" 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

Thursday, October 27, 2016

"The Same Deep Waters As You", Brian Hodge

"The Same Deep Waters As You", Brian Hodge, Weirder Shadows over Innsmouth, Edited by Stephen Jones, Fedogan & Bremer 2013. Cover by Les Edwards.

Stephen Jones has dedicated 3 vols. to the strange folk from Innsmouth. Shadows over Innsmouth 1994,  Weird Shadows over Innsmouth 2005, and this his third volume
Weirder Shadows over Innsmouth.

Hodge's view of the Deep One/Hybrids is far darker and stranger than that offered by Ruthann Emrys in "The Litany of Earth". Kerry Larimer is the divorced mother of one and host of a moderately successful program on the Discover channel Animal Whisperer. Kerry has some innate ability to understand animal behaviour. She describes this ability as "A combination of things. It's like receiving emotions, feelings sensory impressions, mental imagery, either still of with motion. Any or all. Sometimes it's not even that, it's just ... pure knowing." It it this ability that has resulted in Kerry's recruitment by Homeland security and her transportation to a facility described by it's commanding officer, Colonel Daniel Escovedo as an older version of Guantanomo Bay, holding the most-long term enemy combatants ever held in US. custody. Some 200 plus inhabitants of Innsmouth were rounded up in 1928, some 63 remain. Since 1942 they have been housed on an island off Washington state in a facility more impregnable zoo than prison .

"They were down to the last leg of the trip, miles of iron-gray ocean skimming three hundred feet below the helicopter, and she was regretting ever having said yes. The rocky coastline of northern Washington slid out from beneath them and there they were, suspended over a sea as forbidding as the day itself. If they crashed, the water would claim them for its own long before anyone could find them. Kerry had never warmed to the sea—now less than ever"

from "Same Deep Waters as You". 

While the youngest of the prisoners were initially capable of communicating with their captors, all have now fully changed and no communication has occurred in decades. Kerry has been brought in because for only the second time in their very long captivity the creatures behaviour has changed, 

" like they were waiting for something"

from "Same Deep Waters as You". 

I will leave you there, I hate spoilers. I have read an embarrassingly large number of Lovecraft inspired stories. Many, especially the early one had almost the same plot elements, old books, scholarly but rather clueless narrators and some variation of a giant alien. Hodge has obviously given a great deal of thought to all the ramifications of the situation he has set up. How prisons work, how government works, expanding beautifully on the few lines HPL provided on the fate of the Innsmouth captives, indeed these lines from Lovecraft's original story form the epigraph to Hodge's story

"During the winter of 1927–28 officials of the Federal government made a strange and secret investigation of certain conditions in the ancient Massachusetts seaport of Innsmouth. . . . news-followers. . . wondered at the prodigious number of arrests, the abnormally large force of men used in making them, and the secrecy surrounding the disposal of the prisoners. No trials, or even definite charges, were reported; nor were any of the captives seen thereafter in the regular gaols of the nation. There were vague statements about disease and concentration camps, and later about dispersal in various naval and military prisons, but nothing positive ever developed. "

"The Shadow Over Innsmouth” . H. P. Lovecraft (1936)

from "Same Deep Waters as You". 

Also the early stories almost inevitability features a male protagonist. Now the field has become far more inclusive with a far greater diversity of authors participating but I was still pleased to see a male writer create a fully realized female character. I also love that Kerry shares Howard's aversion to the sea. As I mentioned I feel atmosphere and good writing are essential to capture the mood of this type of story and both can be found here. 

 “It was easy to forget how remote a place could once be, even on the continental U.S., and not all that long ago, all things considered. It was easy to forget how you might live a lifetime having no idea what was going on in a community just ten miles away, because you never had any need to go there, or much desire, either, since you’d always heard they were an unfriendly lot who didn’t welcome strangers, and preferred to keep to themselves.”

from "Same Deep Waters as You." 

For me, as the quote below indicates, Brian Hodge gets Lovecraft, what elements are important and how to introduce them to a story in a way creates a new, interesting, innovative story. 

David Hodge on Lovecraft

"For me, he was working in this ideal window of time. He was a contemporary of physicists like Einstein and Max Planck and Niels Bohr. His work often taps into that zeitgeist of the frontiers of science being radically expanded, and the nature of reality being plumbed at a much deeper level, where things get very strange. At the same time, the world was a bigger, more disconnected place. There were no interstate highways. Aviation was barely underway. Global population was less than a third of today’s. No camera phones, no satellites, no TV with a 24-hour news cycle. The more remote locales he uses feel genuinely isolated and hard to get to. They’re places where superstitions die hard. They feel capable of containing weird events without them drawing much wider attention, with plenty of time to congeal into area folklore. I love how he stirs all this together."

from Rue Morgue, Why is LOVECRAFT still relevant? Seven experts weigh in
Wednesday, November 25, 2015


This story has been reprinted several times, please see the link below to locate it.


