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Lovecraft's Book

Novel by Richard Lupoff 1985.

Howard Phillips Lovecraft, cult author, creator of the famed Cthulhu Mythos, and legendary contributor to the even more legendary Weird Tales pulp magazine: the name needs no introduction to the fully pledged horror fanatic. It may surprise you to find, however, that during his lifetime, he never saw a collection of his stories published in book form. Here, he is offered such a publication. However, the man behind the offer, an American political extremist by the name of George Sylvester Viereck, plans to extract a great price in return: in the years leading up to the Second World War, he wants Lovecraft to write an American equivalent of Hitler's Mein Kampf. Lovecraft accepts and gets caught up in the dramatic rise of the right in Germany, Italy, Russia and the United States, to the extent of a planned German invasion of the USA.

Strictly this is not a horror novel - it's more of a thriller - but it's certainly worthy of mention here because of its main character, namely the one and only H. P. Lovecraft. It is a work of fiction, make no mistake about that, but Richard Lupoff has extrapolated his story from factual sources, notably Lovecraft's voluminous and now published letters; and he does a loving job. One glance at the extensive bibliography will show you the direction of his research as well as the quantity and the thoroughness.

Lupoff is another of those writers who hate categories. He is known as an author of sf and fantasy, but he rarely produces anything mainstream. His Circumpolar!, for example, is a story of high adventure set in the 1920s, with the Red Baron flying the German flag against a US team partnering Lindbergh with Amelia Earhart and Howard Hughes in a race from one side of a doughnut-shaped Earth to the other. He is also the author of the biography, Edgar Rice Burroughs: Master of Adventure, the first full-length work dealing with that author. In Lovecraft's Book, he fictionalises the exploits of various other real characters worthy of note; namely some of Lovecraft's correspondents and fellow writers in the Weird Tales clique of the 1930s, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E Howard and Frank Belknap Long; also Harry Houdini's brother and fellow escapologist, Theodore 'The Mysterious Hardeen' Weiss. Interesting at the very least, and extremely absorbing at the most.

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