Saturday, June 28, 2014

New from Thomas Ligotti!!!

Subterranean Press has publish'd two new limited edition volumes by Thomas Ligotti.  The first, and moft exciting, is THE SPECTRAL LINK, which contains two brand new stories, his first original work in over a decade.  From ye publishers website:

"Often at the conclusion of an author interview, a question is posed, one that allows the subject to announce or promote forthcoming projects and publications.  In the case of Thomas Ligotti, the response has invariably been to the effect that he never has any idea what he is going to produce in the future, if anything.  Since he began publishing in the early 1980s, this answer has perhaps seemed somewhat disingenuous.  Some may have thought that it was an affectation or diversionary tactic.  After all, books under his name have since appeared on a somewhat regular, if not exactly prolific, schedule.  But as the years went by, it became more and more apparent that Ligotti's output was at best haphazard.  A chapbook here, a slim or full-fledged story collection there, a book of poetry or unclassifiable prose out of nowhere, and then at some point a quasi-academic statement of his philosophical ideas and attitudes.  Such a scattered crop of writings is not unheard-of, but for one who toils in the genre of horror, whose practitioners are commonly hard at work on a daily basis, it does seem as paltry as it is directionless.

"Accordingly, the present volume is another unexpected contribution to Ligotti's desultory offerings.  And no one could be as surprised by its contents as he was.  As anyone knows who has followed his interviews and obsessions as they appear in his fiction, Ligotti must take his literary cues from a lifetime of, let us say, whimsical pathologies.  Other authors may suffer writer's block.  In the present case, the reason may be dubbed 'existence block,' one that persisted for some ten years.  This is less than an ideal development for anyone, but for a word-monger it can spell the end.  And yet the end did not arrive.  During 2012, it seemed that it might, in the form of a sudden collapse and subsequent hospitalization prefigured--one might speculate--by the abdominal crisis suffered by the character Grossvogel in Ligotti's story 'The Shadow, The Darkness.'  Yet like the agony endured by the aforementioned figure, the one in question led only to a revitalization of creativity.  The revitalization may not be exactly spectacular, but all the same here it is.

"Throughout Ligotti's 'career' as a horror writer, many of his stories have evolved from physical or emotional crises.  And so it was with the surgical trauma that led to the stories in The Spectral Link, an event that is marginally mentioned in the first of these stories, 'Metaphysics Morum.'  In the second story, 'The Small People,' Ligotti returns, although not precisely in the usual fashion, to his fixation with uncanny representations of the so-called human being.  Having nearly ceased to exist as he lay on the surgeon's table, the imposing strangeness of the nature and vicissitudes of this life form once again arose in his imagination.  So what project and publications are forthcoming from Thomas Ligotti?  As ever, not even he knows."

Hmm...  I have a feeling that ye above blurb is from ye pen of Mr. Ligotti hisself...

There is a limited edition of 400 signed numbered hardcover copies, bound in leather, for $60.
A trade edition, fully cloth-bound hardcover, is $20.

I wonder if having those three handsome editions of his work publish'd by Subterranean Press in 2010, 2011, and 2012 also served as an inspiration (even subliminally) to produce new work.  They are wonderful books, books to which I return again and again.  Thomas Ligotti's genius has an effect on me that is similar in every way to H. P. Lovecraft's -- it demands a return to the Work, writing that is original, brilliant, personable, evocative, intoxicating, exhilarating, depressing.  What uneasy comfort, to know that I have this author to return to for the remainder of my mortal time.


Sunday, June 22, 2014


Hippocampus Press  []  is offering a one year subscription of SPECTRAL REALMS at ye discount price of $25 for two issues.  The first issue is soon to be publish'd, & here is its exciting Contents:


