S. T. Joshi’s Blog

June 14, 2022 — Black Wings VII Completed

I am thrilled to note that Black Wings VII: New Tales of Lovecraftian Horror has now been completed and sent to the publisher (PS Publishing). I believe it is one of the most notable volumes in the set, with a number of distinctive stories. Here is the table of contents:

I hardly need to point out the inclusion of Ramsey Campbell at the head of the volume. I was in fact unaware that he was even working on such a story, but it arrived without warning a few weeks ago—and it is a dandy! All the other contributions are powerful. The story by my fellow Indian Aditya Dwarkesh is to be noted. This is the first of his tales to be accepted for professional publication, and I hope Dwarkesh (a resident of Calcutta, of which his tale provides a striking glimpse) does more good work in the future.

Another important item is Ken Faig Jr’s Pike’s Peak or Bust: The Life and Works of David V. Bush, just published by Sarnath Press (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B3SMCXW1/). This biography of Lovecraft’s perennial revision client is the product of years of research by Faig, and the portrait he paints of this peculiar individual—part guru and part charlatan—is riveting. Faig chronicles Bush’s long career as a clergyman, public speaker, and writer, provides synopses of all his books (including, ahem, The Psychology of Sex), and discusses his run-ins with various government agencies for peddling products that may have been unsafe or may not have conformed to federal laws such as the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906. It’s a lively tale, and Faig tells it well. Lovecraft is mentioned throughout.

My choir, the Northwest Chorale, performed on June 11 at a nearby church—our first performance in two and a half years. We’d been rehearsing since February. The concert went quite well. We performed William Byrd’s spectacular Mass for 4 Voices as well as Randall Thompson’s Frostiana (a series of seven songs based on poems by Robert Frost). My piece “Sunset” was performed again (as it had been in our May 2019 concert), and the choir did it creditably. As a reminder, I would point readers to a video of that recording (made by my able webmaster, Greg Lowney) that is available on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hy8sLLmj9RA.

Two new books from Weird House Press have come in, and splendid books they are! The first is Joshua Rex’s superlative novella The Inamorata (https://www.weirdhousepress.com/product/the-inamorta/), issued under the publisher’s sub-imprint, Ghost House. This is a haunting tale set in the late eighteenth century and extensively involving music (specifically, a spectral viola). I did some minimal copy editing and also provided some musical notation (a viola solo) that is printed on the inside front and back covers. The other item is a hardcover edition of Curtis M. Lawson’s excellent weird novel Black Heart Boys’ Choir (https://www.weirdhousepress.com/product/black-heart-boys-choir/). As you can see, I wrote the foreword to the book. I still have some paperback copies of the book (Wyrd Horror, 2019) that I would be happy to let go for $10.

Yet another LP from Cadabra Records has reached me: a reading of Lovecraft’s “The Statement of Randolph Carter” and “The Unnamable” by Andrew Leman. I wrote the liner notes. Oddly enough, I do not see the item listed on Cadabra’s website, but I imagine it will show up soon.

I believe some new Hippocampus Press books are imminent, or perhaps actually published, including Peter Cannon’s Long Memories and Other Writings, Arthur S. Koki’s H. P. Lovecraft: An Introduction to His Life and Writings (the first publication of his master’s thesis of 1962), and R. H. Barlow’s Eyes of the God (a vastly expanded version of our 2002 book, including much more fiction, a few more items of poetry, all his extant essays [in English], and some pieces about him). A rich feast for the devotee!

June 3, 2022 — The Parameters of the Weird Tale Published

I am happy to announce the publication of The Parameters of the Weird Tale (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B2HWFTHB). The volume contains the following:

The material derives from a wide array of sources: liner notes to spoken-word recordings from Cadabra Records; introductions to volumes by Centipede Press, Weird House Press, etc.; old bibliographical articles from the New Lovecraft Collector (1993–99); and so on. The final section contains an array of autobiographical material: the first two items are unpublished; the remaining items are the products of various controversies I was engaged in from the 1970s onward.

This is likely to be the last such volume I issue for quite some time, as I am pretty much out of material. I will not be ordering any spare copies to sell, so please order directly from Amazon.

I am pleased to see that the Czech translation of a collection of my stories has now appeared under the title Cosi z hloubi (“Something from the Depths”). Here is a photograph of the book:

The Czech collection of Joshi's writings

This contains the novella Something from Below in addition to three Lovecraftian tales. The publisher (Carcosa) writes “The arrangement of the texts was designed by S. T. Joshi himself to reflect his authorial development in the field of weird fiction. The oldest text is from 1980 while the title novel, originally published separately, is from 2019.” I should be getting copies soon from the publisher. For what it’s worth, I’ll provide the publisher’s web page about the book: https://www.carcosa.cz/blog/ke-knize-cosi-z-hloubi-s--t--joshiho/.

I have now received another recording from Cadabra Records, this one a spoken-word recording of “Count Magnus” by M. R. James (https://cadabrarecords.com/collections/m-r-james-count-magnus). The copy I received also contains a large poster of the artwork on the back cover. I wrote the liner notes.

