H.P. Lovecraft: The Complete Fiction


Illustration by Sven Geier, design by Jo Obarowski and Rebecca Lysen.

HP Lovecraft would have been as surprised as anyone if he could have witnessed the tremendous posthumous triumph he and his work have achieved.

Thus leading Lovecraft biographer and scholar ST Joshi in the introduction to this suitably monstrous book. H.P. Lovecraft: The Complete Fiction was published in a new edition last year after first appearing in 2008 as part of Barnes & Noble’s Leatherbound Classics Series. My drawing of Dagon from 1999 adorns the silvered endpapers, and the reason for this belated mention is because I was only sent copies this week after moaning about not having seen a copy in a Tor.com post about the series. In truth the oversight was partly my own fault: one hazard of this line of work is that artwork is requested months (or even years) in advance of publication, so if the work in question is a reprint it’s easy to forget all about it as you get involved with other things.


So anyway, this is a handsome volume of over a thousand pages, not quite leather, it’s more of a leatherette with the design blocked into it. Sven Geier’s cosmic illustration has been given an iridescent finish, and the copies I was sent have metallic silver on the edges as well as a purple ribbon which makes a better match with the colour scheme. The contents comprise all of Lovecraft’s solo fiction (no collaborations, in other words) from the juvenilia through to the non-fiction of his Supernatural Horror in Literature essay. In addition to the introduction there’s a short note from ST Joshi for each story. Needless to say, I’m very pleased to be associated with Lovecraft’s work in this way.

Anyone considered buying a copy should note that the book is currently cheaper at B&N than at Amazon. Also, complaints about typos would appear to apply to the earlier edition although I’ve not had a chance to read any of the stories.

My Dagon picture below appears here larger than it has done before. The drawing was done with a Biro pen, something I’ve always liked using, then tweaked slightly in Photoshop to blur the lines a little and bring out the highlights. I’m not sure now the tweaking was necessary so I may dig out the original at some point to see how it compares.


Dagon (1999) by John Coulthart.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The Lovecraft archive

Revenant volumes: Bob Haberfield, New Worlds and others


The Singing Citadel (1970).

Michael Moorcock’s Elric books are being prepared for republication by Del Rey in the US next year. I’ve assisted with some minor parts of this preparation, including sourcing pictures from Savoy’s edition of Monsieur Zenith the Albino. (Anthony Skene’s albino anti-hero is a precursor of Moorcock’s albino anti-hero.)

Discussion of the Elric books with Dave at Savoy prompted my excavation of this battered Mayflower paperback from the retired book boxes. This slim volume collected four fantasy stories: the title piece (possibly the first Elric story I read), Master of Chaos, The Greater Conqueror and To Rescue Tanelorn…. I’d forgotten about the garishly strange cover, one of many that Bob Haberfield produced for Moorcock’s books during the 1970s. Haberfield is one of a number of cover artists from that period who worked in the field for a few years before moving on or vanishing entirely. The swirling clouds derived from Tibetan Buddhist art identify this as one of his even without the credit on the back; later pictures were heavily indebted to Eastern religious art and while technically more controlled they lack this cover’s berserk intensity. Haberfield’s site has a small gallery of his splendid paintings, including a rare horror work, his wonderfully eerie cover for Dagon by HP Lovecraft.

Searching for more Haberfield covers turned up these two examples, both part of the SciFi Books Flickr pool, a cornucopia of pictures by vanished illustrators. Browsing that lot is like being back inside the In Book Exchange, Blackpool, circa 1977. The digitisation of the past continues apace at the Old-Timey Paperback Book Covers pool and the Pulp Fiction pool. Don’t go to these pages if you’re supposed to be doing something else, it’s easy to find yourself saying “just one more” an hour later.


And in other Moorcock-related news, Jay alerts me today to the existence of an archive of New Worlds covers, something I’d been hoping to see for a long time. New Worlds was one of the most important magazines of the 1960s, mutating under Moorcock’s editorship from a regular science fiction title to a hothouse of literary daring and experiment. As with so many things in that decade, the peak period was from about 1966–1970 when the magazine showcased outstanding work from Moorcock himself, JG Ballard, Brian Aldiss, Harlan Ellison, Samuel Delany, M John Harrison, Norman Spinrad and a host of others. For a time it seemed that a despised genre might be turning away from rockets and robots to follow paths laid down by William Burroughs, Salvador Dalí, Jorge Luis Borges and other visionaries. We know now that Star Wars, Larry Niven and the rest swept away those hopes but you can at least go and see covers that pointed to a future (and futures) the world rejected.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The book covers archive
The illustrators archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Barney Bubbles: artist and designer
100 Years of Magazine Covers
It’s a pulp, pulp, pulp world