Sonntag, 15. April 2012

Frank Belknap Long

Frank Belknap Long, Pulp Meister Extraordinaire!

Hi Everybody!
In this weeks instalment we’ll be taking a look at 4 anthologies from the late great Frank Belknap Long. Mr. Long was big in the Horror/SF pulps back in the 30 and 40s.
I’ve enjoyed Mr. Long’s stories since the middle 70s when I first read “The Space Eaters” in “Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos vol. 1”. He was a correspondent of Lovecraft’s and wrote several stories incorporating HPL’s “Cthulhu Mythos”. His attempts at “Mythos” writing were successful enough that his “Hounds of Tindalos” are more or less accepted as “canon”. His stories are pure pulp and crazy enough to stand above the normal horror fare of the 30s and 40s. I find “The Space Eaters” to be one of the very best non-HPL penned “Mythos” tales ever. It tells of an invasion from beyond (actually from outside and between.) in such a cold hearted and nonchalant manner without any of HPL’s typical histrionics that it is truly unsettling without ever being “over the top”. Hats off to the man! But as far as craziness goes, how can you not love such titles as “The Flame Midget”, “The Man with a Thousand Legs” or “The Horror from the Hills”?

Odd Science Fiction.
Belmont future Series. 1964. $0.50
  • · The Horror from the Hills · na Weird Tales Jan ’31 (+1)
  • · The Flame of Life · ss Future Jun ’59
  • · Giant in the Forest · ss Science Fiction Quarterly Feb ’55

The Hounds of Tindalos
Belmont Books. August 1963. $0.50
·  Dark Vision · ss Unknown Mar ’39
·  · The Black Druid · ss Weird Tales Jul ’30
·  · The Space-Eaters · nv Weird Tales Jul ’28
·  · Grab Bags Are Dangerous · ss Unknown Jun ’42
·  · Fisherman’s Luck · ss Unknown Jul ’40
·  · The Elemental · ss Unknown Jul ’39
·  · Golden Child [“The Sculp” as by Leslie Northern] · nv Thrilling Wonder Stories Win ’45
·  · The Peeper · ss Weird Tales Mar ’44
·  · The Hounds of Tindalos · ss Weird Tales Mar ’29

 (Frank Belknap Long’s) The Dark Beasts
and eight other spine-chilling tales from his science-fiction masterwork THE HOUNDS OF TINDALOS
Belmont Books. January 1964. $0.50

·  The Dark Beasts · ss Marvel Tales Jul/Aug ’34
·  · A Stitch in Time · ss Super Science Stories Mar ’40
·  · Death-Waters · ss Weird Tales Dec ’24
·  · Step Into My Garden · ss Unknown Aug ’42
·  · The Flame Midget · ss Astounding Dec ’36
·  · It Will Come to You · ss Unknown Dec ’42
·  · The Ocean Leech · ss Weird Tales Jan ’25
·  · The Census Taker · ss Unknown Apr ’42
·  · The Refugees · ss Unknown Feb ’42

The Rim of the Unknown :Haunting Fantasies by a master of horror
Condor Books. 1978. $1.95

  • · The Spiral Intelligence · ss Science Fiction Plus Jun ’53
  • · The World of Wulkins · nv Thrilling Wonder Stories Apr ’48
  • · The Man with a Thousand Legs · nv Weird Tales Aug ’27
  • · Guest in the House · ss Astounding Mar ’46
  • · The Trap · ss Astounding May ’45
  • · Fuzzy Head · ss Thrilling Wonder Stories Dec ’48
  • · The House of Rising Winds · ss Startling Stories May ’48
  • · Mr. Caxton Draws a Martian Bird · ss Fantastic Universe Jul ’54
  • · · The Cottage · ss Fantastic Universe Sep ’54
  • · The Man from Time · ss Fantastic Universe Mar ’54
  • ·
  • · Preview · vi Fantastic Universe Jan ’56
  • · Lesson in Survival · ss Thrilling Wonder Stories Dec ’52
  • · Good to Be a Martian · ss Fantastic Universe Feb ’55
  • · Filch · ss Astounding Mar ’45
  • · The Spectacles · vi Fantastic Universe Apr ’56
  • · Man of Distinction · ss Fantastic Universe Nov ’54
  • · The Great Cold · ss Astounding Feb ’35
  • · Green Glory · ss Astounding Jan ’35
  • · The Last Men · ss Astounding Aug ’34

Mr. Long was 94 when he passed away in poverty.

From the Wikipedia article on Long:

Long died on
January 3, 1994 at the age of 92, survived by his wife, Lyda. Due to his poverty, he was interred in a potter's field for indigents. Friends and colleagues, on learning of this indignity, had his remains moved and reinterred at New York City's Woodlawn Cemetery, in a family plot near that of Lovecraft's grandparents. Despite a seven-decade career as a writer, he had died impoverished after many years living in the Chelsea District of Manhattan; Long's fans contributed over $3000 to have his name engraved upon the tombstone of his family plot.

"The Hounds of Tindalos!" he muttered. "Thev can only reach us through angles. We must eliminate all angles from this room. I shall plaster up all of the corners, all of the crevices. We must make this room resemble the interior of a sphere."

me." he cried. "I did not mean to offend you. You have a superlative intellect, but I—I have a superhuman one. It is only natural that I should be aware of your limitations."

