New Lovecraft Letter Surfaces!


LovecraftHP_Letters_HennebergerJC_010The Lovecraft world is all abuzz with news that a previously unknown, 5,000 word letter from H.P. Lovecraft has been discovered. The letter (dated February 2, 1924) was from Lovecraft to then editor of WEIRD TALES, J. C. Henneberger. The letter was discovered by accident by James Machin at the Harry Ransom Center (HRC) at the University of Texas at Austin. The HRC is home to many different collections of various materials and is, in fact, where I discovered Hodgson’s letters to Coulson Kernahan many years ago.

This letter is important for a number of reasons, not the least of which is Lovecraft providing brief synopses of his novels, “Azathoth” and “The House of the Worm”, which were apparently never written or lost. I encourage everyone to go over to the site that explains the find and provides scans of the typewritten letter. It’s at:
http://blog.hrc.utexas.edu/2015/01/27/fellows-find-h-p-lovecraft-letter/

This is one of the most significant finds in Lovecraft letters in many years but, I hear you ask, “what does this have to do with Hodgson?”

Unfortunately, Lovecraft does not mention Hodgson by name  in the letter and, being written in 1924, this was still years before Lovecraft would even become aware of Hodgson. However, Lovecraft does mention the story “Fungus Island” by Phillip Fisher. Longtime readers of this blog will remember that I discussed Fisher’s story and it’s strong similarity to WHH’s “Voice in the Night” almost two years ago. (You can find the blog post where I talk about Fisher and the story itself here: https://williamhopehodgson.wordpress.com/2013/03/15/fungus-isle-by-phillip-fisher/.)

In the letter, Lovecraft has this to say about Fisher’s story:

 

Another man with promise is Phillip M. Fisher, Jr., who had a fine thing in a recent ALL-STORY, spoiled only by a tame ending obviously designed to suit the gentle Bob Davis. Told to let the human race go to hell, Fisher could accomplish wonders. His tale was called “Fungus Island”.

Given that Fisher’s story (mistakenly recalled by Lovecraft as “Fungus Island” rather than “Fungus Isle“) is so similar to Hodgson’s tale, it would seem reasonable to conclude that Lovecraft would have also enjoyed “Voice in the Night”. However, we have no evidence that HPL ever read this story by Hodgson or, indeed, any of Hodgson’s short stories other than the Carnacki series. Still, there may be a missing letter out there that might come to light someday and prove this theory.

 

 

 

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Hodgson Book on Preliminary Ballot for Stoker Award!


new phonebookI don’t tend to pay too much attention to awards. Mostly that’s because I haven’t done anything that would warrant such a thing so, other than congratulating friends who win them, they haven’t have too much impact on me. So imagine my surprise when I found out that the recent Hippocampus Press release, WILLIAM HOPE HODGSON: VOICES FROM THE BORDERLAND, has been included on the preliminary ballot for a Stoker Award! These awards are given out by the Horror Writers of America (HWA) at their annual convention and, although I know many who have won these awards, I’ve never had something considered for this before.

To say that I am feeling very humbled and thankful is an understatement. I have always, and still do, feel that this book is an important step in the critical acceptance of Hodgson and, should it actually win, I hope it will spur others to sit up and take notice of WHH. As long-time readers of this blog now, getting more people reading and writing about Hodgson has always been my primary goal.

Even should the book not win the award, I’d like to thank the others who made the book possible (far more than I!); Massimo Berrutti, S.T. Joshi and Derrick Hussey (Hippocampus Press publisher). Without the efforts of these gents (as well as the array of great writers in the book itself), this book would not have existed at all.

Given my unfamiliarity with such things, I’m not quite sure how these awards work. Right now the book is on what is called the “Preliminary Ballot”. From there, I gather there is another round of voting by the HWA members and then a “Final Ballot” is determined. A last round of voting determines the actual award winners.

Many thanks for those who have helped get us this far in the award process and let’s hope that Hodgson brings it home this year!

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The Night Land website LIVES!


All too often we wonder, as most creative people do, “will what I have created live past me?” It’s a difficult question to ask and one that, I feel, we all toil against. After all, if our work has no permanence, then what is the point in creating anything at all?

