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seeking an assessment of Derleth, as a writer of fiction
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 30 August, 2017 09:33AM
Thusfar I've read very little of Derleth; I've never been able to connect with it, and the same amount of time I've spent in brief consideration of style, it seems forced, at best. In particular, those few stories that he completed from notes left by Lovecraft seem markedly less effective and skilled.

In truth, it appears that his greatest claim is to the energy it took to organize and publish, and this appears to me to be his m├ętier. That he was a dedicated, intelligent, and energetic man seems beyond question.

I would welcome all comments and opinions. It could be that I'm missing out on a talented author.

Re: seeking an assessment of Derleth, as a writer of fiction
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 30 August, 2017 10:34AM
I've read little by Derleth other than the Mythos and macabre stories, none of which present themselves in memory as very interesting, but my understanding is that he can be good as a novelist. I have been thinking of getting hold of his novel Shield of the Valiant and starting it. Many years ago, when I browsed the shelves of my public library, it seems, I'd see two books under his name in the fiction collection -- this novel, and an Arkham House anthology (Dark Mind, Dark Heart). And so Shield of the Valiant has stuck in my memory a little, as a title. Recently I looked up a little information about it, and it sounded like it might be worth reading -- but certainly not as a contribution to the horror genre.


Re: seeking an assessment of Derleth, as a writer of fiction
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 31 August, 2017 04:28AM
I have The Watchers Out of Time (Arkham House), and may have read two or three stories in it, but none of them stuck in my mind. I keep the book for the fantastic Herb Arnold cover art.

Re: seeking an assessment of Derleth, as a writer of fiction
Posted by: Ancient History (IP Logged)
Date: 31 August, 2017 05:29AM
Derleth's Mythos stories are, for the most part, potboilers - workmanlike, very pulpish, most of the characteristics of "bad Lovecraft pastiche," but the action flows pretty well. A few of his "posthumous collaborations" are much better - I would hold "The Lamp of Alhazred" up as one of the best homages to Lovecraft ever written. Derleth's own weird pulp fiction tends to be competent, workmanlike, shows an obvious influence from M. R. James-style ghost stories, but also telegraphs a good deal of the plot. They can have interesting images and ideas, though he rarely develops them beyond what is necessary for the needs of the story. I wouldn't say they were minimalistic, but they tend to be to the point and not meander about. His mystery fiction is better, focuses on the plot, setting, and characterization. Regional writing is where Derleth shone; he had a real love of history and nature, and could indulge himself more in how the characters are influenced by and interact with both.

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