Low Res Scan: His Own Most Fantastic Creation: Stories About H. P. Lovecraft, ed. S. T. Joshi, 2020.
Joshi’s “Introduction” mostly groups the anthology’s stories by theme and notes that Lovecraft has been a fictional character in other people’s stories since 1921 in Edith Miniter’s “Falco Osssifracus” where he appeared under a fictitious name.
Let’s cover the cheating stories first, those that don’t actually feature a fictional Lovecraft. Sometimes they vaguely refer to places in his stories. In one case, the adjective “eldritch” is about the only link. I’m not convinced by Joshi’s argument that they feature characters “who reveal strikingly Lovecraftian elements”.
W. H. Pugmire’s “A Gentleman of Darkness” is set in the Red Hook district of New York City but, unlike Lovecraft’s “The Horror at Red Hook”, in contemporary times. The protagonist, a woman of mixed race, is friend to the sallow-faced Carl Pertwho is troubled by sleepwalking, stange dreams, and a musician neighbor playing a strange horn. The story seems to owe something to Lovecraft’s “The Music of Erich Zann” and T. E. D. Klein’s “Black Man with a Horn”. It’s a merely adequate story, and I suspect it’s mainly here out of Joshi’s loyalty to his friend Pugmire.
I liked the next two cheats.
Simon Strantzas’ “Captured in Oils” is a tale of obsession. Its protagonist goes from a hobby painter which gives him some kind of inner life unlike the office drones around him. But then he finds himself obsessively drawing strange images during office meetings, soiling his pants, and having fugue states. Soon enough, he’s fired and in constant pain, yet he must continue putting his visions on the canvas. There’s something lurking in the canvas he must capture. Strantzas wraps this one up with some nice phrasing.Continue reading