Worst Lovecraft Pastiches/"Mythos" Writing

Lobolover

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#22
J,D.-I just think that his "forcefull organisation" and coalianc with his own personal beliefs,completely deviating from Lovecraft's brooding of universal carelessness,it just feels like "dumbing it down" to get the "lower brows" into it and make more money.I mean,I generaly didnt like his use of "good and evil", redoing something so many thousands of years old.Generaly,I believe that he was unable,from what I gathered of his "inovations" to picture a mentality wholy ignorant of any such concepts as "good or evil",like,say an ant mind,only extended into diferent evolutionary paterns.Such a thing wouldnt consider anything it does "good or evil" is possesing the mentality of an ant,which means that it does what "needs be done",if you catch my point.

But since this is not the subject,I will stop talking now.Though its a PART of the subject of Derleth.

Ps:anyone know if Arkham house is stil in business?Their website was..... only up till 2006,"taking submissions for 2007",actualy.
 
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#23
Ps:anyone know if Arkham house is stil in business?Their website was..... only up till 2006,"taking submissions for 2007",actualy.
Eh? I don't know anything about the submissions aspect, but Arkham House is still very much present on the web:

Welcome to Arkham House Publishers!

As far as I know, they've not been off it since they first got on!

Overall, I'd agree with much of what you say, Lobo. His Catholic background had a lot to do with that, most likely.

As for "good" and "evil"... I don't think it's a case of any of these species not recognizing such concepts, but they would be their own versions of these, rather than the human conception of such. In other words, what furthered their agenda (or survival) would be "good", what put such at risk would be "evil"... much as is the case (at base) for us; the theological aspects of good and evil for us are subtilizations of these basic concepts and if that's what you're referring to, then it is quite possible they would not have those shadings of the idea. But then again, there are hints in Lovecraft that some of his extraterrestrial races, at least, had some form of religion: the Old Ones in At the Mountains of Madness seem to have something similar about that other range of mountains, for instance, while the fungi from Yuggoth certainly have such an approach to Nyarlathotep, and so on. So it is possible that they would have such aspects to their thought; they would simply be alien to our own....

The idea that just about any evolved species would have gone through such a phase during their development is one that Lovecraft himself came to hold; realistically, then, there would likely be traces of such in any of his alien races; even if genuine belief in any supernatural beings had been discarded, there would almost certainly be some of the emotional remnants and associations of such...

The problem with Derleth's handling of it is that it is so naïve, so anthropomorphic in nature. That philosophical aspect of his writing is what so many (including myself) object to. What I was referring to were various other concepts he included, which are often easy to miss unless one is paying particularly close attention....
 

Ningauble

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#24
Ps:anyone know if Arkham house is stil in business?Their website was..... only up till 2006,"taking submissions for 2007",actualy.
Yes, they're still in business. In fact, I might as well reveal (since information about it starts cropping up all over the place) that S. T. Joshi (!!) is assembling a Lovecraftian anthology which he is trying to sell to Arkham House.

I've seen the projected table of contents (sorry, I don't think it's official) and I swear I'd buy it as soon as it becomes available! :)
 

GOLLUM

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#25
Yes, they're still in business. In fact, I might as well reveal (since information about it starts cropping up all over the place) that S. T. Joshi (!!) is assembling a Lovecraftian anthology which he is trying to sell to Arkham House.

I've seen the projected table of contents (sorry, I don't think it's official) and I swear I'd buy it as soon as it becomes available! :)
Meaning stories in honour of or inpsired by Lovercaft?...
 

Ningauble

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#26
Meaning stories in honour of or inpsired by Lovercaft?...
Inspired by him, but not necessarily Cthulhu Mythos ones, dripping with references to weird gods and eldritch tomes -- rather stories that transmute the Lovecraftian influence into the author's own voice.
 
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#27
Given his take on such matters, and the sorts of stories he has shown approbation for, I would imagine it would be a sterling collection of tales. If he does get it going, I'm in....
 
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#28
Well, I finished Joshi's chapter on Derleth's Mythos tales just before bed last night. I find it very interesting that he selects the same tales I would as at least somewhat successful, and largely for the same reasons: "The Dweller in Darkness", "The Lamp of Alhazred", and the first portion of The Lurker at the Threshold. I wouldn't be quite as negative about a few of the others as he is here, but that's largely because I don't see them in quite the same light. Nonetheless, I would have to agree with him that they are, literarily, near-complete failures.

Lobo: If you haven't yet read the other two stories mentioned above, I would strongly suggest getting them if you want Derleth's best in this sub-genre. His best in other areas of the weird tale are more open to debate, but these really are his best Lovecraftian pieces....
 

Lobolover

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#29
Well,maybe I will like some of his colections over all.But the question is-where to get em?
 

w h pugmire esq

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#30
ER...OK sounds like one to avoid then. On a different tact have you got a copy of Del Rey's The Horror In The Museum Lovecraft and Others 24 chiling tales inspired by the gentleman of Angell Street?

