cover image Lovecraft: The Great Tales

Lovecraft: The Great Tales

John D. Haefele. Cimmerian, $25 trade paper (730p) ISBN 979-8-553087-90-6

Haefele (A Look Behind the Derleth Mythos: Origins of the Cthulhu Mythos) takes a deep dive into dozens of H.P. Lovecraft stories in this thorough, thought-provoking study. He provides some surprising interpretations, such as that “The Haunter of the Dark,” which features a lead named Robert Blake, was not inspired by Robert Bloch’s “The Shambler from the Stars,” as is commonly believed. Haefele even offers a radical take on the twist ending of one of the major long tales, “The Whisperer in Darkness,” suggesting that the alien imposter is in fact Lovecraft himself. He’s especially good at granular analysis of the influence of authors such as William Hope Hodgson and Algernon Blackwood on Lovecraft, including the intriguing idea that Lovecraft once considered creating a recurring psychic detective similar to Blackwood’s John Silence. Given that Lovecraft considered “The Music of Erich Zann” one of his strongest efforts, it’s disappointing that it receives scant attention here. Haefele’s interpretations are sure to spark debate among scholars of this influential author. Lovecraftians won’t want to miss this one. (Dec.)