Spectral Province, by Wade German
As Told to My Infant Grandchildren, by Phillip A. Ellis
Omens from Afar, by Phillip A. Ellis
Fairy Song, by Darrell Schweitzer
Night Stalker, by Michael Fantina
Miranda, by Michael Fantina
Titan, by Michael Fantina
Seasonal Affective Disorder, by Richard L. Tierney
The Asteroid, by Richard L. Tierney
Emeraldesse, by Leigh Blackmore
In Splendor All Arrayed, by Leigh Blackmore
Lines on a Drawing by Hannes Bok, by Leigh Blackmore
Museum Piece, by Oliver Smith
The Hidden God, by Adam Bolivar
Necromancy, by Kyla Lee Ward
Fortune Teller, by Carole Abourjelli
Awakening, by Carole Abourjelli
The Stomach Only Tries, by Marge Simon
The Witches' House, by Margaret Curtis
Carathis, by Ashley Dioses
Horror, by Ashley Dioses
Kiss the Stars, by Ashley Dioses
A Weird Tale, by Charles Lovecraft
Night Visit, by Charles Lovecraft
Afrasiab Down the Oxus, by Charles Lovecraft
Black Wings, by Ian  Futter
Statues, by Ian Futter
Pursuit, by Ian Futter
White Chapel, by Kendall Evans
The Stars' Prisoner, by D. L. Myers
The Thing on the Mountain, by D. L. Myers
Beneath the Ferny Trees, by David Schembri
Old Graveyard in the Woods, by Jonathan Thomas
The Laundrymen, by Ann K. Schwader
A Carcass, Waiting, by Jason V Brock
Climate of Fear, by Ann K. Schwader
The Meromylls of Lake Lurd, by Donald R Broyles
Nocturnal Poet, by K. A. Opperman
Siren of the Dead, by K. A. Opperman
The Angels All Are Corpses in the Sky, by K. A. Opperman
Sea Princess, by Claire Smith
Ex Nihilo, by Daniel Kolbe Strange
The Den, by Chad Hensley
Audience at Sunset, by David Barker and W. H. Pugmire
"The Hound", by W. H. Pugmire
Note of the Executioner, by David Schembri
The Rim, by Chad Hensley
Dark Mirage, by Fred Phillips
In Cavernous Depths Yawning, by Randall D. Larson

The Hidden Pool, by George Sterling
Resurrection Night, by Benjamin De Casseres
The Angels, by Theodore de Banville
Three Prose Poems, by Lord Dunsany
A Night with the Boys, by Bruce Boston

To the Stars and Beyond, by Donald Sidney-Fryer
Ligotti on Sterling, by Thomas Ligotti
Petrifying Posey and Shivers in Verse, by Alan Gullette

[Cover art: Eugenio Lucas (1817-1870), Death Reading from a Human Lectern, Congregation in Background]

Sunday, June 15, 2014

A MOUNTAIN WALKED--Mythos anthology edited by S. T. Joshi!!!

A MOUNTAIN WALKED will be publish'd sometime next month, and will be one of ye moft beautiful Mythos books ever publish'd, a work of art from Centipede Press.  It includes some of S. T.'s favourite Mythos stories and is extensively and beautifully illustrated.  I may have already posted ye Table of Contents, but allow me to do so here:

Introduction, by S. T. Joshi
"The House of the Worm," by Mearle Prout
"Far Below," by Robert Barbour Johnson
"Spawn of the Green Abyss," by C. Hall Thompson
"The Deep Ones," by James Wade
[Art Portfolio], by Erlend Mork
"The Franklyn Papers," by Ramsey Campbell
"Where Yidhra Walks," by Walter C. DeBill, Jr.
"Black Man with a Horn," by T. E. D. Klein
"The Last Feast of Harlequin" by Thomas Ligotti
"Only the End of the World Again," by Neil Gaiman
"Mandelbrot Moldrot," by Lois Gresh
"Black Brat of Dunwich," by Stanley C. Sargent
[Art Portfolio], by Stanley C. Sargent
"The Phantom of Beguilement," by W. H. Pugmire
"...Hungry...Rats," by Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.
"Virgin's Island," by Donald Tyson 
"In the Shadow of Swords," by Cody Goodfellow 
"Mobymart After Midnight," by Jonathan Thomas
"A Gentleman from Mexico," by Mark Samuels
"Man with No Name," by Laird Barron
"John Four," by Caitlin R. Kiernan
"Sigma Octantis," by Rhys Hughes
[Anasazi], by Gemma Files
"The Wreck of the Aurora," by Patrick MaGrath
"Thirteen Hundred Rats," by T. C. Boyle
"Beneath the Beardmore," by Michael Shea
"Rupa Worms from Outer Space," by Denis Tiani
"Pickman's Model" by H. P. Lovecraft, illustrated by John Kenn Mortensen
"The Lurking Fear," by H. P. Lovecraft, illustrated by Thomas Ott
"Excerpts from a Notebook," by Drazen Kozjan
[cartoons], by Julien Bazinet
{Notes]. by ye Contributors

Sunday, June 1, 2014

from S. T. Joshi's new blog

 Above is HPL's silhouette, by Perry, a Black sidewalk artist.  From I Am Providence, Vol. II, page 587:  "On July 2 Sonia and Lovecraft took a trip to Coney Island, where he had cotton candy for the first time.  On this occasion Sonia had a silhouette of herself made by an African American named Perry; Lovecraft had had his own silhouette done on March 26.  This silhouette has become very well known in recent years, and its very faithful (perhaps even a little flattering) rendition has caused Lovecraft's profile to become an icon..."

