for a review that will probably appear in the March issue.
I have begun work on an omnibus of Robert W. Chambers’s weird tales for Centipede Press’s Masters of the Weird Tale series. The volume will probably differ somewhat from my earlier Chambers omnibus, The Yellow Sign and Other Stories (Chaosium, 2000), at least to the degree that it will include the late novel The Slayer of Souls (1920). That will make it a very big book indeed, and I will probably have to cut some other material to make room for it.
I am fulfilling my threat—er, promise—to assemble my collected essays on Lovecraft, to be published by Hippocampus Press no earlier than 2014. It will include the complete contents of Selected Papers on Lovecraft (1989) and Primal Sources (2003), the Lovecraft-related articles in The Evolution of the Weird Tale (2004), and much else that has never been reprinted. The book will be distressingly large, but will probably not extend to two volumes. I will be including a number of my introductions to various editions of Lovecraft’s work, including the general introduction and section introductions to Miscellaneous Writings (1995), which I believe is now out of print.