Saturday, July 7, 2012
ROBERT BLOCH IN WEIRD TALES
Robert Bloch was born in Chicago on April 15, 1917. His father was a bank cashier and his mother was a social worker. His imagination was sparked by the silent films of Lon Chaney, Sr., but it was set ablaze when he discovered his first issue of WEIRD TALES on the newsstand.
He fell immediately under the spell of the "old gentleman" of Rhode Island, H.P. Lovecraft, a horror and fantasist whose fame in modern times has eclipsed even that of Edgar Allan Poe. Like many young writers of weird fiction, Bloch patterned his style after Lovecraft's, emulating his archaic stylings that have been noted by scholars and critics as paradoxically both his strength and his weakness.
Bloch's first sale was a story entitled, Lilies, which was published in the monthly pulp MARVEL TALES. His first sale to WEIRD TALES, a story called The Secret of the Tomb, was published only a few months later. Block was all of seventeen-years-old!
The following story was published a few years later in the December 1937 issue of WEIRD TALES. Appearing just months after "Grandpa's" death, he remains influenced by Lovecraft's tropes, such as the dreaded tome of terror, the Necronomicon of the Mad Arab Abdul Alhazred (Bloch added his own creation, De Vermis Mysteriis by Ludvig Prinn, first used in his story The Shambler From the Stars, into the quasi/pseudo-mythological canon of Lovecraftiana), and Nyarlathotep. His bad boy, Nephren-Ka, is the boogey man here.
And, just what the devil is a "Fane", you may ask? Another term (and more archaic, of course!) for a temple.