Revenge of the Respondent (for Mailing 134, May Eve 2006)
Fred: Your mention of the Smith carving on the cover of The Abominations of Yondo reminds me that Smith stonework also appeared on Beyond the Wall of Sleep. I don’t know if his carvings appeared on the covers of any other Arkham Houses.
Sean: It is curious that the publication of the Houellebecq work in the English language has incurred so much comment, whereas I have no idea if there has been any comparable flurry when the edition was published or re-published in the Francophone world. It is as though the French edition doesn’t exist.
Ken: Concerning your issue on Wilson Shepherd and The Rebel Press, I’m afraid I’m at least one reader who lost the thread of your argument in the forest of details. Thanks for the reprint of The Rebel and its kin.
Ben: I have no way of knowing that Lin Carter was a “loudmouth,” but
based on your experience with him mis-quoting you and rather brushing you
aside, I might say he was ethically challenged and rude. *** Perhaps unlike
you, I feel that some Cthulhu stories by writers other than HPL could be very
good–for example, by Robert Bloch or, especially, Fritz Leiber. The idea is to
make the story your own. As both Bram Stoker and Richard Matheson could write
exceptionally on the same subject of vampires, so too could writers of Cthulhu.
But it would be fatal to imitate Lovecraft.*** The videotape pictured on your
cover was shown at the Lovecraft Centennial in
Wilum: I note that you write about a place called
Martin: In a recent mailing there was a history of Lovecraft publishing
John G.: Re your review of H.P. Lovecraft in Popular Culture: its
music section has probably been eclipsed by The Strange Sound of Cthulhu:
Music Inspired by the Writings of H.P. Lovecraft (2006) by Gary Hill.
Reflecting on your opinion, I’d say that the book appears an example of
marketing trumping quality. *** You compared The Lovecraft Lexicon with
The H.P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia, but what about The H.P. Lovecraft
Companion, which has a section with similar entries?
Bruce: It is curious how relatively harmless phrases have taken on a sociological significance, i.e., “Cthulhu Mythos,” concerning which you have taken umbrage. CM can now suggest someone who is muddle-headed about HPL’s fiction, and like the word “sci fi” implies ignorance, and possibly disrespect, of its subject. On the other hand, as a matter of convenience I’m willing to use the label “Cthulhu Mythos,” despite knowing its somewhat disreputable (Derlethian) origin attributed to it by some aficionados. *** Curious that in the comic strip you reprint, the name “Abdul Alhazred” is dubbed “the Mad Monk” rather than “the mad Arab.” This could be an example of a politically correct replacement.
John H.: You’re not the “unidentified fan” on the cover, are you? *** You have too high a regard for “mea culpa.” None of us is that perfect or bad in our fanzines. *** Were the Arkham ads (that you quote in your register) located at the end of Weird Tales stories, in a classified section, part of the Eyrie, or at some other place? *** Your evaluation comments for your own bibliography should’ve been in a darker type face, for its light gray has too little contrast, and makes it a challenge to distinguish.
Henrik: That thumbnail of a traditional HPL portrait at the end of your article is reproduced in such a way that it appears he is wearing sunglasses. *** For the Knox competition that’s a funny riff (using cookery) on the “That is not dead” lines.
Derrick: I envy your energy. You do all of Hippocampus Press activities, plus hold down a job. Your title should be Lord of Everything Else, after The Mikado character.
S.T.: What you consider “cosmicism” and what I consider it–or perhaps more appropriately “cosmic horror”–have points of similarity and difference. Whereas you might interpret the outlook as the insignificance of man and all that mankind values, I see it as an awareness of earth as an island that is only slightly more known than the surrounding unknown cosmos; and the concept of unknowableness may have wonder mixed into it.
Shown at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, this film was an appropriate
choice, especially the first third, which I will briefly describe from the
rented DVD that I watched. The story concerns a film maker, interested in fear
and its causes, who goes into tunnels underneath
After this the Lovecraft elements are in abeyance. With the next scene the woman is in the man’s apartment, where she is kept as a kind of insane pet. The plot becomes at times conventional, though there is a pleasing revelation.
At the risk of perpetrating a spoiler, I must observe this may be the
only movie I’ve seen that identifies with a madman’s perspective. Cleverly, at
times the physical medium of film itself is used, and one has a view as through
the artifacts and scratches that one finds on stock footage.
