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!


Matthew Cheney & Eric Schaller