I thought the plotting and characterization excellent, the introduction of action well handled, and having as I have said read many pastiches I still found the ending of The Same Deep Waters As You to be, possibly the most unsettling.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Litany of Earth by Ruthann Emrys

 The Litany of Earth by Ruthann Emrys full text at this link

Tor also offers original fiction including Ruthann Emrys brilliant "The Litany of Earth". Lovecraft’s novella The Shadow Over Innsmouth, has long been a fertile source for pastiche, with the Deep Ones and especially their hybrid offspring often little more than spies or brutal thugs in the service of the Cthulhu Mythos. Lovecraft himself seem conflicted about the nature of the inhabitants of Innsmouth on the one hand the group pursuing the narrator is described as a horrific inhuman mob,

“ a limitless stream - flopping, hopping, croaking, bleating - surging inhumanly through the spectral moonlight in a grotesque, malignant saraband of fantastic nightmare. And some of them had tall tiaras of that nameless whitish-gold metal ... and some were strangely robed ... and one, who led the way, was clad in a ghoulishly humped black coat and striped trousers, and had a man's felt hat perched on the shapeless thing that answered for a head.

I think their predominant colour was a greyish-green, though they had white bellies. They were mostly shiny and slippery, but the ridges of their backs were scaly. Their forms vaguely suggested the anthropoid, while their heads were the heads of fish, with prodigious bulging eyes that never closed. At the sides of their necks were palpitating gills, and their long paws were webbed. They hopped irregularly, sometimes on two legs and sometimes on four. I was somehow glad that they had no more than four limbs. Their croaking, baying voices, clearly used for articulate speech, held all the dark shades of expression which their staring faces lacked.”

from The Shadow Over Innsmouth

Yet having recognized his heritage and planning his return to the ruins of Innsmouth to joins his kinsmen, the narrator states, 

“Stupendous and unheard-of splendors await me below, and I shall seek them soon. Ia-R'lyehl Cihuiha flgagnl id Ia! No, I shall not shoot myself - I cannot be made to shoot myself!

I shall plan my cousin's escape from that Canton mad-house, and together we shall go to marvel- shadowed Innsmouth. We shall swim out to that brooding reef in the sea and dive down through black abysses to Cyclopean and many-columned Y'ha-nthlei, and in that lair of the Deep Ones we shall dwell amidst wonder and glory for ever.”

from The Shadow Over Innsmouth

so which is it. I want to look at two excellent stories that offer very different views of the Deep One/hybrids, the first being “The Litany of Earth” and the second in a separate post, “The Same Deep Waters As You” by Brian Hodge. 

How does an author undo the years of stereotypes concerning the Innsmouth folk. Emrys does it brilliantly through the use of sympathetic analogies. The main character Aphra Marsh was an child when the Federal Government carried off the inhabitants of Innsmouth killing her father and removing her mother to a separate facility. Those that were left spent decades alone in desert camps far from the sea, until needing the space the government used the same camps to house the Japanese American internees during the World War II. Aphra also mentions that inhabitants of the camp were punished for speaking R’lyehn, an experience similar to the real experience of the Native American children held in residential schools in Canada who were punished for speaking their native languages in an attempt at assimilation. These subtly drawn but not belaboured parallels really enrich the story and provide us with a alternative view of the Innsmouth culture to carry the rest of the story. 

Now released from the camp, Aphra lives in San Francisco with her adopted Japanese American family and works in a bookstore. The bookstore owner Charlie’s interest in the beliefs around the Aeonist canon and the fact that he has a room full of forbidden texts allows Aphra to instruct him and us in the whole history of the world as written by the Great Race of Yith, another lovely parallel to the great historic chronicles of the universe supplied by HPL in “At The Mountains of Madness” and “The Shadow Out of Time” Mercifully Emrys’s version is more concise than Howard’s and beautifully presented as a (true) child’s fable. Indeed Aphra life seems to be back on track until she is contacted by the FBI with a very strange request. To avoid spoiling the story I will stop here but another thing that drew me to “The Litany of Earth” was the beautiful writing. HPL was capable of some pedestrian prose especially in the conclusions to his stories but he was also capable of beautifully atmospheric passages just read the opening paragraphs of “The Picture in the House”, “The Colour Out of Space” or especially “The Call of Cthulhu" and this passage by Emrys to see what I mean.

