Much of the fodder of this issue is a result of my exploring’s database of full-text books. I put in the name of “Lovecraft” and got many results, the greatest number of which are cumulated in the “Influence” section. Several are not really influences so much as allusions to him from people I am pleased to discover, such as Woody Allen. Since I have not always independently verified book titles and other bibliographical details, be aware there may be inaccuracies.



     A discussion of funeral rites lifts a sentence from Supernatural Horror in Literature (The Social Symbolism of Grief and Mourning (Jessica Kingsley, 1998) by Roger Grainger). *** A book review on mental health begins with a single line recapitulation of the ending of “The Outsider,” called a “masterpiece,” and goes on


      Citing a latter-day Edgar Allan Poe in the opening line of a review of a text on the interface of spirituality and mental health is neither irrelevant nor irreverent, nor intended as a tangential provocation. The counterpoint comes naturally to mind given that similar forces are actively at play: what leads to terror in the fictional encounter is not fundamentally different from what endows therapists everywhere with much of their ability, or what confers poignancy and power to many a clinical encounter, namely, the recognition of one's self in "the other" (Andrés Martin, “Review,” Psychiatric Services (52:1536-1537, November 2001).



     An out-of-body experience involving a man and a kitten reminds the authors of the Dunwich horror, “a monster trapped by birth between our world and a fourth-dimensional one” (D. Scott Rogo, Leaving the Body: A Complete Guide to Astral Projection (Fireside, 1993), p. 175).



     According to Alistair Welchman (The Edinburgh Encyclopedia of Continental Philosophy) the figure of the plateau (in A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari) is partly taken from the writings of HPL (probably Leng) and Arthur Conan Doyle (The Lost World). *** In an endnote Raymond Tallis (Enemies of Hope: A Critique of Contemporary Pessimism (Palgrave Macmillan, 1997)) discusses the criticism of “Enlightenment thinkers … for oppressive universalism—for what Lovecraft called 'uniformitarianism' .” *** Although there have been books on HPL’s philosophy, Anthony Quinton believes “It is surely clear … that the literature of pure entertainment has no underlying philosophical content. P.G. Wodehouse’s kind of comedy, adventure novels like those of Jules Verne or, for that matter, Treasure Island, stories of horror by Poe and Lovecraft, [and] most erotic novels could have a philosophical content ascribed to them only as some kind of playful trick” (From Wodehouse to Wittgenstein: Essays (Palgrave Macmillan, 1998), p. 290). *** There is a line quoted about “disordered machinery” (At the Mountains of Madness) from Deleuze and Philosophy: The Difference Engineer (Routledge, 1997).



     At their annual conference in 2000, the British Sociological Association, Sociology of Religion Study Group had Justin Woodman presenting “Lovecrafting the Art of Magick: Secularism, Modernity, and Emergent Stellar Spiritualities with Contemporary Occult Discourses.” *** The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft by Ronald Hutton has a little about HPL’s works casting witchcraft in a hostile light (cf. “The Dreams in the Witch-House”). *** Mystics and Messiahs: Cults and New Religions in American History (Oxford Press, 2001) by Philip Jenkins makes a number of references to HPL and Weird Tales. For example, “The Call of Cthulhu” is on a table listing cults and cult scandals. *** According to Stephen R. Wilk (Medusa: Solving the Mystery of the Gorgon (Oxford University Press on Demand, 2000)) “A number of horror writer H. P Lovecraft's odd beings have their roots in Greek mythology” (p. 215). *** B.J. Gibbons (Spirituality and the Occult: From the Renaissance to the Twentieth Century (Routledge, 2001)) believes the esoteric has had an impact on history, except (says he) in the case of Lovecraft the dissemination of such an idea has been unintentional.



     What to name a cat? “Lovecraft.” (In The Big Book of Cats: Fun Facts, Fascinating Anecdotes, and Quotations About Felines (Random House Value, 2000) by Susan Feuer.)



     In The Banquet Years: The Origins of the Avant Garde in France, 1885 to World War I: Alfred Jarry, Henry Rousseau, Erik Satie and Guillaume Apollinaire (Random House Trade Paperbacks, 1979), Roger Shattuck quotes Lovecraft’s definition of a “marvel tale” from Marginalia and adds, “The comment reaches beyond science fiction to catch a wide segment of modern art” (p.40). *** Felipe Fernandez-Armesto quotes from At the Mountains of Madness as the lone example of a lost city in the ice (Civilizations: Culture, Ambition, and the Transformation of Nature (Free Press, 2001), p.41).



