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Author: carlreed

Terror, Existential Dread, and Surprised Laughter: A Review of Spectral Realms #11

Terror, Existential Dread, and Surprised Laughter: A Review of Spectral Realms #11

Spectral Realms 11-small

Cover by Daniel V. Sauer

Spectral Realms magazine is a square-bound journal of weird poetry, reviews, and articles launched in 2014 and published twice yearly by S. T. Joshi — the field’s foremost scholar, writer, advocate, and critic.  If ever there was a man who should need no introduction, Mr. Joshi is he — 300+ books to date and counting. An avowed rationalist, rapier-witted satirist (in the savage tradition of Bierce, Twain, and Mencken), and sometime crafter of his own macabre tales, S. T. Joshi bestrides the entirety of weird fiction like a colossus. His error-corrected drafts of the writings of H. P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, Arthur Machen, George Sterling, Ambrose Bierce, Algernon Blackwood, et. al. — produced through an exhaustive and meticulous examination of extant hand-written copy, typescripts, and published versions — serve as the final word on these respective writers’ original aesthetic intentions and lasting literary legacy. To those who know, the words “texts by S. T. Joshi” prominently displayed on a book’s cover assure the discriminating reader that he or she is perusing an author’s truest, error-corrected, “best” published version of any given work.

So it is no small matter when a man of S. T. Joshi’s stature and first-rate scholarship decides to launch a new journal dedicated to the poetic expression and criticism of the weird.

Hippocampus Press announced the inaugural issue of Spectral Realms to the reading public thusly. (I quote the passage in its entirety, as it cannot be improved upon — no better introduction and summarizing mission statement can be crafted):

The spectral realms that thou canst see
With eyes veil’d from the world and me.
—- “To a Dreamer,” H. P. Lovecraft

The last few decades have seen a remarkable efflorescence of weird poetry, to such a degree that we can authentically state that a renaissance of the genre is underway. Hippocampus Press has always been committed to this most rarefied mode of expression, and now Spectral Realms, published in Summer and Winter, leads the way.

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