S. T. Joshi’s Blog

March 9, 2023 — New Hippocampus Books at Last!

After many delays, I have at last received a sheaf of new publications from Hippocampus Press, which I can offer at a modest discount from the retail price:

I believe I’ve described most of these books in previous blog posts. Volume 4 of the variorum edition of Lovecraft’s Collected Fiction now contains the four stories that Lovecraft revised for C. M. Eddy, Jr. The hardcover edition of this volume is still pending; let’s hope it can appear by summer.

I was pleased to see a review of volume 1 of Matt Cardin’s Journals, which I published through my Sarnath Press imprint last year, appearing in the BookLife section of Publishers Weekly (which is devoted to self-published books): https://booklife.com/project/journals-volume-1-1993-2001-82943. Volume 2 of the Journals may be available as early as April.

I am in receipt of a large volume of Lovecraft’s Ensayos filosóficos (philosophical essays), translated by Lovecraft Annual contributor César Guarde-Paz and published by AGON (http://agonfilosofia.es/index.php). This copy was sent to me by the translator. Nearly a third of the book (184 pp.) is taken up with a detailed analysis of Lovecraft’s philosophy by the translator. The essays themselves (relating to science, temprance, pure philosophy, politics, economics, and anthropology) are annotated far more exhaustively than I did in my edition of Lovecraft’s Collected Essays (2004–06). All in all, a tremendous achievement!

Guarde-Paz has sent me, as a curiosity, a flyer for a Japanese film adaptation of some Lovecraft stories:

front side of a Japanese flyer for screening of H. P. Lovecraft’s The Dunwich Horror and Other Stories

Here is the reverse of the flyer:

back side of a Japanese flyer for screening of H. P. Lovecraft’s The Dunwich Horror and Other Stories

My webmaster, Greg Lowney, has deciphered the essence of this flyer as follows. It is advertising a film entitled H. P. Lovecraft’s The Dunwich Horror and Other Stories. Three stories—“The Picture in the House,” “The Dunwich Horror,” and “The Festival”—have been adapted in a film using animated clay puppets and miniatures. The writer and director is Ryo Shinagawa; the stars are Mickey Curtis, Tasaku Emoto, and Ken’ichi Endô. The film was released on August 28, 2007, and runs for 46 minutes.

The page for the film in IMDb.com is here (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2412064/), where much of the above information can be found.

March 2, 2023 — Fifty Years of Writing

It recently occurred to me that I have been writing more or less continuously for a full half-century. My first extant literary work (if it can be called that) is “Murder,” a very short story that dates to “February (?) 1973” (as per the surviving typescript, which dates to a year or two after the writing of the story). However, it appears that I wrote two stories in 1972: “The Picture” and “The Touch of Death.” These appeared in a school magazine (of which I was co-editor) called Double Take. It must have appeared either at the end of eighth grade or the beginning of ninth grade, probably the latter. I do not have a copy of this periodical, so there are two lost items of Joshiana out there somewhere!

Another splendid release from Cadabra Records is a reading of M. R. James’s “The Ash-Tree” by Robert Lloyd Parry (https://cadabrarecords.com/collections/all/products/m-r-james-the-ash-tree-lp-read-by-robert-lloyd-parry-score-by-chris-bozzone-random-color-vinyl-edition). As is customary, I wrote the liner notes to this LP. It is also available in a “Purple and black splatter vinyl edition” (https://cadabrarecords.com/collections/all/products/m-r-james-the-ash-tree-lp-read-by-robert-lloyd-parry-score-by-chris-bozzone-purple-and-black-splatter-vinyl-edition). I have just finished writing liner notes to two further Cadabra releases, but I should probably keep mum on these until they actually appear.