“All of man’s other religions place him at the center of creation. But man is nothing—a fraction of the life that will walk the Earth. Earth is nothing—a tiny world that will die with its sun. The sun is one of trillions where life flowers, and wants to live, and dies. And between the suns is an endless vast darkness that dwarfs them, through which life can travel only by giving up that wanting, by losing itself. Even that darkness will eventually die. In such a universe, knowledge is the stub of a candle at dusk.”

from "The Litany of Earth" by Ruthann Emrys

Emrys is offering us a brilliant contribution to the Mythos to enjoy, please give it  a try.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Documents in the case of Elizabeth Akeley by Richard A. Lupoff

Upon arriving at the cabin this summer I began mining the bookshelves at the family farm (it is just down the grid road) for any SF my wife had left behind. As well as books I found one magazine, a tattered copy of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction from March 1982. Imagine my amazement when I realized the cover story was "Documents in the case of Elizabeth Akeley" by Richard A. Lupoff. Yes I am afraid to admit that as unlikely as it seems Mr Lupoff has drawn us yet again into the dark orbit of Yuggoth. This rather stylish young man is brought to us by cover artist Duncan Eagleson.

We are immediately told that "Surveillance of the Spiritual Light Brotherhood Church of San Diego" (126)  began in the mid to late 1970's.  The church was founded by George Goodenough Akeley who immigrated to California from Vermont, founded the Spiritual Light Brotherhood Church and served as it's Rediant Father until his death in 1971. Our story takes place in 1979 when his  18ish year old granddaughter Elizabeth Akeley now serves as Radiant Mother.  The church doctrine is not extensively discussed, it seems be be a mixture of conventional religions and modern physics. The most interesting aspect of the church services occurs when Elizabeth enters a seance like trance to answer a limited number of requests submitted earlier by Congregants,  mainly asking to communicate with deceased relatives. Everything is fine until June 13th, 1979 when Elizabeth receives an unexpected communication that begins “ Wilmarth … Wilmarth … back. Have come … Antares … Neptune, Pluto, Yuggoth …,” etc. 

The action now shifts to a newsletter received by “the authorities” the Vufoi or Vermont Unidentified Flying Object Intelligencer published on an old mimeograph machine by it’s 19 year old editor Ezra Noyes in his parent’s kitchen. The issue in question concerns recent sightings of bat winged moth man like creatures in Vermont. We are then provided with a history of the Akeley family which includes  a Sarah Philips, spiritualists, at least one involved in the Starry Wisdom cult of New England, fascists, and others of even less savoury natures. This genealogy also provided a direct link between Elizabeth and Henry Akeley of Windham County who disappears mysteriously in 1928. Much of the information needed to reconstruct events is provided by the negro sexton of the church, one Vernon Whitehead who is actually monitoring the church for a “Men in Black” type organization tasked with monitoring cults. Whitehead is also able to supply Elizabeth and her boyfriend Marc Feinman with miniature recording devices later in the story. 

Eventually Elizabeth, convinced that she needs to follow up on these communications contacts Ezra Noyes about the Vermont sightings and decides to travel to Vermont with Whitehead, her boyfriend Marc Feinman being temporarily involved in a family emergency. It is with her trip East to Vermont that Elizabeth enters Lovecraft’s territory. 

Spoilers and Quibbles

All of Lupoff’s Yuggoth stories are pastiche’s or rifts on Lovecraft’s “Whisper in the Darkness”, however this story goes full bore. In "Discovery of the Ghooric Zone - March 15, 2337” see my post here
http://dunwichhorrors.blogspot.ca/search/label/Richard%20A.%20Lupoff Lupoff subtlety wove illusions to many Lovecraftian elements within an interesting future history. Here names and other elements seem to be dumped in willy nilly,  Sarah Phillips HPL’s mom, Whitehead HPL’s friend Henry S. Whitehead, the Starry Wisdom Cult from “The Haunter of the Dark”, while fans normally love this type of thing I just felt it a bit intrusive in this story. The inclusion of American fascists also seemed a bit odd until I remembered the Lupoff had written a novel called Lovecraft’s Book, which I have not read, in which Lovecraft is asked to ghostwrite a political tract by a fascist sympathizer. I am not sure if these references relate to events in that book or if this is a coincidence. 

