Posthumous Collaborations

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Following Lovecraft's death, August Derleth wrote a number of stories based on fragments and notes (such as those in the "Commonplace Book (fiction)") left by Lovecraft. These were published in Weird Tales and later in book form, under the byline "H. P. Lovecraft and August Derleth", with Derleth calling himself a "posthumous collaborator." This practice has raised objections in some quarters that Derleth simply used Lovecraft's name to market what was essentially his own fiction; S.T. Joshi refers to the "posthumous collaborations" as marking the beginning of "perhaps the most disreputable phase of Derleth's activities".

Other authors have also created similar "posthumous collaborations".

A collection of Derleth's "Posthumous Collaborations"....

"Collaborations" with other authors

The Thing in the Moonlight

Originally took to form of a dream Lovecraft described to Donald Wandrei. After the letter was rediscovered and published, J. Chapman Miske converted it to story form, mainly by transcribing most of Lovecraft's original dream directly into a couple paragraphs of framing story. The dream involves Lovecraft wandering through a strange, timeless, post-apocalyptic landscape, following some trolley tracks in the moonlight to a trolley car, and then being chased by a pair of bestial, howling, tentacled creatures dressed as trolley conductors; Miske's framing story has the dream written by an illiterate man who somehow exhibits the memories and writing style of Lovecraft.

The Black Tome of Alsophocus

See "The Black Tome of Alsophocus (fiction)", a story written by Martin S. Warnes based on "The Book (fragment)", apparently an abortive attempt by Lovecraft to convert parts of "Fungi from Yuggoth (poem)" into prose story form, in which a man obtains an disreputable and rare tome from a sinister and mysterious book-seller; Warnes' additions turn the story into a Nyarlathotep possession tale when Lovecraft's character reads the titular Black Tome.


HPL appears to have offered to help Harry S. Whitehead with revising a rejected story, apparently entitled "The Bruise (fragment)", involving a man who receives a blow to the head and experiencing strange visions, which Lovecraft elaborated into a weird tale involving recovered memories of a past life on the doomed lost continent of Mu 20,000 years into the past. It's unclear whether Whitehead had ever finished the story; a tale matching this description, entitled "Bothon", would suddenly be produced after Lovecraft's death by August Derleth, apparently another of Derleth's numerous "collaborations" (the timing of the publishing and presumably the writing fits well with a timeline that assumes that Derleth, having already published a number of his "collaborations" and looking for more material, came across a reference to "The Bruise" in Lovecraft's papers, and, unable to find the original, simply wrote it himself based on Lovecraft's notes).

The Derleth "Collaborations"

The Lamp of Al-Hazred

"Ancient lamp found in tomb -- when filled and used, its light reveals strange world." - H.P. Lovecraft, "Commonplace Book (fiction)"

A descriptive passage of "The Lamp of Alhazred" was based on a portion of a letter by Lovecraft to Derleth, 18 November 1936. Derleth's story is a vaguely Dunsanian story about young Ward Phillips, who inherits the titular magic lamp from his ailing grandfather Whipple, along the wonders the lamp reveals.

The Dark Brotherhood

"Identity - reconstruction of personality - man makes duplicate of himself." - H.P. Lovecraft, "Commonplace Book (fiction)"

A small town is invaded by a horde of Edgar Allan Poe clones.

The Lurker at the Threshold

The Lurker at the Threshold is a 50,000-word novel that contains only about 1,200 words by Lovecraft, most of it taken from a fragment entitled "Of Evill Sorceries Done in New England of Daemons in no Humane Shape (fragment)", the balance from the fragments now titled "The Rose Window (fragment)" and "The Round Tower (fragment)".

The Survivor

"Individual, by some strange process, retraces the path of evolution and becomes amphibious. Dr. insists that the particular amphibian from which man descends is not like any known to palaeontology. To prove it, indulges in (or relates) strange experiment." - H.P. Lovecraft, "Commonplace Book (fiction)"

"The Survivor", involving a man who becomes fascinated by an old house occupied by a fishy scientist experimenting on himself with amphibian blood, was based on a comparatively lengthy plot sketch plus random notes for the story jotted down by Lovecraft in 1934.

The Murky Glass

(See "The Gable Window", below.)

The Gable Window

"Pane of peculiar-looking glass from a ruined monastery reputed to have harboured devil-worship set up in modern house at edge of wild country. Landscape looks vaguely and unplaceably wrong through it. It has some unknown time-distorting quality, and comes from a primal, lost civilisation. Finally, hideous things in other world seen through it." - H.P. Lovecraft, "Commonplace Book (fiction)"

"The Gable Window", AKA "The Murky Glass", in which a man inherits a house with a peculiar window containing a Glass of Leng, which looks out upon an alien world. Expands on H.P. Lovecraft's "The Rose Window (fragment)".

The Gable Window: Description and analysis by Bret Kramer

The Shuttered Room

"A secret living thing kept and fed in an old house." - H.P. Lovecraft, "Commonplace Book (fiction)"

A man returns to his forbidding ancestral estate in Dunwich, and catches hints of a diminutive amphibian creature lurking in the titular shuttered room where his "mazed" Aunt Marsh was once locked away after a visit to Innsmouth. Adapted as the movie The Shuttered Room (1967).

