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Classic Fantasy Pre 1980s

GOLLUM

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WOOPS you're right that was Alia's question.:eek:

I'ts only for the next couple of weeks I'll be super busy so after that expect some more authors to be featured.

So Alia, which editions of the Conan tales do you have then?? Are they the Millenium ones or another version??

Bye for now..:D
 

Alia

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I've had a chance to review the Forward of each of the books. I quote:

"Although there is no strict chronology to the series, the tales can be assigned a certain sort of order based on the stages of Conan's career and allusions to earlier episodes. Early in 1936 two Conan's fans, P. Schuyler Miller and John D. Clark, drew up an outline of Conan's career, based on the published tales, and submitted it to Howard for his approval. Howard replied in a letter, dated March 10, 1936, that their outline "pretty closely" followed his own visualization, but that: "In writing these yarns I've always felt less as creating them than as if I were simply chronicling his adventures as he told them to me. That's why they skip about so mcuh, without following a regular order. The average adventurer, telling tales of a wild life at random, seldom follows any ordered plan, but narrates episodes widely separated by space and years, as they occur to him."
This is of no great consequence, for the stories are entirely self-standing. Only rarely does a character other than Conan appear in more than one story. Conan's predicament at the opening of a given story seldom has any relation to his situation at the conclusion of any other; and, while Conan often rides away with the gold and /or the girl at the end of one adventure, as a rule each new adventure finds Conan without either." - Karl Edward Wagner

Answered own question about the order and added more hoping to entice others to read REH's Conan stories. ;)
 

GOLLUM

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Alia said:
I've had a chance to review the Forward of each of the books. I quote:

"Although there is no strict chronology to the series, the tales can be assigned a certain sort of order based on the stages of Conan's career and allusions to earlier episodes. Early in 1936 two Conan's fans, P. Schuyler Miller and John D. Clark, drew up an outline of Conan's career, based on the published tales, and submitted it to Howard for his approval. Howard replied in a letter, dated March 10, 1936, that their outline "pretty closely" followed his own visualization, but that: "In writing these yarns I've always felt less as creating them than as if I were simply chronicling his adventures as he told them to me. That's why they skip about so mcuh, without following a regular order. The average adventurer, telling tales of a wild life at random, seldom follows any ordered plan, but narrates episodes widely separated by space and years, as they occur to him."
This is of no great consequence, for the stories are entirely self-standing. Only rarely does a character other than Conan appear in more than one story. Conan's predicament at the opening of a given story seldom has any relation to his situation at the conclusion of any other; and, while Conan often rides away with the gold and /or the girl at the end of one adventure, as a rule each new adventure finds Conan without either." - Karl Edward Wagner

Answered own question about the order and added more hoping to entice others to read REH's Conan stories. ;)
HMMM.. sounds like you may have the Millenium edition otherwise it could be the TOR version edited by Karl Wagner as per the foreward, which is also quite good! When I refer to Millenuim/Victor Gollancz, Wandering Star, Ballantine Books, TOR etc.. I'm talking about the publisher of the books. You should be able to see that on the spine of the book or inside the front cover.

Either way the chronology is pretty correct because they're using the Miller and Clark model which for other than a few contentious points is pretty much accepted as the norm for Conan Chronology as REH wrote them.

Knowing the exact title of each book and the cover art as well as the publisher, date of publication and Number of and Title of the stories in each book etc.. would nail it but either way as to what extent they may have been "edited" I'm sure you'll enjoy whatever version you have there mate!

All the best..:D
 

GOLLUM

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Hi all,

Just an update on my Author series.

I'll be posting my biography on HP Lovecraft by tommorrow my time and the one on L Sprague De Camp a few days after that.

Till then Ciao....:D
 

GOLLUM

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Howdy all!:D

Here is my bio of HP Lovecraft. It’s a bit lengthy at over 2,500 words which has forced me to post it in 2 parts :confused: entitled The Early Years and Adulthood.