Vernon Whitehead is useful as he can supply ”bugs” modern equivalents for the field telephone with really long cord that Harley Warren takes on his subterranean explorations in “The Statement of Randolph Carter”,  but overall his organization seems fairly ineffectual, “being particularly sensitive to criticism of the agency for alleged intrusion upon the religious freedoms of unorthodox cults, the representatives of the agency were constrained to accept Feinman’s offer.” (156) 

I did enjoy Ezra Noyes and his mimeographed Vufoi newsletter, a nice nod to Lovecraft’s time in amateur journalism and a interesting foreshadowing of the type of plot element made popular by the X-Files. 

But overall felt this story was a bit predictable and did not offer as fresh a look at Yuggoth as Lupoff did in "Discovery of the Ghooric Zone - March 15, 2337” or ” Nothing Personal” my post here http://dunwichhorrors.blogspot.ca/search/label/Richard%20A.%20Lupoff .

Friday, May 13, 2016

Horror Anthologies, the art of Richard Powers Part 2

Another batch of horror anthologies with covers by Richard Powers. 
Whereas all the Powers covers in the first group were released by Ballantine, this lot features three different publishers.

Br-r-r-!, editor Groff Conklin, Avon, 1959

Intro. Groff Conklin
It by Theodore Sturgeon
Nursery Rhyme by Charles Beaumont
Doomsday Deferred by Murray Leinster
Warm Dark Place by H.L. Gold
Legal Rites by Isaac Asimov and Frederik Pohl
An Egyptian Hornet by Algernon Blackwood
White Goddess by Margaret St. Clair
The Handler by Ray Bradbury
The Sound Machine by Roald Dahl
The Worm by David H. Keller

 Tales of Love and Horror edited by Don Congdon, Ballantine Books, 1961

No Such Thing as a Vampire by Richard Matheson
The Love Letter by Jack Finney
The Horsehair Trunk by Davis Grubb
Lucia's Kiss by Roderick MacLeish
The Sign of Scorpio by Charles Mergendahl
Clay-Shuttered Doors by Helen R. Hull
Various Temptations by William Sansom
The Nature of the Evidence by Mary Sinclair
Tactical Exercise by Evelyn Waugh
The Illustrated Woman by Ray Bradbury
The Shout by Robert Graves
Not Far Away, Not Long Ago by John Collier

Ghosts and Things, edited by Hal Cantor, Berkley Medallion, 1962

The Romance of Certain Old Clothes by Henry James
Caterpillars by E.F. Benson
Markheim by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Ghost Ship by Richard Middleton
The Novel of the White Powder by Arthur Machen
The Night-Doings at Deadman's by Ambrose Bierce
Running Wolf by Algernon Blackwood and Wilfred Wilson
The Music on the Hill by Saki
Phantasy by Oliver Onions
The House by Andre Maurois
The Lovely House by Shirley Jackson

Monday, May 9, 2016

H.P. Lovecraft and Others; The Horror in the Museum

A few days ago I was searching ABE for more anthologies with Powers covers, I did find some, that I will post at a later date. Then I came across a Lovecraft edition which I have wanted for many years. Thanks to the great store, Book Ends in Winnipeg Manitoba (a pleasure to deal with), this wonderful book with a spectacular cover by Bob Fowke has quickly become my favourite HPL paperback. 

Beyond fear's farthest frontiers …

Friday, April 29, 2016

Horror Anthologies, the art of Richard Powers and others

I have been enjoying a series of posts on horror anthologies on https://unsubscribedblog.wordpress.com/ which prodded me to put together a post I have been planning on horror anthologies with cover art by the well known SF illustrator Richard Powers, okay a couple of others slipped in.  I find it interesting that a number of SF writers also appear in these anthologies. Ramsay Campbell notes in the introduction to his collection Cold Print, that he first encountered HPL in the collection Cry Horror, purchased in Bascomb's a sweetshop when he was 14, so this is a good place to start. What better recommendation could you have.