     The clue for a crossword puzzle by David J. Kahn is “Like H.P. Lovecraft stories,” in The New York Times Crossword Puzzle Omnibus (Griffin Trade Paperback; Large Print edition (2001)). *** The Original Trivia Treasury: 1,001 Questions for Competitive Play by R. Wayne Schmittberger has the multiple-choice question, “The fictional city of Arkham found in certain H.P. Lovecraft works is supposed to be located in what real U.S. state?” *** See Jeopardy: What Is Quiz Book 4 and look under Double Jeopardy. Its category “They Rest in Rhode Island” has in its highest ($1000) section the question “Who is H.P. Lovecraft”?



     Despite its title, Dogs and Demons: Tales from the Dark Side of Modern Japan by Alex Kerr (Hill & Wang, 2002) is not a pulp work, but is non-fiction about modern Japan and its problems. There are several references to HPL, as “For a modern traveler seeking something of that Lovecraftian thrill, nothing would do better than a trip to Japan's countryside” (p. 14). And there is a travel book, Looking for the Lost: Journeys Through a Vanishing Japan (Kodansha International, 1996) by Alan Booth with the description “the hills ahead were a stage set for Lovecraft's Arkham. A thick mist rolled off them like ichor” (p. 172).



     Toronto has a sex shop named “Lovecraft,” but the location and store itself is about as tasteful as can be, despite the guilty-as-charged merchandise. The sign bearing the name is imprinted with a woman’s red lips, and the front windows fill the store with light. Could there be branches in Maryland, where three stores also have this name—probably because of its connotation—and deal with lingerie? On the other hand, Lovecraft Studio in Hawaii handles tattooing.



     From a book of educational quotes, HPL’s is “All life is only a set of pictures in the brain” (Charles McGuire, The Best Advice Ever For Teachers (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2001)).



     In his Stardust Melody: The Life and Music of Hoagy Carmichael (Oxford University Press, 2002) Richard M. Sudhalter quotes from a Lovecraft letter concerning change (it was printed in Eternal Lovecraft). *** “Dweller on the Threshold” by Van Morrison “is straight out of H.P. Lovecraft, but jaunty”(Brian Hinton, Celtic Crossroads: The Art of Van Morrison (Sanctuary Publishing, 2000), p. 234). *** When a child, Jean-Jacques Perrey, “the godfather of electro-pop,” was an admirer of science fiction writers, including HPL. *** Find liner notes for the group H.P. Lovecraft, plus a variety of associations from their namesake —e.g., photographs from the Night Gallery episode of “Professor Peabody’s Last Lecture.”



     There’s the unverified statement that Swiss artist H.R. Giger (Necronomicon, Alien, etc.) illustrated a Japanese edition of Lovecraft around 1988. That would be worth seeing, I think. *** The Italian “Mr. Lovecraft” has an Edward Gorey whimsicality.



     According to Stephen Sennitt (Ghastly Terror!: The Horrible Story of the Horror Comics (Headpress, 2002))  there is a plot-borrowing (pun unintended) from “In the Vault,” by Vault of Horror #14 (August 1950), “Rats Have Sharp Teeth.” But his description sounds more like Henry Kuttner’s “The Graveyard Rats.” *** Stephen Bissette, contributor to Swamp Thing and horror comics, says in an interview, “There's a very real feeling of awe and wonder that is tapped in some of the best exercises in horror. A couple of examples I can cite that anybody would recognize: H.P. Lovecraft, Clive Barker.”



     Discussing Aeschylus’ Eumenides and an appearance on stage of the Furies that is vile enough to bring a priestess to her knees, J. Michael Walton states “What Aeschylus has dared to do is to create in concrete stage terms creatures so horrific that normally they lurk only in the deep recesses of man's subconscious. These Furies belong in the worlds of Poe or Lovecraft, a world of nightmare, terror and loathing” (Greek Sense of Theatre: Tragedy Reviewed (Routledge, 1996 (p.78)). *** The puppet show, "The Horror in the Theater: An H.P. Lovecraft Triptych of Terror," is reviewed (6 Nov 2003) by Seattle University’s Spectator Online. 



     In 2003 the October Timelines series on Rhode Island’s NBC10's had a look at HPL.



     Jonathan Rosenbaum says in part of Alain Resnais’ Providence that it sees “reality as a form of Lovecraftian enchantment filtered through a writer's rambling emotions and imagination” (Placing Movies: The Practice of Film Criticism (University of California Press, 1995), p. 29). I have not seen the movie, so I do not know if or how Lovecraft’s presence touches it.



