This was the first anthology of new, original weird tales published by Arkham House after the death, in 1971, or August Derleth. Derleth had proven to be an excellent editor of this kind of book, and as publisher of Arkham House he had the perfect outlet to bring forth such interesting anthologies. The editor here, Gerald W. Page, had a grand tradition to uphold. He writes, in his foreword:
"Yet there are some interruptions in the continuation. The most obvious is the lack of many familiar Arkham House contributors; this is also the most inevitable. Most of the Lovecraft stories that debuted in Arkham House pages were largely the work of August Derleth. The final stories of many deceased contributors who graced recent collections have now seen publication and the remaining manuscripts of many others do not merit print. Several writers who have contributed to Arkham House in the past would have liked to do so this outing but were unable to because of the press of other commitments. Yet NAMELESS PLACES can boast a respectable number of Arkham House favorites, among them Brian Lumley, Joseph Payne Brennan, Gary Myers, Denys Val Baker, Ramsey Campbell, Carl Jacobi and E. Hoffmann Price. They are joined by fantasy veterans such as Thomas Burnett Swann and Stephen Goldin, making initial contributions to Arkham House; such relative newcomers as Scott Edelstein, A. A. Attanasio and Arthur Byron Cover--who have established themselves as major new writers in the field--; and some writers who make their first or one of their first appearances in print."
A. A. Attanasio writes such fascinating weird phantasy that it has always disappointed me that Arkham House never released a collection of his tales. He has gone on to write many noteworthy novels. His prose is utterly beguiling:
"It was the dark of the moon. Sleep was opening in him like a blossom, and he was drifting toward it. But his drowsiness gave way gradually to a discomfort in his throat. It felt numb, and his tongue was twisting in his mouth, moving on its own. Gene was alarmed and sat bolt upright as his tongue forced between his lips and wagged nervously in the air, curling and flapping. Leaping to his feet, he cried out loud. His tongue relaxed, but he was shaking. He downed the rest of his brandy and after a few minutes went to bed and tried to pray. After calming down, he felt his mouth open and his tongue move. He couldn't control his breathing and the whisper that forced itself through his teeth was not his own..."
The story is one of the most unique I have read concerning the Cthulhu Mythos.
"The Night of the Unicorn" is a gorgeous fantasy by Thomas Burnett Swann. G. N. Gabbard give us one of the most delightful and playful treatments of a Lovecraftian theme that I have ever read in "More Things," a tale that is so cool that I oft return to it. It proves that one may be whimsically Lovecraftian without using any of the Mythos trappings.
Robert Aickman is a modern master of the weird tale from the not-too-distant past, original in the way that Thomas Ligotti is in modern time. He approaches the weird tale from an angle that is absolutely his own, and his stories stun with inventiveness and the pure fine writing. He writes real Literature, which flows and captivates.
I had the pleasure of meeting Gary Myers at last year's H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival & CthulhuCon, and took with me my copy of his wee Arkham House book, THE HOUSE OF THE WORM for him to sign. His story in NAMELESS PLACES, "The Gods of Earth," is another rare gem in which he pays authentic and original tribute to H. P. Lovecraft. It is told in the language of Lovecraft's Dreamland tales, and the writing is so delicious that I love to read the wee tale aloud, so as to taste its language on my lips.
Whatever happened to Joseph F. Pumilla? Great Yuggoth, his tale herein, "Dark Vintage," is excellent, reminding me a bit of Laird Barron's work. This story is so well done, beautifully imagined and expressed, and very very strange. It is hypnotic and haunting. Wonderful.
"What Dark God?" is one of Brian Lumley's finest Lovecraftian tales; it has been a rarity and the only other place I've seen it is in his outstanding collection of Cthulhu Mythos yarns, HAGGOPIAN AND OTHER STORIES (Subterranean Press, 2008). Another Mythos delight is the lengthy "Out of the Ages," by Lin Carter. Carter was an obsessed Cthulhu Mythos fan, and what his tales may lack in originality is made up in the thrill of the game. His combination of influences makes for an extremely enjoyable reading experience for those of us who, like him, adore the Cthulhu Mythos. This is but one of two Lin Carter Lovecraftian tales in the book, the other being the mystic "In the Vale of Pnath."
But the real Lovecraftian treasure in NAMELESS PLACES is the too-brief "In 'Ygiroth," by Walter C, DeBill Jr. Again, the writing is so well done that one wants to quote it:
"High above him rose the city, deep in a shadowed cleft where the gentle lower slopes of Lerion ended and the jagged, slender spire of her uttermost peak began its long thrust into the hazy sky of Dreamland. Unpeopled and dreaming it had lain through the slow centuries of solitude and decay, and until now no man had come to seek out its dark secrets."
The tale is an almost perfect evocation of Lovecraft's own tales of Dreamland, which are tainted by the Mythos and it dark gods.
The remaining fiction is a great representation of weird fiction from master such as David Drake, Carl Jacobi, Ramsey Campbell, Joseph Payne Brennan and others. Especially charming is the delightful Lovecraftian jacket by Tim Kirk, which shews what may be one of Pickman's models traipsing ye rooftops of Kingsport. This is a great anthology of weird fiction, one that may be read over and again with additional delight.
Nameless Places Hardcover – 1 June 1975
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- Publisher : Arkham House Pub (1 June 1975)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 279 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0870540734
- ISBN-13 : 978-0870540738
- Dimensions : 15.88 x 2.54 x 20.96 cm
- Customer Reviews:
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Wilum Hopfrog Pugmire, Esq.
Cthulhu Mythos & More!Reviewed in the United States on 22 January 2010
6 people found this helpful
Marvelous anthology of over two dozen tales of the macabreReviewed in the United States on 22 January 2000
The stories here are a varied collection of some of the Arkham favorites like Ramsey Campbell and Brian Lumley as well as lesser known writers. A marvelous addition to your fantasy/horror bookshelf.
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