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The Petition at the Threshold

September 1, 2010

I noticed that the good people at Chaosium have released an add-on pack for the Arkham Horror board-game; The Luker at the Threshold.  The novel this is based on was the first bit of Mythos fiction that I’d ever read, so it occupies a special place for me.  I’m a big fan of the book:

The Lurker at the Threshold cover

However little did I know when I read it that it was not a proper Lovecraft work – on the cover of the book I got from Bovey Tracy library  it had Lovecraft’s name as prominent and another Mythos writer and associate August Derleth.  There is a controversy over the placement of Lovecraft’s name as co-author:

After Lovecraft’s death, August Derleth took fragments of Lovecraft’s writings (from his Commonplace Book, for example), and incorporated them into stories entirely of Derleth’s own design. According to S.T. Joshi’s Bibliography, Derleth’s The Lurker at the Threshold is 50,000 words long, and only incorporates 1,200 words by Lovecraft—that’s about 2.4%. None of these “posthumous collaborations” should be considered to have been authored by Lovecraft. In spite of this, these stories have been published as being authored by Lovecraft and Derleth, or, worse yet, solely by Lovecraft. Both the Carroll & Graf paperbacks, The Lurker at the Threshold and The Watchers Out of Time include only Lovecraft’s name on their covers, although they are almost wholly Derleth’s work.

And there is even a petition urging a publisher to correct the naming in their publications (with nearly 3000 signatories).

However for me, the issue is still that it’s a great read.  I’ve re-read it a few times over the years and it’s one of those books I’ll never part from.  It’s the content here that is king for me and it’s a good read I’d recommend – whoever really wrote it.

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