January 30, 2015 · 10:39 am
The 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:
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.
January 22, 2015 · 12:17 pm
I 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!
January 20, 2015 · 2:41 pm
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.