Back in December, in the comments section of my post on “H.P. Lovecraft, A. Merritt, and Appendix N: Advanced Readings in D&D,” Joe. H. noted:
My first encounter with Lovecraft was the… paperback of Colour Out of Space. I was probably too young and had no idea what I was in for — the title story scared the bejeebers out of me (and to this day still creeps me out)… it was actually the Jove edition; the one with the Rowena painting of a Great Old One from “Shadow Out of Time” on the cover. Needless to say, it was the cover that drew me.
(Hmmm … Rowena also pulled me to Clark Ashton Smith with her City of the Singing Flame cover.)
Naturally, I went searching for evidence of a Jove edition of The Colour Out of Space, and it didn’t take long to find. In the process I also discovered the companion volume, The Dunwich Horror. Both were published by Jove in 1978; see them side-by-side here.
This is why I love collecting paperbacks. I have the Arkham House three-volume set of Lovecraft’s collected fiction in hardcover, but I still find different editions delightful — particularly the compact and inexpensive paperbacks, and especially when they’re as eye-catching as these two. Rowena is a very gifted artist and her interpretations of a Great Old One (on The Colour Out of Space) and Wilbur Whateley (for The Dunwich Horror and Others) are wholly unique and vibrantly real.
Of course, the other reason I love collecting paperbacks is the joy of the hunt, and by late December I was on a hunt for both volumes.
Both are relatively easy to come across on eBay and at various online bookstores — but finding them at a reasonable price is a different matter. I found good condition copies priced from $6 to $18.95 (plus shipping) immediately, but it’s rare indeed for the patient collector to be forced to pay more than the price of a new paperback, and I didn’t expect this to be an exception.
It wasn’t. Once I widened my search to include lots, I found a copy of The Dunwich Horror and a second Lovecraft volume, At the Mountains of Madness, for $7 (including shipping) and soon they were mine.
Here’s the enticing text from the back cover:
A Journey With the Prince of Darkness
A nerve-sizzling safari into seven dark levels of the supernatural. From the cosmic vampires of alien dimensions, to the vile spirits who stalk human prey.
Enter the grotesque domain of rabid animals, damned souls, and unknown forces crouched at the edge of man’s awareness. Where you’ll encounter the unholy being defiling Dunwich Castle and its unborn generations. A being more terrifying than death itself…
The introduction is a reprint of an essay by the co-founder of Arkham House, August Derleth, which originally appeared in the 1963 Arkham volume The Dunwich Horror and Others: The Best Supernatural Stories of H. P. Lovecraft.
Here’s the complete Table of Contents of The Dunwich Horror and Others:
H. P. Lovecraft and His Work, by August Derleth
“In the Vault” (Weird Tales, April 1932)
“Pickman’s Model” (Weird Tales, October 1927)
“The Dunwich Horror” (Weird Tales, April 1929)
“The Haunter of the Dark” (Weird Tales, December 1936)
“The Music of Erich Zann” (Weird Tales, May 1925)
“The Rats in the Walls” (Weird Tales, March 1924)
“The Thing on the Doorstep” (Weird Tales, January 1937)
The Dunwich Horror and Others was published by Jove Books in 1978. It is 191 pages, originally priced at $1.75. The cover is by Rowena Morrill.
As for the Jove edition of The Colour Out of Space, I’m still on the hunt, but it won’t evade me for long. I’ll report back here when I succeed. [And I did — see the details here.]
See all of our recent Vintage Treasures here.