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colophon by John F. Mayer
Carcosa Logo Carcosa was begun in 1973 by Karl Edward Wagner and David Drake, two writers from North Carolina. Karl Edward Wagner was best known for his Kane novels -- a thinking man's Conan -- while David Drake has published a wealth of SF (Hammer's Slammers is the best known) and fantasy (Lord of the Isles is the first of a fantasy epic from Tor).

Carcosa averaged about one book every two years. The publishers took their time and lavished great attention to detailing each title. In order to help pay for the book, Carcosa laid in a bookplate signed by both the author and artist for anyone who ordered a copy in advance of publication. Usually, this was about a quarter of the approximately 2,000 copy print run done for each book.

Carcosa had planned to do Death Stalks the Night, another Hugh B. Cave collection. According to Cave it was typeset and he had proof-read the galleys, but it was not to be. Several events conspired against Carcosa doing a fifth title. Lee Brown Coye, who was doing the illustrations, died following a series of strokes. George Evans, the other artist associated with the publisher, also died during this period. The writing careers of Wagner and Drake were starting to take off. They just couldn't afford to dedicate the time to new Carcosa projects. No other title has appeared. The collection by Hugh B. Cave came out from Fedogan and Bremer in 1995.

Worse Things Waiting Worse Things Waiting (1973)
by Manly Wade Wellman (illustrated by Lee Brown Coye)
Like a host of other titles, this book was announced but not done by Arkham House. The collection of 28 stories and 2 poems covers Wellman's wide and varied career of almost 50 years. This start on a Best of Manly Wade Wellman includes about 30 original drawings by Lee Brown Coye who illustrated a number of Wellman's stories for their original appearance in Weird Tales. Perhaps Wellman's best known character, John the Balladeer (Who Fears The Devil?) is represented by early works such as "Frogfather" and "Sin's Doorway." Another memorable character is Sgt. "Bible" Jaeger who appeared in Weird Tales in "Coven" and in "Fearful Rock," a novelette telling the tale of Jaeger's battle with evil in the Civil War South. "The Terrible Parchment" is a Necronomicon story -- a cheeky salute to H.P. Lovecraft. "The Undead Soldier" is a tale that Weird Tales editor Farnsworth Wright is rumoured to have found to be too terrifying to publish without a rewritten ending. The original version is part of this collection. Some of Wellman's work was natural for TV. For example, two items, "Larroes Catch Meddlers" and "School for the Unspeakable," were produced on Lights Out, "The Valley Was Still" for The Twilight Zone and "The Devil Is Not Mocked" for Rod Serling's Night Gallery. Periodically, Wellman used a pseudonym. One was Levi Crow under which Wellman wrote "Young-Man-With-Skull-At-His-Ear," "Warrior in Darkness" and "The Hairy Thunderer." Until this collection, a number of Wellman's best works hadn't been reprinted. These included "Up Under the Roof," "The Kelpie," "These Doth the Lord Hate," "Where Angels Fear..." and "When It Was Moonlight." I remember in the early-80s selling a number of Wellman titles in paperback. I felt sure that their appearance was due to this collection and Lonely Vigils along with the devotion of the editors to see in print the fiction of Manly Wade Wellman.

  The White Road
  Up Under the Roof
  Among Those Present
  The Terrible Parchment
  Come into My Parlor
  Sin's Doorway
  The Undead Soldier
  The Pineys
  The Kelpie
  The Devil is Not Mocked
  For Fear of Little Men
  Where Angels Fear
  The Witch's Cat
  School for the Unspeakable
  Warrior in Darkness
  Larroes Catch Meddlers
  Voice in a Veteran's Ear
  These Doth the Lord Hate
  The Liers in Wait
  The Hairy Thunderer
  The Song of the Slaves
  When It Was Moonlight
  His Name on a Bullet
  The Valley Was Still
  Fearful Rock

Far Lands, Other Days Far Lands, Other Days (1975)
by E. Hoffmann Price (illustrated by George Evans)
E. Hoffmann Price was one of the more interesting authors to publish during the heyday of the pulps. Prolific, outspoken, cantankerous and adventuresome only serve to whet a reader's appetite for his material. Reading the long introduction to this collection leaves the impression that some of his work was semi-autobiographical and, if it wasn't, he sure wished it was. He talks about the story "Hasheesh Wisdom" and a letter from a shell-shocked veteran of WWI on a narcotics ration who asked for the addresses of other "hopheads." He reminisces about "Makeda's Cousin," written for The Magic Carpet Magazine (aka Oriental Stories), about the Queen of Sheba, "one of the first of the glamour ladies with whom every right-minded young man would like to sleep." The link to "Kiss of Sekhmet" is Mr. Reimherr, fencing master of the Turnverein in Manhattan who "had a nasty riposte from his parry in quinte." While there, Price would go to the Metropolitan Museum to "pay [his] respects to Sekhmet, sculptured in green stone -- the Goddess of Fire, the Lady of Flame, the Lioness, shakti of the Unconquered Sun, the Lion." He describes "The Word of Santiago" as Edmond Hamilton's favourite Price "yarn." The story introduces Pierre d'Artois "who, under another name, was [Price's] fencing master for several years." But Price noted that "in view of the lurid goings-on in the subsequent Pierre d'Artois stories, [he] must out of respect for the Grand Master abstain from giving his name." The derivation of "Saladin's Throne-Rug" is Price's days when collecting Oriental rugs. He goes on to talk about his days with the whores of Paris, the rug merchants of Africa, the editors at Argosy, Seabury Quinn, James Branch Cabell and Otis Adelbert Kline. This introduction alone was worth the price of the book.