Cover by Emesh
The Phantom-Wooer (poem) by Thomas Lovell Beddoes
The Crawling Horror by Thorp McClusky
The Opener of the Way by Robert Block
Night Gaunts (poem) by H.P. Lovecraft
In Amundsen's Tent by John Martin Leahy
The Thing on the Doorstep by H.P. Lovecraft
The Hollow Man by Thomas Burke
It Will Grow On You by Donald Wander
The Hunters from Beyond by Clark Ashton Smith
The Curse of Yig by  Zealia Bishop and H.P. Lovecraft 
Geregeerd (poem) by Ray H. Zorn
The Cairn on the Headland by Robert Howard
The Trap by Henry S. Whitehead and H.P. Lovecraft 

The Dweller (poem) by H.P. Lovecraft 

Cover by Powers
Sweets to the Sweet by Robert Bloch 
The Strange Children by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding
The Likeness of Julie by Richard Matheson
It Will Come to You by Frank Belknap Long
A Gnome There Was by Kutter and Moore
Nightmare at 20,000 Feet by Richard Matheson
In the Midst of Death by Ben Hecht
Gabriel-Ernest by Saki
Banner's Imp by August Derleth
Enoch by Robert Bloch
For the Blood is the Life by F. Marion Crawford

                                           Cover by Powers
The Claws Exposed (essay) by Whit Burnett and Hallie Burnett
The Birds by Daphne du Maurier
The Cats by T.K. Brown
The Cocoon by John B.L. Goodwin
Baby Buntings by Radcliffe Squires
The Red Rats of Plum Fork by Jesse Stuart
Butch by Oreste F. Pucciani
The Salamander by William B. Seabrook
The Return of the  Griffins A.E. Shandelling
Congo by Stuart Cloete
The Cat Man by Byron Liggett

Cover by Powers
Intro by Conklin
The Screaming Woman by Ray Bradbury
A Bottomless Grave by Ambrose Bierce
The Cart by Richard Hughes
The Graveyard Rats by Henry Kuttner
Skin by Roald Dahl
Night Court By Mary Elizabeth Councilman
Free Dirt Charles Beaumont
Listen Children by Charles Beaumont
Special Delivery by John Collier
The Child That Loved a Grave by Fitz-James O'Brien
The Outsider by H.P. Lovecraft
The Graveyard Reader by Theodore Sturgeon

Cover by Powers
Sorry, Right Number by Richard Matheson
Share Ailke by Jerome and Joe E. Dean
Talent by Theodore Sturgeon
Listen Children by Charles Beaumont
The Whispering Gallery by William F. Temple
The Piping Death by Robert Moore Williams
The Ghost by A.E. van Voght
Carillon of Skulls by Lester del Rey and James H. Beard
Pile of Trouble by Henry Kuttner

Cover by Jeff Jacks
The Gifts of the Gods by Raymond F. Jones
Turn of a Century by James Blish
Courier of Chaos by Poul Anderson
Mind of Tomorrow by Lester Del Rey
In the Beginning by Damon Knight
little Green Men By Noel Loomis

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Nothing Personal - Richard A Lupoff

DAW Books, Inc. 2010, cover artist uncredited

I have made no secret of my admiration, for Schweitzer's anthology Cthulhu's Reign, one of the best mythos collections I have read, quality wise, most stories are good to excellent. There are a few, so so stories, but as the old saying goes if you have nothing nice to say …, 

Which brings me to Mr Lupoff, his "Discovery of the Ghooric Zone - March 15, 2337" was the first story I discussed on this blog, and I loved it. It is fair to say I liked his contribution to this volume "Nothing Personal". I thought it was okay on first reading, even better when I read it again for this post, but I also found even more  quibbles with the story overall on the second reading. 

Yes we are off to Yuggoth again. Mankind has been exploring the solar system and the good news is there is life everywhere, but no obviously intelligent life. 

  " It took the exploration of dozens of moons to find jungles and prairies, natural gardens of unimaginable colors and forms, schools of swimming things that were surely not fish, and flocks of flying things that were anything but birds.
   But no people. Not merely no humans, like those whose robot explorers first landed on Callisto and Mimas, Miranda and Proteus and Galatea and all the others. The people of earth both longed for and feared the discovery of alien intelligences, whether they looked like giant grasshoppers, self-conscious cabbages or whales with hands, whether they wrote epic treatises on the meaning of life or built machines to carry them across the dimensional barrier to other universes even stranger than the one from which they had come. "p.238

Until Yuggoth,

"That huge planet and its four satellites, Nithan, Zaman, Thog and Thok, rolled eternally in a counter planar orbit, crossing the plane of the solar ecliptic only once in a thousand years. No wonder it had gone undiscovered for so long," p. 237. 

