Magic Monday ~ Lovecraft & Houdini

MagicMonday

I like Mondays. On Monday, I am refreshed from the weekend and exhilarated by the possibilities of the week ahead. I also like magic. I like its history, its intersection with technology, and its crafty use of human nature. I figured I’d combine the two and make a Monday feature that is truly me: a little bit of magic and a look at the week ahead.

If you dwell in certain corners of the internet, there has been quite a few headlines about a lost Lovecraft manuscript, a work-in-progress on the nature of superstition commissioned by Harry Houdini. The manuscript was unfinished at the time of Houdini’s death and Bess Houdini didn’t choose to follow-through with her late husband’s patronage of the writer.

Houdini’s association with H. P. Lovecraft began a few years prior in 1924 with Lovecraft ghost-writing “Imprisoned with the Pharaohs” (or “Under the Pyramids”) for Weird Tales magazine. At the time, Weird Tales was struggling financially and sought to bank on Harry Houdini’s fame by having the magician’s name associated with one of their stories. While Houdini was given the by-line, the very successful escape artist is never named in the story. It wasn’t until over a decade later that Lovecraft was given credit.

MONTH-LONGREADATHON copy

But, how is the story? I will admit, I’m not much of Lovecraft fan. I’ve read a few of his stories, but my familiarity with his style is limited. That said, “Imprisoned with the Pharaohs” seemed more succinct than later stories. The setting is less ornate and more geography-driven, which I will assume was due to Lovecraft academically researching Egypt rather than relying on his first-hand knowledge. Is it weird? Heck, yeah! Lovecraft’s interpretation of the sphinx is the stuff of cosmic nightmares!

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Vol. 2: Squirrel You Know It's TrueOnce again, I’m going into this week asking myself, what *am* I reading? I think I’ll work on Gerald’s Game by Stephen King until Friday. What’s Friday? The end of the Triple Dog Dare! Don’t get me wrong, reading only pre-2016 acquisitions has been good for me. Instead of immediately buying/checking-out the new shiny thing, I’ve tried to make a habit of looking to my shelves first. But my biggest mistake was ordering The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Vol. 2 as a late Merry-Chistmas-to-me present in January. There’s also Central Station by Lavie Tidhar. And The Reason I Jump, Doing Dewey’s April Book Club pick. I’ve been good, really I have. Hopefully, I won’t undo all my good habits in a month.

It's Monday! What Are You ReadingIt’s Monday! What Are You Reading, hosted by Book Date!

What Am I Writing?

Still editing together the collection of David P. Abbott’s articles. Hope to have a good clean copy by the middle of April.

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5 thoughts on “Magic Monday ~ Lovecraft & Houdini

  1. I was not aware of “Imprisoned with the Pharaohs” and will have to look it up now. I just finished reading the sci-fi novel “The Three Body Problem” for a book club. It was at times incomprehensible and at times brilliant. Somehow I ended up liking it overall. I was tricked into reading though, in that I wasn’t initially told it was the first book in a trilogy… *sigh*

    1. It was under the “Under the Pyramids” title in my anthology. I alway want to like Lovecraft more than I do…

      I’ve generally heard good things about The Three Body Problem. I’ve read a few short stories by the translator and his taste seems trustworthy. I hate it when I unintentionally start a series, though. It never goes well.

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