02 Nov 2012
by Jeffrey Thomas
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It should be no mystery to anyone who knows me half well that I’m a rabid fan of the brilliant dark fantasist W. H. Pugmire. (I interviewed him on this blog back in February of 2009: http://punktalk.punktowner.com/?p=154) Wilum and I have been friends dating back more than twenty years now, though we’ve never met in person. (I do hope that can be rectified at next year’s NecronomiCon!) We’ve collaborated numerous times; usual with me providing illustrations for Wilum’s stories, the occasional cover, and introductions to a number of his short story collections. I even published one of these in chapbook form, TALES OF SESQUA VALLEY, via my Necropolitan Press. Some months back Wilum and I wrapped up a short story collection we wrote together called ENCOUNTERS WITH ENOCH COFFIN, the titular character of which is a sinister and seductive artist who will take readers through all kinds of Lovecraftian adventures. Writing that book was immensely fun, and Wilum and I plan on writing a novel about Enoch Coffin further down the road. While ENCOUNTERS WITH ENOCH COFFIN is itself still some time from appearing, let me tell you about another of Wilum’s books that is just over the horizon…
THE STRANGE DARK ONE, from Miskatonic River Press, collects eight stories involving H. P. Lovecraft’s mysterious invention, Nyarlathotep. Here are the contents:
The Strange Dark One (a novella)
Past the Gates of Deepest Dreaming
One Last Theft
The Hands That Reek and Smoke
The Audient Void
Some Bacchante of Irem
To See Beyond
For this book I had the honor of providing the cover and an illustration to accompany each story. Since Wilum’s work has an intensely artistic, poetic feel (he is very much inspired by classic writers such as Oscar Wilde and Henry James), I decided to go with the medium of collage, using images from Victorian-era steel engravings, cut out with an exacto knife and pasted up by hand. I hope they capture some of the essence of Wilum’s remarkable work.
THE STRANGE DARK ONE by W. H. Pugmire can be preordered here:
And if you’d like a little more information on the book…
“With The Strange Dark One, W. H. Pugmire collects all of his best weird fiction concerning H. P. Lovecraft’s dark god, Nyarlathotep.
This avatar of the Great Old Ones is Lovecraft’s most enigmatic creation, a being of many masks and multitudinous personae. Often called The Crawling Chaos, Nyarlathotep heralds the end of mortal time, and serves as avatar of Azathoth, the Idiot Chaos who will blow earth’s dust away. Many writers have been enchanted by this dark being, in particular Robert Bloch, the man who, through correspondence, inspired Wilum Pugmire to try his hand at Lovecraftian fiction. This new book is a testimonial of Nyarlathotep’s hold on Pugmire’s withered brain, and these tales serve as aspects of a haunted mind.
Along with stories that have not been reprinted since their initial magazine appearances, The Strange Dark One includes “To See Beyond,” a sequel-of-sorts to Robert Bloch’s groovy tale, “The Cheaters;” and the book’s title story is a 14,000 word novelette set in Pugmire’s Sesqua Valley.
The Strange Dark One is a collection of Lovecraftian fiction by W. H. Pugmire. Each tale is beautifully illustrated by the remarkable Jeffrey Thomas, who is himself one of today’s finest horror authors.”