Some final suggestions for your favorite lover of Lovecraft:
Here’s an unusual item that alas is out of print. The H. P. Lovecraft Tarot with a manual written by Eric. C. Friedman and art by Daryl Hutchinson (Mythos Books) is a reissue of the functional tarot deck originally published in 1996 and currently out of print. The deck uses Cthulhian characters and references and comes with an eighty page book explaining the deck’s use as a divination tool. This would make a great gift for aficionados of Lovecraft or art collectors. The only place I’ve seen it for sale is on the web for a little under $600.
For those readers who want to learn what H. P. Lovecraft was reading and finding interesting back in the day, you might consider picking up The Annotated Supernatural Horror in Literature by H. P. Lovecraft from Hippocampus Press. The original book by Lovecraft was published in 1927 and is considered one of the best historical surveys of supernatural literature up to that time. He covers weird works from ancient literature through the Renaissance and on to gothic literature such as Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto, published in 1764, the works of Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and others up to the “modern masters” of his time.
This edition is extensively annotated by S. T. Joshi, and includes a bibliography of all the authors and works discussed in the essay.
Here are some useful reference books: The Lovecraft Lexicon: A Reader’s Guide to Persons, Places and Things in the Tales of H.P. Lovecraft by Anthony Brainard Pearsall (New Falcon Publications), The Cthulhu Mythos Encyclopedia by Daniel Harms (Elder Signs Press). I’ve not read either of these books. This one, just out in time to be mentioned in my blog post is Hippocampus Press’s Weird Words: A Lovecraft Lexicon by Dan Clores. This hefty trade paperback covers words/names from Abbadon to Zmargad, defining them, showing their derivation, and giving examples of their usage.
A few single-author collections by writers influenced (some more obviously than others) by Lovecraft:
The Strange Cases of Rudolph Pearson by William Jones (Chaosium) is a clever and entertaining collection of ten interrelated stories of Lovecraftian fiction with the framing device of a manuscript of “cases” left by a Professor of Medieval studies at Columbia University. Four of the “cases” were previously published.
Teatro Grottesco by Thomas Ligotti (Virgin Books) has thirteen stories by a writer whose fiction shows Lovecraft’s influence while creating a unique body of work. Ligotti’s first collection Songs of a Dead Dreamer—originally published as a paperback by Silver Scarab Press in 1985—is being reissued by Subterranean Press in a limited and trade hardcover edition in March.
The Imago Sequence and Other Stories by Laird Barron (Night Shade) is the excellent debut collection of one of the newer writers whose work is suffused by Lovecraft but with a more literary bent. Most of the stories in the book were either nominated for awards and/or appeared in Year’s best anthologies.
The Autopsy and Other Tales by Michal Shea (Centipede Press) is a gorgeous, over-sized, illustrated volume of twenty-one of the author’s best stories and novellas, including some of my favorites: the creepy Lovecraftian, Fat Face and the novella I, Said the Fly. The book reprints all eight stories from Polyphemus, published by Arkham House in 1988. Laird Barron has written an introduction to Shea’s work. Also included is one story published for the first time. As with most of Centipede’s hardcover titles, this one’s expensive.
Ellen Datlow is currently tied (with frequent co-editor Terri Windling) as the winner of the most World Fantasy Awards in the organization’s history (nine). She has also won, with co-editor Windling, a Bram Stoker Award for The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror #13, and with co-editors Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant, a Bram Stoker Award for The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror #17. She has also won the International Horror Guild Award for her anthologies The Dark and Inferno; the Shirley Jackson Award for Inferno; the Locus Award for Best Editor in 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008 and the Hugo Award for Best Editor in 2002, 2005, and Best Editor Short Fiction in 2008. In addition, SCIFICTION won the Hugo Award for best Web site in 2005 as well as the Wooden Rocket award as best online magazine for 2005. Ellen was named recipient of the 2007 Karl Edward Wagner Award, given at the British Fantasy Convention for “outstanding contribution to the genre.”