Even so, this summary only begins to scratch the surface of a quite complex literary character. I hope the Lovecraft scholars on this site enjoy the piece in addition to everyone else and please remember this is not a definitive work, just my attempt to hopefully increase the awareness of an important figure in the field of speculative fiction.


HOWARD PHILLIPS LOVECRAFT (AUGUST 20 1890 – MARCH 15 1937)

THE EARLY YEARS

Howard Phillips Lovecraft (HPL) was born on August 20, 1890 at his wealthy maternal grandfather’s Victorian family home in Angell Street, Providence, Rhode Island to his mother Sarah and travelling salesman father Winfield.

After about 18 months, the family moved from the New England residence to several rental apartments and a friends place whilst planning a house in Massachusetts but sadly at age 3, his father suffered a “breakdown” and was admitted to Butler Hospital, where he would remain until his death. The reason that many critics suspect the motives of this “event” derives from a belief that this incident was part of a larger cover up to hide the fact that HPL’s father was most likely suffering from a form of neurosyphilis.

Following his father’s attack that would leave him both speechless and immobile, the family moved back to their grandfather’s residence. This event would deeply scar his mother although it’s somewhat unclear what direct effect it may have had on HPL, whose father he quotes as only vaguely recalling.

As his father was incapacitated, HPL essentially became the inheritor of an upper class three storey fifteen room family estate and was surrounded by several relatives in addition to his maternal grandparents who were all highly educated people. As an only child he was doted upon and over-protected, especially by his mother and perhaps for this reason in addition to his father’s medical problems, he developed into a youth who often suffered from ill health, a fact many have speculated was predominantly psychosomatic.

However, the subsequent literary effect this particular environment had on a highly precocious mind is undeniable. In fact it was clear from a very early age that HPL was something of a child prodigy, having already begun to recite poetry from Mother Goose at age 2 and reading independently by age 4, thanks in no small measure to his paternal grandfather (who he incidentally would never meet) who bestowed upon him an extensive family library. By age 5 he was introduced to fantasy through Grimm’s Fairy Tales having already encountered A Thousand And One Arabian Nights, which interestingly gave rise at that time to his use of the pseudonym 'Abdul Alhazred', the “author” of his later mythical book “Necronomicon” and provides an early indication of his pagan orientations. During this period he also attempted his first story "The Little Glass Bottle”, a 200-word piece involving a treasure hunt that turns out to be a hoax. At age 6 he discovered classical mythology through works by Nathaniel Hawthorne and Bullfinch’s The Age Of Fable in addition to a copy of The Odyssey that ensured his lifelong passion for Graeco-Roman philosophy and culture. He soon progressed to more adult fiction and his well-travelled grandfather, noticing his growing interest in the world of horror and the macabre, encouraged him even further by regaling him with weird gothic tales, a theme that would strongly influence him as a writer. It was also around this time, following the death of his grandmother in 1896, that HPL first started to experience his nightmares and bouts of depression. At age 7 his early interest in poetry and prose began to develop further when he wrote his first poem "The Adventures of Ulysses" or, "The New Odyssey", his homage to the classic Greek tale in addition to a story about a cave of robbers called “The Noble Eavesdropper”. During this period he also took up violin lessons but this only lasted for 2 years due to a lack of interest and loathing of the violin that translated into an intense dislike for classical music that carried into his adulthood. By the age of 7 or 8 he began writing his first weird tales thanks mainly to the later introduction of one of his literary idols Edgar Allan Poe. HPL never considered these early stories particularly noteworthy, although he did retain 2 of them "The Secret of the Grave" and "The Mysterious Ship".

On July 19, 1898 his father eventually died. The effect this may have had on HPL is uncertain, although clearly responsibility for his upbringing now fell unequivocally to his mother as well as his only remaining grandfather and aunts in residence.

Though a decision had been made earlier that, due to his sensitive disposition he would not attend school, in that same year he was finally admitted to Slater Avenue School in Providence. However, due in part to his ill health, attendance was erratic and he continued his home studies.