     From Beyond & 16 Other Macabre Masterpieces is an e-book download for Microsoft Reader. *** “The Thing on the Doorstep” is read in French (“Le Monstre sur le Seuil”) by Jacques Dufilho.




     It’s news to me. The 1985 Re-Animator was novelized as Re-Animator: A Novel (Pocket Books, 1987) by Jeff Rovin, who has written about movie fantasy.



     A translation of the Cuban Spanish-language novel Tres Tristes Tigres (Three Trapped Tigers) by G. Cabrera Infante has one character stating “When I say fantastic, please listen, I mean extraordinary, majestic, monumental, in a lovecrafty way” (p. 436). The Lovecraft allusion is not in the original work (p. 402), but the author may have added it, since he collaborated with translators Donald Gardner and Suzanne Jill Levine.



     I may have mentioned this before, but Rosemary Jackson (Fantasy: The Literature of Subversion (Routledge, 1981)) has an intriguing discussion about naming the indescribable, and she refers to Cthulhu and others as “mere signifiers without an object” (p.40); yet it has been stated that the Cthulhu name itself—when it was new and unfamiliar—should have been enough to give a chill. Shades of objective correlative. *** Signatures of the Visible (Routledge, 1992) by Frederic Jameson has a quasi-paragraph about The Case of Charles Dexter Ward being a bridge between the ghost story and the historical novel (p.91). *** A section about horror in Arguing About Art: Contemporary Philosophical Debates (Routledge, 2001) quotes two descriptive passages about the second Dunwich horror, considered a “conflation of species.” ***
     Only upon its spring publication will
Pleasures of Horror by Matt Hills reveal if HPL is within the author’s purview. The publisher, Continuum, is also bringing out American Gothic Fiction by Allan Lloyd Smith. *** “The Truth Shall Set You Adrift: The Perils of Investigation in the World of H. P. Lovecraft” by Bradley Will was presented at the 2002 conference, Society for the Interdisciplinary Study of Social Imagery; it is one of the papers selected for The Image of the Outsider in Literature, Media, and Society (Society for the Interdisciplinary Study of Social Imagery, University of Southern Colorado, 2002). *** B. A. S.: British and American Studies/Revista de Studii Britanice si Americane (2003) carries two article about him:  “Transgressing the Boundaries of Language: H. P. Lovecraft's 'The Call of Cthulhu'” by Eduardo García Agustín (p. 77-83), and “Naturalizing the Supernatural: H. P. Lovecraft and the Aesthetics of Cosmic Horror” by Matolcsy Kálmán (p. 85-91).


“The Shunned House”

     This absorbs substantial background comment in Food for the Dead: On the Trail of New England's Vampires by Michael E. Bell.



     The Mammoth Book of Comic Fantasy II (Carroll & Graf, 1999) edited by Ofian Michael Ashley contains a spoof by Lovecraft writer David Langford, “The Case of Jack the Clipper or a Fimbulwinter’s Tale.”



     How Fiction Works: The Last Word on Writing Fiction, from Basics to the Fine Points (Story Press, 2001) by Oakley M. Hall states that use of the first person is wrong when the narrator is meeting his death, a la “Dagon,” though the quoted example that Hall gives is not from the works and, while it catches the spirit, is probably made-up. At first I thought he had a strong point, but then I transferred such a concept to a radio play. If an on air narrator is suddenly cut-off, I think that the audience is more likely to accept this concept (finalus interruptus?). *** In a study of English language usage, there is an example, quoted from the opening of The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, of the verb “disappear” as a “presentative” (in A University Course in English Grammar (Routledge, 2002) by Angela Downing).



