On the Ides of March, 1937, one thousand, nine hundred and eighty-one years after Brutus and Cassius consummated their betrayal, four hundred and forty-four years after Columbus limped back across the Atlantic bringing news of the so-called ‘new world,’ and two years before Hitler would parade triumphant through the streets of Prague, at the age of 46, Howard Phillips Lovecraft died. I wish I could tell you it was under the light of a gibbous moon, but the moon was in its earliest phases of waxing crescent. It was Monday. He left us only 64 stories of his own, 35 or so more collaborations, loads of poems, countless letters, hoards of other writings on disparate topics, an essay on supernatural horror in literature, and a cyclopean literary sandbox to play in.
We owe August Derleth and Donald Wandrei a great debt of gratitude for having the will to make sure Lovecraft’s work did not fade into obscurity in the months and years following his premature demise. Derleth was among the first to play in that literary sandbox legions of fans would come to call the “mythos,” and he was soon followed by innumerable others to the point that Lovecraftian fiction is its own sub-genre today.
I used to be a purist, wanting only to read Lovecraft’s own work. I remember the disappointment I felt when I first discovered The Black Wings of Cthulhu were stories by other writers. But sometime in the last few years I have moved past that feeling and am now more than willing to give these new stories a try. So many of these stories, playing in the Lovecraftian sandbox, are so good, and fun to read, that I now feel it is almost a shame to disregard them out of hand. Plenty, too, are worth disregarding. This blog will be an examination and review of Lovecraftian short stories, with probably a handful of longer works thrown in. I’ll attempt to cover some of the original pastiches by folks like Derleth, Bloch, Campbell, Carter, Ashton-Smith, and others, but I would mainly like to focus on the more modern writers who are doing some amazing work at bringing Lovecraft not only into the new century, but perhaps most importantly, giving rise to a brood of fans from the next generations.
I’ll not be reviewing any of Lovecraft’s work itself. There are plenty of other places to go for that by people far smarter than I. Nor will I be reviewing unpublished works. As I looked around the internet for a site that attempted to review these individual pieces of Lovecraftian work, I couldn’t find anything. It is my hope that this site can fill that hole.
N.B. At the time I began the blog, I had not yet discovered Bobby Derie’s wonderful site, “Deep Cuts in a Lovecraftian Vein,” that does something very similar to what I’m trying here, so make sure you give it a look!