Hodgson lost a valiant and enthusiastic champion in 2014 with the passing of Andy Robertson. His website (thenightland.co.uk) was an invaluable source of information about Hodgson’s unique and challenging novel as well as a forum for the exchange of ideas and new stories about the Night Land. With Andy’s death, the longevity of the website was in question and, when it recently went down, the worst was feared.

Thankfully, like a beacon of light, Kate Coady has rescued the site and given it new life!

Here is what she had to say in an email sent to many of the fans and supporters of Andy’s work:

The Night Land website at http://thenightland.co.uk is down, probably for good. The late Andy Robertson’s hosting account expired.
We’re up on the Night Land’s new home. It’s the prosaic but practical
I delayed putting the site back up because I was researching how easy it would be to transfer the old domain to me, or point it at the new website. Searching wasn’t as straightforward as it could have been, because the whois record was oddly ambiguous, and because British Telecom even more oddly seems to have let one of their important domains lapse.

The new website is now active and retains the old site’s visual design and construction.

Please do stop by and check it out and thanks again to Kate for preserving Andy’s memory and work.

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The New Phone Book’s Here!


Originally posted on Lordshazam's Bloggedy Blog Blog:

Yesterday brought me a package that caused pretty much the same reaction in me. It was my contributor’s copies of WILLIAM HOPE HODGSON: VOICES FROM THE BORDERLAND! Now, this isn’t exactly my first time seeing my name in print but, in many ways, this is one of the most important times.

This book represents the culmination of many years of work and, I am going to very uncharacteristically brag here, is one of the most important volumes about Hodgson to ever be printed. So this book means a lot to me for several reasons and I’m very proud to have been a part of it.

A number of years ago, Massimo Berrutti contacted me about a collection of critical articles about Hodgson that he wanted to compile. I immediately knew that there was a dire need of such a collection and was happy to contribute material for it. After some…

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Bits and Pieces from the web


I regularly scour the internet for new Hodgson related items. Here are a few of the newest ones I’ve found:

 

GOODREADS has a page for William Hope Hodgson!

THESE FANTASTIC WORLDS has a nice essay on WHH and the blurb at the end mentions a forthcoming edition of THE HOUSE ON THE BORDERLAND from Flame Tree 451. I am not familiar with this. Can anyone shed some light on this edition or publisher?

WORMWOODIANA gives a nice mention about the second issue of SARGASSO which everyone reading this has ordered, right? ;)

Dani Zweig gives a nice review of some Hodgson titles. I particularly like this closing paragraph:

As I indicated with respect to “The Night Land”, I can only give an ambivalent recommendation. If you like plot-driven fantasy, Hodgson’s books don’t have much in the way of plot. If you like character-driven fantasy, you’re in no better shape. If you’re attracted by the prospect of seeing a talent which can work language so as to shape and sustain a mood across hundreds of pages, you’ll want to read Hodgson — because there’s virtually nobody else.

TVtropes has a listing for Hodgson which I found very amusing!

James Bojaciuk pointed me to a very interesting article called “Physics in Carnacki’s Investigations“.

I may have mentioned this one before but James also reminded me of the entertaining “Carnacki Cinematograph“.

Bobby Derie, author of SEX AND THE CTHULHU MYTHOS, started a reddit conversation about Hodgson which is much appreciated!

Now that Mike Bukowski has completed posting his drawings of Hodgsonian monsters at his blog (yog-blogsoth), it’s the perfect time to revisit the blog and see any that you might have missed! The one of the monster from “A Tropical Horror” is my favorite!

As always, if you know of any interesting Hodgson bits floating around the net, please let me know!

 

 

 

 

 

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, WILLIAM HOPE HODGSON!


10814120_10204187319942175_909688874_nToday is the 137th birthday of William Hope Hodgson!

WHH was born in 1877 and led a life of almost amazing adventure. Running away from home at the age of 13, he joined the Merchant Marine, sailed around the world and won an award for saving the life of a crewmate who had fallen overboard in shark-infested waters. But Hodgson found life on the sea to be cruel, hard and economic slavery so he left the sea as the new century began.

Hodgson had long been an advocate and eager student of physical culture and had even begun this practice while at sea. After returning to a life on land, WHH parlayed this interest into a school of physical culture but this enterprise would not last long. After a legendary encounter with Houdini failed to save the school, it was closed and Hodgson turned his attention to writing.