Between the ages of 8 and 9 his interests turned toward the sciences and with the encouragement of one of his aunts, especially Chemistry. He subsequently had a laboratory organised in the cellar, spending his allowance money on textbooks and instruments and started writing the first of his amateur periodicals “The Scientific Gazette” (1899-1909). However, his interest in mythology was still maintained during this time expanding to include other sources like Egyptian and Hindu, giving rise to 2 treatises called 'Mythology for the Young' and 'Egyptian Myths.' This period also marked a growing disbelief in religion, which would eventually realise itself in HPL’s embrace of both atheism and materialism.

By 1900 his focus had expanded to geography and history with the continent of Antarctica holding a special place in his weird tales in addition to more factual treaties and a work entitled “'An Historical Account of Last Year's War with SPAIN”. During this time he re-entered Slater Avenue School, although attendance would still remain sporadic. By now he had gained enough knowledge of Latin to begin more serious translations and at age 11 he wrote 2 volumes of poetry entitled 'Poemata Minora’, his dedication to the Ancients of which only 1 volume still survives.

By age 12 his rudimentary interest in Astronomy had flourished, writing various treatises on the subject and embarking on another periodical “The Rhode Island Journal of Astronomy” (1903-09) all of which hints at what he would later acknowledge as a life-long adoption of a “cosmic” philosophy in his tales. HPL also continued to write more short stories, historical works and several classical-based poems and translations as part of his maturing interest in Antiquarianism or things of the more distant past.

In 1904 HPL’s beloved grandfather died, an event that apparently led him to contemplate suicide as well as having a detrimental effect on the family finances due to mismanagement by other partners, causing HPL and his mother to move into vastly inferior accommodation. However his continued literary interests like his work on his 9 volume “Science Library” and more permanent entry later in that year at age 14 to Hope Street High School helped him to regain his focus.

In 1906, whilst once again conducting home studies, he first appeared in print with an astronomy column in ”The Providence Sunday Journal”, followed by a series of articles in a rural paper and then more regular contributions to the newly formed “The Providence Tribune”.

Following this he re-entered school in late 1906 but in 1908 prior to graduation suffered a major breakdown, which resulted in his leaving school minus his diploma and consequent failure to enter Brown University, a fact of particular shame to HPL in later years. After completing his weird tale heavily influenced by Poe entitled “The Alchemist”, he subsequently burned the majority of his earlier works in the belief that they were of inferior quality and that he would never become a writer. He kept a few of his earlier pieces and 2 of his teenage works including Alchemist and “The Beast in the Cave" (1905) but no other examples of his juvenile stories.
 
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GOLLUM

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*NB Please refer to the above post FIRST for the first half of this HPL bio I have entitled "THE EARLY YEARS" before proceeding.



HOWARD PHILLIPS LOVECRAFT (AUGUST 20 1890 – MARCH 15 1937) CONTINUED...


ADULTHOOD

From 1908-1913 HPL lived an almost reclusive existence, restricting himself to personal letters, some astronomical pursuits with further endeavours into chemistry and archaic verse but no additional story writing, whilst maintaining his long held preferences of dining on candied foods as opposed to more nutritional foodstuffs combined with the absence of any exercise. During these years of isolation, he also developed an unhealthy association with his mother who apparently, still suffering from her husband’s death, developed a love-hate relationship with her son.

By 1912 his enthusiasm for Chemistry and Astronomy began to wane somewhat due to a certain lack of understanding of mathematical principles. Conversely his interest in literature began to increase with renewed vigour and included anything from well-known authors such as Shakespeare, HG Wells and Jules Verne to the Gothic novelists like Walpole and Radcliffe. Perhaps unfortunately, in March 1912, his first piece of published verse “Providence In 2000AD” appeared in the pulp magazine “The Argosy” with other pieces to follow that would be regarded by today’s standards as blatantly racist but by the values of the day quite acceptable within HPL’s Anglo-Saxon Protestant world. In the following year, HPL gained further notoriety, attacking Argosy contributor Fred Jackson for his sickly love stories, an event that consequently caused something of an ongoing literary battle between the magazine’s loyal fans and HPL.