And on Yuggoth there are signs of intelligent life and Earth's robotic probes have sent back the images to prove it,

" images of structures that were undoubtedly artificial, yet that resembled no city ever built upon earth. They stretched for thousands of miles across the ruddy, pulsing surface of Yuggoth. They rose for hundreds of miles into the roiling, cloudy atmosphere of the planet. At the poles of the monstrous globe, black, glossy areas that must be ice caps reflected the light of a billon distant stars." p,239

And huge shapes move across the landscape. But all attempts at contact are in vain. So the Beijing 11-11, an observation satellite, ten years in the making is launched. It's two person crew, Dr. Chen Jing-quo and crewman Kimana Hasani have been sent from Earth's moon. Chen has trained for this type of mission her entire life. It seems children are selected as toddlers and sent to the moon to be trained as staff for Earth's ongoing scientific projects. Chen has been observing Yuggoth for the decade it has taken to build the Beijing 11-11. Upon arriving at Yuggoth, attempts to contact inhabitants of the planet, "Yuggothi"  again go unacknowledged and there is no indication that the Beijing 11-11 has even been observed. So Kimana Hasani announces that he will take one of the External Excursion Pods for a closer look. These pods are intended for maintenance or as lifeboats, and this excursion is not part of the mission protocol. Despite Chen's protests Hasani leaves and it is here we will also leave our intrepid explorers. 

Overall I enjoyed the story and, as I mentioned above, even more on my second reading. I liked the passages discussing mankind's discoveries in the exploration of the solar system and those concerning Yuggoth. There were obvious similarities with Lupoff's story "Discovery of the Ghooric Zone - March 15, 2337" as both concern small crews of explorers dispatched to Yuggoth. One difference that is apparent is the length this story, it is 11 pages long the earlier story was over thirty. This meant that in the "Discovery of the Ghooric Zone - March 15, 2337" Lupoff was able to offer us intricate explorations of the history of the various cultures of the explorers, similar to the long passages in HPL's "Mountains of Madness" or "The Shadow Out of Time". This much shorter story simply cannot accommodate the wonderfully atmospheric world building of the earlier tale. For all I know Lupoff may not have intended to create this type of back story to avoid comparisons with the earlier story. Whatever his intent "Nothing Personal" seems a bit short or rushed and there were, for me, some problems with the plot I had trouble with. I will discuss these under spoilers. Still I enjoyed the scope of the story, the interstellar arc of the work mirrors HPL's "Whisperer in the Darkness" where we first encounter Yuggoth With both of Lupoff's Yuggoth tales it is obvious we aren't in Arkham or even New England anymore.


These are some things I noticed that bothered me, maybe it is nitpicking, please don't judge the story by them, read it first. Remember I had lots of nice things to say.

That Yuggoth is made of anti-matter, this reminded me of  Larry Niven's "Flatlander" in which Niven's character Bey Shuffler encounters an antimatter planet which damages his indestructible puppeteer built General Products hull.

There is no reason Lupoff cannot have an antimatter planet and I felt it was a nice plot twist. Chen is in the shower when the explosion caused by matter, the External Excursion Pod containing Kimana Hasani, contacts antimatter, Yuggoth's atmosphere. This explains why she is not blinded but wouldn't she be observing Hasani's progress? She also is able to watch and listen to what happens to Kimana Hasanibut it is not clear to me, is this supposed to be this taped? The "Yuggothi" indicate by their actions that they immediately associate the pod with Earth but not the larger satellite? 

Things I liked, the fact that Earth uses hyper-lightspeed communications and avoids any time delay, this is good because I loved the speed at which things unfold, that while Chen and her moon based supervisor Jerom are still discussing what happened we are told, "They're here!" p.244 and we realize that the "Yuggothi" have already responded.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

More New Eldritch Tomes

After offering up my credit card, yet again, still more accounts of the dark deeds and secret histories; that will one day rise to claim, more than just our peace of mind; have appeared.

While I didn't love all of Joshi's choices in the first 3 volumes I enjoyed them enough that I have purchased Volume 4. That said, I loved all four covers, illustration Gregory Nemec, background by Jason Van Hollander. So far I have read two stories, the first was "Black Ships Seen South of Heaven" by Caitlin R Kieran. In this tale we are treated to a post-rising story of the last days of earth, as good as or better that anything in the excellent anthology Cthulhu's Reign edited by Darrell Schweitzer. This story alone was worth the price of this anthology in my mind. But the second story I read was the very good "Half Lost in Shadow" by W.H. Pugmire. His Pickman inspired story " Inhabitants of Writhwood" in Volume 1 was a  powerful story that has certainly stuck with me. In "Half Lost in Shadow" we make a visit to Kingsport and the bottle collection of HPL's "The Terrible Old Man" which I though was a bold choice. Pugmire then infused HPL's ideas with the bleak nihilism of Thomas Ligotti and a bracing touch of a fantastic sea port reminiscent of those found in the work of James P. Blaylock, whose contribution to the mythos, "The Shadow on the Doorstep" appeared in the Arkham house volume, Cthulhu 2000. So two for two so far.

