" It is new, indeed for I made it last night in a dream of strange cities: and dreams are older than brooding Tyre, or the
contemplative Sphinx, or garden-girdled Babylon" The Call of Cthulhu

Monday, July 27, 2020

New Eldritch Tomes, HPL, Caitlin R. Kieran and Ian Miller


I got a couple of new used books from Abe as well as a new purchase I wanted to share. The first is this SFBC collection with a cover by Ian Miller. I cannot understand why who ever did the layout of the back cover butchered the Miller illustration to include the ISBN box rather than rearranging the elements. May they have an unfortunate encounter with Shub-Niggurath (The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young). I had literally been eyeing this copy for years. One thing I ask myself is do I need another HPL collection, the answer is often yes. I am a sucker for art work so Miller was a huge plus but I am happy to say the editor Andrew Wheeler rewarded my purchase with a short one page dream piece "What the Moon Brings" which I do not remember reading before. 

"So I watched the tide go out under that sinking moon, and saw gleaming the spires, the towers, and the roofs of that dead, dripping city. And as I watched, my nostrils tried to close against the perfume-conquering stench of the world's dead; for truly, in this unplaced and forgotten spot had all the flesh of the churchyards gathered for puffy sea-worms to gnaw and glut upon." (395) 

Yes Howard really hated sea food. The tone of this story really brought to mind another moon related passage I had just read in his essay "In Defence of Dagon" 

"Romanticists are persons, who on the one hand scorn the realist who says that moonlight is only reflected wave-motion in the aether: but who on the other hand sit stolid and unmoved when a fantaisiste tells them that the moon is a hideous nightmare eye-watching ... ever watching..." (147)


I was looking for a copy of  Caitlin R. Kieran's short story, "The Daughter of the Four Pentacles". The same vender had Thrillers 2 a signed limited edition with that story and Kieran's "Houses Under the Sea. " so the die was cast.

 

When the pandemic began my wife and I purchased a couple of gift cards from a locally owned bookstore we frequent. Yesterday we ventured out masked and sanitized to see what they had. I had checked their online catalogue so I knew what I wanted. Helen got Monsters and Myths: Surrealism & War in the 1930s and 1940s, which I discussed briefly here. 


I got of course, was there any doubt, The New Annotated H.P. Lovecraft: Beyond Arkham edited by Leslie S. Klinger. I have volume one but Klinger restricted that volume to works that mentioned Arkham, the Miskatonic river valley or Miskatonic University. This excluded some of my favourite works. The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, "The Strange High House in the Mist:, "The Outsider, The Rats in the Walls", "The Lurking Fear" etc. And here they are. What no "Through the Gates of the Silver Key" I know it was cowritten with E. Hoffmann Price, but Price admits he was just nudging Lovecraft to get him to write it and that the story was Lovecraft's. 

We also have an introduction by Victor LaValle the author of the mythos related work, "The Ballard of Black Tom". I have LaValle's book on my kindle but I have not read it yet, I certainly will. So I will refer interested readers to the review of this book  at The Great Lovecraft ReRead. 

https://www.tor.com/2016/02/17/book-reviews-later-the-ballad-of-black-tom-by-victor-lavalle/

LaValle's introduction was interesting reading. He discussing finding and enjoying Lovecraft's as a ten year old only to realize at 15 that as a young black man he could not accept the racism in Lovecraft's writing. It is a perfectly understandable reaction. I did want to quote one passage from the introduction because I think it frames my experience with genre literature and why I think I still read science fiction, weird tales, Sherlock Holmes related works and the like. "Ten year old me was here for all of it: the high anxiety, waves of madness, and the terror of human insignificance. Certain writers must be encountered at a young age or else their spell will never be cast properly. Some people would say this is because an older reader has matured out of the appeal such pulp provides, but I call bullshit on that. Instead, I would say that as a child the aperture of your imagination is wide open. In adulthood we call its closure "maturity" but it hardly seems like a triumph to me. Instead, I try to embrace the bravery of such openness...," (xii) I am also trying to retain this openness since it is still the source of much of my joy, whether it is in the literature I read, my experience of the natural world or the observations we share with each other during a quiet walk or meal out with my wife. 

