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Book of the Dead: Friends of Yesteryear: Fictioneers & Others [Hardcover]

E. Hoffmann Price
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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From Publishers Weekly

Within the fantasy-fan and pulp-magazine collecting communities, this group of memoirs by a prolific pulp writer has reached almost legendary stature, although the finished, long-delayed book, proves less impressive than the reputation it rides in on. Price (1898-1988) began writing these memoirs in the 1940s, concentrating on such fellow Weird Tales contributors as H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard. An early long-distance motorist, Price met many figures associated with the magazine, and so can describe firsthand editor Farnsworth Wright's love of raunchy humor and a drunken sword fight with Otis Adelbert Kline. About half this book is the finest account of that era ever done. The other half suffers because Price completed the book in the 1970s and fell into repeated polemics, berating fans of that period for adulating Lovecraft and Howard. Arguing that his friend HPL was merely an amateur who couldn't break out of Weird Tales and that Howard wasted his time creating Conan the Barbarian, Price appears obtuse and possibly jealous. (Oddly, Arkham editor Ruber seems to agree with Price, whom he describes as "a prodigious worker, not an idler like Lovecraft, whose narrow focus on weird fiction caused him to burn out after several dozen stories" a statement sure to inflame HPL fans.) In addition, Price, a practicing astrologer, blasts Lovecraft for attacking astrology as nonsense. Questionable judgments aside, Price comes across as a far better writer of nonfiction than of fiction. (Sept.)Forecast: With an introduction by Jack Williamson, a checklist of Price's fiction and a section of photos, these memoirs will sell out fast to the ardent pulp readership that's been eagerly awaiting them.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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3.0 out of 5 stars The Pulpsters Come to Life Dec 23 2003
Format:Hardcover
This is very much an old man's book, full of digressions, stories without a point, and endless, endless repetition and ranting. Nor is the author, pulp veteran E. Hoffmann Price, a man of much intelligence or discernment--- at one point he proudly tells us how he advised a friend who needed immediate surgery to correct a life-treatening condition not to have it, because "the stars were wrong!" Fortunately, the friend ignored Price's astrological advice.
However, Price is the only man to have met personally and spent considerable time with all three of the titans of WEIRD TALES, H. P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, and Clark Ashton Smith, during their heyday as pulp writers, and he can and does uniquely offer first-hand, fairly vivid (if frustrating) word portraits of these immortal creators. The book is filled out with a number of other similar portraits of fictioneers, such as Henry Kuttner, August Derleth and Edmond Hamilton, and even Price's favorite Turkish rug dealer. There are also attached some vaguely related essays by Price, and a useful bibliography of Price's literary output.
Price's general cluelessness and lack of perspective often results in some rich, unintended humor, as in his blandly told tale of a friend and colleague who graduated from the pulps to become a successful novelist and screenwriter, who was also a dedicated Communist, who spent years in Russia and took courses in Marxist philosophy at Moscow State University, and who upon return to the US immediately got a job as screenwriter with the Walt Disney Studios!
Price spends a huge amount of space scolding his friend H. P.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Pulpsters Come to Life Dec 23 2003
By Rory Coker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is very much an old man's book, full of digressions, stories without a point, and endless, endless repetition and ranting. Nor is the author, pulp veteran E. Hoffmann Price, a man of much intelligence or discernment--- at one point he proudly tells us how he advised a friend who needed immediate surgery to correct a life-treatening condition not to have it, because "the stars were wrong!" Fortunately, the friend ignored Price's astrological advice.
However, Price is the only man to have met personally and spent considerable time with all three of the titans of WEIRD TALES, H. P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, and Clark Ashton Smith, during their heyday as pulp writers, and he can and does uniquely offer first-hand, fairly vivid (if frustrating) word portraits of these immortal creators. The book is filled out with a number of other similar portraits of fictioneers, such as Henry Kuttner, August Derleth and Edmond Hamilton, and even Price's favorite Turkish rug dealer. There are also attached some vaguely related essays by Price, and a useful bibliography of Price's literary output.
Price's general cluelessness and lack of perspective often results in some rich, unintended humor, as in his blandly told tale of a friend and colleague who graduated from the pulps to become a successful novelist and screenwriter, who was also a dedicated Communist, who spent years in Russia and took courses in Marxist philosophy at Moscow State University, and who upon return to the US immediately got a job as screenwriter with the Walt Disney Studios!
Price spends a huge amount of space scolding his friend H. P. Lovecraft for viewing fiction writing as a private art rather than a cash-earning profession, and he takes every opportunity to ridicule the overweight, semiliterate, cultureless Lovecraft fanboys of the 1970s. But, of course, obnoxious fans aside, it is precisely Lovecraft's commitment to art that makes him the best-known of all WEIRD TALES' regular contributors, and the only one who will ever be conceivably of interest within the towers of academia.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Provides a set of fascinating biographical essays Sept. 8 2001
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Over a period of almost 60 years E. Hoffman Price, a writer during the pulp magazine era, befriended great writers from Lovecraft and Derleth to Clark Ashton Smith and Jack Williamson. He kept diaries and letters of his cross-country trips and encounters and in Book Of The Dead provides a set of fascinating biographical essays on his experiences and relationships with the authors, offering many insights and personal encounters.
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