     I have referred to Clifford A. Pickover before (probably his The Science of Aliens, though he quotes “black seas of infinity” in his book of mathematical puzzles, Keys to Infinity), and here he is with Wonders of Numbers: Adventures in Mathematics, Mind, and Meaning (Oxford University Press, 2003) where to illustrate the numerical grouping of five he uses various aliens, among them the Old Ones from At the Mountains of Madness. *** The Turtle and the Stars: Observations of an Earthbound Astronomer (Times Books, 2002) by Arthur Upgren has Supernatural Horror in Literature in its bibliography, perhaps because it discusses fear of darkness. This might tie in with Upgren’s concern about light pollution. He has also authored Night Has a Thousand Eyes: A Naked-Eye Guide to the Sky, Its Science, and Lore (Perseus, 2000) in which he relates the Hyades as places for the Old Ones. ***
     Shub-Internet is defined as “the harsh personification of the Internet, Beast of a Thousand Processes, Eater of Characters, Avatar of Line Noise” in
Hack Attacks Encyclopedia: A Complete History of Hacks, Cracks, Phreaks, and Spies over Time by John Chirillo (John Wiley & Sons, 2001), which notes the Lovecraft origin of the name. This is likewise touched on in Language: Readings in Language and Culture (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 1998) under a discussion on computer talk by Don L.F. Nilsen and Alleen Pace Nilsen.  *** The “That is not dead” couplet is an epigraph for a chapter about “sleeping” on an interstellar journey in The Giant Leap: Mankind Heads for the Stars (Tor Books, 2001) by British science writer Adrian Berry. *** I have found a typo. Two aviators “had a small fleet of Cub, Lovecraft, and Luscombe airplanes” (Rob Simbeck, Daughter of the Air: The Brief Soaring Life of Cornelia Fort (Grove Press, 2001), p. 79. Based on my research, I think the author meant “Taylorcraft.” Of course, some people do have a fear of flying.



     I know not its source, but HPL’s account of his black cat eating roast chestnuts appears in Casanova's Parrot and Other Tales of the Famous and Their Pets by Mark Bryant (Carroll & Graf, 2002). *** A couple explain how “The Doom That Came to Sarnath” induced them to name their iguana Bokrug (The Complete Book of Pet Names by George Greenfield (Andrews and McMeel, 1997)). *** According to the etymology section in Curiosities of Biological Nomenclature, J. R. R. Tolkien has influenced the naming of many species. On the other hand, someone familiar with Lovecraft has a named a spider Pimoa cthulhu Hormiga (1994).


Influence and Allusions

     Calvert Casey, exiled Cuban writer, wrote in 1967 of completing a translation of HPL, “who kept me sleepless in Geneva out of sheer terror.” He adds that Lovecraft “can be a horrible writer” (see The Essential Ilan Stavans, p. 271). *** The great Ray Bradbury says “I grew up reading and loving the traditional ghost stories of Dickens, Lovecraft, Poe, and later, Kuttner, Bloch, and Clark Ashton Smith” (Zen in the Art of Writing (Bantam Books, 1992), p.14). *** Michael Chabon’s Wonder Boys begins with the depiction of a pulp writer who wrote “after the manner of Lovecraft.” Chabon’s wife, author Ayelet Waldman, refers to Lovecraft in her mystery, Nursery Crimes. ***
     In his non-fiction
Underground—about the Tokyo subway poison gas attack—Haruki Murakami tells of his novel Hard-Boiled Wonderland, where the protagonist discovers a fictional race who live in tunnels beneath Tokyo. He sees the “monsters straight out of the pages of H. P. Lovecraft.” *** Larry Niven’s The Ringworld Throne has a chapter entitled “Lovecraft.” Niven throws in references to him in other works, too. *** He receives passing mentions in Only One Thing Missing by Luis Manuel Ruiz. *** “Well-meaning friends fixed me up with a relentless spate of blind dates, all unerringly from the pages of H. P. Lovecraft.”—Woody Allen, Side Effects. *** Horror and the Holy: Wisdom-Teachings of the Monster Tale (Open Court Publishing, 1993) by Kirk J. Schneider begins with an epigraph from Supernatural Horror in Literature and refers elsewhere to HPL. *** Stephen King’s Eyes of the Dragon refers to Alhazred and the Plains of Leng. ***
     The author Mir Tamim Ansary speaks of an “Afghan doctor whose passion after work was writing-not
ghazals, not quasidas, not even rubaiyat, but horror stories in the tradition of H. P. Lovecraft” (West of Kabul, East of New York: An Afghan American Story (Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2002, p. 284)). *** Catalan writer Juan Perucho (see The Criticaster 35) has died. He wrote the short fantasy “Amb Tecnica de Lovecraft” (With Lovecraft's Technique). *** Quoting Borges’ remark, "Life, which everyone knows is inscrutable, left me no peace until I perpetrated a posthumous story by H. P. Lovecraft, a writer whom I have always considered an unconscious parodist of Poe," John T. Irwin concludes, “imitating the Poesque elements he finds in Lovecraft's work [is] a move that seems less a commentary on Lovecraft's unconscious borrowing than an oblique acknowledgment of Borges's own highly self-conscious use of Poe in his own work" (The Mystery to a Solution: Poe, Borges, and the Analytic Detective Story (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996),  p.293). ***
     In a memoir the prolific Roy Blount said “The Colour Out of Space” had “struck me forcefully in adolescence,” but goes on to describe HPL pejoratively; and he gets wrong the titles of several stories (
Be Sweet: A Conditional Love Story (Harvest Books, 1999), p.280). *** The 2001 vampire novel Darklost by Mick Farren uses Lovecraft beings. *** Josef Skvorecky (The Engineer of Human Souls) has written his first book in English, the crime fiction Two Murders in My Double Life (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2001), where he observes in one episode, “I remembered my beloved horror writer, H.P. Lovecraft” (p. 21). *** On the back of the occult Blue Limbo: A Novel, Frank Lauria cites HPL and A. Merritt as influences. *** Rod Serling had a love of authors such as Heinlein, Bradbury, and HPL (Rod Serling: The Dreams and Nightmares of Life in the Twilight Zone: A Biography, p. 103). *** The name, uncapitalized, appears in the poem “The Medium” by the Canadian poet Robin Blaser. ***
     He is one of the authors enjoyed by the protagonist in R. E. Klein’s
The History Of Our World Beyond The Wave: A Fantasy (Harcourt, 1998), though Arthur Machen gets more attention. Nonetheless, refers to the presence of  “Lovecraftian landscapes,” and the book has fish people called Gugs, as if a combination of “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” and The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath. *** In the essay “Everything but the Signature Is Me” (in Meet Me at Infinity (St. Martin’s Press, 2001) James Tiptree, Jr. remembers how, when a child, she became familiar with Weird Tales, adding “Lovecraft—Oh, God.” *** “I've always loved the language and when you are raised reading Ray Bradbury, Charles Dickens, and Lovecraft, you become a walking thesaurus” (Steve O'Keefe, Complete Guide to Internet Publicity: Creating and Launching Successful Online Campaigns (John Wiley and Sons, 2002), p. 215). *** The concluding paragraph of an article about Guatemala starts “What chance, then, can ‘democracy’ really have in Guatemala, a remote, rainy, mountainous and captive country whose current political circumstances resemble a terrifying story by Lovecraft or Stoker?” (Francisco Goldman, “Guatemala’s Fictional Democracy,” The New York Times (3 Nov 2003)). *** Lynn Cuthbertson has the poem “mt. hope cemetery or if h.p. lovecraft wrote haiku” (Hazmat Review, 1998, p. 11).