I have shared my own thoughts on Lovecraft's racism here.

https://dunwichhorrors.blogspot.com/2016/03/the-real-shadow-over-innsmouth-odd.html

Now to the book itself. One; the cover illustration, Jacket design Steve Attardo, Jacket Art by Christina Mrozik, is one of the most striking covers based on one of Lovecraft;'s stories I have ever seen. Rats and cats, does it get better. Last night I read "The Outsider" and the accompanying annotations. I found Klinger's annotations helpful, the ones I liked were those that referred to other work that could be seen as related to this story, a poem by Hawthorne for example. But some of the most interesting referred me to critical interpretations of Lovecraft's story. I could see both types as rekindling my interest in new works in the canon and also items within my own collection that I want to revisit. 


Monday, June 29, 2020

Valentia by Caitlin R. Kiernan.


Followers of this blog will know how much I enjoy the work of Caitlin R. Kiernan. The other day I decided to read her collection To Charles Fort with Love. I have a number of her collections on hand. But I decided on this one because both my wife and I enjoy the reality styling of Charles Fort, the author of (among other titles) The Book of the Damned. Fort collected and published accounts of "anomalous phenomena," things like rains of frogs, mysterious disappearances, lights in the sky etc. Helen has subscribed to The Fortean Times, a magazine devoted to Fortean occurrences for years. Many science fiction writers have been fans of Fort and Eric Frank Russell based several novels on ideas gleaned for Fort's books. So I was not surprised that Kiernan would assemble a collection in his memory. 

Valentia is a relatively short work. The protagonist Dr. Anne Campbell is a paleontologist working in New York. She receives a call from her supervisor(?) that a colleague Morris Whitney has been found dead in Ireland his body recovered by fisherman. She also learns that the site he was working on, the trackway of a tetrapod(s) early four-limbed vertebrates, has been damaged. Once in Ireland, Campbell means Marie, one of the two graduate students working with Whitney. Marie asks if Campbell was Whitney's lover, but Campbell says that part of their relationship ended a long time ago. Marie can offer no insights into by Whitney would have visited the site at night, or how his death may have come about, or who  would damage the fossils. The motive was not theft since nothing appears to have been removed. Instead, the fossils were smashed to pieces until nothing remains. The photographs, measurements and the data gathered on the scientific tests that were performed are still available, and Campbell begins to study them. That night Campbell has a dream in which she is standing on the step of the American Museum of Natural History. Suddenly Campbell finds herself transported back into a Devonian landscape similar to the one that would have existed when the fossil trackway was created. This dream of past landscapes is one she has experienced before, but this time it seems more disturbing, and at one point, she seemed to hear Whitney's voice. 


I enjoyed this story. Helen and I worked as archaeologists, and I have had a lifelong interest in prehistoric life. Kiernan herself has worked as a paleontologist specializing in marine life; mosasours and turtles seem to be two areas of interest. This experience allows her to bring a level of expertise to the story, including the description of Campbell's dream landscape. At the end of the story, Kiernan's notes mention that parts of this story were reworked for her novel Threshold. She also mentions that the trackway is real and that it was discovered in 1994 by Ivan Stossel. 