This supposedly gathers good (vs. not so good) stories but I'm yet to launch into it. I know Mr. Worthington quite liked it.
The book is interesting in light of those who insist that Lovecraft did not write Mythos fiction -- that somehow it was a phenomenon begun by Derleth & his crew after Lovecraft's death. This simply doesn't hold water when one reads a story like "The Horror in the Museum," which is straight-up traditional "Derlethian" Mythos fiction. Some like to insist that Lovecraft wasn't "serious" in writing this and other revisions because he knew that the story, if published, would not carry his bi-line. I'm very suspicious of such reasoning. I loved the book when I was a young clueless lad obsess'd with ye Mythos -- and I still enjoy it. It's a mixed bag, certainly, employing the best and worst of that which is Lovecraftian horror.;)
 

w h pugmire esq

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#31
Inspired by him, but not necessarily Cthulhu Mythos ones, dripping with references to weird gods and eldritch tomes -- rather stories that transmute the Lovecraftian influence into the author's own voice.
The book has an interesting genesis. It began because S. T. had to read so much bloody Mythos wank for the essay he wrote for one of his books, and for some reason he chose to write the chapter on ye Cthulhu Mythos. Then he decided, since he's already read the stories, he might as well make this painful task pay off and write an entire book on the Mythos, which became the just-published The Rise and Fall of the Cthulhu Mythos. And then he decided to edit an anthology that was originally entitled My Favourite Cthulhu Mythos Stories!!! But then, thank yog, he came to his senses; & what was originally planned as a reprint anthology became an anthology of original "Lovecraftian" fiction. I hope that in his introduction S. T. expounds on his ideas about that which "makes" a story "Lovecraftian" -- what is it, setting, "philosophy," point-of-view, using Mythos lore as background in ye composition of one's own original story? I've been writing this fiction for many a strange aeon and I'm still uncertain of its exact "meaning" or qualification. The only thing that qualifies my story for S. T.'s book as "Lovecraftian" is that it deals, in part, with Pickman and his ghouls. I can't wait to read this book!
 
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#32
Brian Lumley was mentioned earlier, but after reading the Titus Crow books I got the impression that he was attempting to write for Doctor Who rather than contribute towards the Cthulhu Mythos.
 
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#34
Huntress: There is definitely something to be said for that view....;)

And I'm very glad to see W. H. Pugmire commenting here. Though I've picked up your collections only recently, I'm quite impressed with the balance there between the "traditions" of the Mythos and distinctively personal writing. Some very powerful stuff there, and the poeticism of much of it has its own special magic....
 

Lobolover

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#35
Just a question: would you sugest "The mask of Cthulhu"? The contents arte


  1. "Introduction"
  2. "The Return of Hastur"
  3. "The Whipporwills in the Hills"
  4. "Something in Wood"
  5. "The Sandwin Compact"
  6. "The House in the Valley"
  7. "The Seal of R'lyeh"
I know you mentioned the 3rd story. but what about the others, are these pastiches more worth the effort then others ? (we may as well rename this to a general pastiche discusion, we dont realy have one I believe).
 
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#36
Just a question: would you sugest "The mask of Cthulhu"?[...]
In a word: No. The things you dislike about Derleth's Lovecraftian work are very much in evidence throughout, so I think you'd simply end up boiling most of the time. Ditto for The Trail of Cthulhu. Now, I can enjoy these when I'm in the right frame of mind, and I certainly think there are some very good moments here and there; but they are not what I would call good Lovecraft pastiche....
 

Lobolover

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#37
Well, I already ordered it. For a pound and a half. Plus, just looking up Lonesome places on Abebooks, which you most referenced (the book, not the site) , the minimum price is around 60 pounds, so its not like I have so much of a choice.
 

w h pugmire esq

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#39
Some of the very worst Cthulhu Mythos tales may be found in August Derleth's IN LOVECRAFT'S SHADOW. I find all of THE TRAIL OF CTHULHU rubbish -- & yet I confess that I always want to return to it and give it another try. There seems to be, still, a wee Mythos lad in me that wants to love Derleth's work, as I did when I first got into HPL and devour'd everything Mythos that I could find. Same goes with Lumley. My gawd -- how I LOVED The Burrowers Beneath the first ten time I read it! I bought gobs of extra copies and sent them out to pen pals such as L. Sprague de Camp, H. Warner Munn, J. Vernon Shea -- none of whom liked it. I sent my copy of ye original pb edition to Briantus for him to sign -- wish I still had it! (Accidentally set it on fire one night while engag'd in some kind of eldritch ritual....) Then when I had me big feud with Lumley I didn't read the novel for years, & when I came back to it I was too adult to enjoy what I saw as its adolescent writing. Recently I order'd ye hardcover Tor edition whut also includes TRANSITION -- and I mean to re-read the thing again -- when ye stars are right....
 
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#40
Wilum: I am more than a little the same way. Though I will admit that there are moments (even with The Trail of Cthulhu) when I get a pleasurable sensation in reading some of these tales. Derleth, as I've noted elsewhere, often had some wonderful "throwaway" ideas which he brought into these, but he could never manage to catch the magic, dammit! Which really is a pity, as some of his own original (more or less) supernatural fiction shows a more-than-fair ability to capture atmosphere and provide a genuine chill. (I say "more or less" as quite a few of those, even, were overtly modeled on particular tales by some of the notable weird writers of the past, such as M. R. James, Mary E. Wilkins-Freeman, etc.)

And yet... I, too, keep going back to the darned things, and wanting to like them, just as I do with Lumley (though, there, too, there are the particular stories or moments within stories which I still find quite good... if only the whole were of the same quality!). And, again, I suppose it is because I, too, was once a young lad who fell under the spell not only of Grandpa Theobald himself, but of the Mythos overall, and was quite enthralled for a time....
 

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