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Blasphemies & Revelations by Robert M. Price

Blasphemies & Revelations

by Robert M. Price

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Note: Most of the hard work of compiling the original publication dates and locations was done by EP Berglund. Alas his website remains awork in progress: http://www.epberglund.com/RGttCM/

It is only fitting that the ultimate Cthulhu mythos fan and anthologizer should finally have his best work compiled in a single author collection. Blasphemies & Revelations is a massive hardcover of the stories of Robert Price, the latest issue from Mythos Books. List price is $50, although Amazon discounts to $36.50; the price reflects the page count of 536. Cover art is by Daryl Hutchinson, a new name to me, although he has a number of illustrations posted on EP Berglund's website. He also created the Lovecraft Tarot; nowadays only used copies ever circulate and then for extravagant prices, so I have never seen a copy. The subject is appropriate to the author and the content, a prophet holding an ancient tome evokes some tentacle thing. I liked it well enough. Production qualities were excellent except origianlly there was one severe type setting error. This has now been fixed by editor, David Wynn, who offers corrected copies to those who bought the misprint.

All Cthulhu mythos fans should know who Robert Price is, and acknowledge the debt we owe him (well, all of us except ST Joshi!) for his literary scholarship of Lovecraft, and both HPL's antecedents and successors, as well as his tireless efforts to bring a comprehensive view of the mythos to the public through the numerous anthologies he's edited. The back inside flap has a very nice photograph of the author with a brief biography. What casual fans may not know is that Mr. Price is a New Testament scholar of great renown (check out his website at http://www.robertmprice.mindvendor.com/. Mr. Price provides his own very engaging introduction. He makes no apologies for the derivative nature of his pastiches; he has never felt any desire to move past his favorite Lovecraftian motifs, leaving that to others. He writes mythos stories for his own enjoyment and his favorite character must be the bookish scholar who uncovers arcane knowledge that leads to a brush with incomprehensible terrors. I suspect that this is because that reflects Mr. Price's own nature; his introductions to the anthologies he has compiled over the year are practically doctoral dissertations! Actually in some ways I view this book as an opportunity missed. The author always has so much to say about the roots and implications of everyone else's mythos stories, why could he have not provided us with the same for himself? I read a lot of mythos but I am not the scholar he is; I don't immediately recognize the inspiration for every pastiche. Stories are printed in their publication order. Because it is not listed elsewhere that I can find, in preparation to writing a review I typed out the table of contents, which I post here for those who want it. I also added the book where I have seen them before, when I could identify it. I don't have a large collection of Crypt of Cthulhu or other periodicals so I likely missed some sources (actually doing this made me realize how big my mythos library has become and that maybe I could just start reading over from the beginning without buying any new books for a few years as I have no hope of remembering how most of the stories were...).

`Twas the Night - 1976

Beneath the Tombstone - (rewritten from "The Derleth Horror", which appeared in Crypt of Cthulhu # 6 [82]: Footsteps # 4 [84; revised version] - THE BOOK OF IOD Chaosium Books 95) - 1984

Saucers from Yaddith - non-parody; originally the parody round robin, "The Saucers from Yaddeith", which Price wrote Chapter I; other contributors were Jason C. Eckhardt, S.T. Joshi, Donald R. Burleson, and Peter Cannon; it was circulated through 41st mailing of The Esoteric Order of Dagon amateur press association [83]; he then
rewrote the round robin as a serious story: Etchings and Odysseys # 5 [84] - THE NEW LOVECRAFT CIRCLE Fedogan & Bremer 96) - 1984

Black Eons (with Robert E. Howard) - (with Robert E. Howard, completing the Howard fragment) (Fantasy Book # 16 [85] - NAMELESS CULTS Chaosium Books 01) - 1985

An Antique Coffin - (non-Mythos: Tales of Lovecraftian Horror # 1 [87]) - 1987

Wilbur Whateley Waiting - (Revelations from Yuggoth # 1 [87] - THE DUNWICH CYCLE Chaosium Books 95) - 1987

Ashes to Ashes - (non-Mythos: Tales of the Episco-Pals # 2 ([89]) - 1988

Midnight Mass - (non-Mythos: Tales of the Episco-Pals # 1 [89]) - 1988

The Deprogrammer - (titles while writer were "The Slaughter from the Stars" and "The Salvation Out of Space": Cerebretron (British) # 3 [87] - Deathrealm # 10 [89] - QUICK CHILLS II Deadline Press 92)- 1989

A Thousand Young - (Eldritch Tales # 18 [89] -THE SHUB-NIGGURATH CYCLE Chaosium Books 94 - THE STARRY WISDOM Creation Books 94) - 1989