There are a number of fascinating ideas that get thrown out in Marebito, but are not dramatically integrated. For examples, cause-and-effect are reversed from the proposition that people saw something and so had great fear into the stated premise that people had to be in great fear in order to see something fearful. Also, it is claimed that our ancestors had senses modern people lack, so once it was possible for them to see life from other dimensions. But the suggestions are tantalizing throw-aways that lay on the surface of the story, and their removal would not have changed the film.
My re-reading of the Bram Stoker classic leads to these observations.
*** In the novel the town of
While the character of Van Helsing doesn’t have an equivalent in Lovecraft, he appears a direct ancestor, by way of Sherlock Holmes, to Jules de Grandin. Both are non-native English speakers who are occult savant/detectives. Taking charge, they’re the ones who know how to deflect and defeat evil.
A curiosity of Dracula, not in adaptations, is that the title character actually grows young, being rejuvenated by the blood he drinks. Several of Lovecraft’s characters don’t grow younger, though they do prolong life. A poetic theme on the subject is Fritz Leiber’s “The Man Who Never Grew Young.” *** As a who-done-it, the novel fails in the same way as “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” where from the get-go one knows the identity of Mr. Hyde. Nor is there a mystery that the female vampire is Lucy Westenra, however much Stoker strains for this end. The success of some works means that spoilers are inevitable; or in examples like these the perpetration of mystery-making is so unskillful that the reader is ahead of the author.
One of Dracula’s powers is his ability to control minds at a distance–that of Renfield, say, who is bribed or intimidated to do what the Count wishes. The sinister character of Asenath Waite is the most obvious example of this, even if (s)he doesn’t exercise mind control so much as mind swapping.
At the end of Dracula Mina Harker and Van Helsing are on the
hillside below Dracula’s castle in
Williamette Radio Workshop and Ollin Productions brought an adaptation (as an MP3 file)
of “The Outsider” with sound effects that appeared on a
To encourage beginning authors, there’s a contest online (NaNoWriMo2006) that requires participants to write a 50,000 word novel in a month’s time. One of these, Lovecraft and James Investigate, appears to center on HPL and MRJ.
How is this for a blog name?: “The Blogonomicon.”
In New and Used (a work concerning books and other media) Jonathan Lethem apparently has recounted how he was stopped from exploring a bookstore basement where there was supposedly an estate collection of Lovecraft’s.
“There Will Come Soft Rains” by Ray Bradbury is dramatized (in Russian) on YouTube.
Character Based on Lovecraft
“Gilgamesh in the Outback” by Robert Silverberg features HPL and Robert E. Howard as some of the characters. It is available as an e-book download.
Boom! Studios is bringing out the series Fall of Cthulhu. Its author, Michael Alan Nelson, is interviewed. *** Here’s your chance to see “Sweet Ermengarde” illustrated. Graphic Classics has added it to a 2nd ed. of H.P. Lovecraft.
“Black Cats and Rats: A Comparison of Poe and Lovecraft” was presented
by John Darowski at the 2006 Popular Culture Association conference. The 2005
program had “Horrific Correspondence: Anachronic Eruptions of Human/Nonhuman
Hybridity in H.P. Lovecraft’s ‘The Call of Cthulhu’” by Niles Tomlinson, and
“What Screams Are Made Of: Representing Cosmic Fear in H.P. Lovecraft’s
‘Pickman’s Model’” by Carl Sederholm. *** At the 2007 Popular Culture
Association conference I will be presenting my paper on the influence of
Lovecraft on Bradbury. The conference will host 17 horror panels, with
typically four presentations on each panel. HPL is very much in presence,
perhaps because the venue is
See a photo of a license plate with the word “Cthlhu,” under which is the phrase “kids first”; it is accompanied by the red handprints of children, which leads to humorous speculations. (I once had a license plate spelled “Cthulu,” since seven letters were the limit.)
Michael Dirda is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reviewer of the Washington Post who appreciates HPL, Dunsany, and their ilk. When he gave a talk about reading on C-Span national television I had hope that Lovecraft might be mentioned, and was not disappointed. Dirda noted that one (teenage?) son, who has a talent for mathematics, was currently reading both HPL and Sherlock Holmes stories, which shows astute taste.
To be released in three parts in 2007 and designed for the PC, the Lovecraft-inspired “Penumbra” is a horror adventure game. *** “Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened” is an adventure game whose premise is another case of putting SH in the world of HPL. *** The live-action, role-playing game “Cthulhu Lives” is the subject of an M.A. thesis, Cthulhu Lives!: A Descriptive Study of the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society, by J. Michael Bestul; read all 174 pages online.