Although he had enjoyed some early success with articles about physical culture, it would not be as easy writing fiction. For several years, Hodgson approached his new trade with the same ferocity and single-minded focus that he had used with every other endeavor. During that time, he wrote all four of his novels, many of what would be his most famous stories and possibly created his ghost-detective character, Carnacki. Hodgson approached his writing as a business, keeping careful records of where he had submitted work, the result and how much he was paid. The connection between selling work and survival was a painfully obvious one for Hodgson. When his work finally DID begin to sell, he would be frustrated and disappointed by the lack of appreciation and limited funds that resulted. Still, he would continue writing up until the time of his death which shows that this was not an entirely financial occupation to Hodgson.

It was not until the age of 36 that Hodgson would finally marry. Shortly after, he and his wife moved to France in an effort to economize that ended when the Great War began in 1914. They returned to England where Hodgson enlisted in the Officer Training Corps and would later be assigned as a Lt. in the Royal Field Artillery which shipped over to France and faced dreadful battles. Despite several chances at going home due to injuries, Hodgson stayed in the war and eventually, on April 19th, 1918, suffered a direct hit from a German shell and was blasted to pieces.

Since his death, Hodgson has had a difficult literary legacy. As shortly as 16 years later, in 1934, Hodgson had been forgotten by all but a few devoted readers of weird literature. It was in that year that H. P. Lovecraft was introduced to Hodgson’s works by his friend, H. C. Koenig, who had been waging a one man campaign to rescue Hodgson from obscurity. Due to Koenig’s influence, Lovecraft included Hodgson in a later draft of his ground breaking essay, “Supernatural Horror in Literature”, and convinced August Derleth to publish an omnibus edition of Hodgson’s novels. These two events kept Hodgson’s works alive so that they could be discovered by later generations such as ourselves.

So, today, we remember William Hope Hodgson on the date of his birth and thank him for the stories he left us.

(The illustration at the top of this post is by the talented artist Dave Felton who has done portraits of many of the great weird literature writers from history. I am honored to have this portrait of Hodgson by him on today’s blog.)

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Currently Available Hodgson Books


It’s a good time for Hodgson. In addition to the books I mentioned the other day including SARGASSO #2, there are several other excellent collections that are still available through Amazon.

41a52vtZ9FLProbably the best single collection of Hodgson’s work is this edition from Centipede Press. Edited by S.T. Joshi as part of their “Centipede Press Library of Weird Fiction“, this volume includes two of Hodgson’s novels (The House on the Borderland and The Ghost Pirates) along with 22 short stories including Hodgson’s masterpiece, “The Voice in the Night”, the Carnacki tales and many others. I have reviewed this book before in this blog and my esteem for it continues to grow. This many be the most important Hodgson collection published since Arkham House’s 1947 omnibus The House on the Borderland and Other Novels which kept Hodgson from falling into complete obscurity. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

 

 

whh_draft_cover_cropThe long awaited WILLIAM HOPE HODGSON: VOICES FROM THE BORDERLAND from Hippocampus Press is being reported to me by several people as arriving in their mailboxes. I have yet to receive a copy but was honored to help Massimo Berrutti and S.T. Joshi in the compilation of some of these items. This collection contains many of the important early essays on Hodgson’s life and work as well as some thrilling new essays by leading writers in the field. It also includes, at long last, the extensive bibliography of Hodgson’s work. Amazon is currently listing this title as “out of stock” but you can order it from the publisher here: http://www.hippocampuspress.com/mythos-and-other-authors/nonfiction/william-hope-hodgson-voices-from-the-borderland

 

 

4166L4fxSjLStill available, although I’m not sure for how long, is Night Shade Book’s 2012 collection of Hodgson’s work; The Ghost Pirates and Others: The Best of William Hope Hodgson. This excellent collection is a great introduction to Hodgson for those looking for something a little less expensive than the Centipede Press book. It contains the title novel and a good selection of Hodgson’s short stories.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

 

 

51BgjSnOCOLI would be seriously remiss if I didn’t also recommend William Meikle’s fine collection of Carnacki stories, CARNACKI: HEAVEN AND HELL. This is a truly splendid collection. Meikle manages to recreate Hodgson’s legendary character to such an extent that one would think that these had actually been written by Hodgson himself! I truly believe that it is thanks to this book (as well as A.F. Kidd & Rick Kennett’s excellent No. 472 Cheyne Walk: Carnacki, the Untold Stories) that Carnacki is as popular as he is today. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

 

I was amused to see that Amazon has an author’s page for Hodgson! You can find it here. This lists some of the most recent books other than the ones I listed above. You can just search Amazon by author’s name and that will also bring up many Kindle editions as well as some POD editions which I mention but can’t really recommend as I’ve never seen them.