Arthur C. Clarke

<>     As astrophysicist Nikos Prantzos observes, the following is a Lovecraftian (and splendid) quote by Sir Arthur in Profiles of the Future: “The road to Lilliput is short, and it leads nowhere. But the road to Brobdingnag is another matter; we can see along it only a little way, as it winds outwards through the stars, and we cannot guess what strange travellers it carries. It may be well for our peace of mind if we never know.” 


Avram Davidson

     Referring to the story “Twenty-Three” as a pastiche, Henry Wessells writes in an afterword “It is well known that Avram Davidson read and appreciated the work of H. P. Lovecraft; he made more than passing references to the gentleman from Providence in both his reviews and his fiction.” See Davidson’s The Other Nineteenth Century: A Story Collection (Tor Books, 2001). However, many of us remember Davidson’s jabs at HPL from The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction—where he was once editor—or from references to his remarks in L. Sprague de Camp’s Lovecraft. And what is a “twitch”?



     In the 1995 manifesto sent to the New York Times by the Unabomber, Theodore Kaczynski, there were references to L. Sprague de Camp’s The Ancient Engineers. Kaczynski had ordered “tons of stuff” concerning de Camp, according to the librarian responsible, though it seems more likely that the interest would have been about de Camp’s writings rather than the author himself (see American Libraries, January 2004, p. 48-49).


Albert Sánchez Piñol

     I received an e-mail from Enric Emo, who noted that when I wrote “A reviewer considers the Spanish-language first novel by Albert Sánchez Piñol, La Pell Freda (La Campana), as having elements of Conrad and Lovecraft” I should have substituted “Catalan” for “Spanish” (I shall correct my error in The Limbonaut back issue). Enric adds that Piñol “could be compared with Conrad in the sense that his main character runs away from civilized society where he does not fit and feels certain guilt. From Lovecraft he could have taken the submarine monsters that [attack] the lighthouse of a lost island close to the Antarctic Ocean. It becomes his fortress. Finally he realizes that the monsters have souls while he has lost any hope. 

     “This novel is being translated into 18 languages and is promoted among their friends by many readers that cannot close the book once they have started to read it.” 