If you are interested in this evolutionary period, I recommend Your Inner Fish: a Journey into the 3.5 Billion-Year History of the Human Body by Neil Shubin. It was also a program on PBS. I took a look for the book downstairs, but I probably got it from the public library. I was able to find a theropod trackway photo, which might be the one Kiernan mentioned. Given our shared interests, Kiernan's story was one I found particularly interesting. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

New Eldritch Tomes, Ron Weighell, Manly Wade Wellman, Ramsey Campbell


I noticed The White Road on my favourite bookseller's homepage. That copy was sold but he was good enough to track down a copy for me, he had been reading it. He did say it was quite good and that Weighell should be better known. My wife and I were both working in archaeology when we meet and while we left the field we still follow it avidly. So an Egyptian themed cover will always catch my eye. I am also a fan of Victorian and Edwardian horror and modern works that mine that vein are grist for my mill. (sorry) The comments on Goodreads helped convince me I wanted a copy. 



Two anthologies edited by Ramsey Campbell, from the collection of Hugh Lamb another horror anthologist. New Terrors Volume 2 is inscribed "for Hugh, who knows how difficult these things are! Very best from Ramsey 24/10/80''

Cover by Andrew Douglas.

But want really interested me was the number of authors I associate with science fiction that are represented in the work. Christopher Priest (''The Miraculous Cairn''), John Brunner (''The Man Whose Eyes Beheld The Glory''), Greg Bear (''Richie By The Sea'') and M. John Harrison (''The Ice Monkey''). 

The Far Reaches of Fear, includes Manly Wade Wellman's The Petey Car which I wanted to read, as well as stories by Fritz Leiber, R. A. Lafferty, Brian Lumley, Robert Aickman and Campbell himself.

Cover by Terry Oakes.

Lastly Shadowridge Press put out a new edition of the Carcosa volume of Wellman's Worse Things Waiting with the Lee Brown Coye illustrations. I am iffy on Lee Brown Coye (heresy) but I really enjoy Wellman and the price was right for an old retired duffer. 


Sunday, June 7, 2020

Sherlock Holmes and The Occult Detectives Edited by John Linwood Grant 2 vols.

"Where there is no imagination, there is no horror."
Arthur Conan Doyle, "A Study in Scarlet"

As readers of my blog may remember, I love Sherlock Holmes pastiches. I discussed this in more detail in a post of the work of Ralph E. Vaughan, which you can find at the links below.


https://dunwichhorrors.blogspot.com/2019/02/ralph-e-vaughan-sherlock-holmes-vs.html

https://dunwichhorrors.blogspot.com/2019/03/ralph-e-vaughan-sherlock-holmes-in.html

These can be works patterned on Conan Doyle's original stories or stories that have a supernatural element. I was reading some when I received an email update that the anthology, Sherlock Holmes, and the Occult Detectives (2 volumes) edited by John Linwood Grant was available. I have long been a fan of Grant's website 


and have mentioned his anthologies here before. Hells Empire; tales of the incursion is excellent, and his short story collection A Persistence of Geraniums about Mr. Dry the Deptford Assassin is a must-read for those who like the fog-shrouded London of Edwardian England. So I figured these books would be good and they are. I had expected that most tales would involve some of the more well known occult detectives. While we have stories linking Holmes to Poe's C. Auguste Dupin, Stoker's Van Helsing and Blackwood's John Silence, there was no story featuringWilliam Hope Hodgson's Carnacki , who I missed. Instead, a number involve sleuths that appear to have been created especially for the story. This was not a problem; these are some of my favourites. While Grant provides some notes in his Editor's Note I would have preferred a note for each story, which would have saved me some fruitless googling. As with any anthology of this type, I enjoyed some, found others less interesting and encountered some real gems. Typically with anthologies, pick and choose here I started volume one read to the end and then started volume two. While I have not finished volume two, I want to discuss one favourite from each volume. 

Volume one. "The Adventure of Marylebone Manor" by Naching T. Kassa. Holmes and Watson have been summoned to Marylebone Manor in Sussex. Lord Charles Lightfoot has been found dead in a locked room. The room shows signs of a struggle, and Lightfoot has bruising on his throat. The doctor claims, however, that he died of a heart attack. Predictably the police have arrested the groom. Lady Catherine Rose Lightfoot, his wife, believes a ghost is responsible. She is a devoted spiritualist and holds regular seances in the house. Before Holmes and Watson can leave, two members of the Baker Street Irregulars appear. One, Jimmy Hampstead, tells Holmes the groom is innocent and that he can help find the actual murderer. Holmes knows that Hampstead has solved several recent mysteries. Then Hampstead offers a demonstration of his powers. He drinks from a flask, and his eyes change colour. He relates an incident from Holmes's youth that even Watson did not know.

