These are my
conjectures about the relationship between some of Wellman's writing
and the Lovecraft Mythos. Based on letters supplied to me by E.P.
Berglund, it seems that Wellman didn't really feel that greatly
influenced by Lovecraft per se, but did make the casual mention of HPL
and some of his creations as an homage, more than as true
inspiration. As it is, I'll lay out my thoughts and let Wellman's
to Mr. Berglund be his own rebuttle. -Daniel
SETTING THE MOOD:
The Lovecraft universe has come to be populated with a lot of place
names and monster names, libraries filled all of the rarest tomes, and
dynamite-packing scientists that are well versed in the lore of Cthulhu,
pastiche author reached the atmosphere of
isolation, horror and dread that Lovecraft wrote about so often.
These days it's usually a more pulpy entertainment than an experience
of horror, or a displacement into the story itself through the written
word. This doesn't make a story bad, in fact they can be quite
entertaining, but it's not aiming its goal at transporting the reader
to another world.
Through his knowledgeable use of local character archetypes, true
history, vernacular and a love of the wooded mountains around him,
Wellman was able to paint a realistic picture to take the reader into,
then chill them with the primal and sometimes frightening folklore of
Maybe a different route than Lovecraft would take, but leading to the
same destination, where a person can realize the cosmic scheme doesn't
really revolve around humankind. It's a bigger scarier universe out
there. For example in the short story "Goodman's Place", a
simple walk through the woods on a beautiful summer afternoon can lead
into a story of cosmic fear and horror of the "Ancient Unknown" in
shunned, far away places.
H. P. Lovecraft
THE REAL MACOY:
Along with Mythos based tomes and character
lore, Wellman also chose to pull monsters, books, and personas from
European and Native American folktales, some of them being references
to existing texts, such as John George Hohman's Long Lost Friend , a book of white
magic and folk remedies brought to
America in the 1800's from Germany. Wellman uses Long Lost Friend
many times throughout his stories, with all of the major protagonists
always having a helpful copy around somewhere to help ward off evil.
mentioned book is the more rare but
famous Albertus Magnus , or as Wellman's
characters would call it, the "Big Albert". This is a tome
that Lovecraft also mentions in the short story "The Terrible Old Man"
and the Novelette The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.
to see and hear -- Lovecraft knew so
much about the legend of Other-People, from before human times, and how
their behaviors and speech had trickled a little into the ken of the
civilization known to the wakeday world." - "Shonokin Town"
Manly Wade Wellman
AFTER DARK which is a Silver
John novel all about the Shonokins. They are an ancient
race(possibly more in the Howardian ideal), an aboriginal "people of
the land" who went into hiding with the advent of man. But they are
plotting their return. The Shonokins reason their takeover of the world
because the humans aren't fit to run the Earth and it's time for the
true caretakers to return to power. The specifics here aren't
necessarily something you would see happen in Lovecraft, but the
greater idea of an ancient race returning to power with humankind
falling to the wayside is. If I was reaching, I'd say that the
Shonokins could possibly be a wayward branch of REH's Lost Race of
Picts or even the Inhabitants of Leng. They are that
ancient and that eldritch. If I was to write them into a Mythos story,
I'd say this was a reasonable idea.
MYTHOS BY NAME:
some of his stories to be specifically in
the Mythos vein with efforts such as "The Terrible Partchment"
which is specifically about the Necromonicon and mentions Clark
Smith and Robert Bloch. Wellman had a story in STARTLING
STORIES, Summer 1944, called "Strangers on the Heights" which
dwelling high in the Andes Mts. Though no
Mythos names were dropped, this was supposedly written as a Mythos
story, and was expanded into the 1950 novel THE BEASTS FROM
BEYOND. Similar notions are revisited in the 1977 novel THE
BEYONDERS where an trans-dimensional monster from the hills
terrorizes a small Appalachian village, leaving a trail of burnt grass
in its wake.
John Thunstone short stories wave the Mythos flag,
especially when dealing with Rowley Thorne, Thunstones
arch-enemy, who is usually dabbling in the sorts of arcane mischief you
might expect an evil sorcerer to be in during a Mythos related
adventure. In "The Letters of Cold Fire" Thorne, failing to
get a copy of the NECRONOMICON, goes instead for the
"schoolbook" of a student of the Deep School, an extra-dimensional
school of sorcery.
Voice of the Mountain we hear
mention of Miskatonic University and some familiar
Mythos authors as well. First Alka, a sorcerer's assistant, tells us
"I was a librarian, . . . On the staff of the library of Miskatonic
University at Arkham, Massachusetts" and then "At my library
post, I met many earnest researchers into the occult. Writers, for
instance -- Robert Bloch called on me, and Fritz Leiber, and Frank