One of the most impressive editions of Lovecraft’s work (both from a physical standpoint and from the standpoint of academic rigour) is Fungi von Yuggoth und andere Gedichte (Fungi from Yuggoth and Other Poems), issued by Deutsche Lovecraft Gesellschaft (a name that translates to “German Lovecraft Company”): https://www.deutschelovecraftgesellschaft.de/article/362-gedichte-von-h-p-lovecraft-erstmals-ins-deutsche-%C3%BCbersetzt/. The firm’s entire website is worth examining for the wealth of information it provides on Lovecraft for German readers, as well as all manner of interesting merchandise. The Fungi edition includes (with my permission and that of Hippocampus Press) a translation of my notes to the poems in question, taken from The Ancient Track (2nd ed. of 2013).

Éditions des Saints Pères is a French publisher (based in Cambremer, a town in Normandy) that issues limited editions of literary manuscripts of all sorts. I am working with this firm on a facsimile of the handwritten manuscript of Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness. I have received as a gift its edition of Mary Shelley’s handwritten manuscript of Frankenstein (https://www.lessaintsperes.fr/75-frankenstein-9791095457459.html). The edition will include an introduction by me along with extracts from Lovecraft’s letters talking about the writing and publication of his short novel, and perhaps other matter that I provide. It shall be a beautiful item, you can be sure! (Centipede Press is contemplating a similar volume, which will include facsimiles of both the handwritten and typed manuscripts, but its edition is probably years in the future.)

Work continues on various fronts. I am preparing the index to Lovecraft’s Letters to Hyman Bradofsky and Others, the next volume in the Lovecraft Letters series (it will also include the letters to Helm C. Spink, Ralph W. Babcock, Richard Ely Morse, and a few others). I am preparing comprehensive editions of the weird stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (for Centipede Press) and John Martin Leahy (for Weird House Press). The forty-seventh (!) volume of H. L. Mencken’s Collected Essays and Journalism (containing his magazine and newspaper work for 1927, now in the public domain) and the seventh volume of Bierce’s Collected Essays and Journalism are now out from Sarnath Press, with the eighth to follow soon.

I am also at work on an anthology of horror stories involving cats—tentatively titled The Weird Cat—in collaboration with Katherine Kerestman. The book shall be published (perhaps even later this year, if we can complete the compilation in the next few months) by WordCrafts Press (https://www.wordcrafts.net/). It will contain a mix of old and new stories, and my co-editor has diligently unearthed a number of old items (ranging from stories—nominally for children, but full of pungent horror and fantasy that adults will relish—by Kipling, E. Nesbit, and others, to Lafcadio Hearn’s “The Boy Who Drew Cats,” from his Japanese Fairy Tales) that I had never before encountered. Lovecraft of course has to be included, but we shall avoid the obvious (“The Cats of Ulthar”) and include his delightful letter about the cat he named Old Man, who lived in a market down the hill from his various residences on Providence’s East Side, and who apparently lived from as early as 1906 to as late as 1928. That must have been some cat! We will also have several original stories; Jason C. Eckhardt, Stephen Mark Rainey, and others have already contributed delightfully creepy stories about cats—but none of them portray cats in a negative light. I’ve insisted on that!

February 20, 2023 — The Road to 400

Incredible as it may seem, I am approaching the publication of my 400th book—something that could happen as early as this summer. Currently my ongoing bibliography of my work records 390 titles. This does not include two books that have appeared recently but copies of which I have not yet received: Clemence Housman’s The Were-Wolf and Others (Hippocampus Press) and volume 7 of Ambrose Bierce’s Collected Essays and Journalism (Sarnath Press). That brings me up to 392. No. 393 is likely to be volume 47 of H. L. Mencken’s Collected Essays and Journalism, which I expect to upload onto Amazon within days.

So what will be my 400th book? I can’t say, but soon to be out is my collection of Everil Worrell’s weird tales, now announced on the Weird House Press site (https://www.weirdhousepress.com/product/the-canal-and-other-weird-stories/); as you can see, it features a splendid cover design.

I am not counting two recent Hippocampus Press books (copies of which have also not come in as yet): R. H. Barlow’s Eyes of the God and Sax Rohmer’s The Whispering Mummy. These are simply revised editions of earlier books. It is true that the Barlow book is now more than twice as large as the original edition of 2002, but I still do not consider it a “new” book. Conversely, the Rohmer book is an abridgement of my Centipede Press volume of 2013: it contains all the short stories in that edition but omits the novel Brood of the Witch-Queen.

