I read voraciously and widely. Mythic matter and folklore made up much of that reading – retellings of the old stories (Mallory, White, Briggs), anecdotal collections and historical investigations of the stories’ backgrounds – and then I stumbled upon the Tolkien books, which took me back to Lord Dunsany, William Morris, James Branch Cabell, E.R. Eddison, Mervyn Peake and the like. I was in heaven when Lin Carter began the Sign of the Unicorn imprint for Ballantine, and scoured the other publishers for similar good finds, delighting when I discovered someone like Thomas Burnett Swann, who still remains a favourite. This was before there was such a thing as a fantasy genre, when you’d be lucky to have one fantasy book published in a month, little say the hundreds per year we have now.

Charles de Lint
Charles de Lint: A Life of Stories
Terri Windling

the Lovecraft Circle

December 4, 2019

Lovecraft’s work was kept alive not just in the stories he told, but in the growing shared universe that was created in his wake. August Derleth, Lin Carter, Donald Wandrei, and many others promoted and reprinted Lovecraft even as they contributed to a flourishing corpus of tales inspired by his writings. Lovecraft’s coalescing legend was foundational in the creation of the publishing company Arkham House, and grew beyond that as more writers discovered his work, its variegated offspring, and the laudatory missives of the Lovecraft Circle. In those early years, not only was Lovecraft’s work being gathered and codified, it was explicitly put forth as a storyworld that could be reworked and imitated, one with greater depths and literary potential than its pulp beginnings could contain.

It is this conceit, this intertwined shift in both reading protocols and in textual refashioning, that elevates the Lovecraftian corpus to a more significant and interpretable level. His stories are no longer “mere” pulp or obscure, tortured prose; they are rich in fantastical possibility and contain themes that are construed as uncomplicated, powerful,  and reproducible, simplified in the Mythos by Derleth and able to be reused as individual creators saw fit. “Cthulhu Mythos” became a shorthand not just for such borrowings but for a discrete subgenre of horror/fantasy fusion literature that expanded over time.

John H. Stevens
The Improbable, Inevitable Domestication of the Great Old Ones: HP Lovecraft’s Iconic Influence on 21st-Century Fantastic Literature and Culture

What are you reading…?

March 18, 2015

Reading2

So damn bad, it’s almost good….!!