"They are lean and athirst!" he shrieked. "The Hounds of Tindalos!"

"When I awake I may be able to supply the key to whatever is mysterious or incredible. I am not sure that I shall succeed, but if I do succeed"- his eyes were strangely luminous- "time will exist for me no longer!"

"It is growing dark in the room. I must phone Frank. But can he get here in time? I will try. I will recite the Einstein formula. I will—God. they are breaking through! They are breaking through! Smoke is pouring from the coiners of the wall 'Their tongues—ahhhhh—"
                                                                         The Hounds of Tindalos

“I knew that something unspeakably malign was crouching on the ground beside me. I could hear it breathing in the darkness and the stench of it strangles the breath in my throat.
     Then an unsurpassably ponderous weight descended upon my chest and hurled me to the ground. A solid wall of something cold, slimy and implacable rose up in the darkness.
     The thing pinioned my arms and the more I twisted and squirmed the more agonizingly it tightened about me. The constriction increased until breathing became a torture, until all my flesh palpitated with pain.
    Then abruptly , the pressure ceased and I became aware of two unblinking fish white eyes glaring truculently  at me through the darkness. Agonizingly I sat up and ran my hands over my chest and arms. My fingers encountered a warm wetness and with a hideous clarity it was borne in on me that THE THING HAD BEEN FEATING ON MY BLOOD!
                                                           The Horror from the Hills

Slowly we moved among the trees. They towered above us, and the thick fog so distorted them and merged them together that they seemed to move forward with us. From their twisted branches the fog hung in ribbons. Ribbons, did I say? Rather were they snakes of fog— writhing snakes with venomous tongues and leering eyes. Through swirling clouds of fog we saw the scaly, gnarled boles of the trees, and every bole resembled the twisted body of an evil old man. Only the small oblong of light cast by my electric torch protected us against their malevolence.
    Through great banks of fog we moved, and every moment the screams grew louder. Soon we were catching fragments of sentences, hysterical shoutings that merged into prolonged wails. "Colder and colder and colder . . . they are eating up my brain. Colder! Ah-h-h!"
    Howard gripped my arm. "We'll find him," he said. "We can't turn back now."
    When we found him he was lying on his side. His hands were clasped about his head, and his body was bent double, the knees drawn up so tightly that they almost touched his chest. He was silent. We bent and shook him, but he made no sound.
    "Is he dead?" I choked out. I wanted desperately to turn and run. The trees were very close to us.
    "I don't know," said Howard.
"I don't know. I hope that he is dead."
     As I spoke, the body that we were carrying squirmed, and from its cracked lips issued a torrent of gibberish: "I was walking between the trees looking up. I couldn't see their tops. I was looking up, and then suddenly I looked down and the thing landed on my shoulders. It was all legs—all long, crawling legs. It went right into my head. I wanted to get away from the trees, but I couldn't. I was alone in the forest with the thing on my back, in my head, and when I tried to run, the trees reached out and tripped me. It made a hole so it could get in. It's my brain it wants. Today it made a hole, and now it's crawled in and it's sucking and sucking and sucking. It's as cold as ice and it makes a noise like a great big fly. But it isn't a fly. And it isn't a hand. I was wrong when I called it a hand. You can't see it. I wouldn't have seen or felt it if it hadn't made a hole and got in. You almost see it, you almost feel it, and that means that it's getting ready to go in."
    "Can you walk, Wells? Can you walk?"
    Howard had dropped Wells's legs, and I could hear the harsh intake of his breath as he struggled to rid himself of his slicker.
    "I think so," Wells sobbed. "But it doesn't matter. It's got me now. Put me down and save yourselves."
    "We've got to run!" I yelled.
    "It's our one chance," cried Howard. "Wells, you follow us. Follow us, do you understand? They'll burn up your brain if they catch you.
We're going to run, lad. Follow us!"
                                                                                The Space Eaters

Thanks for stopping by and have a great week!



  1. Oh, geez. I've got ODD SCIENCE FICTION (I've actually had 2 copies, having discovered it originally in a little used bookstore in Texarkana; its replacement, I think, turned up in the store a few blocks from my house here in Alabama a few years back), but I've never before seen photos, much less *copies*, of those 2 other Belmont collections. Used to own the '70s British equivalents, which I need to replace in whatever form or fashion, because I remember thinking highly of several of the stories therein.

    RIM OF THE UNKNOWN I owned in its Arkham original edition, but of course that's long gone.

    I would've discovered Long, of course, via the Beagle Books editions of TALES OF THE CTHULHU MYTHOS. To this day, "The horror came to Partridgeville in a blind fog," assuming that I'm quoting it correctly, resonates with me as one of the great opening lines ever.


  2. The Beagle Mythos Books are exactly where I discovered Long. The UK edition of "Hounds2 has an amazing cover, but is sadly going for a small fortune on Ebay. I'd love to have another copy of "Night Fear" from Zebra, but they are also asking a small fortune in Ebay and Abebooks. "The Space Eaters" is great!

    take care.

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