The Word of Santiago
The Peacock's Shadow
Gray Sphinx
Makeda's Cousin
Satan's Garden
Queen of the Lilin
The Dreamer of Atlânaat
A Jest and a Vengeance
Wolves of Kerak
The Hand of Wrath
One Step from Hell
Web of Wizardry
Saladin's Throne-Rug
Allah Sends a Reaper
Khosru's Garden
Hasheesh Wisdom
Snake Goddess
House of the Monoceros
You Can't Eat Glory
Woman in the Case
Heart of a Thief
Kiss of Sekhmet
Vengeance in Samarra
Selene Walks by Night
Prayer to Satan
A King Is Next to God
Shadow Captain
Peach Blossom Paradise
The Hands of Janos
The Shadow of Saturn
The Infidel's Daughter

Murgunstrumm Murgunstrumm and Others (1977)
by Hugh B. Cave (illustrated by Lee Brown Coye)
This is a collection of horror stories, plain and simple, illustrated by Lee Brown Coye, an artist of the first stripe, who provides a macabre atmosphere to the reading of the text. Before Hugh B. Cave became known as a magazine contributor, a writer of bestselling novels and an author of meticulously researched first-hand travel books, he wrote some of the most truly gruesome and chilling horror stories ever to appear in the pulp magazines. This collection of stories demonstrates the nature of gothic horror thrillers from the 1930s when lurid action and wake-up-screaming terror was the order of the day. As it says in the book: "Like a vintage horror movie, Murgunstrumm and Others is an experience to be savoured best on a stormy, lonely night." Cave wrote for many of the premier pulps of the day: Strange Tales, Weird Tales, Spicy Mystery Stories, Black Book Detective Magazine, Thrilling Mysteries. The collection includes a 30,000 word short novel, "Murgunstrumm," considered by some to be a classic of the pulp gothic horror thriller type from the 1930s. Appearing also in the book are "The Isle of Dark Magic" and "The Death Watch," Hugh B. Cave's only contributions to Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos. From Weird Tales golden age are "The Watcher in the Green Room" and "Dead Man's Belt." Cave, like many others of his time, wrote under pseudonyms, one of which was Justin Case. A number of Case stories appear here including "The Whisperers" and "The Strange Death of Ivan Gromleigh." I suppose the best description of the contents comes from the book: "Murgunstrumm and Others abounds with haunted houses, ravenous vampires, slobbering monsters, fiends human and inhuman, nights dark and stormy, corpses fresh and rotting." Cool, eh?

The Watcher in the Green Room
The Prophecy
The Strange Death of Ivan Gromleigh
The Affair of the Clutching Hand
The Strange Case of No. 7
The Isle of Dark Magic
The Whisperers
Horror in Wax
Prey of the Nightborn
Maxon's Mistress
Dead Man's Belt
The Crawling Curse
Purr of a Cat
Tomorrow Is Forever
The Ghoul Gallery
The Cult of the White Ape
The Brotherhood of Blood
The Door of Doom
The Death Watch
The Caverns of Time
Many Happy Returns
Ladies in Waiting
The Grisly Death

Lonely Vigils Lonely Vigils (1981)
by Manly Wade Wellman (illustrated by George Evans)
Manly Wade Wellman wrote a number of detective stories, most of which had an occult focus. This collection of 20 stories brings them together in one volume. The stories, for the most part, appeared in the pages of Weird Tales and Strange Stories between 1938 and 1951. Wellman's characters -- Judge Pursuivant, Professor Enderby, John Thunstone -- were unique. They battled against dark magic in their own way and on their own terms. Here is how this editon describes them:
"Judge Keith Hilary Pursuivant: Renowned scholar and retired judge, hero of World War I and now hero of darker, more dangerous battles. Huge of frame, an epicure, an authority on the occult, Pursuivant strides forth from his reclusive home in West Virginia to confront evil wherever it appears."
"Professor Nathan Enderby: Slender savant and unassuming authority on the supernatural, aided by his sharp wits and his Chinese servant, Quong. His cabin in rural Pennsylvania is a retreat from the frenetic social life of New York City -- and a fortress against the powers of black magic."
"John Thunstone: Hulking Manhattanite playboy and dilettante, a serious student of the occult and a two-fisted brawler ready to take on any enemy. Armed with potent charms and a silver sword-cane, Thunstone stalks supernatural perils in the posh night clubs and seedy hotels of New York, or in backwater towns lost in the countryside -- seeking out deadly sorcery as a hunter pursues a man-killer beast."

   The Hairy Ones Shall Dance
   The Black Drama
   The Dreadful Rabbits
   The Half-Haunted
   The Third Cry to Legba
   The Golden Goblins
   The Letters of Cold Fire
   John Thunstone's Inheritance
   Sorcery from Thule
   The Dead Man's Hand
   Thorne on the Threshold
   The Shonokins
   Blood from a Stone
   The Dai Sword
   Twice Cursed
   Shonokin Town
   The Leonardo Rondache
   The Last Grave of Lill Warran

Copyright © 1999 by Rodger Turner

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