Tonight’s Recommended Ghost Story: HOUSE OF MURDER

Wow what a packed week! Unfortunately, being this busy necessitated some deadlines getting pushed back, namely the WEDNESDAY WORDS segment, and this weekends MONARCHS OF MAYHEM interviews. However I think those of you who enjoyed this weeks Peckinpah and the Derrick Ferguson MONARCHS OF MAYHEM post will agree it was worth it.

So I’m going to recoup a bit, in the interim enjoy the following:

Tonight’s recommended ghost story: HOUSE OF MURDER!

From the Hermit’s Cave 1940s Horror Radio Show comes HOUSE OF MURDER. This is an atmospheric and fast moving tale of a scientist seeking seclusion from the living, but unfortunately finds… company of another kind. B+.Put on your headphones and Enjoy!

H Russell Wakefield and Today’s Discoveries and Best Buys!!

“And I will end you
from the highest to the low
And I will end you
And my name you shall then know”
—HT 2011

The artwork of Santiago Caruso.

Artist on the spanish language book….Lovecraft: El horror de Dunwich/ The Dunwich Horror (Spanish Edition) [Hardcover]. About to go out of print. I don’t like Lovecraft enough to own him in English, much less Spanish. But the artist intrigued me on this, and for the fans among you… seems like a solid buy.

Lovecraft: El horror de Dunwich/ The Dunwich Horror (Spanish Edition)

The Ghost Stories of H. Russell Wakefield

The latest addition to my best short story list, this being H Russell Wakefield’s DAMP SHEETS from THE BEST GHOST STORIES OF H. RUSSELL WAKEFIELD

DAMP SHEETS- A couple in financial straits, eye a rich uncle. A simple premise, and now 80+ years removed from the stories publication, quite a well used premise, but as always Wakefield’s writing transcends the familiar, by being just so endearing, and engaging. You find yourself turning pages easily, as reading Wakefield is like a relaxed, almost conversational storyteller, spinning a yarn at a dinner party… just for you. And the story builds to one of those odd Wakefield endings, a bit curt, and wry, and ironic… that at first feels like someone put on the brakes perhaps a bit too quickly, but a shake of the head later, and a reread of the page, and nope, it’s just right. Just great ghost story writing, told in a handful of pages. Grade: B.

For more of my short story reviews go here.

The Best Ghost Stories of H. Russell Wakefield

Reunion at Dawn and Other Uncollected Ghost Stories

Strayers from Sheol

The Clock Strikes Twelve

On HP Lovecraft, HAUNTER OF THE DARK and The Melancholy of All Men

I’m not a fan of HP Lovecraft. I’ve read several of his short stories, listened to several more via audio dramas, and while the cult of Lovecraft is strong, and I appreciate his dark ramblings, I’m not particularly a fan of them.

I’m far more fond of the work of some of his contemporaries such as Clark Ashton Smith, MR James and particularly H Russell Wakefield.

And this goes beyond Lovecraft being a product of his manifest destiny upbringing, his work judged on its own… largely drones on me. He has a tendency to ‘talk’ his stories into repetitive circles, perhaps feeding his love for litany and language, at the expense of momentum and a story. And perhaps even simpler, as a pulp writer, paid by the word, padding the story was not out of the realm of his possibility or his purpose.

Whatever the truth his stories to differing extents, are perhaps not the better for their length. HAUNTER OF THE DARK being an example. The most interesting thing about the story is the 4 line poem that opens it.

I have seen the Dark Universe Yawning
Where the Black Planets roll without aim
Where they roll in their horror unheeded
Without knowledge, or luster, or name
… From the opening of THE HAUNTER OF THE DARK

That’s a great opening, unfortunately the story fails to be worthy of it.

I consider myself a person with some patience, and appreciation for the setting of mood. As I said I’m a fan of some of Lovecraft’s contemporaries, and even a few of Lovecraft’s own stories (The Outsider comes to mind), but the HAUNTER OF THE DARK showcases the over stylization that hinders rather than helps the world Lovecraft is trying to create. He can take 10 sentences to say “Blake ran out of the building”, and if you’re enriched by those 10 sentences that’s fine, but largely it’s a repetition of ten sentences he used to describe his protagonist walking into the building.

His erudition, taken to such extremes… is by definition pedantic. And as such his work can be far from compelling.

But at moments, in small doses, his work rises above the minutiae of the man, to be something not unlike… a window onto the melancholy of all men.