Comments on Arthur B's Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos and Its Imitators, Part 6

Though not overtly billed as such, Robert M. Price's Acolytes of Cthulhu collection is basically "Tales of the Lovecraft Mythos/The New Lovecraft Circle Take Two".

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Robinson L at 00:02 on 2017-10-31
He then slams cosplayers at conventions, suggesting that they render the whole thing frivolous and mundane, and also criticises attempts to win mainstream respectability for Lovecraft. (This was before the Library of America put out a Lovecraft volume.) Because it's not enough for us to be Lovecraft fans, apparently - we have to be fans within the set bounds of Price’s sensibilities, keeping things just respectable enough for quasi-academic blowhards like Price to feel like scholarly gentlemen but not respectable enough to get the attention of experts who’d recognise Price’s Lovecraft scholarship as the slipshod amateur work it is.

That’s a reasonable interpretation, but it to me it sounds equally likely that Price is just a massive hipster.
Arthur B at 10:27 on 2017-10-31
Why not both?
Robinson L at 20:36 on 2017-10-31
Hmm, could very well be that, too.
Ichneumon at 02:33 on 2018-06-10
Regarding Joseph Payne Brennan, while noted primarily as a short story author, Thomas Ligotti has argued that, with a few major exceptions such as “Canavan’s Back Yard”, he was far more accomplished as a poet, displaying a deeply pessimistic, crushingly melancholy sensibility which much of his prose only hints at. Ligotti actually asked Brennan about this in a fan letter towards the end of his life, to which he replied that prose work which actually reflected his worldview as his poetry did would be basically unpublishable in the climate in which he wrote.
Ichneumon at 02:47 on 2018-06-10
(Incidentally, it is worth noting that Manly Wade Wellman and Gustav Meyrink were capable of far better writing than demonstrated here; if anything, Price’s skills as an editor impugn themselves far more harshly than they do the skills of the authors he so poorly showcased.)
Arthur B at 17:35 on 2018-06-10
Interesting. Was their better writing directed to the pulp market, or was it presented elsewhere? If they were deliberately writing trash for a market they regarded as trash then... well, I guess that pays the bills. But as you say, it doesn't speak well to Price's capabilities as an editor that he chooses this dross from their back catalogue if there really are superior choices available in their portfolio.
Ichneumon at 04:00 on 2018-06-11
Wellman is primarily known for his extremely evocative horror yarns set in Appalachia, many strung together by the recurring character of the balladeer and amateur occult sleuth John Silence, which while not entirely my cup of tea are beautifully written, but I think those were indeed written more for the slicks than the pulps. As for Meyrink, I am most familiar with his grisly vignette "The Dissection", which is a favourite of Ligotti and VanderMeer's.
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