Friday, April 22, 2016

Ye Beauty out of Time & Space

I have many editions of ye fiction of H. P. Lovecraft; but because I return to those stories repeatedly, month after month, it's always nice to have them in an attractive new edition, especially a handsome hardcover volume. I had The Complete Cthulhu Mythos Tales on pre-order at Amazon, but then to-day's poft brought a free review copy from ye publisher. Honey, this is one gorgeous book. The colour design of ye boards is lovely--with solid black, shimmering gold & silver, & a moft peculiar shade of blue-green. The pages have a gilt edge of gold, and a pale golden book ribbon is attach'd, a wonderful service for keeping one's place while reading ye tome. The endpapers are in two shades of green and feature an image of "R'lyeh" by John  Coulhart. The book feels so solid, and although it is a wee bit weighty it is easy to hold and read while reclining in one's armchair. 
This is a hardcover edition of a trade paperback that was originally publish'd in 2013; but its contents is so excellent, combining some of Lovecraft's minor stories and his classics, along with a number of his finest revisions/collaborations, that the volume wou'd be an outstanding gift to give to a friend who is reading H. P. Lovecraft for ye first time. The text is well-printed and the stock is thick enough that there is no peek-through of text from the opposite side of ye page. A small poster by Mr Coulhart, "Cthulhu Rising," is attach'd to ye inside-back board--and one wou'd do well to use caution in pulling it free so that the is no resulting ripping of ye back endpaper. I believe ye book is to begin selling in Barnes & Noble stores in August.

One may wonder why B&N have publish'd yet another volume of Lovecraft's work, having published The Complete Fiction in 2011. There has been a lot of books out these past couple years that emphasis ye name "Cthulhu" in their titles, ye name being a lure that gets people to purchase books. Even S. T. Joshi's Black Wings series--publish'd in hardcover by PS Publishing--had its title changed to Black Wings of Cthulhu when Titan Books began to issue ye series in trade paperback. There is a removable label on the back board (I lifted it off ye board carefully and then glued it inside ye book just opposite page 594) on which is stated:

"The Cthulhu Mythos was H. P. Lovecraft's greatest contribution to supernatural literature: a series of stories that evoked cosmic awe and terror through their accounts of incomprehensibly alien monsters and their horrifying incursions into our world. The Complete Cthulhu Mythos Tales collects twenty-three of Lovecraft's greatest weird tales, including 'The Call of Cthulhu,' 'The Colour out of Space,' 'The Dunwich Horror,' 'The Shadow over Innsmouth,' and 'The Shadow out of Time.'"

I love this volume--for its beauty and its excellent contents. Priced at $20, it is inexpensive enough to give to a chum as eldritch gift.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Unknown Gulf of Night

Above is one of my favourite illustrations by Pete Von Sholly for ye forthcoming LOVECRAFT ILLUSTRATED edition of THE HAUNTER OF THE DARK from PS Publishing.  I glanced over the tale before I wrote my essay for this particular volume, and was once again transported by the power of Lovecraft's imagination and the beauty of his perfect prose. One of my great loves in life is to see Lovecraft's weird fiction illustrated, and Pete Von Sholly's work continues to amaze me. There is an almoft simple perfection to ye piece above, and the tone of colour enhances ye foreboding mood of the art for me. 

Returning as I do to Lovecraft's text, continually, it helps to have a variety of editions in which to dip. Every edition has something different that helps to enhance ye Lovecraftian experience. The Penguin Classics editions has those amazing Introductions and Notes; The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft has that solid hardcover feel as one holds it, and the staggering number of illustrations, photos, &c; and these new editions from PS Publishing have Pete's magnificent artwork plus a variety of bonus material following Lovecraft's texts. As far as I know, Chaosium plans on publishing editions of Lovecraft's tales edited by Robert M. Price, and these may be critical editions as well, with commentary (no date for the Price project has been announced). 

This year we can look forward to a 4th Variorum edition of Lovecraft's Revisions & Collaborations. A second volume of The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft is being edited by Leslie S. Klinger. Hippocampus Press will be publishing The Annotated Fungi from Yuggoth in May, in which each of Lovecraft's sonnets will have an illustration. And Peter Crowther has express'd interest in bringing out many more volumes of LOVECRAFT ILLUSTRATED, some featuring single stories and all ye bonus stuff, and others probably combining a number of Lovecraft's shorter things into one illustrated volume.

We Lovecraftians are living in ye best of eras, methinks.

Today is Robert Bloch's birthday. I'll be reading two or three of his fine stories as an act of remembrance.