Holmes gives Hampstead money for more respectable clothing and agrees he can accompany them. While Hampstead is absent, Holmes consults his files. Holmes tells Watson Hampstead is actually James King, who briefly disappeared at age three on Hampstead Heath. When found, he could only say he was with a bloofer lady. At age eight, Hampstead disappears again this time with a group of gipsies (sp) who have apparently raised him. The three set off to Sussex meeting Conan Doyle who is also headed for Maryleborne Manor on the train. Conan Doyle is a friend of the family and has attended several seances at the house.

This story had everything: mediums, hauntings, seances, gipsies (sp), and a locked room mystery complete with the creator of Sherlock Holmes. Kassa knows her Holmes and remains faithful enough to the original stories to satisfy me. There is no distortion of the relationship between Holmes and Watson, and Hampstead is a fabulous character. There was one point where I just said, wow, I will let you guess where.

Volume two. "The Ironwood Wardrobe" by Josh Reynolds. This story pairs Holmes with the Royal Occultist Charles St. Cyprian and his assistant Ebe Gallowglass. Holmes has requested St. Cyprian's assistance through Mycroft's government connections. A young girl, Sarah Goodwin, has disappeared while visiting her uncle Alfred Ransom. It appears she climbed into a curiously carved ironwood wardrobe. Holmes has already checked that the room, and the wardrobe are solid, with no passages or hidden panels. When St. Cyprian touches it, he has a vision of a snowy forest and hears the howling of wolves. Reynolds has written a number of stories featuring St. Cyprian, he was an apprentice of Carnacki and investigates other worldly occurrences
 for the crown. His assistant, the rather pragmatic Ebe Gallowglass, was born in Cairo and sports a handy Webley-Fosberg revolver. I loved this and nominated it as my favourite story before I finished the volume.  I enjoyed "The Ironwood Wardrobe" so much I reread the last half immediately after finishing it. I won't tell you all the influences I detected, the story travels beyond just Sherlock's realm, but Holdstock's Mythago Woods came to mind. I also purchased Reynolds collection Casefiles of the Royal Occultist; Monmouth's Giants.

I enjoyed these books. They also exposed me to other authors and collections I can enjoy in the future. Grant has an excellent knowledge of both the literature of this period and the pastiches that followed. These volumes capture the feel of the period nicely. If you want to return to Baker street but with a ghost or ghoully included, these are for you. These pastiches have also lead me back to the originals, and yesterday I reread "The Problem of Thor Bridge" and "The Adventure of the Creeping Man" can the hound be far behind? I read an interview with horror writer Thomas Ligotti last night in which he mentioned the importance of Conan Doyle's Holmes stories in his early reading. I have to agree with his importance in my own reading life. Yesterday I experienced again what a good writer Conan Doyle was. 

If you want to learn more about Arthur Conan Doyle, I recommend Michael Dirda's book, pictured below. 

  

Saturday, May 23, 2020


  I have mentioned several times how much I enjoy the Ballantine horror anthologies with the Richard Powers covers. Today I want to look at one story from this anthology, "The Graveyard Reader" by Theodore Sturgeon.

