“Destroy every living thing in that room––every living thing, no matter how small.”
Though most horror lovers––and even most readers outside of the genre––will know and fear Lovecraft’s name, August Derleth is a welcome sight to see on the cover of a book. Not only was he a prolific writer, spanning a handful of genres, but he also lays claim to being the first publisher of Lovecraft’s works in book format, not to mention his founding of the Arkham House press.
In what Derleth called a “posthumous collaboration”, he took notes left by Lovecraft after his death and penned a number of short stories, the most prominent of which was the titular tale, “The Shuttered Room”. With this and another pivotal story––”The Fisherman of Falcon Point”––Derleth manages to breathe new life into Lovecraft’s fragments while retaining the same sense of overriding descent into madness and claustrophobia that the old master bestowed upon horror literature as a whole.
Newsprint pulp style cover art showing a hand protruding from cracked earth. Biography and photo of Lovecraft on the back
Winter classrooms. Lingering vanilla candles far after they’ve been snuffed out. Old, musty wood boards broken from damp porches right after a storm clears.
THE SHUTTERED ROOM AND OTHER TALES OF HORROR, H.P. LOVECRAFT AND AUGUST DERLETH, BEAGLE BOOKS/ARKHAM HOUSE 1971
WHAT’S IN YOUR POCKET?
Paperback pocketbooks are lost treasures of a bygone era. At the height of their popularity, they were used as a way to inexpensively get normal-length and longer format novels out to the masses. Once considered disposable – the term “pulp” comes from the low-quality paper they were printed on, prone to discoloring and literally recycled into pulp if the books didn’t sell, less the cover – they’re now hailed as collector’s items; and rightfully so.