I have at last finished Chapter V (“The Mediaeval Era”) of my history of atheism, now titled The Downfall of God. It came out to be quite a bit larger than I expected, but there was simply too much material that I had to include:

I have, however, narrowed the scope of the book to cover only atheism in Western culture. The attempt to add discussions of atheism elsewhere in the world simply proved too cumbersome: aside from making the book even larger than it is, it is simply beyond my level of expertise to engage in this area, especially since (as I discovered) it is difficult to find material in English written on, say, atheism in China. As it is, the book should still reach some 400,000 words in total. The first volume now has one more chapter to go before it is finished (“VI. The Renaissance”)—but that chapter will take months of writing and research.

I have made a deliberate decision not to discuss controversial political, social, or other subjects here; but certain recent events have compelled me to break my silence. The following article strikes me as highly relevant: https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2022/5/25/2100295/-The-Gun-God-is-not-accustomed-to-have-its-sacrifices-questioned. Please pass this around to any hoplophiles (that’s a fancy word for “gun nuts”) in your midst.

May 20, 2022 — More Hippocampus Press Books!

I am in receipt of an ample sheaf of new books from Hippocampus Press, which I am happy to offer at a reduction from the list price (and, as always, I cover media mail postage for US customers):

On top of which, I have received from PS Publishing a generous supply of copies of Ramsey Campbell: Master of Weird Fiction (https://www.pspublishing.co.uk/ramsey-campbell-master-of-weird-fiction—hardcover-s-t-joshi-5640-p.asp), a fine hardcover volume that constitutes a major revision and expansion of my earlier book, Ramsey Campbell and Modern Horror Fiction (2001). I am prepared to offer this volume for the bargain price of $20.

Let me describe the Hippocampus titles further. The Dejasu and Lawson volumes add to our distinguished line of contemporary fiction. This is Dejasu’s first story collection, and many of the tales are set in Providence—a contemporary Providence that is plagued by an incomprehensible virus or plague. The book has received the imprimatur of none other than T. E. D. Klein, who has written a foreword to it. Lawson has published several previous volumes and is quickly emerging as one of the most distinctive voices in weird fiction today.

Matt Cardin’s volume comprises his collected essays on weird fiction and related subjects, including religion, philosophy, and media studies. The Machen volume (edited by me) is a substantial collection of his writings on philosophy and literature; most of the pieces are uncollected. Ken Faig’s book is a rich sampling of his in-depth research on people and places related to Lovecraft, including discussions of the houses HPL lived in, studies of HPL’s Devonshire ancestry and other relatives, and much else besides. Lovecraftian Proceedings is the fourth instalment of some of the papers at the Armitage Symposium of NecronomiCon Providence, this one featuring papers delivered at the 2019 event.

I am also in receipt of The Death of Halpin Frayser (https://cadabrarecords.com/collections/all/products/ambrose-bierce-the-death-of-halpin-frayser-lp-read-by-anthony-d-p-mann-score-by-chris-bozzone-blue-vinyl-edition), a new LP from Cadabra Records that constitutes a reading of the Ambrose Bierce story. The LP is also available in a “red vinyl” edition ($34) and a “splatter edition” ($45). I have no spare copies of this LP, so please order it directly from Cadabra.

I see that the Spanish edition of I Am Providence is out (https://www.auroradoradaediciones.com/product/yo-soy-providence-la-vida-y-epoca-de-h-p-lovecraft), but I have not received any copies as yet. This means that the book is now available in French, German, Italian, and Spanish! (The previous edition, H. P. Lovecraft: A Life [1996], was translated into Polish.)

Let me now recount our whirlwind trip to Denver (May 13–15). After a tedious two-hour flight (and an even more tedious wait to get a rental car at the airport), we arrived in downtown Denver late on Friday afternoon. We were not staying at the convention hotel (the Curtis), as the rates were very expensive if one was not registered for StokerCon (which we weren’t). We then drove to the suburb of Lakewood, where Jerad Walters (publisher of Centipede Press) holds forth. His home is being totally remodelled, and should be lovely when it is done in about a month or so. Jason and Sunni Brock came separately. We all repaired to a fine pizza place for dinner.

The next day we briefly looked in at the Curtis to see what was going on, meeting Steve Rasnic Tem after he’d just been on a panel discussion. After that, we roamed around downtown, seeing a well-attended abortion rights rally at the Denver statehouse. In the early evening we participated in a signing of the newly published volume What Remains, just out from Firbolg Publishing (https://www.firbolgpublishing.com/). It is an exceptionally handsome hardcover volume focusing on death and its manifold ramifications. It contains my old poem (written in high school), “Finale: Adagio ma non tanto”—the first time any poem of mine has been reprinted in a hardcover book. Jason, Sunni, Mary, and I went to dinner with the publishers, the sisters Alex and Bobbi Scully, and had a fine time.

The next day (Sunday), Mary and I skipped the convention altogether and drove out to the Wild Animal Sanctuary, about 35 miles northeast of Denver. We’d been there in 2014 and were happy to visit it again. In the course of several hours we managed to catch sight of an ostrich or two, an alpaca, some lumbering bears (black, brown, grizzly), a white tiger that appeared to be limping, other big cats (lioness, cougar, leopard, etc.), some coyotes, and other creatures. Oh, yes—we also saw a (mother?) fox carrying one of its babies in its mouth. All very charming. Then we drove to the airport and came home.