In his introduction, Conklin states, " I have always loved graveyards: country ones, in particular, but even city ones, too, if they are old and, to all intents and purposes, finished. These are the historic graveyards of the seventeenth and eighteen centuries, with their small green demesnes full of weathered and crumbling tombstones, city oases set in the midst of deserts of paved streets and of stone and glass anthills full of too many people. Of country graveyards, only this need be said: that in them is written the history that shall never be fully read: the history of simple people. And of all the graveyards this can always be said: that though they may be sad places, they are also peaceful."(7)

As a teenager in Windsor, Ontario a friend and I would occasionally end our nightly perambulations on a bench in the graveyard attached to a huge brick Anglican church. The area was old enough for sections of the original cobstone streets to be seen in spots where the asphalt had worn away. It was an extremely atmospheric spot; I should mention that it was this friend who introduced me to the works of H.P. Lovecraft. 

Conklin goes on to thank Sturgeon "immeasurable thanks to Theodore Sturgeon, for being inspired by the title of this book to turn out an unforgettable original tale under the same name for me."(8) Fittingly enough, the story begins with a man visiting the grave of his newly deceased wife. The stone was included in the plot's price, and he is trying to decide what it should say. It is at this point that he backs up, inadvertently stepping on the foot of a man who has come up behind him. They stand side by side for a time, and then the man asks, "Mind if I read it?"(144) Since the stone does not yet have an inscription, the husband is angered, and the stranger agrees not to read it. He mentions however, that eventually, someone else will. The husband then asks what he is talking about, and the stranger replies, "I don't think you quite understand me. I didn't say I read gravestones. I said I read graves."(145) While the offer to read the grave seems like a good reason for the husband to dismiss the stranger, he is more alarmed by the thought that someone else could come to understand his wife when he was unable too. We learn that she had left home after an argument and that she died in a car accident while riding with a man he did not know three days later. Her death, however, is a symptom of the estrangement that has always haunted their marriage. 

They continue to talk, and eventually, the stranger explains how one can read a grave and come to understand fully, what the occupant did, said or thought. When asked what he reads, he says, " A lot of things, The curve of the mound, the encroachment of growth on it-grass, weeds, mosses. The kind of vegetation that grows there, and the shape of each stem and leaf, even the veining in them, The flight of insects over it, the shadows they cast, the contours of rain-rivulets as they form, as they fill, as they dry." (149) "

"The Graveyard Reader" was a beautifully written story. It is the kind of story I would have expected from Jonathan Carroll or Ray Bradbury. Stories of this type seem to exist at the intersection of fantasy, horror and magic realism. Lately, I have come to see these stories as fabulism, which is described as a form of magic realism. Fabulists, however, are described as writers who compose or relate fables, and I am more comfortable with this description. I see these tales as akin to stories like "Bearskin Soldier" or "The Story of a Boy Who Went Forth to Learn Fear" from Grimms' Fairy Tales.

This is not a story where a lot happens. Sturgeon is relying on the setting, description, atmosphere, and narrator's memories and personal journey to structure the story. Fables often end with a moral lesson, here Sturgeon provides closure without excessive explanations or a predictable denouncement. Whether there is a moral lesson, I will leave to you. Conklin, in his introduction to this specific story, says. "This brand-new story is pure and lovely Sturgeon, Sturgeon at his understated best" (142), and I agree.


Sunday, April 26, 2020

Stories of Hope and Wonder: In Support of the UK's Healthcare Workers




A recent newsletter from PS Publishing noted the following new release. 


"We all of us like—even THRIVE on—a little hope and wonder in our daily grind. Heck, it’s the marmalade on our morning slice of toast, the bracing and blustery wind off the North Sea and the sunlight in our most darkened days (and we’ve had some of those these past few weeks) so I want to sign off this week’s Newsletter with a nod of appreciation in the direction of our chum Ian Whates, head honcho of Newcon Press on a remarkable project.

STORIES OF HOPE AND WONDER contains a rich and varied treasury of quality stories, from dark to light, humorous to menacing, clever to exciting. Fifty-three stories in all, more than a quarter-million words of fiction, including several pieces that are original to the book, featuring some of the finest writers of science fiction, literary fiction, fantasy, horror, and more.

