S.T. Joshi: a fanciful vision

w h pugmire esq

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#23
I have heard that Black Wings has been published! May I be just a bit indulgent and express how utterly excited I am to be in this book? I've read the entire anthology and it is brilliant. There is a new breed of editors, I think, who are assembling books that are helping this Lovecraftian genre to spread its reptilian wings. I think the first major such editor was Jim Turner, especially with Eternal Lovecraft. That book, particularly in its introduction, seemed to have as part of its "agenda" an image of Lovecraft as writer that Jim wanted projected, a writer who has very little to do with what has become known as the Cthulhu Mythos. This also seemed to be John's idea when he edited The Children of Cthulhu -- which someone rumored to me (I never heard it from John) was an attempt to assemble a Lovecraftian anthology that was so important and original it would be the Mythos equivalent of Harlan's Dangerous Vision. I don't feel that John's book came close to being that book. Ellen's Lovecraft Unbound came pretty close, but S. T.'s book is it -- if we even need to have such a comparison to the importance of Harlan's anthology and its effect, which (if I understand correctly) paved a new path for the future of SF anthologies.

I think there is a movement afloat, to assemble anthologies that may be called Lovecraftian yet have little if anything to do with ye Mythos. Black Wings is such a book. Reading it has proved to me that there is still so much that can be done in the Lovecraftian genre, in the hands of mature and original artists who use Lovecraft and Lovecraft only as their point of origin. I have read very few of the small press Cthulhu Mythos anthologies -- those that I have read have appalled me by what awful books, with few exceptions, they were. The Mythos has become such a game to too many editors and writers. We are now, I believe, entering a new and thrilling phase of intelligent (nay, intellectual) and serious handling of the themes that make a story "Lovecraftian."

When I wrote "Inhabitants of Wraithwood," I did not set out to write a story that could be called "Lovecraftian" in any typical way. I wanted to write a weird tale about the supernatural effect of art -- and it seemed but natural and pleasing to bring in Richard Upton Pickman as one of the artists whose works debauch the psyche and flesh of the person who sleeps (and dreams) beneath it. I am not certain if the tale can be called "Lovecraftian" -- unless we mean by that term a work of fiction that is absolutely and obviously influenced by the weird fiction of H. P. Lovecraft. It will be interesting to see what readers (especially Mythos readers) think of the book. I know that I am so proud to be in it, with the story I consider my finest. S. T. is the only critic whose opinion matters to me, because I feel he is one of the few who can fully comprehend my aim as an artist. He is now the one editor for whom I ache, always, to write.
 
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#26
Indeed, Wilum, I think you're right in this: we are seeing... not an abandonment of the Mythos, but of the hidebound idea of what the Mythos is or stands for; a use of Lovecraftian concepts, ideas, themes, and even locations or characters or entities, without any attempt to "write in the manner of the master"... which is very much the sort of thing Lovecraft himself wished people to do: to write what is in them, not imitate him; and not to get stuck in the semi-official Mythos dogma, either. As a result of this more recent (and reasonable) trend, we are seeing a much wider variety of types of Lovecraftian voices and tales; people who are obviously influenced by the man, but who are very much going their own way... yet in doing so, oddly, they make the connection all the more genuine, I think, and notable. It is like Poe: many, many writers have been influenced by Poe (practically all modern writers of the short tale, in one way or another, if only because he essentially created the short story in its modern form), but very, very few of them attempt to write like Poe (save for parodies or oddities such as Bloch's "The Man Who Collected Poe", which are another thing entirely), or use directly and overtly his own themes, etc.

In the end, I think this is much better for both those writers themselves and for Lovecraft's reputation as an influence.

I've not yet had a chance to read the book (I only received it in the mail yesterday), but I do look forward to the experience... and to your story in particular, I must admit (though I am also anxious to delve into the pieces by Don and Mollie Burleson, Michael Cisco, and several others included in the volume).

And, as both Nesa and J.P. have mentioned: congratulations, and long may this trend continue....
 

w h pugmire esq

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#27
I've not yet had a chance to read the book (I only received it in the mail yesterday), but I do look forward to the experience...
Great Yuggoth! No, that should be Great Yuggoth -- your copy hath already arriv'd??!! Where's mine??? I wanna see it now! I guess all of the copies that were available through Subterranean Press have sold out, according to S. T.'s newest blog entry. This edition of only 500 copies may go extremely fast, so to they who want the book I suggest you don't hesitate -- prices will go up incredibly in sort order once it's sold out. I am flabbergasted that no Yank publisher has yet shewn any interest in the book. Hullo, Del Rey -- Tor -- wake up!!! The Children of Cthulhu was, I understand, a huge seller for Del Rey, both in hardback and paper, you'd think they'd have shewn immediate interest in this. But then, Ellen's magnificent Lovecraft Unbound was published by a press I had never heard of instead of one of the majors. Why doesn't Subterranean Press do the American editions? Publishers never fail to befuddle me...

S. T. has expressed hopes of making this kind of anthology an annual thing. I don't know if that is actually going to happen, but I feel certain that there will be more such Lovecraftian anthologies from S. T. I think he really loves working with living writers after working so long with them dead dudes.
 
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#28
...I feel certain that there will be more such Lovecraftian anthologies from S. T. I think he really loves working with living writers after working so long with them dead dudes.
LOL:D

I would have been a good bit more dubious about the possibility of such an annual anthology -- at least of notable quality -- a few years ago; but we seem to be seeing a fair number of writers since then who have learned how to assimilate the Lovecraftian influence and be very creative and genuinely artistic. That, I must say, gives me a great deal of hope for not only Lovecraftian horror, but the weird genre as a whole....
 

w h pugmire esq

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#29
I am very intrigued to see the first issue of Weird Fiction Review, that S. T. has begun to edit for Centipede Press. It is to be a combination of new fiction and new essays on the genre, poetry, plus odds & ends. I'm curious what format it will be published as. Centipede's current catalogue is a really fine wee chapbook, superbly put together and on quality paper. Yes, with editors like S. T. around, the genre has a very healthy future.
 
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#33
Have taken a look, and yes, there are some darned fine things there. If I can manage to get to them before they go, there are definitely a couple I'd love to have... okay, more than a couple....:rolleyes:

Thanks for bringing this to our attention, Wilum!
 

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