People often ask me how I can so admire, even love, H. P. Lovecraft when he was such a wretched bigot, so anti-Semite and racist and homophobic.  We are, in so many instances, who we were raised to be.  That doesn't excuse our weaknesses and faults, and sometimes we are able to transcend our origins and be, absolutely, our radical selves.  In regard to his ignorant racism, Lovecraft was no so fortunate.  When he was very young he wrote, for the entertainment and to win the approval of his mother and aunts, a poem "On the Creation of Niggers," and it is this poem (which he never had publish'd) that has so enraged modern Internet critics of Lovecraft that they seem to want to dismiss Lovecraft entirely because of it.  In so doing, they themselves behave like intolerant bigots.

S. T. has addressed this is his new blog, posted to-day.  I am quoting from it without his permission (it's late and he's probably gone to sleep).

"There appears to be a growing tendency among certain commentators (I will not call them critics or scholars, for they clearly seem to be neither) on Lovecraft's racism to the exclusion of just about every other facet of his life, work, and thought.  This itself is a curious cultural phenomenon, but the upshot is a severe distortion of the overall thrust of his philosophy and his literary work.  Why, I wonder, do we not focus on Lovecraft's atheism; his remarkable conversion from political conservatism to moderate socialism; his keen appreciation of natural beauty; his antiquarianism; his travels up and down the Eastern Seaboard (and, more generally, his philosophy of travel--i.e., the role of travel and the new stimuli it engenders upon the creative imagination); his sharp analyses of contemporary political, social, and cultural tendencies?  All these things seem to me to be much more significant, both to his thought and to his work, than racism.

"A recent writer (who will remain nameless, for I do not wish to give publicity to his screed) has chimed in on the issue, claiming that virtually the entirety of Lovecraft's fiction focuses on racism, xenophobia, and so forth.  This writer has apparently replied entirely on secondary sources for his assertions and done no original research into Lovecraft's life or thought; and on its face his assertion is preposterous.  Here are the facts:

     --In the totality of Lovecraft's surviving letters, I would be surprised if racial issues are
        addressed in more than 5% of the text--perhaps no more than 1% of the text;
     --Not one of Lovecraft's friends--and dozens of them wrote accounts of their association with him--
        has ever stated that Lovecraft uttered any racist sentiment in their presence;
     --There are perhaps only five stories in Lovecraft's entire corpus of 65 original tales  ('The
        Street,' 'Arthur Jermyn,' 'The Horror in Red Hook,' 'He,' and 'The Shadow over Innsmouth')                         that have racism as their central core; and in several of these, the racist element is expressed
        indirectly, symbolically, or metaphorically;
     --Several of Lovecraft's tales of hereditary degeneration (e.g., 'The Lurking Fear,' 'The Rats in the
        Walls') depict aristocratic white families suffering the degeneration.

"The writer of the article concludes by considering Bryan Moore's splendid bust of Lovecraft and claiming that the inscription should read: 'H. P. Lovecraft / Racist and Anti-Semite / Also wrote stories.'  The writer may think this a clever witticism, but it can quickly be turned against him.  A fair number of authors and other figures can be shown to have serious deficiencies in their personal lives or philosophies."

S. T. then goes on to name some, such as Poe, CAS, REH, Hemingway and others.  S. T. concludes, "I trust you see my point.  It is, in short, a tad risky to judge figures of past historical epochs by the standards of our own perfect moral, political, and spiritual enlightenment.  Difficult as it might be to comprehend, people of the future might make similar judgments on us!"

In America, racial segregation was enforced in the United States military until 1948.  Shirley Temple wasn't allowed to dine with co-star Bo Jangles in racially segregated Hollywood cafeterias.  America schools in the South weren't desegregated until the bleedin' 1960s.  American racism kicked in to a new high with the election of our first Black president.  When asked what was the one question that he could ask Lovecraft, S. T., a dark man, replied, "I'd ask, why were you racist?"  It seems illogical to Lovecraft's biographer, who has come to know HPL intimately, that a man otherwise so intelligent could, in this one instance, be so stupid.

I celebrate what is good and brilliant about H. P. Lovecraft.  I came to love his personality in the 1970s from reading the volumes of SELECTED LETTERS published by Arkham House.  I admire HPL as an excellent writer, as the author, above all others, who has blessed me with my own creative existence.  As one of partial Jewish heritage, I vomit on Lovecraft's anti-Semitism.  As an In-Your-Face Queer, I spit at his loathing of effeminate men.  Love Live We Queens!  As an artist who is as obsess'd as he was with writing weird fiction that is as close to Art as my puny talents can make it, I bow before him and kiss his titan toe.