     Two drawbacks of S.T.’s chiefly admirable Lovecraft’s Library (the new 2003 edition) are that the entries do not put the location of existing volumes, nor did he personally examine those that do exist. I have found a record for one book, the 1830 The Miscellaneous Works of Oliver Goldsmith. The copy at the American Antiquarian Society states the book is inscribed: “H.P. Lovecraft, 598 Angell St., Providence, R.I. U.S.A.” Their catalog also holds two of Ken’s Moshassuck Press donations, Criticism of Amateur Verse and The Ideal Amateur Paper.


Books and Reading

     Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone talk about their transition to book collectors in Used and Rare: Travels in the Book World. See pages 26-28 for their pursuit of Lovecraft volumes when they were tyros in their interest. *** In a book about reading, Browser’s Ecstasy (Counterpoint Press, 2003), author Geoffrey O’Brien wonders that some day he may, like the professor of “The Shadow Out of Time” (which he summarizes and, from the closing paragraph, quotes), recollect something from the long past (p. 51-52). ***
     In a discussion about car camping, Juliette Torrez (
The Sofa Surfing Handbook: A Guide for Modern Nomads (Manic D Press, 1998)) offers the advice “As much as I love horror and the occult, I don't recommend reading H.P. Lovecraft while you are sleeping in your car in the middle of nowhere” (p. 87). But in his novel Dean Ing has another take on the effect of HPL. “At a bookstore he chose volumes they would both devour: Muir, Renault, Steinbeck, Sturgeon. The Lovecraft, he thought with a lewd grin, was for nights when the wind ululated in the eaves of the cabin, when she would nestle against him for more than physical warmth” (Soft Target (Tor Books, 1996), p. 241). *** For those who want to know about the canonizable in horror there is Hooked on Horror: A Guide to Reading Interests in Horror Fiction by Anthony J. Fonseca and June Michele Pulliam (Libraries Unlimited, 2003); and from the same publisher, Reference Guide to Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror by Michael Burgess and Lisa R. Bartle (2002).



     There was a very pleasant reminiscence of how one fan found him, plus an essay about the cosmic theme in his fiction (site has been removed). 



     Arthur Machen influenced novelist Paul Bowles, who discovered him when an adolescent in the 1920’s. *** August Derleth gets several paragraphs of biographical attention in Moon Handbooks: Wisconsin (2nd ed., Avalon Travel, 2001) by Thomas Huhti. *** What is the adjective to describe things dealing with Conan? Conantic? Be that as it may, “The Hyborian Age” includes lists for such categories as characters and beasts.



     The first time I went to Quebec City, in 1988, was the second time I had been to a place where HPL visited. I was there for less than a day. On a return visit in the fall of 2003, I was able to spend more time. I found, walking around, a number of buildings plaqued in commemoration of various people whose fame usually can only be appreciated if you know local history; and even so, they may not seem such great shakes. It seemed an attempt to make the city and its history more important than it was. Compare it with various European cities where the history markers so often speak of what is of much larger significance, of people or things that you may have studied in school. So I was scornful of this aspect when I was there. A month after I left I learned a pertinent Lovecraft connection beyond his vast writing about the city. There is a plaque to him, placed in 2001.  The website tells the story of the plaque, which in translation reads, “Here stayed Howard-Phillips [sic] LOVECRAFT (1890-1937). Distinguished American writer of fantastic literature. He wrote a remarkable text about Quebec, evoking in particular its "perfume of sweet antiquity, of quietness and eternity...". One of the photos of the ceremony, which took place at city hall, shows HPL’s blue plaque dead center among the others honored. The location is at the dwelling of 801, avenue De Bougainville. Had I but known at the time. The article, by Sylvia Moisan, also shows Lovecraftian Esther Rochon, who I alluded to last year. Memory is particularly precious to the province, and I suppose it is a motto, for I saw on license plates “Me Souviens”—“Remember”.

     Others have commented on the relationship between Lovecraft and Quebec.


      Contemporary literature provides examples of writers who have imposed on themselves the task of pushing description to its limits. A famous [my italics] example is H.P. Lovecraft's attempts at describing in the most extensive manner every street, corner, square, and building of Quebec City. The 200 pages devoted by the writer to this almost obsessional exercise provide an example of a description that, in principle, should be never-ending inasmuch as it is always possible to introduce new details…

(Michel Denis, Imagery, Language, and Visuo-Spatial Thinking (Psychology Press, 2001), p. 138)


Let Hers 123

     Ben: Thanks to your review I have, at last, some idea about Lovecraft’s Follies, and from a guy who knows drama. James Schevill is also a poet, and going by the title of American Fantasies: Collected Poems 1945-1980, I wonder if there are any allusions to HPL? That is a laugh-prompting comedian Lovecraft cartoon. Thanks for that informative reprint you did on L. Frank Baum; basing my judgment on that Theatre article, I find Baum highly self-promotional and perhaps self-congratulatory, though the venue may be partly responsible, publicity being of great importance. My one complaint about your item on The Metal Monster is that it has a spoiler, giving away the conclusion.