I believe my edition of the letters of Ambrose Bierce and George Sterling (titled A Splendid Poison) may be out soon, along with a volume of Sterling’s collected essays (titled Implications of Infinity). And, of course, I expect to issue several more volumes of Bierce’s essays and journalism in the next few months. My edition of the letters of Clark Ashton Smith, Donald and Howard Wandrei, and R. H. Barlow is also close to ready, as well as the first two volumes of my edition of the collected short fiction of Algernon Blackwood. All these books will be published by Hippocampus Press.

So it’s 400 books by summer!

Some time ago I was interviewed by a British critic, Alexander Adams, on the fraught issue of Lovecraft’s racism and related matters. Adams has now posted extracts from the interview (along with an interview of a scholar on William S. Burroughs) here: https://www.lotuseaters.com/the-case-for-dangerous-literature-17-02-23. A more expansive version of my comments appears here: https://alexanderadamsart.substack.com/p/interviews-with-oliver-harris-and.

I continue to be busy on a multitude of projects, but I will keep some of these under wraps for now. The second volume of my history of atheism remains bogged down in the seventeenth century, as there are simply too many authors, trends in philosophy, religion, and other issues, and all manner of other topics (including a section—not yet written—about the religious underpinnings of the founding of the American colonies) that have to be dealt with. But I remain confident that this volume will be completed by the end of 2024.

I am heading to New York next month—shall be there March 15–19. My chief purpose is to do research on the Lovecraft/Long letters, as I need to hunt up items in New York newspapers and other sources at the New York Public Library. I will also be doing some research for a proposed volume of Winifred Virginia Jackson’s collected poetry. David E. Schultz has already done an incredible amount of work on this project, but some of her poetry remains elusive. Naturally, while in New York I hope to see as many of my friends and colleagues there as possible during two separate dinners that are being planned. But the venue of these dinners is up for debate, since (*gasp*) O’Reilly’s Pub has bitten the dust! What a landmark that was for the Lovecraft gang—as was an earlier venue, Silver Spurs (a superb hamburger place) down on Broadway and 9th Street, which went out of business quite a few years ago.

The Esoteric Order of Dagon amateur press association is approaching its fiftieth anniversary, as it was founded in June 1973 by Joseph Pumilia and Roger Bryant. I have deemed the Lammas 2023 mailing (due on August 2) as the fiftieth anniversary mailing. Our membership is down somewhat (we currently have twenty-one members), so those interested in Lovecraft or weird fiction and have the interest and resources to publish a humble little contribution for the delectation of a select few are welcome to join! I have been Official Editor for more years than I care to think about.

January 25, 2023 — An Upcoming Podcast

On February 1 I will be doing a podcast with Colin Rowsell in New Zealand, focusing on Lovecraft’s influence on the subsequent weird tradition. I believe the podcast will occur at 1:30 p.m. PST. I’m not entirely sure how one can listen to it live, but you can always listen to it after it has been archived. Here is general information on the site: https://www.project-tempest.net/. I did a previous podcast with him (13 July 2021) on Lovecraft and other issues.

I have now completed ten out of the twenty books in my series of weird fiction titles for Conversation Tree, a small press in Canada. Each volume includes, in addition to stories (or, in a few cases, entire novels), an appendix containing essays or other matter by the author that sheds light on his work. For one of the books (a selection of Ramsey Campbell’s stories), I have conducted a new interview of Ramsey (even though I had never done such a thing before), and I think it came out well. It is not likely that more than two or three volumes will come out per year, so it may be quite a while before all twenty books appear. But they will be well worth waiting for, I can assure you!

Meanwhile, I understand that several Hippocampus Press books are either out or soon to be out:

The Barlow book is a vast expansion of the volume that came out in 2002; this version is more than twice the size of the original. The book was to have had a foreword or afterword by Paul La Farge, author of the interesting novel about Barlow and Lovecraft, Night Ocean (2017), but La Farge never came through. And now I see that the poor fellow has died (https://www.nytimes.com/2023/01/25/books/paul-la-farge-dead.html).