This will probably be the only travel we will do for several months, until we visit our respective families in Minnesota and Indiana in late summer or early fall.

At Jerad’s house I saw a copy of Frank Belknap Long, the newest volume in my Library of Weird Fiction series. This, along with the Machen volume from Hippocampus, constitute my 377th and 378th titles. Yog-Sothoth Neblod Zin!

May 7, 2022 — HPL Documentary to Be Shown in New York

I am happy to announce that Qais Pasha’s documentary Exegesis: Lovecraft will be shown at the New York Science Fiction Film Festival on March 14. Here is a schedule for the festival, with Qais’s film listed: https://www.newyorksci-fifest.com/saturday-may-14-schedule. Here is a link to purchase tickets: https://www.eventbee.com/v/documentary-presentation-lovecraft/event?eid=294307643#/tickets/. Qais informs me that he will be in attendance. Anyone in the New York area is urged to attend the screening and then discuss the film with Qais.

I have learned that my study of Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey Campbell: Master of Weird Fiction) is imminent from PS Publishing. I should have copies in hand before I head to Denver on May 13 (where I will not be attending StokerCon but merely hanging out with selected individuals who will be on the scene). A signed/limited edition is in the works but will probably take a few months to appear.

I continue to work on all manner of things, including my history of atheism (which has now reached about 160,000 words—I’m still bogged down in the mediaeval era) and the annotation of the Lovecraft/Long letters. I am also assembling another volume of my miscellaneous critical work, titled The Parameters of the Weird Tale. This will contain the last fugitive bits of old autobiographical writings of mine—or, more properly, accumulations of data regarding my writing during the period 1973–77. One of these (cited frequently in my Journals) is my Accounts, which tells in condensed fashion of the literary and musical work I was doing at the time. Here is some random entries:

7/10/74 Wrote A Musical Theory. Will be encore for next short story collection, tentatively titled The Recurring Doom and Others, instead of “Disposall, Inc.” The latter is a trifle long, being 70 lines, whereas the former is but 42; wrote Afterword to The Recurring Doom and Others; continued work on the Dark Passageway; wrote First Movement (Adagio) to Concerto Grosso No. 6 in A major, Opus 2, No. 6.

7/11/74 Began Second Movement (Allegro) and Fourth Movement (Non presto) of Concerto Grosso No. 6 in A; changed Six Concerti Grossi to Opus 1 and Six Sonatas for 2 Trumpets and Strings to Opus 2, since (with the destruction of the Trumpet Sonata No. 1 in G, completed 3/24/74) Concerto Grosso No. 1 in A minor now dates earlier than new Trumpet Sonata No. 1 in D (3/26/74 as compared to 4/12/74). 12 Fanfares for Trumpets remains Opus 3.

Will this be of any interest to anyone? Who knows? But it is (mercifully) just about the last dregs of autobiographical material available from this period—a time when I seemed to be maniacally intent on self-documentation.

I see that I have a few random books here that I wouldn’t mind parting with. The most notable item is Reggie Oliver’s fine short story collection The Sea of Blood (Dark Renaissance Books, 2015). This is the limited slipcased edition (26 copies) signed by Reggie Oliver and the artist Santiago Caruso. I will be happy to let this go for $150 to anyone who wants it.

I also have the graphic novel Uzumaki by Junji Ito. This is the “deluxe edition” (as stated on the copyright page) published by VIZ Media in October 2013 (this is the third printing of October 2014). I can offer this for $20. In addition, I have Tom Toner’s novel The Promise of the Child (Night Shade, 2015), which I am offering for $10.

During my recent trip to Providence, the producer of the documentary, Stéphan Roelants, took an evocative photograph of me that makes me look like a private eye from the 1940s! This was one one of our evening expeditions:

Joshi at night in Providence

I should use this as the cover of a book, although it is a tad on the dark side.

April 27, 2022 — Honeymoon in Jail Is Published!

I am happy (or perhaps “relieved” is the better term) to announce the publication, by Sarnath Press, of my detective novel Honeymoon in Jail, with Lovecraft and Sonia as the detectives (https://www.amazon.com/Honeymoon-Jail-Lovecraft-Detective-Novel-ebook/dp/B09YQT2XLF/). (I am providing a link to the page for the Kindle edition, since the cover design is more effective there than on the print edition; it shows the silhouettes of both Sonia and HPL, whereas on the print edition the silhouette of Sonia gets thrown onto the back cover.)

The book’s publication history is a sad one. According to my Word file, I began the short novel (only about 50,000 words) all the way back on March 29, 2015—and, uncannily, finsihed it on March 29, 2019, three days after the death of W. H. Pugmire. Wilum therefore never had a chance to read the work, but Mary and Jonathan Thomas did, and gave it qualified appoval. I offered it to Sam Gafford for Ulthar Press, but he died later in 2019 before he could publish it. Marc A. Michaud of Necronomicon Press agreed to take it over, but recently it became clear to me that he would not have the resources to publish it; so I have issued it myself.