Thanks to Ancestry.com I’ve found the following Lovecrafts. Sonia
Lovecraft was on a passenger list, stamped 27 August 1932. She sailed on the SS
In Life, Stories, and Poems of John Brougham (p. 140) presumably the “Mr. Lovecraft” mentioned is F.A., who was a member of the Brougham Benefit Committee (circa 1878) founded to aid the actor John Brougham. *** “Willelmus Lovecraft” is listed in The Register of Edmund Lacy, Bishop of Exeter, 1420-1455, Registrum Commune, vol. iv (Canterbury and York Society) under the heading “Ordinations” for the range of years 27 April to 21 May 1433. His is one of the names preceded by the Latin “Item secundo die Maii apud Modbury” (p. 145). I will note that here is more evidence for Lovecraft choosing “Exham Priory” as a name.
Technovelgy.com has a list of inventions by sf authors, a few of whom are Ambrose Bierce, Ray Bradbury, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Nictzin Dyalhis, David H. Keller, Frank Belknap Long, “Lewis Padgett,” and Jack Vance.
Lairs of the Hidden Gods (Kurodahan Press Book, 2006?) was published in Japanese in 2002 as Hishinkais, a 2 volume set with original articles and stories concerning the Cthulhu Mythos. This title is a translation with introductions by Robert Price.
In Genentech Legal Counsel and Vice President, 1976-1988, and Entrepreneur, by Thomas D. Kiley, the author states in the course of a law case, “The whole exercise reminded me of the grim novella by H.P. Lovecraft, At the Mountains of Madness” (p. 205).
The not-free-from-typos Library of America is bringing out a collection of Philip K. Dick novels. In part Dick was chosen because of the “positive response” to the 2005 Lovecraft volume. According to publisher Max Rudin “There were a lot of people who felt their reading tastes were validated by including Lovecraft in the library¼We had been thinking for a long time about Philip K. Dick and other genre writers, and because of the success of the Lovecraft book, and because of ‘Blade Runner’ coming out, it seemed like a good time to go ahead with this” (CNN, 29 Nov 06). Other prospective writers are Ray Bradbury and the Howard-winning, HPL-hater, Ursula K. Le Guin.
James Gunn, director of Slither, reports that “Lovecraft was very
influential to me during the making of this film.” *** Pan’s Labyrinth, the fantasy directed by Guillermo del Toro, is
Mexico’s official candidate for Best Foreign Language Film category at the
Academy Awards (it lost), is a Golden Globe nominee in the same category (it again lost), and
is an Independent Spirit Award nominee for the best feature. There's a list of wins
and nominations. These nominations won’t hurt prospects for
Hear and see the Xmasy “The Carol of the Bells” as inspired by Lovecraft. Very well done. *** The Finnish group Dawn of Relic has the 2003 album Lovecraftian Dark.
A Lovecraftian Name Generator creates names that purportedly resemble
gods or entities, not protagonists. *** Poetic lines from “Lucy” by Champion Bissell: “But plain to
him, who not excels/ In love-craft, you can have no part¼” (in The Panic, As
In Google’s patent search I used the term “lovecraft”.These are the results, except I have omitted one patent by Joseph Lovecraft, since it was mentioned in a previous ‘aster. Note that the year I have given with the patent is the date of issue, not of filing.
Joseph is a witness for an 1859 patent that covers “chamfering barrel-heads.”
Frederick A. Lovecraft has an 1892 patent for improving “registry-stamps.” He writes “My invention has for its object to avoid the trouble and loss connected with the ordinary method of registering letters.” How apt for someone who is related to an outstanding epistolarian.
An 1971 patent for a paddle wheel boat is by Dale E. Love, assignor to
Lovecraft Boat Company,
One of the two founders of Google, Sergey Brin, has a 2004 patent about information extraction, and titles by HPL are among those in a sample list of books.
According to The New Yorker, Adam Gadahn—the first American to be charged with treason in fifty years—has repeatedly read all of HPL’s work.
In late 2003 The Modern Word interviewed Derrick about Hippocampus Press, where he also worthily talks of the EOD, the origin of the name “Hippocampus,” and other interesting things. (The Modern Word also has a 2004 article about Lovecraft movies.)
