Robert Bloch was born on April 5, 1917, in Chicago. He passed away on September 23, 1994 in Los Angeles.
Although he will be remembered as the author of Psycho, and justifiably so, he was a writer of great range and depth. While I’ve found his novels to be somewhat hit and miss, I’ve almost always enjoyed his short fiction.
Bloch was a member of the Lovecraft Circle and published in Weird Tales, but he quickly moved on to other types of fiction than Mythos pastiche. (Not that there’s anything wrong with Bloch’s Mythos tales, but they were his early work.) He appeared as Robert Blake in Lovecraft’s “The Haunter of the Dark.”
Bloch was adept at mystery, suspense, science fiction, and fantasy. Bloch managed to infuse humor into some of the grimmest situations. His story “That Hell-Bound Train” won the Hugo Award in 1959. A favorite theme was Jack the Ripper, beginning with the classic “Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper”.
Bloch worked in Hollywood, and many of his stories reflect his experiences there. He wrote two sequels to Psycho which had nothing to do with the movie sequels. I’ve only read the first sequel, but it’s set almost entirely in Hollywood. I wondered how many of the scenes in it were based on actual events.
Anyway, Bloch isn’t as well remembered these days as he should be. Subterranean Press (among others) have published collections of his work in the years since his death, but those are starting to go out of print.
I’m going to read one or two of his stories this evening and toast his memory and literary legacy.
With the lights on and the doors locked, of course.