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Re: August Derleth
Posted by: Glyptodont (IP Logged)
Date: 4 October, 2006 09:27PM
Well, having read the Trail of Cthulhu quite recently -- within recent months, I would have to respectfully disagree.

I found the book a real waker-upper. Compared to Lovecraft himself, the characters seem more human and more real. For all Lovecraft's originality in setting horror scenarios, his narrators and other characters are little better than pasteboard cut-outs.

I enjoyed Prof. Shrewsbury. I thought the way the various short stories interlocked into a longer narrative was fresh, and beyond anything Lovecraft himself attempted.

There's no way to argue with taste. You don't care for the Trail of Cthulhu. What can anyone say? Are you sure you haven't developed a "lock," where loyalty to Lovecraft as a writer does not blindly compel that you pan his imitators?

Re: August Derleth
Posted by: walrus (IP Logged)
Date: 5 October, 2006 01:34PM
Glyptodont Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Derleth died in 1971. In 1974, Watchers Out of
> Time appears, surely assembled by the then
> managing editor of the press. The sole author on
> the cover is H.P. Lovecraft.

Actually the Arkham House pressing is credited "H. P. Lovecraft & August Derleth" (as are the Lurker and the Survivor) -- not that this isn't false and unethical.

It's the paperback publisher that's using HPL as the sole credit. They can get away with this because Derleth's estate doesn't seem to care and there's no one to sue them on Lovecraft's behalf.

Juha-Matti Rajala

Re: August Derleth
Posted by: Martinus (IP Logged)
Date: 5 October, 2006 03:14PM
The present discussion of "posthumous collaborations" reminds me of something Jack Williamson (? I think) once said:

"A posthumous collaboration is a collaboration between two authors who should change places with each other."

Re: August Derleth
Posted by: Gavin Callaghan (IP Logged)
Date: 6 October, 2006 09:12PM
>>"Compared to Lovecraft himself, the characters seem more human and more real. For all Lovecraft's originality in setting horror scenarios, his narrators and other characters are little better than pasteboard cut-outs.

I enjoyed Prof. Shrewsbury. I thought the way the various short stories interlocked into a longer narrative was fresh, and beyond anything Lovecraft himself attempted."


I like Shewsbury too. But you one can easily see that for the rest of the narrative ---except for a few bright spots here and there-- that Derleth was just "going through the motions" in terms of plot and style.

It is strange that Lovecraft never attempted something similar, however, seeing as how easily Derleth was able to make HPL's trademark style a marketable commodity. I think the main reason is dejection; if HPL had simply gotten more of a response from publishers, he would have been more "enthusiastic" and able to do more.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 6 Oct 06 | 09:13PM by Gavin Callaghan.

Re: August Derleth
Posted by: Glyptodont (IP Logged)
Date: 8 October, 2006 09:59AM
A friend just sent me two scans of the covers of Watchers Out of Time and Lurker at the Threshold. The original Arkham House editions.

Both co-feature the names of Lovecraft and Derleth. It is only in the paperback editions -- published by Carroll & Graf, I believe, where only Lovecraft's name appears (Watchers), or Lovecraft's name is is giant type and Derleth's is in very small italics type (Lurker).

One interesting aspect of Derleth's and also Brian Lumley's "take" on the Cthulhu mythos is that in these writers people fight back. Lumley has mankind killing the minions of the Old Ones, and in Derleth Dr. Shrewsbury is busy dynamiting the gates to slow Cthulhu's return.

In Lovecraft's own writing, it appears that people are just helpless pawns.

Re: August Derleth
Posted by: Gavin Callaghan (IP Logged)
Date: 8 October, 2006 05:45PM
I haven't yet read Lumley, but in Derleth's Lovecraft collaborations one can discern the merging of two separate traditions: Lovecraft's weird-fiction genre, which is more atmosphere-oriented, merging with more the action-oriented pulp fiction genre, in which, yes, the characters do fight back, but they do so within the context of a mechanical formula whose sole intention is to drive the plot forward to a formulaic and conventional conclusion.