I have to say that I think this is perhaps my most purely entertaining work of fiction. It is a straight detective story, with no supernatural elements (well, there is one very faint weird element—which I won’t reveal here), set in the spring of 1928, when HPL came to Brooklyn (unwillingly) to help Sonia set up a new hat shop. I make this the occasion of the wedding of James F. Morton and Pearl K. Merritt, although (as I state in an author’s note at the end) the wedding did not in fact occur until 1934. Anyway, the entire Kalem Club becomes involved, and HPL inadvertently becomes a kind of hard-boiled private eye who, with Sonia’s help, solves the mystery.

I can purchase some copies to sell directly to customers for $15.00, so let me know and I will order copies from Amazon. Or you can order a copy directly from Amazon.

A number of Hippocampus Press titles have apparently appeared in recent days, although I do not yet have copies of them. These include Ken Faig Jr.’s Lovecraftian People and Places (a fascinating examination of persons and locales associated with Lovecraft’s life and work) and Barry Lee Dejasu’s first story collection, Black City Skyline (most of the stories are set in Providence, R.I.). I believe Curtis M. Lawson’s story collection The Envious Nothing is imminent.

Speaking of Providence, I just came back from a hasty trip to that city to participate in a documentary on Lovecraft being prepared by a French filmmaker, Alexis Metzinger, and his crew. This will be part of a four-part series on “The Roots of Modern Fantasy” (or something like that). The first episode focuses on the Brothers Grimm; the second on William Morris; the third on Lovecraft; and the fourth on Robert E. Howard. Each episode will be an hour long. The host will be John Howe, the Canadian concept artist for the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

We had great fun going all around Providence shooting important sites relating to Lovecraft’s life and work (we were, however, not allowed to film in Swan Point Cemetery, but did take some good photographs of the gravesite). John and I engaged in a dialogue (at times rather artificially staged) on a wide range of topics relating to Lovecraft’s life, work, and reputation. Among the locales we visited were Ladd Observatory, the houses at 598 Angell Street and 10 Barnes Street, and St. John’s Churchyard. Several of these were effectively shot at night; and as I wore my trenchcoat for much of the shooting, I may have come across as some private eye from the 1940s! I am not sure when the program will air, or where—probably it will first appear in Europe, then England. Let’s hope it gets over to this side of the water sometime.

Speaking of France, my colleague Gregory Franklin informs me not only that Jean Cocteau’s brief mention of Lovecraft in the London Observer of 1954 is now available digitally (https://www.newspapers.com/clip/100296818/books-of-1954-a-symposium/), but that Cocteau also fashioned a pencil drawing, Hommage à Lovecraft, in 1951, which can be seen here: https://denisbloch.com/artworks/artists/jean-cocteau/hommage-a-lovecraft/. Note that this drawing preceded the first book of Lovecraft’s stories in French (La Couleur tombée du ciel [Denoël, 1954]) by several years.

Another colleague, David Rose, has written what seems to be a thrilling work of Lovecraftian fiction set in the Iraq of 2005: Lovecraft’s Iraq (https://www.amazon.com/Lovecrafts-Iraq-David-Rose/dp/B09WPZSJX1/). I have not read this work, but the author has proven himself to be a capable writer of both fiction and essays, so I imagine this work is well worth reading.

Otherwise, I continue to work on a multitude of projects—and I am now threatening to publish yet another volume of my miscellany, The Parameters of the Weird Tale, which contains a wide array of my recent essays as well as some vintage autobiographical data, including a “Complete Chronology of Writings” that covers the period 1973–77—a list that fills 38 pages in the handwritten manuscript! Another list, the “Accounts” (covering the period 1974–77), is 48 pages!

April 19, 2022 — His Own Most Fantastic Creation Is Out

I am pleased to see that my anthology His Own Most Fantastic Creation: Stories about H. P. Lovecraft is now out from Hippocampus Press (https://www.hippocampuspress.com/other-authors/fiction/his-own-most-fantastic-creation-stories-about-h.-p.-lovecraft). I have an interesting aside to relate about this volume. Huppocampus was planning a reprint of it exactly a year ago, as that would constitute a year since the original hardcover publication (PS Publishing, 2020). Alas! I discovered that my contract with PS stipulated that I would have to wait two years before being allowed to licence a paperback reprint—but by this time, Hippocampus Press had already printed up some copies! We had to suppress this edition lest we violate the terms of my PS contract. But I received a few copies of the volume and still have them. Any interested customers who wish a copy of this (technically illegal and unauthorised) edition, which dates to 2021 but is otherwise identical to the current reprint, are welcome to purchase it from me for $15.

I am working hard on assembling the three magazines I am responsible for—Spectral Realms #17 (Summer 2021), Penumbra #3, and the Lovecraft Annual #16. All these periodicals seem to be in reasonably good shape, as far as content is concerned, and should appear on time.

I understand that such volumes as Ken Faig, Jr.’s Lovecraftian Places and People and Matt Cardin’s What the Daemon Said (a large collection of his essays on weird fiction and related topics) are very close to publication from Hippocampus. Also imminent are (at long last) the vastly expanded edition of R. H. Barlow’s Eyes of the God (now checking in at more than 500 pages) and, I believe, Curtis M. Lawson’s story collection Beneath the Emerald Sky.