It was at about this time that the United Amateur Press Association, a group of US amateur writers who produced their own magazines, took an interest in HPL’s activities requesting he join the group, which he promptly did in 1914. HPL appeared to revel in providing editorial assistance to less experienced writers with his input extending to the Providence Amateur Press Club in addition to archaic verses, social commentary and still some articles on astronomy.

In 1915 he began his own magazine, “The Conservative” (1915-1919) that focused on 2 of his main interests, the use of archaic English and a continuance of his perhaps somewhat small-minded racial views. In November 1916, his earlier work “The Alchemist” was printed in the “United Amateur”, his first published work of horror followed later by his earlier piece "The Beast in the Cave". Encouraged by his peers, HPL wrote 2 new stories in 1917 entitled “The Tomb” and “Dagon” as he began compiling a few more of his weird tales, although none of these new works of fiction would be printed until around 1920 as during this same period his essays and poetry still remained his predominant literary output.

In 1919 HPL’s mother, her mental and physical well-being worsening, suffered a nervous breakdown and was admitted to Butler Hospital. During this period, HPL continued to write stories, a number of which were increasingly influenced by author Lord Dunsany’s so-called mythological dream world. In fact, HPL’s tendency to employ his own nightmares as a basis for some of his earlier tales during this period as he progressed towards what would become known as his dreamland stories and poems like “Whiteship” and “The Cats Of Ulthar” marks a certain literary shift away from his more Poe-inspired macabre tales. It also signifies perhaps a more obvious adoption of the concept of a “cosmic” philosophy in his fictional work, which purports that humanity is essentially irrelevant in the overall context of the universe, a theme that would become even more implicit in later works. In fact his blending of horror elements with an underlying cosmological viewpoint give rise to the genre he created, namely “cosmic horror”, an area lying somewhere between horror and science fiction.

On May 24, 1921, following a previously bungled operation, HPL’s mother died and whilst initially shattered by his loss, he soon attended a journalist convention in Boston where he met widowed New York businesswoman Sonia H. Greene. During their courtship over the next couple of years, HPL continued to write his dreamland series featuring one of his major characters and HPL’s fictional alter ego Randolph Carter. This period also heralds his increasing workload as a revisionist that encapsulates both the editing of other author’s works as well as ghostwriting several stories in addition to, not unsurprisingly, a continuation of his voluminous correspondence.

Then, in 1924, the couple conducted a “secret marriage”, much to the chagrin of his 2 aunts, who it has been surmised, may not have otherwise approved of his liaisons with a “Non-Yankee Jewish Tradeswoman”. Initially things went well for the newlyweds in New York, with HPL selling several stories including the classic “Rats In The Wall’ to recently founded Weird Tales magazine and Sonia running a successful millinery business. However, soon Sonia’s business experienced financial troubles and her health declined, forcing her to take stock in rest homes, whilst HPL’s career as a writer and now revisionist didn’t prove particularly profitable, forcing him to search for regular work. Sonia later moved to Cleveland to start a new job, leaving HPL to continue in a city he began to very much despise. In fact several of his stories written during this period like “The Horror at Red Hook” and “He” strongly reflect a dislike for a New York populated by foreigners where one’s future aspirations are quickly destroyed.

In early 1926, with his discontent growing, HPL accepted an offer from his 2 aunts to return to Providence, Rhode Island who subsequently barred Sonia from coming and setting up a business there, presumably in deference to her background. HPL, doubtlessly with some degree of regret, acquiesced to his aunt’s demands essentially ending the marriage, with an official divorce concluding in 1929.

In contrast his return to Providence also realised his most productive period as a writer. Between 1926 and 1927 he wrote his dream-inspired classic "The Call of Cthulhu”, "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath”, "The Colour Out Of Space”, his longest novel “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward” and an historical piece “Supernatural Horror In Literature” amongst others. The Dream-Quest novel in a sense marks his transition, as one of the last of his dreamland series, to the development of his own interpretation of a “cosmic” vision as witnessed in his famous work "The Call of Cthulhu”. As a point of clarification, the subsequently named “Cthulhu Mythos” often associated with HPL, is in fact a term most likely devised by August Derleth following HPL’s death and as such should be considered separate to HPL’s mythology and stories developed over this last period of his life. What Derleth essentially did was to codify or framework HPL’s various mythological elements and fictional New England locations into a more coherent structure that later authors built upon and what is now collectively termed the “Cthulhu Mythos”.