The Dweller in the Pot - (or, The Pasta Out of Space Eaters [parody], as by "Frank Chimesleep Short": Dagon (British) # 27 [90] - Crypt of Cthulhu # 74 [90] [revised version]) and THE TINDALOS CYCLE 2010 - 1990

Exham Priory - (Vollmond # 3 [90] - Crypt of Cthulhu # 72 [90] - Mythos Online ezine # 6 [97] - EXHAM CYCLE forthcoming) - 1990

The Round Tower - (subtitled "(Being the Narrative of Armitage Harper"); replaces third part of "The Lurker at the Threshold" by H.P. Lovecraft and August Derleth: Vollmond # 3 [90] - THE DUNWICH CYCLE Chaosium Books 95) - 1990

The Strange Fate of Alonzo Typer - (Nyctalops # 19 [91] - Al-Azif (British) # 3 [98]) - 1991

Behold, I Stand at the Door and Knock - (CTHULHU'S HEIRS Chaosium Books 94) - 1994

The Beard of Byatis - (MADE IN GOATSWOOD Chaosium Books 95) - 1995

Down in Limbo - (Deathrealm # 24 [95]) - 1995

The Transition of Zadock Allen - (as by "Lewis Theobald III": Fungi # 16 [97; as by "Robert Price"] - Cthulhu Cultus # 1 [95; as by Robert M. Price] - THE INNSMOUTH CYCLE Chaosium Books 98- 1995

Under the Mound - (Chapter I of "The Challenge from Below" round robin, by Robert M. Price, Peter H. Cannon, Donald R. Burleson, and Brian McNaughton: Lore # 3 [95; Price only] - THE YIG CYCLE forthcoming)- 1995

Young Goodwife Doten - (100 WICKED LITTLE WITCH STORIES Barnes & Noble Books 95) - 1995

The Soul of the Devil-Bought - (Cthulhu Cultus # 5 [96] - THE XOTHIC LEGEND CYCLE Chaosium Books 97 - LIN CARTER'S ANTON ZARNAK SUPERNATURAL SLEUTH Marietta Publishing 02) - 1996

Dope War of the Black Tong - (uses Lin Carter's Anton Zarnak and Robert E. Howard's Steve Harrison: THE DISCIPLES OF CTHULHU (2nd revised edition) Chaosium Books 96 - LIN CARTER'S ANTON ZARNAK SUPERNATURAL SLEUTH Marietta Publishing 02) - 1996

The Treehouse (with WH Pugmire) - (THE DUNWICH CYCLE Chaosium Books 95) - 1996

Aquadingen - (this was to be in FROM KADATH TO CARCOSA from Hive Press) - 1997

Annotations for the Book of Night - (Mythos Online ezine # 2 [97] Mythos Story ezine [??] - Al-Azif (British) # 2 [98] - THE BOOK OF EIBON Chaosium Books 02) - 1997

The Burrowers Beneath - (Fungi # 16 [97] - THE BOOK OF EIBON Chaosium Books 02) - 1997

Feery's Original Notes - (Cthulhu Cultus # 6 [97]) - 1997

The Green Decay - (Nightscapes ezine # 2 [97] - THE BOOK OF EIBON Chaosium Books 02) - 1997

The Incubus of Atlantis - (subtitled "(The History of Klarkash-Ton the Hierophant)": Cosmic Vistions ezine # 7 [97] - THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICES Sunken Citadel/Tenoka Press 98 - THE BOOK OF EIBON Chaosium Books 02) - 1997

The Shunpike - (RETURN TO LOVECRAFT COUNTRY Triad Entertainments 97) - 1997

The Strange Doom of Enos Harker (with Lin Carter) - (completed from Carter fragment in Crypt of Cthulhu # 69 [89]: THE XOTHIC LEGEND CYCLE Chaosium Books 97) - 1997

The Transition of Abdul Alhazred - (subtitled "Transcribed from the Dee Edition": Mythos Online ezine # 1 [97] - Mythos Story ezine [??] - Al- Azif (British) # 1 [98] - THE NECRONOMICON Chaosium Books 96) - 1997

Wrath of the Wind-Walker (with James Ambuehl) - (Mythos Online ezine # 3 [97] - THE ITHAQUA CYCLE Chaosium Books 98) - 1998

The Thing from the Trenches - (r m p ezine 04) - 2000

From the Pits of Elder Blasphemy (with Hugh B. Cave) - (Strange Tales - which issue?) - 2000

The Ghoul's Tale - (subtitled "A Narrative from the Necronomicon Transcribed from Dee Edition") (SONG OF CTHULHU Chaosium Books 01) - 2001

The Elephant God of Leng- (The Black Book ezine # 1 [02] - THE TINDALOS CYCLE Chaosium 2010) - 2002

