I am happy to announce that the anthology that Lynne Jamneck and I have been assembling for some time, Gothic Lovecraft, is now done. Here is a peek at the table of contents:
All the stories save the last are original, and every one is a powerful fusion of Gothic elements of various sorts with Lovecraftian motifs. A splendid book! It should be published by Cycatrix Press in time for the World Fantasy Convention in Saratoga Springs, NY, which I will be attending (as will the publisher, Jason V Brock).
Meanwhile, I am mortified and dismayed that there has been so little interest in the Weird Fiction Review, whose bumper-crop fifth issue I announced last time. I have received very few offers to take my spare copies of the issue off my hands. So at great personal sacrifice I am offering the issue for a bargain price of $20. Come one, come all! And, when the issue goes out of print and begins commanding high prices (as it inevitably will), don’t say I didn’t give you a chance!
I am in the process of preparing the index and reading the proofs of my revised Rise and Fall of the Cthulhu Mythos—which is now retitled The Rise, Fall, and Rise of the Cthulhu Mythos. Hippocampus Press hopes to have this book ready for NecronomiCon II this August, if not earlier. It has now been significantly expanded in size and may check in at more than 400 pages.
Proofs of Black Wings IV have arrived from the publisher (PS Publishing), and on the whole they look pretty good. PS had announced the book as being available in February, and let’s hope it is able to keep that promise. The signature sheets of the signed/limited edition are also beginning to circulate, so that edition may not be quite as delayed as the one for Black Wings III was. (As a matter of fact, I never even got a copy of the signed/limited edition, nor did any of the contributors.) I believe the paperback of Black Wings II will also come out pretty soon, maybe February or March.
I am contemplating the issuance of e-books of some of my older titles, specifically The Weird Tale (1990), H. P. Lovecraft: The Decline of the West (1990), A Subtler Magick: The Writings and Philosophy of H. P. Lovecraft (1996), and The Modern Weird Tale (2001). These books may or may not actually be in print (the first three in reprints from Wildside Press; the fourth from McFarland), but I have retained e-book rights. But since I no longer have electronic files of these books, such files will have to be generated—a tedious process. But I think it is worth doing. I shall probably let Hippocampus issue the e-books. Of course, in the process of preparing electronic files I shall probably do some revision. Indeed, I wish I could slap on a new title to A Subtler Magick, whose title and subtitle were determined by the publisher; but I suppose that is not possible.
I have been labouring with a cold/cough ever since my return from Vancouver, BC (January 8–11), where I attended the Modern Language Association conference. Actually, Mary and I spent as little time at the conference as we could, spending most of the time in exploring this most interesting city. I was on a panel discussion on “weird fiction” on Sunday, January 11. I was dreading the event, because I know from experience that this conference (attended almost exclusively by academics) can be and usually is insufferably pompous and stuffy; but our panel, to my surprise, went reasonably well. One young person professed considerable familiarity with both HPL and my work, and I encouraged him to attend NecronomiCon II. I also met the poet Wade German and his charming wife, and we had much lively discussion on various subjects as well as a nice tour of an anthropological museum. On our own Mary and I walked around Stanley Park and had a splendid lunch at the Fish House there. (Pardon us, HPL!)
I cannot leave my readers without commenting on the miraculous conclusion of the NFC championship game between the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks. The game was going so badly for my Seahawks that I was going to give up watching—but Mary said she would watch to the bitter end, so I decided to stick to it. And I’m glad I did. I don’t recall a more remarkable conclusion to a game in all my fifty years of watching football. All I say, however, is that the Seahawks had better not make so many mistakes if they expect to win the Super Bowl in two weeks.
I received copies of Weird Fiction Review No. 5 (2014) a week or so ago. Of course, it looks splendid from a purely physical perspective, but I believe the contents are also exemplary. It includes four separate interviews (Dennis Etchison on Ray Bradbury; Jonathan Johnson on Michael Aronovitz; Jason V Brock on Al Feldstein; Wayne Edwards on Stuart David Schiff); fiction by Brian Stableford, Jason V Brock, Donald Tyson, Jonathan Thomas, Robert H. Waugh, Darrell Schweitzer, and others; and articles by Dennis Etchison (on Forrest J Ackerman), Jan Vander Laenen, Stefan Dziemianowicz, and others; poetry by Wade German, Ann K. Schwader, and others; and columns by John Pelan and Danel Olson. The publisher, Centipede Press, states that the list price is $35 but is currently offering it for $25. I will follow suit and offer my spare copies for $25, which includes shipping for US customers.
