CLAREMONT TALES II

Richard A. Lupoff, Author . Golden Gryphon $23.95 (290p) ISBN 978-1-930846-07-4

Whatever happened to Richard Lupoff? While not as active as he was in his heyday a generation or so ago, Lupoff is still producing solid work, as shown in this collection of 13 stories, an eclectic mix of SF, fantasy and mystery, ranging from pastiches like "The Devil's Hop Yard" (a sequel to H.P. Lovecraft's "The Dunwich Horror") and "The Turret" (after Ramsey Campbell) to alternative histories like "News from New Providence" (the Duke and Duchess of Windsor investigate a real-life unsolved murder) and "31.12.99" (that's a British calendar date). "Green Ice," written especially for this collection, features the Japanese detective Ino Hajime, who first appeared in the tale "Black Mist." The best of the mystery stories, "Whatever Happened to Nick Neptune?," uses the pulp magazine lore lovingly detailed in the author's nonfiction (All in Color for a Dime, etc.) as the milieu for its crimes. The better work here transcends genre: in "Stream of Consciousness" an endless nocturnal visit to the bathroom cosmically (and comically) prevents the sun from exploding, while in "The Heyworth Fragment" a film projectionist discovers an eerily Borgesian reel from another universe. Perhaps the best of the pastiches is the lightest, "The Adventures of the Boulevard Assassin," in which Jack Kerouac substitutes as Sherlock Holmes's amanuensis. The third major collection of Lupoff's short fiction (after 1996's Before... 12:01... and After and 2001's Claremont Tales), this is sure to please existing fans even if it's unlikely to win the author many new ones. (Feb.)

FYI:The original, unabridged and vastly different version of Lupoff's novel Lovecraft's Book (1984) is due out late this year.

Reviewed on: 02/04/2002
Release date: 02/01/2002
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