Interestingly, Lovecraft's own attempts to adhere to a pulp-action formula produced two of his best stories: "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" and the brilliant "The Loved Dead".

Re: August Derleth
Posted by: Martinus (IP Logged)
Date: 9 October, 2006 02:10AM
Gavin Callaghan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
> Interestingly, Lovecraft's own attempts to adhere
> to a pulp-action formula produced two of his best
> stories: "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" and the
> brilliant "The Loved Dead".

Lovecraft didn't write "The Loved Dead", as far as is known; he only revised it for C. M. Eddy, Jr. Unlike the cases of Zealia Bishop and Hazel Heald, he actually had manuscripts to revise for the Eddy stories.

Re: August Derleth
Posted by: Martinus (IP Logged)
Date: 9 October, 2006 02:13AM
Glyptodont Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
> One interesting aspect of Derleth's and also Brian
> Lumley's "take" on the Cthulhu mythos is that in
> these writers people fight back. Lumley has
> mankind killing the minions of the Old Ones, and
> in Derleth Dr. Shrewsbury is busy dynamiting the
> gates to slow Cthulhu's return.
>
>
In my opinion, the Shrewsbury tales and the Crow tales take away all the fun of the Mythos and turns it into yet another "let's nuke the extraterrestrials" story. Lumley even has a factory turning out mass-produced Elder Signs. But I think his short stories are usually better than his novels.

Re: August Derleth
Posted by: Glyptodont (IP Logged)
Date: 9 October, 2006 07:27PM
Martinus wrote: "In my opinion, the Shrewsbury tales and the Crow tales take away all the fun of the Mythos and turns it into yet another "let's nuke the extraterrestrials" story. Lumley even has a factory turning out mass-produced Elder Signs. But I think his short stories are usually better than his novels."

Alas, this is too categorical and neat. For one thing, it blithely lumps Derleth and Lumley as the same, and fiction is too complicated to do that.

If I may, let me qualify a little. When Lumley's "good guys" use a nuke on Shudde M'ell, do you know what happens? This colossal worm begins boring straight up, comes out at the drilling site, kills and destroys everything, then turns downward and disappears into the mantle. Yup. Crosses out of the crust and disappears down into the molten magma of the mantle. Lumley's characters say with dismay, "it appears Shudde M'ell is immortal." They DO say that the nuke did some damage, but apparently not enough to slow him down much. In fairness, they HAVE succeeded in killing quite a few of Shudde M'ell's minions, the cthonians.

As for Derleth in the "Trail of Cthulhu" stories, Dr. Shrewsbury attacks Cthulhu by finding and dynamiting his gates to Earth. His goal is to prevent or delay Cthulhu's return. No one even imagines that Shrewsbury can actually kill Cthulhu. Apparently Cthulhu can be damaged at least, because the steamship in the Lovecraft story "The Call of Cthulhu" RAMS our beloved octopoid, and seemingly does at least some damage.

Lovecraft does not get off scot free here. Talk about formulas! Lovecraft's protagonists tend to be little better than bait or toast for the Great Old Ones. We get tired of seeing them led like lambs to the slaughter, and killed off for sport.

As for the idea of battling back against the Great Old Ones, perhaps Lumley DOES take this a bit too far. In the novel Spawn of the Winds, they almost kill Ithaqua, and are almost unbelievably effective in fighting these godlike aliens. BTW, Derleth created Ithaqua, and to some extent in his early writing Lumley was a protege of Derleth's. But in Derleth, the Great Old Ones are not such easy adversaries as sometimes Lumley would make them out to be.