Well, my threat—er, promise—to dig out my violin and play it at the Northwest Chorale’s play-along/sing-along of Handel’s Messiah on December 30 turned into a reality, and it was an enthralling experience. I was substantially assisted by three other violinists (one first violinist and two second violinists) who covered up my numerous mistakes and bad intonation. But I know the work so well (from a choral perspective) that I was able to “lead” the orchestra quite effectively. I was hoping that my wife, Mary, would take some pictures of the event, but she was ill and stayed home; however, some pictures taken by others have been forwarded to me, and I am hoping that my webmaster can make one of them visible here. I will, however, not repeat this undertaking or take up the violin on a regular basis: no time and no real interest!
Continuing on the musical theme, I have heard a rough CD of our choir’s December 13 performance, and—aside from the irritant of a crying baby—it turned out reasonably well. We will be able to fine-tune the recording in various ways to make it better still, and there is a good chance that this one will in fact be offered for sale commercially, since I am securing permission for all songs that are still under copyright.
Mary and I took a brief trip to Los Angeles over the Christmas holidays to see my two sisters and their families. One December 26 I was please to make the personal acquaintance of two young poets, Kyle (K. A.) Opperman (whose The Crimson Tome will appear this year from Hippocampus Press) and Ashley Dioses (who has a poem in the new Weird Fiction Review and is likely to have a poetry book from Hippocampus sometime in the future). We engaged in several hours of lively discussion of poetry and other matters. Indeed, Kyle suggested to me that I encourage Leigh Blackmore to assemble a volume of the collected weird poetry of Leah Bodine Drake. Leigh has just written a long article on Drake’s poetry (which will appear in two parts in the next two issues of Spectral Realms)—an article that notes that, aside from the fabulously rare Arkham House book A Hornbook for Witches (1950), Drake also published a second poetry volume, The Tilting Dust (1956), which has some weird specimens. In addition, there is a third, unpublished poetry manuscript, Multiple Clay, among her papers at the University of Kentucky. I have just asked the library there for a copy or scan of this text. So I hope that a volume of Drake’s poetry, under Leigh’s editorship, can appear in the next year or two.
I am just now wrapping up my edition of the weird tales of Irvin S. Cobb and Gouverneur Morris for Dark Renaissance Books. It will be called Back There in the Grass, from the title of Morris’s most famous story. This is really a very interesting compilation, and the weird work of these two author is quite creditable. I think I will then proceed with an assemblage of the weird tales of Thomas Burke, a writer I have always admired. Jessica Amanda Salmonson seems to have assembled a pretty comprehensive volume of Burke’s weird tales (The Golden Gong and Other Night-Pieces [Ash-Tree Press, 2001]), but this book is long out of print and no doubt quite expensive. I may include the complete contents of Burke’s classic collection Night-Pieces (1935), even though not all the stories are weird; and there are other weird stories scattered in other collections that I will also include. After I assemble the Burke volume, I will put together a substantial book of Théophile Gautier’s weird tales.
Lynne Jamneck and I have pretty much completed our assembly of Gothic Lovecraft, and the volume has come out quite well indeed, with contributions from Lois H. Gresh, Orrin Grey, Nancy Kilpatrick, Lynda Rucker, Jonathan Thomas, Donald Tyson, Don Webb, and several others. This will be appearing from Jason V Brock’s Cycatrix Press later this year—perhaps around the time of the World Fantasy Convention in Saratoga Springs, New York. I am also helping Jason assemble Nicole Cushing’s first short story collection, The Mirrors, which he hopes to bring out for the World Horror Convention in Atlanta (May 7–10). I am not sure I will be able to attend that event, as I would have to miss one of my choir performances (currently set for May 9 and 16).
So this year is likely to be a busy one!