My colleague Mark Howard Jones has just issued a fine collection of his Lovecraftian stories, under the title Star-Spawned (https://www.amazon.com/Star-Spawned-Lovecraftian-Horrors-Strange-Stories/dp/1637898126). I wrote the foreword to the book. Jones is a talented Welsh writer who does consistently fine work both in the Lovecraftian vein and in weird fiction of a more general sort. The volume is well worth picking up!

I recently prepared my eighth volume of the essays of Leslie Stephen. The opening passage of one essay (“Mr. Ruskin’s Recent Writings.” Fraser’s Magazine, June 1874), unreprinted from its original appearance, strikes me as a highly prescient analysis of some of the tribulations we ourselves are undergoing at this moment:

“The world is out of joint. The songs of triumph over peace and progress which were so popular a few years ago have been quenched in gloomy silence. It is difficult even to take up a newspaper with­out coming upon painful forebod­ings of the future. Peace has not come down upon the world, and there is more demand for swords than for ploughshares. The nations are glaring at each other distrust­fully, muttering ominous threats, and arming themselves to the teeth. Their mechanical skill is absorbed in devising more efficient means of mutual destruction, and the growth of material wealth is scarcely able to support the burden of warlike preparations. The internal politics of states are not much more reas­suring than their external relations. If the republic triumphs in France and Spain it is not because reason has supplanted prejudice, but be­cause nobody, except a few Carlists or Communists, believes enough in any principles to fight for them. In the promised land of political specu­lators, the government of the coun­try is more and more becoming a mere branch of stockjobbing. Every­where the division between classes widens instead of narrowing; and the most important phenomenon in recent English politics is that the old social bonds have snapped asun­der amongst the classes least accessible to revolutionary impulses. Absorbed in such contests, we fail to attend to matters of the most vital importance. The health of the population is lowered as greater masses are daily collected in huge cities, where all the laws of sanitary science are studiously disregarded. Everywhere we see a generation growing up sordid, degraded, and devoid of self-respect. The old beauty of life has departed. A labourer is no longer a man who takes a pride in his work and obeys a code of manners appropriate to his station in life. He restlessly aims at aping his superiors, and loses his own solid merits without acquiring their refinement. If the workman has no sense of duty to his employer, the employer forgets in his turn that he has any duty except to grow rich. He complains of the exorbitant demands of his subordinates, and tries to indemnify himself by cheating his equals. What can we expect in art or in literature from such a social order except that which we see? The old spontaneous impulse has departed. Our rising poets and artists are a puny generation who either console themselves for their impotence by masquerading in the clothes of their predecessors or take refuge in a miserable epicureanism which calls all pleasures equally good and prefers those sensual enjoyments which are most suited to stimulate a jaded appetite. Religion is cor­rupted at the core. With some it is a mere homage to the respectabilities; with others a mere superstition, which claims to be pretty but scarcely dares even to assert that it is true; some revolt against all religious teaching, and others almost openly advocate a belief in lies; everywhere the professed creeds of men are divorced from their really serious speculations.”

[Stephen tended to write very long paragraphs—that is just a feature of his style. But as the above passage indicates, he was a brilliant literary, social, and cultural critic.]

March 27, 2022 — A New Sarnath Press Title—and a Spring Fire Sale!

Before I get to the main subject of this blog post, I wish to announce the appearance of a highly distinctive publication by Sanrath Press: A Naked Sign by Pharamond Weimer (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09VW7WPB8). This expansive historical novel purports to be the journal of Deborah Wilson, a Quaker living in seventeenth-century Salem, Massachusetts, who undergoes humiliating treatment at the hands of the Puritan theocracy. It is an extraordinary work of historical reconstruction—and contains numerous and explicit accounts of Deborah’s sexual proclivities and the flogging she experienced. I guarantee that you will not ever read a book like this one! The author is writing pseudonymously, and I am not at liberty to reveal his/her identity. Read the book for yourself and see if it doesn’t inspire you with both passion and indignation!

I do wish to hold a fire sale to get rid of a number of books lying around here, but I would first like to announce that I have obtained some choice collector’s items that I am happy to offer interested customers at prices that are lower than can be found on the standard used-book venues:

Let me also note that I have some even more choice items to offer—such things as Frank Belknap Long’s A Man from Genoa (Recluse Press, 1926) [signed by the author]; Clark Ashton Smith’s Ebony and Crystal (Auburn Journal Press, 1922) [signed by the author]; Donald Wandrei’s Ecstasy and Other Poems (Recluse Press, 1928) and Dark Odyssey (Webb Publishing Co., 1931) [both signed by the author]. Should anyone be interested in these volumes, please contact me and we can negotiate a price.

Now to the fire sale proper. I can offer the following titles for $10 each. Please note that in many cases there is only one copy available:

As an added inducement, I can offer the following titles for $5 upon the purchase of any of the titles above:

In terms of my own activities, I can mention a podcast I conducted recently with Claudia Ortiz and others in Mexico City. This podcast was aired on March 19, and there followed a lively question-and-answer session. My responses were translated into Spanish, and I am informed by Claudia that attendees from fourteen different countries in North America, Central America, and Latin America tuned in. Here is a link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCSgtQbToyE.

