RogerBW's Blog

Lovecraft's Lesser-Known Collaborations 30 May 2018

Howard Philips Lovecraft (1890-1937) is known mostly for the work published under his own name, but as with many prolific writers he indulged in many collaborations. More, it seems, than have previously been suspected.

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again: that Cyclopean house of no architecture known to man or to human imagination, with vast aggregations of night-black masonry embodying monstrous perversions of geometrical laws and attaining the most grotesque extremes of sinister bizarrerie.

Mundane families are all alike; every cultist family is cultish in its own way.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single scholar in possession of an ancient tome, must be in want of a sacrifice. However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a university, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding professors, that he is considered the rightful property of some one or other of their deities.

A squat grey building of only thirty-four stories. Over the main entrance the words “Central Arkham Hatchery and Conditioning Centre” and, in a shield, the World State's Motto: “Iä, Cthulhu Fhthagn”.

The way I came to miss the end of the world—well, the end of the world I had known for close on thirty years—was sheer accident: like a lot of survival, when you come to think of it. In the nature of things a good many somebodies are always in a mental hospital, and the law of averages had picked on me to be one of them a week or so before. It might just as easily have been the week before that—in which case I'd not be writing now: I'd not be here at all. But chance played it not only that I should be in a mental hospital at that particular time, but that my conscious mind, and indeed my whole psyche, should be drowned in drugs—and that's why I have to be grateful to whoever orders these averages.

Cthulhu, light of my life, fire of my brain. My sin, my soul. C-thul-hu: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. C. Thul. Hu.

The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead, fleshless monstrosity.


  1. Posted by chris at 11:04am on 30 May 2018

    HP Lovecraft was a prolific correspondent. So was PG Wodehouse. They lived at the same time: Wodehouse was ten years older. What would have been more natural than Lovecraft writing to Wodehouse asking advice about publication, and Wodehouse replying in his usual friendly style?

    That is why Neil Gaiman at one point wanted to edit the Wodehouse/Lovecraft letters, and to produce "Cthulu: The Musical".

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 11:24am on 30 May 2018

    I'm not absolutely certain of my facts, but I rather fancy it's Shakespeare -- or, if not, it's some equally brainy bird -- who says that the most merciful thing in the world is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. And what I'm driving at is that the man is perfectly right. Take, for instance, the business of Lady Malvern and her son Wilmot. The piecing together of dissociated knowledge opened up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of a fellow's frightful position therein, that we all either went mad from the revelation or fled from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.

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