These stories written in 1917 and 1918 feature Professor Arnold Rhymer, an occult detective and doctor, as their protagonist. As a man who invested a hefty sum for the 6 volume, Popular Library set, of the Adventure of Jules de Grandin, by Weird Tales stalwart Seabury Quinn, concerning the adventures of another occult detective and doctor, how could I resist? Warning the author lost a son in World War One and the anti-German rhetoric is certainly strong in one of the two stories I have read so far.

Ralph E. Vaughan maintains the wonderful Book Scribbles blog on genre fiction  see Blogs I Follow. I have only dipped into this volume, but I am glad I did not read "The Woods, The Watcher & The Warding" at night while staying at our cabin with all the trees of the Aspen Parkland drawing branches across the roof and throwing shadows against the curtains.

Monday, March 21, 2016

New Eldritch Tomes

Lavisly illustrated, by Shasta Phoenix 
Forward by Rowena, Written by Stephen D. Korshak with J. David Spurlock

As a lover of Weird Tales I could not resist this book on the preeminent Weird Tales cover artist Margaret Brundage. I have to admit my favourite pulp magazine cover artist is probably Frank R. Paul with a nod to Virgil Finley, but you cannot deny that she did some of the most iconic covers for stories by the likes of Robert Howard,  Seabury Quinn, David H. Keller,  Edmond Hamilton and of course C.L. Moore.

Howard never had any luck getting on a Weird Tales cover during his life time. although he did get some lovely covers from  Astounding, maybe some covers would have sweetened him a bit on Margret, of course he would have needed to add more naked women and whips to the mythos.

From the back cover
" The human figure is as worthy a subject matter as any other object of beauty. But I don't see what the hell Mrs. Brundage's undressed ladies have to do with weird fiction."

H.P. Lovecraft

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Lovecraft Manuscript Found

Lovecraft Manuscript Found

The Dark Brotherhood, (Nice) Jacket 
by Wisconsin artist Frank Utpatel

"The Cancer of Superstition, a non-fiction treatise commissioned from author H.P. Lovecraft, was found in a memorabilia collection in a defunct magic shop. Magician Harry Houdini asked Lovecraft to ghostwrite the text for a book project, but died shortly thereafter. Now it goes to auction."

The quote above is from boingboing

It seems the manuscript was a collaboration between Lovecraft and C.M. Eddy at the request of Harry Houdini. The entire work was never completed due to Houdini's death. A synopsis and one chapter, "The Genesis of Superstition" was published in the Arkham house volume  The Dark Brotherhood and Other Pieces in 1966. S.T. Joshi provides an excellent overview of the collaboration in the Guardian article below. C.M. Eddy collaborated with Lovecraft on a number of works including "Ashes", "The Ghost Eater", "Deaf, Dumb, and Blind", and "The Loved Dead" probably the most, at the time, controversial story Lovecraft ever wrote. All of these stories as well a a number of 
Lovecraft's other collaborations and revisions can be found in the volume  The Horror in the Museum, Arkham House Publishers Inc. 1989. This volume also provides S.T. Joshi's  (he's everywhere) notes discussing the working relationship between Eddy and Lovecraft. 

The Horror in the Museum, Jacket by Raymond Bayless

Lost HP Lovecraft work commissioned by Houdini escapes shackles of history
Long-lost H.P. Lovecraft manuscript found


Monday, March 14, 2016

The (Great) Lovecraft Reread

The (Great) Lovecraft Reread

As part of this blog, I hope to highlight some of the good HPL resources I find on the web. The  following reread at Tor.com offers some really interesting takes on some of HPL's classic stories. I also like that Emmrys and Pillsworth, both authors who work with Mythos themes, also include stories by some of Lovecraft's friends, influences, and contemporaries. Included are Frank Belknap Long's "The Hounds of Tindalos", E.F. Benson's "Negotium Perambulans", M.R. James "Count Magus",  Robert W. Chambers " The Repairer of Reputations" , Edgar Allan Poe's "Fall of the House of Usher, C.L. Moore's "Shambleau, T.E.D. Klein's " Black Man with a Horn" etc. 

And Tor.com also offers the full text of Ruthanna Emrys's "The Litany of the Earth" one of the best Mythos stories I have read in many years. (Hopefully the subject of a future post)

So stop by and take a look.


