Just noticed that today Don Webb tossed up a review of A Look Behind the Derleth Mythos on Amazon. He explains why he suddenly covers John D. Haefele’s previous book at the end:
August Derleth was an unimaginative but professional horror writer. He was a great editor (producing topnotch anthologies of horror, SF and poetry). He is a very underrated regional novelist. And he is a small press superhero. In the micro-world of Lovecraftian criticism it is fashionable to deride Derleth for his mediocre horror writing (although he had a couple of strong tales) and particularly his “posthumous collaborations” — seeing him as a vampire feeding off of Lovecraft’s fame. This book shows the opposite — by strategically keeping his press alive he CREATED most of Lovecraft’s fame and got the money to publish five volumes of HPL’s letters and even his poetry. The book could have been improved by a history of SF small presses — showing how remarkable it was to keep a small press alive. Likewise more material on how Derleth effected the horror world by finding and encouraging such writers as Ramsey Campbell and the influence of his topnotch anthologies on SF and H writing worlds would have been great. Of course that would be a L O N G book. Uncle Don says, “Buy this!” Submitted on February 24 — August Derleth’s birthday.
All that stuff he’d like to see, the history of the genre small presses (especially, I presume, in the bleak make-or-break decade of the 1950s) — hey, that’s the stuff Haefele is slaving over now for his upcoming August Derleth of Arkham House.
Now that he’s got the monumental Lovecraft: The Great Tales out of the way.