 

So that’s a lot of Hodgson currently out there! Indeed, between these and the online free editions, the bulk of Hodgson’s fiction is available!

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New Book on Hodgson Available


Laurent Quievy writes to tell us his new book about Hodgson is now available!

Called “Qui suis-je? Hodgson”, it is a new French publication about our favorite writer. So once again the French appreciate a writer of weird literature before we do here in America. Although there are collections of articles about Hodgson (including the new Hippocampus Press collection due out soon), there has not been a full-length book study of Hodgson.

Unfortunately, I cannot read French but I hope that an English translation will be forthcoming soon.  You can read more about it at this like: http://williamhopehodgson.wifeo.com/

Laurent also sent along this flyer. Perhaps someone kind reader of this blog could translate the highlights of this text?
WHH flyer

 

 

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A Plethora of Hodgson


As it’s Hodgson’s birthday week, I’d like to remind everyone of the WHH related books I currently have available. (I will be doing a post later this week of non-Gafford Hodgson books as well!)

As previously reported, the second issue of SARGASSO: The Journal of William Hope Hodgson Studies is now available. It contains essays, fiction, art and poetry about and inspired by Hodgson. There’s a lot of great stuff here and I think that Mark Valentine’s photo-essay about Borth is one of the major highlights of the issue. You can order it here: http://www.amazon.com/Sargasso-Journal-William-Hodgson-Studies/dp/0692323325/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1415724226&sr=8-1&keywords=sam+gafford

10712552_769523739751826_1802356706620500057_o

It is also available in Kindle.

The first issue of SARGASSO is currently available in Kindle here: http://www.amazon.com/Sargasso-Sam-Gafford-ebook/dp/B00G7WH5JE/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1415724226&sr=8-3&keywords=sam+gafford

sargasso cover

I am currently considering doing a second edition of this first issue which would be available through Amazon. The first issue only had a print run of 100 copies and has been sold out for some time. If you’d be interested in this reprint, please let me know by leaving a comment below.

The all-new anthology, CARNACKI: THE NEW ADVENTURES is also still available through Amazon! This collection holds new stories about everyone’s favorite Ghost-Finder by writers such as William Meikle, Amy Marshall, Josh Reynolds, Jim Beard, Buck Weiss and more! This book can be ordered here: http://www.amazon.com/Carnacki-The-Adventures-Sam-Gafford/dp/0615943004/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1415724226&sr=8-4

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00067]

Lastly, a collection of my essays about Hodgson including many of the posts from this blog is still available. I selected these to give new readers an introduction to Hodgson and his work. It is available here: http://www.amazon.com/Hodgson-Collection-Essays-Sam-Gafford/dp/0615858724/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1415724226&sr=8-5&keywords=sam+gafford

WHH

Your patronage is deeply and humbly appreciated. Sales from these books will help fund my future publications including THE COMPLETE POETRY OF WILLIAM HOPE HODGSON, CARNACKI: THE LOST TALES and THE COMPLETE CARNACKI. Thank you for your continued support. Together we help keep WHH’s memory and work alive.

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A WHH Birthday Tribute


It’s birthday week for Hodgson starting today! His actually birthday is on the 15th (Saturday) but we’re not the only ones celebrating this event!

Michael Bukowski will be featuring artwork based on Hodgson’s creatures all this week on his blog, Yog-Blogsoth (which, I think, is probably the coolest name ever for a blog!).  Every day will be a different creature and he’s started the week off with what is probably Hodgson’s most famous creature: the Swine! Here’s a sneak peak:

swine

Be sure to check his blog every day this week for a new Hodgson creature!

 

 

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