     Ken: First, my sympathies on the loss of your father. But things are as they must be. *** I enjoyed that glimpse into the aj activities of uncle Gamwell, and it gave a flavor of the values and concerns of a vanished time. I have two inter-related questions. How did the papers come to be preserved at all, and how did they wind up at the University of Wisconsin library?


     Jack and Derrick: Drafts from the Moon Pool: Even though “Jack Madison Haringa” is the name underneath the cover portrait, I guess it is A. Merritt’s. J I suppose the Benford allusion to “the rats in the walls” is knowingly borrowed from the title of the story. The remark by Vonnegut comparing science fiction to a file drawer and urinal is priceless. *** The story of Merritt witnessing an unnamed something and being sent to South America as a result sounds like poppycock (paparruchas). I’d like to see the documentation or some corroboration. *** What you write about HPL is familiar to me, but Merritt is mostly new territory. It may be that we are losing Lovecraft within his influences—Poe, Dunsany, Merritt, etc. *** You describe “The Call of Cthulhu” as his first “mature” story. It does bust out with a new attitude, but “mature” is not the word that describes it. *** The reference to HPL as “a voracious reader” makes me think that not only did he read widely and with enthusiasm but retained much of it.  

     The Moon Pool is “obvious science fiction”? Rather I would call it fantasy of the lost race variety. As a result of this essay’s exploration, I stopped midway through it and read The Moon Pool (in paperback format); I was interested in seeing if you found the Lovecraft ideas that I did. Both authors apply a verisimilitude of scientific institutions inhabiting their world. In the book the narrative by Throckmartin (a Lovecraftian name) is much shorter than that of Dr. Goodwin, though your summary implies the reverse. The curious transformation of Throckmartin, touched by light, is reminiscent of the fate of the protagonist in “The Moon Bog” and, more vaguely, the fate of the uncle in “The Shunned House.” As long as The Moon Pool is a mystery story the Lovecraft evidence is strong. But after the trip through the moon door it becomes an adventure fantasy and the awe is emasculated, though toward the last of the book (chapters 29 and 30) a description of the gods’ involvement in the creation of the Moon Pool seems to harken forward to Lovecraft as myth-maker

     The Metal Monster opening—notably the 4th paragraph—is far more “Call of Cthulhu” than At the Mountains of Madness. It is unfortunate that you did not go further with the Merritt influence or similarity. For example, Merritt shows, likes HPL, an encyclopedic knowledge that appears up-to-date; and likewise has a lavish and learned vocabulary. There is the hint of extra-terrestrials as gods and the allusion to them under generic names, which can be pompous. Did Merritt significantly influence HPL or did the latter come up with themes on his own? Possibly Merritt was simply drawing on established conventions, and HPL was following them as much as Merritt. This would require a survey of Merritt’s magazine-writing contemporaries. At any rate, you are more sanguine about the establishment and amount of the Merritt influence than am I.

     The Moon Pool has plenty that could not be mistaken for HPL. There are, most obviously and painfully, the stereotypes, though skillfully rendered. There is the annoyingly ingratiating Irish hero, complete with Hibernicisms and comic book grace under pressure. He is the love idol of the villainess—the most fetching character—and the ingénue, who could have a second career as stopping butter from melting in her mouth. She is too idealized and cute for (polite) words. A scientist character is Russian, so he is one of the villains. Und so weiter. 


     David G: The Muriel Eddy account of Lovecraft’s belief in the life of the human brain after death is reflected in such stories as “The Whisperer in Darkness” and “The Shadow Out of Time,” where “mind” can be substituted for “brain,” and “death” is where mind and body separate. She made the same statement in the readers’ columns of science fiction magazines in later decades.


     David D: “The Cold Equations” by Tom Godwin a horror story? If we are thinking of the same short story, then I call it a tragedy, but not horror.


     Kennett: Have you read the Buddy Cianci biography, Prince of Providence? I saw the author talk about his book on BookTV. There are two mentions of HPL, the first stating that “I am Providence” could also apply to the former mayor, and the second stating both men were night walkers. Interesting that both allusions compare the characters. *** I suppose Lovecraft Cider is no more. I visited and found it was celebrating a beer festival held in Providence.


