Monday, April 29, 2013

Professional Publishers Can Be Weird

Isn't this the most fucked-up cover for a Lovecraft book ye have ever seen?  I mean, you would think that Penguin Books wou'd have a bit more class.  And then they put the secondary title of the book above the first portion of the title.  This is one of six hardcover volumes for which del Toro is listed as "Series Editor," but it's all so fake.  The titles in the series, for the most part, are reprints of earlier Penguin books, in this case the 2001 edition of Joshi's The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories.  del Toro has been hired to write new forewords or introductions to these; and that's cool, because his Foreword to Joshi's Penguin edition of Machen was brilliant.  This Lovecraft Penguin edition is my single favorite edition of Lovecraft's weird tales (I have three copies of the paperback), so I am overjoy'd to see it will be issued in hardcover.  But what the hell is up with the artwork?  Why couldn't they have used an image of H. P. Lovecraft?  Bah!

Chris, of Dark Regions Press, has handed production duties for Encounters with Enoch Coffin to his way cool father, Joe.  This will result in ye deluxe and trade hardcover editions being delay'd for at least another fortnight.  My apologies to all who ordered the hardcover editions and who have been so wonderfully patient   The hardcover editions are going to be extremely wonderful and handsome, so your patience will be well-rewarded.  Of course, for those who cannot afford the expensive hardcover editions of the book, the trade paperback is available at Amazon.  I'm a big fan of print-on-demand, I think it's a wonderful practice.  It allows publishers to experiment with volume (not sure about how popular a book may be? then be cautious about initial numbers of first copies), and it allows a book to exist forever, so long as there are readers interested in purchasing it.  For a writer such as myself, for whom there is no possibility of a commercial audience, print-on-demand is the perfect solution.

Ye Penguin hardcover edition above is one of two editions of Lovecraft's fiction that I have on pre-order at Amazon ~~ ye other, at left, is another new series forthcoming from Centipede Press and edited by S. T. Joshi.  This series is called Library of Weird Fiction and will include volumes by Blackwood, Poe, Hodgson and others.  Unlike Centipede's Masters of the Weird Tale series, these new books will be kept affordable.  The pre-order price for this Lovecraft edition is offer'd at a discount of about twenty bucks at Amazon.  Like the hardcover Penguin edition, it is slated for release this September.  You may be asking, "Wilum, how many editions of Lovecraft do you need?"  To which I reply, "As many as are out there!"  I'm a Lovecraft junky, an obsess'd H. P. Lovecraft fanboy.  Not a week goes by when I am not delving into the text of a Lovecraft tale or poem.  Thus it helps keep things diverse to have those tales and poems in a multitude of editions.  Each single edition has its own peculiar charm.  Just to-day I was browsing through the Arkham House edition, Miscellaneous Writings, a wonderful Joshi-edited volume that is fill'd with rare items and delightful illustrations, reproductions of art and epistles by Lovecraft, &c &c &c.  I return to Lovecraft again and again, because I love his fiction  and because my full-time "employment" now is the writing of Lovecraftian weird fiction collections for small press publishers.  To open a brand new edition of Lovecraft's Works for the first time gives me a thrill of eldritch ecstasy.  I cannot have too many editions.

I love this life--being able to write my wee Lovecraftian tales full-time.  I am exactly where I want to be as a writer, with a wee yet loyal readership who seem to really enjoy my books.  In a world where there are so many pathetic morons and trolls who spend their empty lives being negative and nasty, it's nice to know that my own books have brought a bit of happiness to this sad sad world.  Selah.


  1. Mr. Wilum, to this boy from the backwaters of Lancashire, England you, as well as your writings, bring more than "a bit of happiness to this sad sad world". I always look forward to readibng your blog entries.
    It is a mad, mad, mad, mad world (to borrow a film title) and to be an Outsider from Beyond ye Mundane is a joy.
    Enjoy the Film Fest and Necronomicon (neither of which I can get to as the cost is too much for me) - I am looking forward to your eldritch reports.
    The Library of Weird Fiction editions look great - an exercise in how to print a cover! I have always loved that photo of HPL. Shadowy Darkness over him an' all...
    Hold on to your Dreams!

  2. Thank ye! Yes, that photo of Lovecraft on ye Centipede book is my all-time favourite of E'ch-Pi-El because he looks spectral, some Outside thing that is either emerging from ye Eldritch Dark or escaping into it. For me, Lovecraft has the perfect "horror writer" face, a serious artist haunted by an ingenious imagination and blessed with a magnificent prose style.

  3. Yes, the new Penguin Lovecraft cover brings to mind THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON. Not to knock that fine old film, but it's not Lovecraft--and neither is this cover. (All right, I get the Innsmouth reference, but the illo somehow doesn't resonate with that.) And putting the secondary title above the primary title is not the cool design move someone thought it was.

  4. I think the Penguin cover art looks great.

    1. Well, that's fine. Responses to art are, of course, subjective. If this cover succeeds in interesting people in reading Lovecraft, then it serves a noble purpose.