Over the next few years, HPL would continue to develop his cosmic mythology producing some of his best work like “The Dunwich Horror” and “At the Mountains of Madness”, field questions regarding the “authenticity” of his mythical book “Necronomicon”, write more poetry and travel to antiquarian sites along the Eastern seaboard, which included some entertaining travelogues.

However in 1931, HPL received some literary blows including a rejection to publish “At the Mountains of Madness” that appears to have partially discouraged him from producing his own literary work in his final years.

In July 1932, one of his 2 remaining aunts died, a further blow to HPL, although he still continued his revision work and a number of collaborative stories in addition to encouraging many younger writers, as he had done in the previous decade, through his correspondence that now included Conan creator Robert E. Howard (REH) and Robert Bloch, author of “Psycho” and later Fritz Leiber.

After moving for a final time in early 1933 into a cheaper colonial-style home his remaining aunt broke her leg, forcing HPL to revisit his finances, which had been on the decline for some time due to the dwindling of his family inheritance and lack of literary sales. During this time his notoriously frugal nature became even more extreme, causing his insubstantial diet to deteriorate even further, a fact that may well have contributed to his final demise.

During the period 1933-36 HPL continued his revision work, some poetry, collaborations including a sequel to “The Silver Key” that featured Randolph Carter, some travel, correspondence and despite a growing dissatisfaction with the publishing process, some of his best-known work including “The Shadow Out Of Time” and “The Shadow Over Innsmouth”.

In 1936 the illness of his remaining aunt and the death of REH didn’t exactly help his ailing health and after being diagnosed with cancer of the intestine, he died on March 15, 1937 with burial at Swan Point Cemetery. In more recent times a separate marker stone has been erected that reads:

I Am Providence

Although HPL is best known for his weird fiction or more specifically his “cosmic horror” his vast correspondences, which have been estimated at something approaching 87,500 letters in the last 25 years of his life, also make him one of the most prolific letter writers of the 20th Century.

Since his death, Arkham House and more recently Necronomicon Press from the mid 1970s, have done much to print and publicise the works of HPL. This in combination with the continued development of the "Cthulhu Mythos”, numerous films albeit the vast majority of which are very poor imitations of his original work, many songs including some by Metallica, art works, RPGs (role-playing games), comic books, at times problematic translations into other languages and Lovecraft festivals have all ensured that HPL will continue to be a major influence in the realm of speculative fiction for generations to come.
 
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Teresa Edgerton

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Good grief, it's rare for a person to rack up that much biography before their twenty-first birthday. A fine job of sleuthing, Gollum.

I think my favorite Lovecraft stories are "Dreams in the Witchhouse," "The Rats in the Walls," and "The Silver Key." It would be fun, though, to look up a batch of those early, Poe-inspired stories.
 

Tsujigiri

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Thanks for that Gollum, I have a similar bio sat her on my hard drive froma few years ago and it made interesting reading comparing the two.
 

GOLLUM

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Thanks for the feedback. :)

Actually Tsujigiri it was quite tough to keep the bio to the length I did without trying to compromise the integrity of the article. I could have quite easily written twice this length with the knowledge I have on Lovecraft. Just curious, did you find a similar thing with your article?

Kelpie, below is a link to a number of horror writer's short stories including Lovecraft. This site is similar to the Guttenberg Project link I posted for you re: "Stories by Hans Christian Anderson" and aims to provide free downloadable text versions of classic short stories in the horror genre. It's quite a treasure of information, you could easily spend months going through all the stories they have posted here including a copy of "The Alchemist" and "The Beast In The Cave".