From Centipede Press I hear that my editions of the work of John Metcalfe and Guy de Maupassant will appear in the reasonably near future.

I have been elected to the Board of Directors of the August Derleth Society. I have ideas for several projects for the publication of work by Derleth and others, to be issued either by the Society or by other publishers. One project that has been greenlighted is—at long last—my selection of Derleth’s best weird stories, which I am titling The Panelled Room. I had actually come up with this selection well over a decade ago, as I had proposed it to a publisher (I believe it was Arcane Wisdom) to commemorate the centennial of Derleth’s birth (2009). But the publisher never acted on the project. Centipede Press has expressed some interest, and now the Society (which owns Derleth’s copyrights) has given its official sanction. I have also proposed publishing the early drafts of Derleth’s novel Evening in Spring (1941), which Lovecraft read when it was titled “The Early Years.” At least one draft (dating to as early as 1929) exists at the Wisconsin Historical Society, and there appear to be other drafts extant elsewhere.

Before I forget, let me express my gratitude to all those devotees and colleagues out there who have expressed sympathy (by card, email, and other means) for the passing of my mother. Your kind words are greatly appreciated.

January 18, 2023 — The Horror Fiction Index Published

I am pleased to report that I have issued my Horror Fiction Index (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BS924CTD)—a listing of nearly 3300 single-author horror collections from 1808 to 2010. The print edition is a whopping 741 pages, containing a list of the collections (arranged aphabetically by author, and chronologically within a given author’s books) with their tables of contents, followed by indexes of names, collection titles, and story titles (nearly 30,000 of them). I issued the book as a paperback and as an ebook. I am trying to upload a hardcover edition, but Amazon limits me to 550 pages for such an edition, and I am not sure that I (or, rather, my designer, the endlessly talented David E. Schultz) will be able to bring the book down to that size, even in the largest page dimension that Amazon allows (8.25 x 11). I am not going to order any extra copies to sell, so please order directly from Amazon.

I trust that I have acknowledged the invaluable assistance of as many as two dozen friends and colleagues who supplied information on contents of books that I did not have. I believe there are fewer then ten collections for which I was unable to identify the contents.

In the course of going through my mother’s effects in Indiana, I came upon some interesting material. One of them was my father’s book Bombay Finance (1947). Here is the cover of the book:

the cover of 'Bombay Finance (1921-1946)', by T. M. Joshi, M.A, Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, 1947

I won’t say that this was a bestseller, but it did establish my father’s reputation as an economist. I also found multiple copies of my mother’s Ph.D. dissertation:

cover of 'The Size of L(1,x) for Real Non-Principal Residue Characters X with Prime Modulus', the Ph.D Mathematics thesis by Padmini Tryambak Joshi, University of Illinois, 1969

This is apparently an original mathematical proof—whatever that may be. I believe it was subsequently published in a mathematical journal (it is relatively short, all things considered).

Finally, and most curiously, I found the following:

cover of an Indian paperback novel whose title translates to 'We Want Our Country!', by Subhash Bhende

Can this be an Indian romance novel? There is no date in the book, but it must have been brought over from India by my mother or father (probably the former). That generously endowed lady on the cover appears to be Caucasian—unlike the dark-skinned fellow behind her whose buttock is partially exposed. Looks like pretty hot stuff!

Amidst all this turmoil I’ve managed to write a critical essay, entitled “‘Cities Are Somehow Wrong’: The City/Country Divide in Lord Dunsany’s Early Work.” This was commissioned by Andrew Gipe-Lazarou, who is co-editing (with Kostas Moraitis) a critical anthology, Weird-Fictional Narratives in Art, Architecture, and the Urban Domain, to be published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing in the UK. It was good to get back to writing critical essays, but I’m not sure I will be doing much more of this sort of work for a while—not until the second volume of my history of atheism is done, probably at the end of 2024.