Best to all--

Re: August Derleth
Posted by: Gavin Callaghan (IP Logged)
Date: 9 October, 2006 09:35PM
>>"Lovecraft didn't write "The Loved Dead", as far as is known; he only revised it for C. M. Eddy, Jr. Unlike the cases of Zealia Bishop and Hazel Heald, he actually had manuscripts to revise for the Eddy stories."

I think "The Loved Dead" has far more in it of HPL than of Eddy. Stylistically, too, it is far more HPL than Eddy. I think the plot of this story, too, seems to rather explode Joshi's notion of HPL as a sort of prudish innocent as far as sex is concerned, particularly since its plot seems to presuppose an intimate acuaintance, on at least a theoretical level, with the sort of sexual abnormalities which one would find in the pages of Krafft-Ebbing.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 9 Oct 06 | 09:38PM by Gavin Callaghan.

Re: August Derleth
Posted by: rutledge_442 (IP Logged)
Date: 11 October, 2006 04:10PM
anywhere i can find "The Lurker in the Threshold"
and i've been wanting to read "The Inhabitant of the Lake" but i assume it is not a short storie...if it is i am trying to find a link to it.also, again excuse my ignorance, but has anyone read anything from Ambrose Beirce? i have read "An Inhabitant of Carcoasa" and "Haita The Shepered" but i was wondering if any of his other stuff was good.

Re: August Derleth
Posted by: Martinus (IP Logged)
Date: 12 October, 2006 02:11AM
rutledge_442 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> anywhere i can find "The Lurker in the Threshold"
>

It's currently OOP, but IIRC, it will be reprinted this spring by Del Rey, as a trade paperback.

> and i've been wanting to read "The Inhabitant of
> the Lake" but i assume it is not a short
> storie...if it is i am trying to find a link to
> it.

It's a short story by Ramsey Campbell. I doubt you'll find it online, since it's not PD. It is in the British collection COLD PRINT, if that is still in print.

> also, again excuse my ignorance, but has anyone
> read anything from Ambrose Beirce? i have read "An
> Inhabitant of Carcoasa" and "Haita The Shepered"
> but i was wondering if any of his other stuff was
> good.

Yes, what little I've read is pretty good. There's a Collected Fiction coming out this fall, but that edition will be quite expensive.

Re: August Derleth
Posted by: calonlan (IP Logged)
Date: 12 October, 2006 09:26AM
Yes, my young friend - everyone has read Bierce - he actually spent a good deal of time with his acerbic wit regaling and generally holding in aloof contempt the citizenry of Auburn, Calif. where Clark lived. He stayed in the famous Auburn Hotel, now, regrettably, a collection of yuppie boutiques, alas.

Re: August Derleth
Posted by: walrus (IP Logged)
Date: 12 October, 2006 03:24PM
Martinus Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Yes, what little I've read is pretty good. There's
> a Collected Fiction coming out this fall, but that
> edition will be quite expensive.

I have this edition of Bierce: [unp.unl.edu]

Quite affordable and complete enough. Bierce is probably best known for his masterful civil war short story classic "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" -- and perhaps for his mysterious disappearance in Mexico. The stories can be more or less divided to those of horror ("The Damned Thing" and "The Death of Halpin Frayser" are the best known), the civil war stories, and "tall tales" (of the latter, personal favourites of mine being "An Imperfect Conflagration" and "Oil of a Dog").

You also don't want to miss Bierce's delightful "Devil's Dictionary": [en.wikipedia.org]

Juha-Matti Rajala

Re: August Derleth
Posted by: Glyptodont (IP Logged)
Date: 13 October, 2006 09:54AM
The title is actually "Lurker At the Threshold." It is a novel by Derleth, as you probably know.

Be sure to try Amazon used books. They have lots of titles that are out of print and often at a cheap price.

Perhaps LatT is out of print, but I believe I just brought it up on Amazon quite recently. I mean in the "new books' area.

I read recently that Lurker At the Threshold has sold 50,000 copies and is the most successful of the Derleth "posthumous collaboration" books.

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