All proceeds from the sale of this digital anthology are being donated to support NHS staff and other UK healthcare workers. So come on, folks, buy your copy by going here—do it now."

My wife and I have watched a number of programs on the work of the NHS, a recent favourite is "The Secret Life Of The Hospital Bed, is a unique 15-part series where, across the 45-minute episodes, fixed-rig cameras tell the story of patients who enter four different hospitals across the country." 


The NHS is a great cause, and I was more than happy to purchase this item. I have several anthologies edited by Ian Whates, including 2001: An Odyssey in Words, so I also knew the collection would be a good one. 

Followers of this blog can only imagine my delight when I found the story "Out of the Wood"s by Ramsey Campbell. I don't think I have discussed Campbell much on this blog. This is a glaring omission considering his status not just as one of the most important writers working within the Lovecraft mythos, but also as one of the most significant British horror writers of this generation. Campbell famously started writing Lovecraft pastiches as a teenager. He submitted some of these stories to August Derleth of Arkham House. Derleth published Campbell's first collection, The Inhabitant of the Lake and Less Welcome Tenants, when Campbell was just 18 years old. 

I have been an enormous fan of Arkham House books for close to 40 years, I know that August Derleth ran the business from Sauk City Wisconson, where he lived. I do not know the physical details of the business, are there separate office buildings, warehouse etc. I like to think Campbell was attempting to capture some of the flavour of Arkham House in this story. 

I found this reference after posting my original entry. The entire article is worth reading.

"Arkham House was never truly financially successful, but the publishing house grew in the decades following its founding nonetheless. August Derleth’s son, Walden, says his father’s success stemmed from his incredible work ethic, and helped the company grow far past the confines of his office.

“He stored books all over the house, but mainly the basement and upstairs in a spare room where he packed the books and got them ready to ship,” Walden said. “In 1968, business had grown so much that he built a warehouse on his land to operate out of, but from 1939- 1967, it was all done out of the house.”"

The story opens with Thirsk, the publisher of rather shoddily bound children's books is holding a business meeting with a new potential printer. Thirsk does not typically hold meetings so late, and being alone with this visitor seems to be unsetting him, as demonstrated by the way he is downing Scotch. The visitor "Little of whom was to be seen outside the heavy brown ankle-length overcoat except a wrinkled knotted face and gnarled hands." is not drinking since Thirsk does not have any untreated water. He also does not appear to be much of a salesman, when Thirsk asks why he should do business with him, he replies, "For you to say, Mr. Thirsk." He seems to be more interested in where Thrirsk's current printer gets his paper and how much Thirsk knows about it. The meeting continues to go downhill, and the visitor exits after leaving a sample book as a gift. Soon we learn the Thirsk's business, a combination office, home and warehouse is located in a wooded area on a deserted road into town. Once Thirsk is alone, things begin to happen; the book is not a typical printed book, noises start in the warehouse, etc. but I will leave you there. 

I enjoyed the story; it is not mythos related. I would describe it as a weird tale, atmospheric without a lot of detail. The logic is intrinsic to the needs of the story itself, and the reader must supply their own explanation of the events. I enjoyed the story. Many of the other authors in the collection are well known, especially for their science fiction, and I am looking forward to finding some other gems here. 


I do want to thank Ian and everyone who who contributed to the collection as well as PS Publishing for bringing it to my attention. Most of all I want to thank everyone trying to keep us safe during this rather trying time. 


Sunday, March 29, 2020

Fritz Leiber Witchcraft and Whatnot

  I had not intended to post on works that might be seen to address aspects of the situation we currently find ourselves in with the coronavirus. But anyone who has followed my blogs would know that the process I follow when choosing works to discuss, despite my best efforts, is unpredictable. So I often find myself in unexpected territory. Like here. Last night I was reading a post on the unsubscribed blog on the Bruce Pennington covers for the work of Clark Ashton Smith. 


