Wednesday, August 12, 2009

C M Eddy, Jr. News

Thanks, "C", for alerting me to this article!
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Below is a link to buy the book.

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Pulp-era horror is resurrected in book of tales

By Doug Norris

NARRAGANSETT - A close friend to H.P. Lovecraft and Harry Houdini, lifelong Rhode Islander C.M. Eddy Jr. is perhaps best known for his stories in Weird Tales. Eddy's tales of horror, the supernatural and detective mystery appeared in several pulp magazines in the early 20th century.

Just in time for Halloween, a partial collection of his work, "The Loved Dead and Other Tales," consisting of 13 stories from the pulps, has been compiled and published by his grandson, Jim Dyer, owner of Fenham Publishing of Narragansett.

"He was a pack rat," said Dyer of his grandfather. "He kept all of his stories, letters, notes. It's something that runs in the family."

This is the second collection of Eddy's tales that Dyer has published. Fenham Publishing's first venture into the Eddy oeuvre was "Exit Into Eternity, Tales of the Bizarre and Supernatural," a collection of five stories, including one novelette and one unfinished fragment titled "Black Noon." Dyer later edited and published "The Gentleman from Angell Street, Memories of H.P. Lovecraft," which included writings from his grandfather and his grandmother, Muriel, who both knew Lovecraft well.

"My grandparents became friends with Lovecraft in the early 1920s," Dyer said. "He used to walk to their house in Fox Point and stay late into the night. My grandfather and he would take late-night walks in the streets of Providence, looking for interesting places or just talking about ideas for stories. My grandmother typed some of his manuscripts."

Dyer said that Lovecraft encouraged Eddy's writing, offering advice and editing, as he did with many writers of the day.

"He wasn't competitive at all," Dyer said, adding that, according to his grandmother, "Lovecraft had a hand in a lot of stories that he never got any credit for. He had a circle of friends, who would mail each other different stories and make comments."

"The Loved Dead," the opening story in the new collection, was so controversial in its day that it almost didn't get published. It deals with the subject of necrophilia.

"His agent said no one would touch it in America," Dyer said. "He told my grandfather to try to publish it in France. He thought it might find an audience in Paris, where they had the Grand-Guignol, a theater of the bizarre. Eventually Weird Tales published the story in 1924, even though the editor still had his doubts. As it turned out, the controversy helped sell more copies of the magazine." The story is even credited with helping Weird Tales avoid bankruptcy.

Seven stories first published in Weird Tales make up part of the new collection. Dyer's favorite of these is a tale titled "The Ghost-Eater."

"It's a werewolf story," Dyer said, "but it's an offbeat werewolf story, about a ghost werewolf."

Eddy wrote horror and supernatural tales, along with detective mysteries such as "Sign of the Dragon," first published in Mystery Magazine in 1919 and re-published here. Other stories describe mad scientists, Neanderthals, phantoms and ancient curses.

"Supernatural had to do with something not of this world, like werewolves, vampires," Dyer said. "The horror story was more based in real life, but just scary. But I don't think they differentiated back then with all of the subcategories. That came later."

"It's the kind of writing he liked to do," Dyer added. "Magazines like Weird Tales published stories that didn't fit into the other magazines of the day. My grandfather called his stories his 'brainchildren.' "

In addition to pulp fiction writing, Eddy was a composer of lyrics and melodies, whose songs included "Dearest of All," "When We Met by the Blue Lagoon," "Underneath the Whispering Pine," "Sunset Hour" and "Hello, Mister Sunshine (Goodbye, Mister Rain)."

"People used to send him their poems and he'd put them to music," Dyer said.

Eddy became a theatrical booking agent in Providence, which was his residence throughout his life (except for a short stint in East Providence). He befriended a number of famous vaudevillians and performers, including the great Houdini, one of the most popular entertainers of his time.

"He worked as a ghostwriter and an investigator for Houdini," Dyer said. "Houdini paid writers to write stories that had his name on them in popular magazines. He also used to go around the country breaking up seances and exposing mediums as fakes. My grandfather would travel to a town ahead of him and find out everything he could. He'd figure out how the voices were coming from the walls, how the table might be moving. Then he'd type up a report for Houdini, who would show up with all of the newspapers and expose the act as if he was doing it on the spot."

"The Loved Dead and Other Tales" costs $16.95 and is available at local bookstores or through the publisher's Web site, www.fenhampublishing.com

1 comment:

Magister said...

The book is a bit funny in that it states NOWHERE that Lovecraft had a hand in four of the tales included.

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