Lovecraft!

Have you lost your col­lec­tive mind?”

This is how we envi­sion you, our Loyal Reader, respond­ing once you dis­cover the theme for this issue. Never mind that we didn’t set out to assem­ble a Lovecraft-themed issue. Never mind that Stephen King described Love­craft as “the twen­ti­eth century’s great­est prac­ti­tioner of the clas­sic hor­ror tale.” Never mind that Love­craft employed the word “truth” in his work with the pre­ci­sion of a left-handed den­tal drill (e.g. “the black truth veiled by the immemo­r­ial alle­gory of Tao”).

But isn’t a Love­craft theme?…” You pause. Dare you voice an opin­ion on this mat­ter? But then you remem­ber THE REVELATOR’s own words, first coined in a let­ter to Attor­ney Gen­eral Robert F. Kennedy just prior to the Cuban Mis­sile Cri­sis, and sub­se­quently immor­tal­ized on a porce­lain plate from the Franklin Mint: “A group is rep­re­sented by its low­est com­mon denom­i­na­tor, but an indi­vid­ual has only him or her­self to blame.” THE REVELATOR has always prized the opin­ions of its read­ers, each and every one rep­re­sent­ing the best this coun­try has to offer.

And so you — oh Loyal Reader! — con­tinue: “But isn’t a Lovecraft-themed issue the last ditch attempt of a morally and penu­ri­ously bank­rupt mag­a­zine to bol­ster it sub­scrip­tion base? Isn’t this what a mag­a­zine will resort to once it has lost all cred­i­bil­ity in the mar­ket­place? Can exhum­ing Love­craft truly resus­ci­tate a mori­bund cre­ation, as if every des­ti­tute edi­tor took to heart the words, ‘That is not dead which can eter­nal lie…’?”

You catch your­self. You know that that THE REVELATOR, given its time-honored tra­di­tion and seven-continent span­ning read­er­ship, not to men­tion read­ers on the Inter­na­tional Space Sta­tion and unac­knowl­edged Lunar Base Delta, need never stoop so low. “But appear­ances of impro­pri­ety are often as sig­nif­i­cant as impro­pri­ety itself,” you warn. “What could pos­si­bly inspire you to pro­duce a Lovecraft-themed issue?”

Bet­ter to ask, “How could we not?”

Many years ago, one of our edi­tors (he was always a sen­si­tive child) awoke from dis­turb­ing dreams and in his grade-school art class, rather than mold a sim­ple mug from clay, cre­ated the hideous sculp­ture of a bloated frog-like crea­ture. The school nurse con­firmed that this crea­ture was the spit­ting image of Byatis, Tsathog­gua, or per­haps Nyarlathotep, in one of his thou­sand forms. When asked by the Prin­ci­pal what he hoped to accom­plish with his idol­a­trous cre­ation, our young edi­tor replied, “Grow moss on it,” an enter­prise that might have resulted in a lucra­tive Great Old Ones Chia Pet fran­chise if nur­tured but, lack­ing this, cul­mi­nated in the heart­break typ­i­cal to much youth­ful passion.

Mean­while, our other edi­tor (the even more sen­si­tive one), first encoun­tered Lovecraft’s works in a fur-encrusted lim­ited edi­tion of The Dun­wich Hor­ror and Oth­ers given to him by Crazy Aunt Hen­ri­etta in the later hours of the Rea­gan Repub­lic. The book had held a place of honor in her home, sup­plant­ing even her cher­ished auto­graphed copy of The Sugar Cane by James Grainger and the col­lected poetry of Amanda McKit­trick Ros. She pre­sented it to her nephew as a tool with which to sur­vive the com­ing years and, she was cer­tain, impend­ing apoc­a­lypse. Him­self given to dark and dire expec­ta­tions of future events, Young Even More Sen­si­tive One was struck dumb by the qual­ity of Lovecraft’s prose, and for two months refused to speak, know­ing he shared a lan­guage with an author of such unique tal­ents. His fam­ily con­tin­ues to remem­ber that time as The Silence of the Young One, a time they recall with fond­ness and sweet nostalgia.

Skip ahead a few decades, by which time both edi­tors resided in New Hamp­shire, and the events set in motion so long ago began to coa­lesce with alarm­ing speed. On August 28, 2011, Hur­ri­cane Irene struck New Eng­land, the result­ing dev­as­ta­tion recall­ing the Great Flood of 1928 that had inspired Lovecraft’s story, “The Whis­perer in Dark­ness.” Then, almost as if pre­or­dained, the Lovecraft’s Society’s first full-length film, no less than “The Whis­perer in Dark­ness” itself was released and made its Ver­mont debut as part of a fund-raiser for flood relief. The minia­ture mod­els used in the movie were deposited with the Main Street Museum in White River Junc­tion, and we are proud to include photo-documentation of these amaz­ing cre­ations in our Arts section.

But that wasn’t the end of it. Not by a long shot. Ear­lier this year at Read­er­con, Nick Mamatas, him­self a for­mer res­i­dent of Brat­tle­boro, revealed to us one of his most prized pos­ses­sions, a post­card so valu­able that he refused to part with it even in exchange for the cre­mated remains of Shirley Jack­son. This post­card con­tains a remark­able cor­re­spon­dence between old Ech-Pi-El and a fan, a pre­vi­ously unpub­lished inter­view that we are pleased to share with you.

Then there were the sto­ries from Laird Bar­ron and Meghan McCar­ron. And the unso­licited let­ter we received from Emily Duchamp. And the aquatic spelunk­ing of Brian Fran­cis Slat­tery, and “In Prov­i­dence” by Sonya Taafe, and art­work from Adam Blue, and…

Well you get the pic­ture. The spirit of Love­craft infuses this issue in ways we never could have antic­i­pated. Some­times the Love­craft­ian link is obvi­ous, some­times sub­tle, some­times serv­ing as inspi­ra­tion, some­times as some­thing to rebel against. In short, we had no choice as to our theme. Appear­ances be damned!

Sin­cerely,

Matthew Cheney & Eric Schaller