Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Perusing the Bookstalls

Lovecraft loved going through old bookstores. Me, too. In Louisville, there was a wonderful place called Zimmerman's. Long gone. The books were so overflowing, that the elder gentleman had them stacked to the ceiling higgledy-piggledy. More fun to root!

In some places around the country, the chain store "Half-Priced Books" has brought that fun back. Just came back from there with an armload of antiques. One treasure was Shadows of Fear, vol. I, ed. David G. Hartwell.

There is a long essay on horror that is quite collectable and erudite. Sorry I can't post it due to its copyright. Maybe later, I'll post an abridged summary of it.

At the Mountains of Madness is included in this collection. The editor covers the usual summary of Lovecraft's erudition and excessive porse, his essay Supernatural Horror in Literature and Lovecraft's championing by Fritz Lieber and Derleth. Also, he mentions that Lovecraft has a strong following in France, and that MoM is a continuation of Poe's A. Gordon Pym and was published in Astounding Tales before Campbell took over editorship. It is one of the few early bridges between science fiction (then scientifiction) and horror.

What always makes me smile is how fictional trajectories flow. Poe was fascianted with Antarctica, so he wrote A. Gordon Pym. Lovecraft idolized Poe and wrote Mountains of Madness. Then in 1952, Howard Hawks directed Thing (From Another World) ; which incidentally lauched James Arness' career. The screen play was written austensibly by a Charles Lederer, but that was based on John W. Campbell Jr.'s - under the psuedonym, Don A. Stuart - Who Goes There?.

The fact that Campbell, editor of Astounding cribbed Poe and Lovecraft to create this thrilling SF tale is pretty interesting.

We have to then discuss that John Carpenter's 1982 remake resuscitated this theme.

Would love to hear your comments and thoughts on MoM , the various stories and the movies.

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