March 17, 2022 — An Intriguing Letter by Frank Belknap Long

I am happy to announce that David E. Schultz’s masterful Fungi from Yuggoth: An Annotated Edition is finally available in paperback from Hippocampus Press (https://www.hippocampuspress.com/h.-p.-lovecraft/poetry/fungi-from-yuggoth-by-h.-p.-lovecraft-an-annotated-edition-paperback). This brilliant edition—which contains an exhaustive account of the composition and publication of Lovecraft’s sonnet cycle, a facsimile of the handwritten manuscript, detailed commentary on the poems themselves, and much else besides—is one of the most significant volumes pertaining to Lovecraft published in recent years. I have several copies available that I will be happy to let go for $15.00.

Also in is Spectral Realms No. 16 (Winter 2022), a superlative issue that contains the usual array of fine poetry by leading contemporary poets. I can offer copies for $10—or for $5 with the purchase of the Fungi edition or any other volume that I have offered of late (pending availability).

One more item that has drifted in is Cadabra Records’ release of the spoken-word recording of Arthur Machen’s The Great God Pan (https://cadabrarecords.com/collections/all/products/arthur-machen-the-great-god-pan-3x-lp-set-read-by-laurence-r-harvey-score-by-chris-bozzone-black-and-brown-splatter-variant). I wrote the liner notes to this 3-LP set. I do not have any spare copies to offer, so please order directly from Cadabra.

As for my own activities—they continue at their usual bewildering pace. I am preparing this year’s set of magazines (Spectral Realms No. 17, Penumbra, and Lovecraft Annual) for issuance this summer. I find that I am somewhat short of material (especially articles) for Penumbra at this moment, so I encourage anyone out there who wishes to write about weird fiction (either a specific author or work in the field or some general topic) to send me an article. There is plenty of space! Lovecraft Annual also needs some filling up, but I imagine I will have a full issue in due course of time.

I of course continue my work on the Lovecraft/Long correspondence. Currently I am undertaking the laborious proofreading of Frank Belknap Long’s letters to Lovecraft, using the images in the Brown Digital Repository. I cannot resist bringing up one remarkable letter by Long that I recently read. As most of you know, Lovecraft’s letters to Long survive only down to April 1931—subsequent letters were apparently lost or destroyed. But that there clearly were many such letters, down to at least 1936, is evident from Long’s extant letters for this period. In a letter dating to May 1932, Long includes an extensive and explicit discussion of (hold on to your hats, people) sex. This is clearly a response to a letter Lovecraft wrote on the subject. Here are some extracts:

“As for this sex business—I utterly disagree with you, sir. You may not be as intellectually bigoted as Manning and Co., but you are a sick man as far as sex sanity is concerned. You appear to share Martin Luther’s damnable heresy that a woman is a kind of inferior chamber pot for the reception of products akin to urine. … And as for your conception of coitus—my GAWD. You speak of it as though it involved only a localized, ecstatic orgasm. The l.e.o. is the high point, of course, but surely you are aware that the preliminaries can be prolonged for hours, and that the ecstasy permeates every portion of the anatomy that is sexually responsive, and that the mind is hardly quiescent during this—to you—act of excretion. To a highly imaginative man the purely mental corollaries of coitus dwarf all other intellectual and imaginative pleasures. Or should, if the art of love has been properly cultivated. Coitus is not so much communion with a woman as with WOMAN, with the feminine principle—with sweetness, softness, tenderness, compassion.. A lovely courtezan can be a more exhilarating love object than an ugly wife. …

“Don’t imagine for a moment that I’m comparing the ecstasy to be derived from union with a slim young female of surpassing beauty with the infinitely less potent restorative and exhilarating qualities of an ugly or middle-aged courtezan. I’m aware of the gulf—but even the latter kind of coitus is better than no coitus at all. … You show an appalling sex ignorance when you affirm that masturbation can ever be the equivalent of coitus, even when coitus is performed with an ugly, unresponsive and unloving woman. …

“You affirm, for instance, that coitus seems tremendous merely because it is a precious rarity—but on those all-too-infrequent occasions when I have enjoyed it four and five times a week over a period of several weeks I found it losing none of its ecstatic content—on the contrary! I ought to know when I am experiencing ecstasy and mystical expansion, and when I am not. Excretion hell. That sort of talk makes me actually ANGRY—and if you weren’t such an admirable person in all other respects—so magnificently liberal and imaginative and tolerant I’d get out a shot-gun and put an end to you … in a single charge.”

Well, lordy me! What is remarkable is that this letter is, as I have said, a response to an equally explicit letter on the subject by Lovecraft. Imagine the staid HPL talking (as he clearly must have) about coitus and masturbation! Oh, what we’d give to have that letter! But alas, it has descended into the maw of oblivion.

March 3, 2022 — My Miscellaneous Writings Published

Just a short blog post this time to announce that I have issued a volume of my Miscellaneous Writings (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09TMVH3V8). The book contains all manner of items—some written as early as 1975 (“Some Notes on Modern Mystery Fiction”) to as recently as 2020. Here is the table of contents:

The items identified with an asterisk are previously unpublished. Some of the others are in effect unpublished, as they only appeared in various magazines (either my own or by others) of the Esoteric Order of Dagon or Necronomicon amateur press associations in the 1970s and 1980s.