Enjoy!! :D

http://www.classichorrorstories.com/stories.html

BTW as I mentioined on another thread, I've recently got hold of the collected works of Poe for a song at a local book sale and am enjoying rereading some of his stories as a comparison to Lovecrafts' early stuff in particular.

Oh, I've also got some collections of Lovecraft's longer works I think I'm going to revisit! :cool:

Bye now... :D
 

Tsujigiri

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Yeah I had problem avoiding going into his possible psycholigical backgrounds, or in exploring the Cthulhu Mythos that he sppawned with August Derleth.

A very interesting man all round was HP Lovecraft. I have a fairly large collection of his books and the sometimes dodgy films based on them, as well as works that he inspired.
 

Alia

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Good grief, it's rare for a person to rack up that much biography before their twenty-first birthday. A fine job of sleuthing, Gollum.
I have done a lot of research on my own family history, I know how tough it is, and I have to agree with Kelpie, this is very impressive! You have once again established the title 'Literary God' is a fit name for you, Gollum!

What seems interesting to me concerning the lot of authors you have selected that they all have such depressing circumstances influencing their writing... I'm starting to wonder if there is such a thing as a happy writer... Kelpie, your happy right? (Btw, I'm in love with your writing style, nice smooth easy to read - read some the hubby just to show him as smooth of a writer you are ;) ) I'm also wondering if there is such a thing as a rich author?

Thanks for sharing Gollum!
 

GOLLUM

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Thanks for the feedback Alia...:D

as indicated, the next author will be L Sprague De Camp, who lived into his 90s and appears to have had a relatively "normal" life.

I've made a list of "horror" writers of days past in the below link that I'm currently investigating. Actually I spent the other day at an antique bookshop which had quite a number of old cloth books from Dickens, CS Lewis, Ann Radcliffe, Poe etc... It's great spending time searching through the older texts, especially when it's for research and general interest.

http://www.chronicles-network.net/forum/showthread.php?t=5079&page=2&pp=15

Bye now..:D
 

Teresa Edgerton

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GOLLUM said:
Actually I spent the other day at an antique bookshop which had quite a number of old cloth books from Dickens, CS Lewis, Ann Radcliffe, Poe etc... It's great spending time searching through the older texts, especially when it's for research and general interest.
Sounds like fun!

And Alia, thank you very much for the kind words. You ask if I'm happy. I'll let you know when the new batch of antidepressants have had their chance to kick in.
 

Alia

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And Alia, thank you very much for the kind words. You ask if I'm happy. I'll let you know when the new batch of antidepressants have had their chance to kick in.
Now this just makes me question if I want to be a writer or not (not that I have any talent). Is the criteria of having a harsh life needed in order to be a writer? aaahhh.... if it is, then I shall never be a writer, I enjoy life way too much. ;)

But then again, it may all be in the perspective, if I change that I may have a shot... lol ;)
 

Tsujigiri

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Alia, most of the half decent writers I know tend to be quite an introspective bunch, in fact in the UK getting Car Insurance as a writer will cost more than average.
apparently the psychological profile for writers includes heavy drinking, suicide and odd behaviour. :rolleyes:
 

GOLLUM

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Hi all, interestring conversation this and I do tend to agree a bit with Tsuigiri's observations BUT does anyone have any other queries perchance on Mr Lovecraft?

I only mentrion this because I'll posting my next bio on L Sprague De Camp this weekend.

BTW Tsujigiri any chance of you mailing me your bio on Lovecraft, just be interested to see how you approached it. Just a thought...:confused:


Gotta sign off now check in later today..:D
 

freebird

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At 36 I am probably one of the oldest people here, and reading the list I was reminded of some authors and books that I have not thought of in a long time, and noticed some I had never heard of. I suppose I must (sigh) go to the library.....Great topic!
 

GOLLUM

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Thanks for the feedback Firebird and welcome to the forum.

Not sure if you've scrolled through all of the pages in this thread but I have links to free downloadable text versions of a number of the stories from some of the authors I've featured here (Hans Christain Anderson & HP Lovecraft in particular) as one way to access some of their works.

Over and out..:D
 
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