The Horror in the Genizah - (E'ch-Pi-El # 1 [??] - CTHULHU'S CREATURES JnJ Publishing/Rainfall Books 07) - ? 2007

The Mark of Yig - (The Black Book # 2 [02]) - 2002

Acute Spiritual Fear (THE DISCIPLES OF CTHULHU II Chaosium Books 03 - TALES OUT OF DUNWICH Hippocampus Press 05) - 2003

The Devil's Steps - (The Black Book # 3 [03]) - 2003

A Mate for the Mutilator (ELDRITCH BLUE Cairnford Tomes 04) - 2004

The Prying Investigations of Edwin M. Lillibridge - (HARDBOILED CTHULHU Dimensions Books 06) - 2004

Also from EP Berglund: Items that appeared in Mythos Online and Nightscapes can still be accessed at http://www.fortunecity.com/victorian/lion/157/ and
http://www.epberglund.com/RGttCM/nightscapes/nsindex.htm. The Herbert West tale at Price's website can be accessed at http://www.robertmprice.mindvendor.com/

This is really too large a book for me to give a synopsis of every story. One thing about Mr. Price's fiction is that the viewpoint is almost always a first person after the fact narration by a bibliophilic student or professor. You don't get stunning action sequences, any character development or even dialogue to speak of; there are no new mythos entities or tomes. In his best work, there is some further exploration of a Lovecraft (or other writer) story or event, with a clever twist on the plot. His style has not evolved over the years but his prose has become more polished. Here are some of my favorites: Wilbur Whately Waiting is about whatever happened to Wilbur after he was mauled by the dogs at good ole Miskatonic University. A Thousand Young is a pretty good Shub Niggurath yarn. Behold, I Stand at the Door and Knock is my very favorite Price tale, and concerns recruiting tactics for Glaaki. In The Horror in the Genizah Mr. Price shows his full talents as a master of comparative religion. Acute Spiritual Fear is another exploration of The Dunwich Horror, where Wilbur is viewed as the second coming! I didn't like everything. Sometimes I found the prose boring or disjointed, like A Mate for the Mutilator, or The Round Tower, where I never liked the Derleth original anyway. Mythos humor mostly falls really flat, so The Dweller in the Pot did nothing for me. `Twas the Night is non mythos juvenilia. One story, at least, surely requires some accounting. Dope War of the Black Tong is a pulp fiction homage to Lin Carter's character, Anton Zarnak and is written in the style of that bygone era. The problem is I found some of the pulp parts had a racist feel. I think the author was going for the atmosphere but I don't know. I also know this is not a complete omnibus of Price's stories, and he hopefully will keep writing for many years to come, so perhaps another collection will be on the horizon someday.

I am really glad to have Blasphemies & Revelations on my bookshelf. Unless you have a much bigger collection than I do, you won't have most of these stories. Mr. Price's best prose is highly readable and entertaining. Even the clunkers are grounded firmly in the Cthulhu mythos milieu. Lovecraft geeks (as the author describes himself) will have enormous fun trying to identify the antecedent story for Price's corresponding pastiche. I know I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is a beautiful hardcover with a very generous selection of stories and will look quite handsome on your shelf. ( )
1 vote carpentermt | Sep 21, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0978991192, Hardcover)

Robert M. Price has been the editor of numerous Cthulhu Mythos and Lovecraftian anthologies. Mythos Books is pleased to publish the first collection of Robert Price's own Cthulhu Mythos, Lovecraftian and horror fiction. Contents: Introduction: Fumbler at the Latch / 'Twas the Night / Beneath the Tombstone / Saucers from Yaddith / Black Eons with Robert E. Howard / An Antique Coffin / Wilbur Whatley Waiting / Ashes to Ashes / Midnight Mass / The Deprogrammer / A Thousand Young / The Dweller in the Pot / Exham Priory / The Round Tower / The Strange Fate of Alonzo Typer / Behold, I Stand at the Door and Knock / The Beard of Byatis / Down in Limbo / The Transition of Zadok Allen / Under the Mound / Young Goodwife Doten / The Soul of the Devil-Bought / Dope War of the Black Tong / The Tree-House with W. H. Pugmire / Aquadingen / Annotations for the Book of Night / The Burrower Beneath / Feery's Original Notes / The Green Decay / The Incubus of Atlantis / The Shunpike / The Strange Doom of Enos Harker with Lin Carter/ The Transition of Abdul Alhazred / Wrath of the Wind-Walker with James Ambuehl / The Thing from the Trenches / From the Pits of Elder Blasphemy with Hugh B. Cave / The Ghoul's Tale / The Elephant God of Leng / The Horror in the Genizah / The Mark of Yig / Acute Spiritual Fear / The Devil's Steps / A Mate for the Mutilator / The Prying Investigations of Edwin M. Lillibridge

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:05 -0400)

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