I will not be ordering any extra copies of this book from Amazon unless readers specifically notify me that they wish to purchase a copy directly from me (which I can offer to them for $15).

No time to write anything else right now!

February 15, 2022 — Heading Toward 400

A brief blog post this time, to announce the publication of my 371st title: the third volume of my Journals, covering the years 1983–87 (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09S66KVJW). I will not be ordering any extra copies for sale here, so you will have to order the book directly from Amazon.

I can also announce that I have completed my long chapter on “The Triumph [ugh!] of Christianity” for my world history of atheism. Here is the breakdown of the chapter:

The book now stands at 140,000 words (which includes some sections I have already written for the next chapter, “The Mediaeval Era”).

I have mentioned previously that I have already written or compiled more than 400 books—it’s simply that more than 30 of these haven’t been published yet. For those who are interested, here is my list of forthcoming titles, given in no particular order:

This list does not include my ongoing publication of the essays of Leslie Stephen (at least four volumes will appear this year) or H. L. Mencken (I can publish no more volumes this year, because the work he puiblished in 1927 and later is still under copyright). Some of the above titles are not complete (my history of atheism, indeed, is less than half done), but the majority are done or nearly done. Whew!

February 9, 2022 — Richard L. Tierney, R.I.P.

Please forgive my nearly month-long silence! Things have been pretty busy around here, but I am moved to write in order to commemorate—and regret—the passing of the veteran poet and critic Richard L. Tierney. We need hardly be told that Tierney initiated a revolution in Lovecraft studies with an essay, “The Derleth Mythos,” that occupied exactly one page in the impressive anthology HPL, edited by Meade and Penny Frierson (1972). This article exposed the egregious misinterpretations of Lovecraft’s mythos perpetrated by August Derleth. Dirk W. Mosig then amplified Tierney’s conclusions in the essay “H. P. Lovecraft: Myth-Maker” (1976), and other critics (including myself) have expanded on these findings to paint a full portrait of the essence of Lovecraft’s cosmic worldview and the distortions that Derleth inflicted upon it.

Tierney was also an accomplished poet, and I enthusiastically reviewed his Collected Poems (Arkham House, 1981) in Crypt of Cthulhu (St John’s Eve 1983). I was not able to appreciate Tierney’s fiction as much as I would have wished; but even so, I am sorry that I did not get something of his into any of my fiction anthologies, especially the Black Wings series. But I did reprint his essay “Lovecraft and the Cosmic Quality in Fiction” in H. P. Lovecraft: Four Decades of Criticism (1980), his “Derleth Mythos” in Dissecting Cthulhu (2011), and two of his poems in Dreams of Fear (2013).

I met Dick only once, to my recollection, when he, Ted Klein, and Kirby McCauley came up to Providence and met with me and Marc A. Michaud. He was quiet and self-effacing, but he didn’t need to be aggressive in self-promotion: the quality of his work spoke for itself.

As for my own affairs, I was pleased to see a brief but favourable notice of my Recognition of H. P. Lovecraft by Michael Dirda in the Washington Post (https://www.washingtonpost.com/books/2022/01/19/science-fiction-please-lets-not-call-it-sci-fi-is-more-than-just-reaction-present/). A more extensive review has appeared here: https://mctuggle.com/2022/01/18/review-the-recognition-of-h-p-lovecraft/.

Meanwhile, I am working feverishly on preparing the third and last volume of my Journals (covering the years 1983–87) for publication. It may be done within days. One query emerged in the course of my preparation of the volume. In June 1987 I report writing three articles—on Edgar Allan Poe, Edward Bellamy, and Rudyard Kipling—for an encyclopaedia of science fiction being edited by James Gunn. The book was published as The New Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (Viking, 1988), but I never received a copy of the book. However, my learned webmaster has ascertained that these articles did in fact appear in the book. So my ongoing bibliography needs to be amended!

I have to say, I am mightily disappointed at how few people have purchased copies of volume 3 of the Journals from me. You don’t know what you’re missing! But given this discouraging lack of interest, I myself will not order any extra copies of the book to sell unless customers specifically indicate that they wish to purchase copies from me.

Otherwise, I continue working on preparing Ellen Greenham’s outstanding treatise After Engulfment (described in my last blog post) for publication. I am also working on getting Jason Eckhardt’s fine supernatural novel about Ambrose Bierce, The Legions of the Sun, ready for Hippocampus Press, as well as Curtis M. Lawson’s superb short story collection (with some poems mixed in), The Envious Nothing. Both of these fiction volumes should be ready by no later than the NecronomiCon in August.

I am now scheduled to go to Providence in mid-April to participate in a documentary on Lovecraft for ITV (the independent television station in England). I’ll provide more details on this in due course of time.

Otherwise, I remain busy on all manner of other fronts—editing Lovecraft letters; writing and researching my history of atheism; etc. etc.—and also look forward to preparing the next volume of Leslie Stephen’s essays after a bit of a hiatus. Also, my choir is soon to resume rehearsals, and there is some talk of performing my piece “Sunset” again—although I am lobbying to have another composition, “Continuity” (dedicated to Wilum Pugmire), performed, as I think that is a more complex and interesting piece. My Songs from Lovecraft and Others is still on schedule to appear (with accompanying CD) from Hippocampus Press later this year.