The Shuttered Room: Description and analysis by Bret Kramer

The Fisherman of Falcon Point

"Fisherman casts his net into the sea by moonlight - what he finds." - H.P. Lovecraft, "Commonplace Book (fiction)"

The titular New England fisherman catches a mermaid in his net, falls in love with her, and refuses to let her return to the sea. Similar to the Night Gallery (1970 series) episode, "Lindemann's Catch".

The Fishermen of Falcon Point: Description and analysis by Bret Kramer

Witches' Hollow

These Lovecraft quotes are more or less taken from Oliver Wendell Holmes' "The Guardian Angel":

"N.E. region call'd 'Witches' Hollow' - along course of a river. Rumours of witches' sabbaths and Indian powwows on a broad mound rising out of the level where some old hemlocks and beeches formed a dark grove or daemon-temple. Legends hard to account for. Holmes - Guardian Angel." - H.P. Lovecraft, "Commonplace Book (fiction)"
"Witches' Hollow novel? Man hired as teacher in private school road on first trip - encounters dark hollow with unnaturally swollen trees and small cottage (light in window?). Reaches school and hears that boys are forbidden to visit hollow. One boy is strange - teacher sees him visit hollow - odd doings - mysterious disappearance or hideous fate." - H.P. Lovecraft, "Commonplace Book (fiction)"

In Derleth's story, an Arkham family are possessed by an entity (possibly Hastur itself) from the Hyades and associated with Lake Hali.

Witches Hollow: Description and analysis by Bret Kramer

The area as a game setting is described here: Witches' Hollow

The Seal of R'lyeh

"Thing from sea--in dark house, man finds doorknobs etc. wet as from touch of something. He has been a sea-captain, and once found a strange temple on a volcanically risen island." - H.P. Lovecraft, "Commonplace Book (fiction)"

A young member of the Phillips family moves into his ancestral Innsmouth home, begins taking up his family's old habits, falls for his maidservant, transforms with her into Deep Ones, and then joins her in the sea. (Evidentally borrows the wet-doorknob idea, but apparently not much else.)

Wentworth's Day

"Horror story: Man makes appointment with old enemy. Dies - body keeps appointment." - H.P. Lovecraft, "Commonplace Book (fiction)"

A man wandering by Dunwich is forced to take shelter in a spooky farmhouse when a downpour starts; inside the farmhouse, he encounters an eccentric old man waiting for a dead man to keep an appointment....

Wentworth's Day: Description and analysis by Bret Kramer

Innsmouth Clay

"Man idly shapes a queer image--some power impels him to make it queerer than he understands. Throws it away in disgust--but something is abroad in the night." - H.P. Lovecraft, "Commonplace Book (fiction)"

An artist begins looking and acting strangely while he forms a lump of blue clay into his "sea goddess"....

Innsmouth Clay: Description and analysis by Bret Kramer

The Shadow out of Space

"Vague lights, geometrical figures, etc., seen on retina when eyes are closed. Caus'd by rays from other dimensions acting on optick nerve? From other planets? Connected with a life or phase of being in which person could live if he only knew how to get there? Man afraid to shut eyes - he has been somewhere on a terrible pilgrimage and this fearsome seeing faculty remains." - H.P. Lovecraft, "Commonplace Book (fiction)"

A sort of poor-man's "Shadow Out of Time (fiction)", shoehorned into Derleth's cosmology, and told from the point of view of a psychiatrist treating a patient for Yithian mind-swappery.

The Shadow out of Space: Description and analysis by Bret Kramer

The Horror from the Middle Span

"Ancient (Roman? prehistoric?) stone bridge washed away by a (sudden and curious?) storm. Something liberated which had been sealed up in the masonry of years ago. Things happen." - H.P. Lovecraft, "Commonplace Book (fiction)"

A man inherits a spooky house, gets sucked into studying creepy old books, and soon uncovers a plot twist in the form of an undead sorcerer released from his tomb within the middle span of a local bridge.

The Horror from the Middle Span: Description and analysis by Bret Kramer

The Ancestor

Apparently a past-life tale involving the use of sounds, scents, and drugs to recall lost memories, based on HPL's summary of Leonard Cline's The Dark Chamber, which Derleth misinterpreted as Lovecraft's idea.

The Peabody Heritage

"Members of witch-cult were buried face downward. Man investigates ancestor in family tomb and finds disquieting condition." - H.P. Lovecraft, "Commonplace Book (fiction)"

A man inherits a spooky house, gets sucked into studying creepy old books, and soon uncovers a plot twist in the form of the discovery of a hidden room used by a witch for human sacrifice, now filled with human bones.

The Shadow in the Attic

"Man forced to take shelter in strange house. Host has thick beard and dark glasses. Retires. In night guest rises and sees host's clothes about -- also mask which was the apparent face of whatever the host was. Flight." - H.P. Lovecraft, "Commonplace Book (fiction)"

A man inherits a spooky house, gets sucked into studying creepy old books, and soon uncovers a plot twist in the form of a creepy maid wearing rubber gloves and a mask haunting the house.

The Shadow in the Attic: Description and Analysis by Bret Kramer

The Watchers out of Time

"Something seen at oriel window of forbidden room in ancient manor house." - H.P. Lovecraft, "Commonplace Book (fiction)"

(Unfinished also by Derleth.) A man inherits a spooky house, gets sucked into studying creepy old books, and soon uncovers a plot twist in the form of a creepy window in the shape of a triangular tentacled eye. Also makes use of the fragment now titled "The Rose Window (fragment)".