January 12, 2023 — The Passing of My Mother

I trust I can be excused for the long gap between this blog post and its predecessor. On January 2, my mother, Padmini Tryambak Joshi, died at the age of ninety-five. Almost immediately, Mary and I made our way to Muncie to join my sister Nalini and some others to tend to her affairs, which included clearning out her unit at the assisted living facility (Westminster Village) she was residing in, along with all manner of financial and other matters.

Among the items I discovered was a group photograph of the Joshi family (along with my former spouse). We can’t quite recall where or when this was taken, but it must have happened in the period 2001–2010, probably in California. Here is the picture:

Photo of S. T.'s exended family circa 2001-2010

From left to right: Nalini Elkins, Padmini T. Joshi, STJ, Anne Joshi Gieseker, Mark Joshi Gieseker, Leslie B. Joshi, Ragini T. Joshi.

I am not at the moment prepared to say what her passing means to me—probably I haven’t even processed the whole thing yet. Suffice it to say that, for all my difficulties with her over the decades (as recounted in my memoir, What Is Anything?), I remain immensely grateful to her for her nurturing of my intellectual and aesthetic interests from childhood onward (she essentially inculcated in me a love of classical music) and her support—financially and in other ways—of my literary career.

I wrote an obituary of her that is now posted on the website of Meeks Mortuary in Muncie (https://www.meeksmortuary.com/obituaries/Padmini-T.-Joshi?obId=27002854#/celebrationWall), where her body will be duly cremated. The obituary will also appear in the Muncie Star-Press.

Speaking of my memoir, I wrote a new chapter of it a while back, and the book shall presently appear in a paperback edition later this year. I delved not only into my various writings over the period 2018–22 (drawing heavily on these very blog posts) but also into matters relating to politics, society, and culture. I noted the passing of those close to me (Wilum Pugmire, Sam Gafford, William F. Nolan, among others) and told something of the widespread travels that Mary and I undertook during these years.

Speaking of travels, this year promises to be full of them. There will be a “Celebration of Life” service for my mother that our family will set up, probably in late spring. It will be in Muncie, of course, as many of her friends and colleagues are there. No doubt we will combine that trip with a visit to Mary’s folks in the Twin Cities. I have also been invited by Jonathan Dennison (proprietor of Cadabra Records) to a festival in New Jersey (near Philadelphia) promoting his various LPs. This will happen on June 2 and 3, and a preliminary list of the program shows me appearing as the introducer of several readings of Lovecraft stories and other work.

Cadabra has recently sent me a four-LP set of Lovecraft’s The Shadow out of Time, as read by Andrew Leman (https://cadabrarecords.com/collections/all/products/copy-of-h-p-lovecrafts-the-shadow-out-of-time-4x-lp-set-read-by-andrew-leman-score-by-chris-bozzone-splatter-edition). This is the “black and white edition” for $89; there is also a “splatter edition” for $129 (https://cadabrarecords.com/collections/all/products/copy-of-h-p-lovecrafts-the-shadow-out-of-time-4x-lp-set-read-by-andrew-leman-score-by-chris-bozzone-2). Well worth securing, I daresay!

I have long been assisting Wendolín Perla of Perla Ediciones (based in Mexico City) in introducing American and English weird fiction to a Spanish-speaking audience. Perla has now issued several books containing introductions or afterwords by me:

All these items can be found on the Perla Ediciones website (https://perlaediciones.com/). I myself have exactly one spare copy of each of these items, which I am happy to offer to customers for $10 each.

Keeping with the Spanish theme, I can note that I have just been invited by Carlos Pla of Aurora Dorada Ediciones to come to Spain to attend what he calls an “alternative cultural festival” and talk about the Spanish edition of I Am Providence. This would be in October or November. I have never been to Spain, so I’ve jumped at the offer.

My Horror Fiction Index is nearly ready—it will probably appear later this month. I finished the mammoth index of story titles (nearly 30,000 entries), but I realised that I needed to have an index of the story collections themselves (3274 titles). David E. Schultz is helping me prepare this item; indeed, without his superlative skill at format and design, this work would probably never have been completed.

Entries from 2022…