As you probably know, for a few months I’ve been asking authors and editors for five of their favorite Lovecraftian short stories. (It’s important to note that these lists are not our “top five” Lovecraftian short stories — for most of us, that would be next to impossible to determine. It’s simply a list of five stories that we love, and that we feel are important to Lovecraftian fiction.)
So… here is author Joe Pulver‘s list!
The following is written by Joseph S. Pulver, Sr. Clicking on hyperlinked titles will take you to the anthology in which the story was published.
My 5 fav Lovecraftian tales… and…
Funny how time (and the evolution of taste) changes these things. Pre-80, James Wade’s “The Silence of Erica Zann” and Walt DeBill’s “Where Yidhra Waks” would have been on this list. Ten or 12 years ago, Will Murray’s “To Clear the Earth” would have been here too.
My list of five:
- “Black Man With a Horn”, by T.E.D. Klein
- “Vastarien”, by Thomas Ligotti
- “The Black Brat of Dunwich”, by Stanley C. Sargent
- “Sticks”, by Karl Edward Wagner
- “Fat Face”, by Michael Shea
Breaks my heart being limited to only 5 tales, as Laird Barron’s “Hallucigenia” is a masterpiece that belongs on this list, and seems criminal not to have at least one of Kiernan’s BRILLIANT tales on the list. That said, I think I’ll sneak in some Honorable Mentions.
- “Hallucigenia”, by Laird Barron
- “Pickman’s Other Model”, by Caitlin R. Kiernan
- “Shoggoths in Bloom” (read free), by Elizabeth Bear
- “The Men From Porlock”, by Laird Barron
- “The Crevasse” (read free), by Dale Bailey and Nathan Ballingrud
- “Take Your Daughters To Work”, by Livia Llewellyn
And this list is about STORIES, so here’s my top picks for “ample” places to find tales where the stars are right…
- “The Disciples Of Cthulhu” (Berglund) (Yeah, loved it then and it still holds a special place in my heart.)
- “Lovecraft Unbound” (Datlow) (This anthology gets 5 stars are right! !!! !)
- “The Book of Cthulhu” (Lockhart) (Ross did a great job w/ this and BoC2, and the whisper-stream says there’s a BoC3 in the works – that’s great news.)
- “Dead but Dreaming” (Ross)
- “Lovecraft eZine” (Davis) (Mike Davis’ 21st century version of “Crypt of Cthulhu” is a real boon to modern readers of Lovecraftian lit.)
Honorable Mentions: Bob Price’s “Cycle” Series (released by Chaosium) and S.T.’s ongoing BLACK WINGS series also contain many gems.
Finally, this list-thing is about stories and they come from writers, so if this were one of the Fantasy Football things (for creators), the top spots on my Lovecraftian team would go to —
Joseph S. Pulver, Sr., is the author of the novels, The Orphan Palace and Nightmare’s Disciple, and he has written many short stories that have appeared in magazines and anthologies, including “Weird Fiction Review”, “Lovecraft eZine”, Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year, S. T. Joshi’s Black Wings (I and III), Book of Cthulhu, The Children of Old Leech, and many anthologies edited by Robert M. Price. His highly–acclaimed short story collections, Blood Will Have Its Season, SIN & ashes, and Portraits of Ruin, were published by Hippocampus Press. He edited A Season in Carcosa and the Bram Stoker nominated and Shirley Jackson Award winning The Grimscribe’s Puppets. He is at work on two new collections of weird fiction, A House of Hollow Wounds, and The Protocols of Ugliness, both edited by Jeffrey Thomas, and is currently editing two new anthologies, Cassilda’s Song andThe Leaves of a Necronomicon.
Sorry about getting “BMwAH” wrong, that Pulver guy is the King of Typos, and often, off the top of his head, gets plenty wrong!!!
Thxxxxxxxx guys! !!
Thanks for this, Joe. Unfortunately and fortuitously I have not read all of these.
These lists are very interesting to me. I enjoy learning what affects artists I respect.
T.E.D. Klein’s story is titled “Black Man with A Horn”. Hate to correct Joe who I consider a god in this area. Thanks for the list!
THxxxxxxxx Bill and Dennis! !! XPulver
Since the definition of a “reasonable man” is one who agrees with me— GEE what a “reasonable” list! Seriously, a thoughtful list, and the add-ons are thought-provoking. THANKS! XXXXXPulver!
I’ve read Fat Face so I can second that one. Really great concept and terrifying ending.
Great list, Joe! I agree wholeheartedly with the Klein, Wagner and Shea tales. Can’t recall the Ligotti story, although I do have the antho from which it came. And I’ve never heard of the Sargent offering. I’ll have to rectify that soon. Thanks, Bill Rasmussen!