From the tor.com webpage

The Lovecraft Reread

Ruthanna Emrys and Anne M. Pillsworth

Welcome to the H. P. Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers—Ruthanna Emrys and Anne M Pillsworth—get girl cooties all over old Howard’s original stories. Together they hope to explore both the awesome and the problematic, both the deliberately and accidentally horrific. Reading order will be more or less random. As the Great Race of Yith would point out, if they cared enough to do so, linear time is merely an illusion anyway.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

New Eldritch Tomes

The black gate of a thousand pastiches remains unclosed and has spawned a new series of tales to trouble our dreams and haunt the dark corners of our waking mind.

I have to say that Volume One did not thrill me, I found most of the stories okay at best. I liked Harry Turtledove's The Fillmore Shoggoth, The Warm by Darrell Schweitzer, The Dog Handler's Tale by Donald Tyson, I am undecided about Shea's Under the Shelf I have to reread it. The best tale for me was Last Rites by K. M. Tonso despite some geological silliness that was hard to ignore even in a Lovecraft pastiche. 

I have just started Volume Two and I have already found superior tales by Stableford, Jones, and worth the price of this volume by itself, The Hollow Sky by Jason C. Eckhardt. And I still have most of the book to read.

Foreword by Kim Newman
Introduction by S. T. Joshi
20,000 Years Under the Sea by Kevin J. Anderson
Tsathoggua’s Breath by Brian Stableford
The Door Beneath by Alan Dean Foster
Dead Man Walking by William F. Nolan
A Crazy Mistake by Nancy Kilpatrick
The Anatomy Lesson by Cody Goodfellow
The Hollow Sky by Jason C. Eckhardt
The Last Ones by Mark Howard Jones
A Footnote in the Black Budget by Jonathan Maberry
Deep Fracture by Steve Rasnic Tem
The Dream Stones by Donald Tyson
The Blood in My Mouth by Laird Barron
On the Shores of Destruction by Karen Haber
Object 00922UU by Erik Bear and Greg Bear

Brian Stableford has produced some very good Lovecraft pastiches as well as a vast amount of SF. I have encountered his work in other collections Tsathoggua’s Breath (above), From Beyond, and The Truth About Pickman, also in this volume and been quite impressed so I was pleased to find this collection. I have not read most of the stories here but I am expecting great things. 


Introduction Brian Stableford

The Holocaust of Ecstasy
The Legacy of Erich Zann
The Seeds from the Mountains of Madness
The Truth About Pickman

From the wonderful publishing house of Fedogan & Bremer, with a soon to be classic cover, painting by Tim Kirk, cover design Michael Waltz, we have a collection from one of my favourite Lovecraftians, both as author and editor, Darrell Schweitzer. Yes the editor of the brilliantly bleak, soul-wrenchingly dystopian collection Cthulhu's Reign, hint nothing ends well, is also a great writer. Not all of the works are clearly Lovecraft pastiches but those that aren't are still cosmic in scale and some of the best stories in the collection. Just to mention two, the very powerful Howling in the Dark and The Clockwork King, the Queen of Glass, and the Man with a Hundred Knives. It was the latter tale that really cemented Schweitzer's stature in my mind. When I read this tale of a man "trapped?" between our reality and the kingdom of the Clockwork King and the Queen of Glass I was blown away. When I read this story I thought not of HPL but of Jonathan's Carroll's The Land of Laughs and the tantalizing fragments of the children's books, The Land of Laughs, The Pool of Stars, Peach Shadows, and The Green Dog's Sorrow that he attributes to the mysterious author Marshall France. And while I like HPL if you have not read Carroll's The Land of Laughs, A Child Across the Sky, Bones of the Moon, Outside the Dog Museum give Howard a rest and find one or more of these titles.

Introduction" S.T. Joshi
Envy, the Gardens of Ynath, and the Sin of Cain
Hanged Man and Ghost
Stragglers from Carrhae
The Eater of Hours
The Runners Beyond the Wall
On the Eastbound Train
Howling in the Dark
Sometimes You Have to Shout about It
The Head Shop in Arkham"
Innsmouth Idyll
Class Reunion
Why We Do It
The Warm
Spiderwebs in the Dark
The Corpse Detective
Jimmy Bunny
The Last of the Black Wind
In Old Commoriom
The Clockwork King, the Queen of Glass, and the Man with a Hundred Knives
The Scroll of the Worm with Jason Van Hollander
Those of the Air  with Jason Van Hollander
Ghost Dancing