     Scott B.: I enjoyed your bio update, and I thank you for the Blatty piece as well as your reviews of Dagon and Lovecraft: Nightmare Suite. Though this latter has been reviewed by others who attended the same performance, there is virtually no overlap, and yours gives a new perspective.


     S.T.: Did the Penguin people (sounds like something out of Batman) find that the first Lovecraft volume sold well-enough to put in production a second and third, or was the contract for all three? And how did you determine on the story groupings? *** You mention “the wealth of documentary evidence that surrounds Lovecraft,” then appear to contradict the assertion with how easily overlooked the weird novel Lazarus almost was. *** My thesis runs counter to yours and the consensus—I believe that Poe has received far too much credit for his influence on the writing of HPL.


     David S.: Thanks for your account of your introduction to Lovecraft. This is a de rigueur convention for Lovecraftians. It is very interesting—revealing perhaps—to see how one became acquainted.


     Scott C.: Only one staple, eh, for Continuity? (which as a final issue appears to be a mis-nomered title). *** Perhaps you should capitalize your new endeavor as The CASophile. It is a mixed blessing to discover two new CAS stories. I am speaking of stories by late writers in general when I observe that if their quality was such that they were not publishable in the author’s lifetime, are they an example of a “retroactive effect” (to quote Bierce), that they accrue a praise only because they have been lost and are now found? *** When you publish essays by Lou Goldstone, et al., it helps if you clue us in on, at the beginning of the work, when it was written—e.g., Goldstone’s statement that “only recently has [George] Sterling’s existence been publicized to the fan-world at large” did not appear accurate until I came to the end and learned when the essay was published; it would have been better for the date and venue to be at the beginning. I am not, incidentally, a fan of Sterling’s poetry, where there is sensory overload, one blinding image neutralizing another. *** Your claim about Smith’s influence or foresight seems to claim too much for him. On the other hand, Smith’s excellence and lack of imitators suggests how unique an artist he was. His “The Face by the River” was just non-Smithian and could have been written by innumerable anonymous hands. *** It gave me a good laugh to read that six different people found six different sets of typos from the same book. In a way, that makes me feel better about my own numerous typos—when I locate them I ask myself, how could I have overlooked that? *** In filtering your comments about Edmund Wilson’s notorious article on HPL, I understand you are blaming Derleth for the negative reception. Yet even when Wilson is looking at the best of Lovecraft, such praise that he may give is grudging. (The Lurker at the Threshold came out after Wilson stated “I had read some of Lovecraft's stories and had not cared much for them.”) If The Lurker at the Threshold affected Wilson’s outlook, I doubt that it was in a pivotal way; that even without any ghost writing by Derleth—who (I speculate) may have helped to convince Wilson to give HPL a review—the final Wilsonian judgment may have been little better.


     John: I’m all for bundling in individual volumes specific HPL stories with their annotations, relevant letters, essays, etc. Why not compose a wish list of collected items for some of the stories you have in mind? *** When I do a search on for “palaeogean” it appears in a number of Lovecraft stories, though for the average reader the word does require a definition. As you are probably aware, indexes the texts of HPL, put on by, and they have been withdrawn at the insistence of Arkham House because of argued copyright violation. I have conflicting feelings about this affair. *** Alas, I have not read Eternal Lovecraft and the Jim Turner introduction therein. *** Yes, in these times aspects of horror have lost their uniqueness, but Lovecraft is holding up, so the frisson that you experienced may still be around, affecting new readers. *** The other Hesperia was not mentioned in Ben’s EOD history that I have seen on the qusoor website. I am uncertain how publicized the online essay has been. *** Thanks for the concluding chapter in the Arkham House “biography.”


     Derrick: That Alfred Galpin made errors of quotation in his letters may be more pertinent than if he didn’t, for he could be reciting from memory—i.e., that he was impressed enough by the Clark Ashton Smith poem to memorize it. Neither I nor my dictionary know what  “subornless” means, unless it is a mis-print. *** When I searched the Supernatural Horror in Literature quote did not turn up, but instead the “strange eons” couplet appeared in a long list of quotations.


     Doug: I would like to see a list of all the important fantasists not represented in The Roots of the Mountain—I mean Tales Before Tolkien. Surely there must be a number. I have heard that The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath might have been an influence, but have not read the essay. The one episode in The Lord of the Rings (book and possibly film) where I felt a possible Lovecraft presence was in the mines of Moria.














This is the 39th  issue of The Criticaster (January 2004, mailing 125) by S. Walker  Eventually published on the Net as The Limbonaut (no. 10)