January 15, 2022 — Bushels of Books

Well, I’m back to huckstering—but only because so many interesting books have come in (or are soon to come in) that I hope my readers will want to pick them up. First on the agenda are a pair of books by Carl Jacobi, Mive and Others (https://www.weirdhousepress.com/product/mive-and-others-the-best-weird-stories-of-carl-jacobi-volume-1/) and Witches in the Cornfield (https://www.weirdhousepress.com/product/witches-in-the-cornfield-best-weird-stories-of-carl-jacobi-volume-2/) from Weird House Press. These are essentially selections of Jacobi’s best weird tales, derived from the huge Centipede Press omnibus that John Pelan and I edited some years ago; I omitted most of the silly “weird menace” stories that Pelan had included. The introductions to these books constitute my most exhaustive discussion of Jacobi’s life and work. I will be happy to let customers have each of these titles for $15.

Other titles have not actually arrived but should do so soon. These includes four items from Hippocampus Press:

Waugh’s book is his third collection of essays on Lovecraft, and is as scintillating as the other two; in fact, Hippocampus is offering all three volumes as a uniform set (https://www.hippocampuspress.com/h.-p.-lovecraft/about-hp-lovecraft/the-robert-h.-waugh-library-of-lovecraftian-criticism-3-volumes). I do not, however, have any copies of this three-volume set for sale, but will have copies of just this third collection available.

Mark Samuels’s Gothic tale is the second publication in Hippocampus’s line of original horror novellas (the first being my Something from Below), and is a spectral and mesmerising narrative. And my edition of Sir Walter Scott’s collected stories, essays, and poems on weird subjects has long been in the works.

Another newly published item is the second volume of my Journals (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09PMG7Z7T), covering the years 1977–82, or essentially my entire career at Brown University, where I got the B.A. (1980) and M.A. (1982). There are lots of discussions of my Lovecraftian work, including my compilation of books for Necronomicon Press; and also mentions of such colleagues as Marc A. Michaud, Jason Eckhardt, Sam Gafford, Don and Mollie Burleson, Robert M. Price, and others. And there is plenty of material relating to my ongoing classical studies, my devotion to music, and much else besides. I will soon have a limited number of copies for sale for $15 (those who purchase any of the titles above can have this book for $10, while copies last).

Another book has drifted in from overseas. I have received two copies of a translation of T. E. D. Klein’s “The Events at Poroth Farm” as a separate booklet. This fine hardcover edition—Die Ereignisse auf der Poroth-Farm, translated by Michael Siefener (who has translated much of Lovecraft’s fiction into German)—was published by Wandler Verlag (https://www.wandler-verlag.com/product-page/die-ereignisse-auf-der-poroth-farm) and also contains my essay, “‘The Events at Poroth Farm’ and the Literature of Horror” (1987). I am happy to offer my one spare copy for $15.

Otherwise, what have I actually been doing? Well, quite a bit. I continue to slog through the proofreading (and, later, annotating) of the fascinating Lovecraft letters to Frank Belknap Long. The fusion of this side of the correspondence with Long’s extent letters to Lovecraft will be a tricky business, as many of the latter are undated; but David E. Schultz has no doubt already made extensive strides in that direction. Even so, this project cannot be published until next year. But this year we do hope to get out at least two other Lovecraft letters volumes: Letters to Woodburn Harris and Others (including letters to Zealia Bishop and others) and Miscellaneous Letters (a huge volume of letters to a wide array of individuals, as well as letters published in Lovecraft’s lifetime). There remains a volume of Lovecraft’s Letters to Hyman Bradofsky and Others, but this book still requires quite a bit of library research.

I am madly typing away at the third volume of my journals (they are all handwritten, as I have mentioned), covering the years 1983–87. That will be the final volume in the series, and I hope to have it out by the end of February or thereabouts. I have published my forty-sixth volume in the H. L. Mencken series, and I am now contemplating beginning the publication of Arthur Machen’s collected essays and journalism, which may also extend to a good many volumes. But in the short term, my compilation of Machen’s Hieroglyphics and Other Essays (containing literary and philosophical pieces) should be out very soon from Hippocampus Press.

I am in the midst of copyediting Ellen Greenham’s fascinating book After Engulfment, a study of Lovecraft’s cosmicism and how it was adapted or amended by such science fiction writers as Robert A. Heinlein, Philip K. Dick, and Frank Herbert. The author (a professor in Australia whom I met on my trip there in 2019; the book is a revision of her Ph.D. dissertation) does not make an explicit case for the actual influence of Lovecraft on these writers, but I think such an influence can in some cases be inferred. It is a compelling and well-reasoned treatise that Hippocampus Press should get out for the NecronomiCon, if not earlier.

Of course, my history of atheism progresses, and has attained about 127,000 words right now. Am almost done (thank Gawd) with the chapter on early Christianity (through, roughly, the 6th century C.E.). Ugh!

Entries from 2021…