This led me to, in a process too long to describe, to Lankhmar The Fritz Leiber Home Page.  


There I found a reference to a Fritz Leiber story "Hatchery of Dreams" I recognized the story immediately upon seeing the cover of its original appearance in Fantastic Stories of the Imagination.


I still had not decided to do a post on Fritz Leiber, but while digging out my Clark Ashton Smith books (remember Alice), I found my copy of The Witchcraft Reader, which contains "The Warlock" by Fritz Leiber.

"The Warlock" begins with the confession by the narrator that he has caused his "friend" Jamie Bingham Walsh's death by forcing him off a cliff. He also makes his reasons clear right away. Jamie is a witch or warlock. 

"to me a witch _ a modern witch, a real witch - is a person who is a carrier of insanity, one who infects others with this or that deadly psychosis without showing any of the symptoms himself, one who may be brilliantly sane by all psychiatric tests but who nevertheless carries in his mind-stream the germs of madness." 

"By the same reasoning, Jamie Bingham Walsh should have been known as Schizo Jamie. People with whom he came in really close contact had their minds split and started to live in dream worlds."

and

" Most of us are willing to recognize the carrier of insanity when he operates at the national or international level. No one would deny that Hitler was such a carrier, spreading madness among his followers until he grew so powerful that there was no asylum strong enough to hold him." (60)

We have heard this confession, the killing of a friend for whatever reason, possession in the case of the narrator of Lovecraft's "The Thing on the Doorstep" or, in this case, the narrator holds James responsible for his sister's madness. This is a hackneyed trope across both mythos fiction and the horror tale in general. But here, Leiber provides a depth of plot and description to create a very readable psychological study. That some aspects of the story (quoted in part above) seem a bit prescient today is probably my imagination. 

The second story "Hatchery of Dreams" is one I originally read years ago, in Rod Serling's Triple W: Witches, Warlocks and WerewolvesI have owned this anthology since I was a teenager. It is probably one of the of the paperbacks I have owed the longest with all the culls and moves my collection has undergone. I have no idea where it came from it was probably a gift. I suspect I will pull more stories from it to discuss in the future.



"Hatchery of Dreams" is the story of Giles Wardwell, a rather proper Bostonian who works for the CAMZ, a cold war-style organization tasked with rooting out communists. Or so, Giles thinks. The story opens when Giles wakes up and finds his much younger wife Joan missing. A note indicates she is taking a break possibly permanent from their marriage. Giles is unconvinced. First, he explores the home laboratory where Joan makes cosmetics. Here, Giles discovers a head-sized white egg that looks like it is about to hatch. Next, he visits the three young women that are Joan's bridge partners. Each is ill, the last Mary Nurse, cuddling a giant spider stuffy, tells Giles to return home for the eggs hatching if he loves his wife. "The Hatchery of Dreams" is an enjoyable story. It would probably be considered somewhat sexist today, but it is a fast paced adventure. 

I would say it is not quite as interesting or well written as "The Warlock
but more fun. Leiber pulls together a lot of connections in terms of names and incidents from New England's history with witchcraft. Leiber then merges this history with McCarthyism and cold war paranoia quite effortlessly. 


Witchcraft sees to be a theme that interested Leiber. We see it again in his novel Conjure Wife, and the Wikipedia article on Leiber's novel Our Lady of Darkness mentions Bruce Byfield's Witches of the Mind: A Critical Study of Fritz Leiber. This use of witches as characters and the broader references to witchcraft in the history of New England is something Leiber shares with Lovecraft. This shared interest, may in part, explain the connection between these two writers. 

Covers:

 The Witchcraft Reader cover by Josh Kirby

Rod Serling's Triple W: Witches, Warlocks and Werewolves This unforgivable atrocity of a cover is unattributed. I am surprised the publisher did not recall all the copies and burn them. But it was used for at least two editions, so maybe it is just me. What do you think?

Conjure Wife cover by Robert Maguire