Tag Archives: Robert Bloch

Announcing The Vampire Stories of Robert Bloch

If you get the Haffner Press newsletter in your inbox, then you already know about this. But if don’t (and why not, I might add), then you’ll want to know.

One of the greatest writers of the macabre in the 20th Century was Robert Bloch.  I’ve written about him before. Like here. And here. And here. While he will probably always be best known as the author of Psycho, Bloch was many other things as well, including but not limited to a master of the short form. a member of the Lovecraft circle, and an accomplished screenwriter.

Haffner Press has announced The Vampire Stories of Robert Bloch.  Tentative publication date is sometime next year. Here’s the table of contents: Continue reading

Happy Brithday, Farnsworth Wright

Weird Tales editorial office, l. to r., unknown, Farnsworth Wright, Henry Kuttner, Robert Bloch

By the time of his death in 1940, Farnsworth Wright had become one of the most influential editors the field of the fantastic would ever see. Wright was born in 1888 on July, 29.  I would argue his influence on science fiction, fantasy, and horror has been greater than any other editor, including John W. Campbell, Dorothy McIlwraith, Fred Pohl, Ray Palmer, or Hugo Gernsback.

Yes, I realize that last sentence could be controversial, especially the inclusion of Campbell and Gernsback.  So be it.  Farnsworth Wright edited Weird Tales during what is considered to be the magazine’s golden age.  The authors he published have had a greater impact on the literature of the fantastic than those of any other editor at any time in history. Continue reading

Birthday Bonus: A Collaboration Between Bloch and Kuttner

“The Grab Bag”
Robert Bloch and Henry Kuttner
Originally appeared in Weird Tales, Spring 1991

Robert Bloch and Henry Kuttner were friends, and they collaborated on a handful of stories before Kuttner’s death.  Since the two previous posts dealt with their birthdays, I thought I would talk about one of those collaborations as sort of a birthday bonus.

I know nothing about the provenance of “The Grab Bag”.  Bloch is attributed as the first author.  I speculate on the authorship at the end of this post.  For now is a synopsis.  I’m going to avoid spoilers since this is a horror story, and I don’t want to give away the ending. Continue reading

Bloch at 100

Robert Bloch was born on April 5, 1917 in Chicago.  Today marks the centennial of his birth.  He died of cancer in 1994.

Bloch wrote in multiple genres, including horror, fantasy, science fiction, and mystery, often more than one in a single story.  Bloch sold much of his early work to Weird Tales and contributed to the Mythos.  He also worked as a screenwriter in Hollywood.  His best known novel, Psycho, was adapted by Alfred Hitchcock into the classic film of the same name.

Sadly, this one novel has at time overshadowed his short fiction.  To my mind, that was the area in which he excelled.  Bloch was one of the best, often mixing humor with horror, and he should be remembered.  Sadly, like many authors who have passed on, he is in danger of being forgotten by the younger generations.  In spite of that, he still casts a long shadow over the field of fantastic fiction today.

I intend to honor his memory by reading something of his.

 

Henry Kuttner at 101

Kuttner pensiveToday, April 7, 2016, marks the 101st birthday of author Henry Kuttner.

I was going to read and review one of Kuttner’s longer works and had chosen The Fairy Chessmen.  That review will come in a few days.  I’m not quite halfway through it and won’t be able to finish it before tomorrow.

Since Robert Bloch’s birthday was a few days ago, I though I would share a few photos of Kuttner and Bloch.  Bloch and Kuttner were friends and collaborated on a few short stories.  Those stories were “The Black Kiss“, “The Grip of Death“, and “The Grab Bag“. Continue reading

Robert Bloch Hits 99

Robert BlochRobert 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.

 

RIP, Jon Arfstrom 1928-2015

Weird-Tales-52-01-204x300Jon Afrstrom passed away December 2.  He was believed to be the last surviving artist to work on the original Weird Tales.  While he wasn’t as well known as Margaret Brundage or J. Allen St. John, Jon Arfstrom created several striking covers in the final years of the magazine, such as the one shown on the right, which from January 1952.  This was his first cover.

In recent years he’d returned to fantasy art and provided cover art for publishers such as Haffner Press and Fedogan & Bremer among others.  He was the artist on the Stoker Award winning collection The Early Fears by Robert Bloch.

Fortunately, Arfstrom was a guest at PulpFest 2015.  You can see an interview with him here.

Catherine Lucille Moore: Fantasy and Science Fiction Pioneer

C. L. MooreNot to mention one of the most important writers of the past century.

Catherine Lucille Moore, better known as C. L. Moore, was born on this day in 1911.  She sold her first story, “Shambleau”, in 1933.  (review here)

In certain circles among science fiction and fantasy authors and fans, one can find a popular belief that women authors have been suppressed and had their voices silenced by The Patriarchy.  And That Has to Change.  While it is true that until recently more authors have been men than women, one has to wonder what parallel universe some of these people have fallen out of.  Either that or if what they’ve been smoking is home grown or Columbian imported.  Many of them act like they’ve never heard of Ursula K. Le Guin, Leigh Brackett, Kate Wilhelm, or Andre Norton, among others. Continue reading

More Bookstore Closing Acquisitions

I posted recently about one of the local used bookstores (currently there are 4: 2 good, 1 decent, 1 not worth bothering with) closing and some of the titles I picked up.

You know I went back.  The store will be open for a little while yet.  Here’s what I picked up this time.

More AcquisitionsI couldn’t resist the cover of the Howard pastiche by Offutt, even though I doubt I’ll read it.  The People of the Mist is an upgrade of my existing copy.  The Starfollowers of Coramonde is a later edition, but the Darrell K. Sweet cover matches the one on the first novel in the series.

I loved Sean Stewart’s Galveston some years back, but I haven’t read any of his other books.  The Tanith Lee speaks for itself.  The third row contains the first 3 of 4 in Lawrence Watt-Evans Lords of Dus series.

The last row is a reading copy of one of Evangeline Walton’s books that was part of the BAF series.  The Zahn is part of a series that looks like a lot of fun.  And the Paul Preuss because I wanted some solid science fiction in the old style.

But the gem of this little collection is the volume in the upper left of the picture.  It’s Whispers, edited by Stuart David Schiff.  It’s a collection of stories published in his groundbreaking small press magazine of the same title.  I’ve got a copy of this already, but I couldn’t pass this one up.  The contents include “Sticks” by Karl Edward Wagner, “The Barrow Troll” by David Drake, “The Dakwa” by Manly Wade Wellman, plus stories by Robert Bloch, Fritz Leiber, William F. Nolan, Hugh B. Cave, Dennis Etchison, Joseph Payne Brennan, Ramsey Campbell, Richard Christian Matheson, Brian Lumley, and many others.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go reread “Sticks”.