BBC Radio 3 was scheduled to broadcast on Sunday (3 Dec 2006) “Weird
Tales - The Strange Life Of H P Lovecraft,” an approximately 45 minute
documentary. “Geoff Ward examines the strange life and terrifying world of the
man hailed as
“H.P. Lovecraft and the Occult” consists of four lectures by Dr. Justin
According to Matt Cardin, an excerpt at his site is from his essay about
Lovecraft and Thomas Ligotti that is to be published in Studies in Weird
Fiction. In the meantime you can read about beauty and “sehnsucht.”
“The Shadow Out of Time”
According to The Eagle-Tribune “Lovecraft borrowed the name of
Nathaneal Peaslee for his narrator in the short story ‘Dreams of the Witch
House’ [sic] after visiting the city [
In May 2008 the spacecraft
According to an e-mail I received, a club named "Dimos, the Hellenic Lovecraft's Society” has engaged in several activities. This Greek group has a male beach handball team called “Cthulhu” (listed with the European Handball Federation). They noted, “We also have a huge Lovecraftian library, a large VHS and DVD collection and we have just published our magazine.” They plan on setting up a website, and their e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Doctor Who appears to draw upon HPL in “The Impossible Planet” scenario, according to a commentator at this website. *** The British television quiz program Mastermind (which has been youtubed) had a graduate student as a contestant whose area of expertise was the fiction of H.P. Lovecraft. Taking the quiz, I missed one question. *** According to a blogger, on his 1970’s talk show Dick Cavett praised HPL.
For Hallowe’en “An Evening of Weird Tales” was produced by the Box Theatre of Fort Worth, Texas. It consisted of Poe’s “The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether,” a recitation of “Nyarlathotep,” a play by Michael Johnson (founder of the theatre) entitled “Possessions,” and Ray Bradbury’s “Pillar of Fire,” which was based by its author on the story of the same name. *** 2006 is the fourth year of annual Lovecraft stage adaptations by Open Circle Theater (mentioned last issue) *** The full-text of Night Gaunts: An Entertainment Based on the Life and Writings of H.P. Lovecraft (Grim Reaper Books, 2005) by Brett Rutherford was available as a pdf, but the link no longer works.
Congratulations to EODer Massimo Berutti for his translation of the
Randolph Carter cycle, which he noted on his fitfully produced blog.
From Jack Kerouac’s Dr. Sax (Grove Press, 1988; p. 207): “In Blezan’s store ... some are scanning thru the Shadows and Operator Fives and Masked Detectives and Weird Tales–(Weird Tales were such a wig, there were moss invasions of the earth, lava rivers of moss were coming to engulf us).” Could be this is a reference to Joseph Payne Brennan’s “Slime,” which appeared in WT in 1952, the same year that Kerouac wrote Dr. Sax.
In November 2006 Clifford D. Simak received mention on National Public Radio for his City series; the books under review featured dogs. *** John W. Campbell’s “Who Goes There?” is available online. *** With HPL having been in The Wall Street Journal, can REH be far behind? Read about Conan the Barbarian in “Opinion Journal, from The Wall Street Journal Editorial Page,” where there is an article “From Pen to Sword” by John J. Miller, who also did a review of Lovecraft’s Tales in 2005. *** There’s a reminiscence of the late Nelson S. Bond. It includes his pleasing and perceptive poem "Nyarlathotep is Petohtalrayn Spelled Backwards," which is quoted.
Neil Gaiman’s “A Study in Emerald” is a cross betwixt the worlds of Arthur Conan Doyle and Lovecraft. It is available in a recent collection, Fragile Things, and online as a free pdf file, where it appears in the format of an old newspaper story. Likewise, Gaiman’s 1986 “I, Cthulhu” is at the same site. His1987 follow-up letter at the end of the story suggests he has evidence that HPL and P.G. Wodehouse corresponded and collaborated, the novel from which Gaiman promises to publish. This literary charlatanry anticipates Peter Cannon’s 1994 Scream for Jeeves, though apparently Gaiman never published the result (somebody found a story in Gaiman’s Fragile Things bringing the two writers together, but I can’t verify this). *** James Buchanan writes gay romance novels as well as various types of genre fiction. Lovecraft and Bradbury are among his inspirations. *** Call it a prior version of Lovecraft’s Book (Arkham House, 1985), but under the title of Marblehead, the Richard A. Lupoff work has been published by Ramble House, which also publishes Joel Townsley Rogers and Anthony Boucher.
Thanks for reading the 51st issue of The Criticaster (February 2007, mailing 137) by Mr. Walker. Eventually published on the Net as
The Limbonaut (no 22).