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Friday, November 7, 2014

More Devil

In the early eighties, I fell under the influence of a group of Lovecraftian scholars that included R. Alain Everts, John J. Koblas, and Eric A. Carlson. I met Jack Koblas and Eric Carlson at a World Fantasy Convention shortly after getting off active duty with the Army, and they invited me to write a piece on Henry Kuttner for an all-Kuttner issue of Etchings & Odysseys that included a Kuttner tribute by Ray Bradbury. Of course, I rushed straight home from the con and wrote my tribute to Hank. I had read everything Kuttner and C. L. Moore had written (everything Bradbury had written, too), and I was honored to be invited into a Kuttner issue alongside Ray Bradbury. Kuttner was my hero, a prolific writer who had written sf, epic fantasy, and horror fiction under both his own name and a plethora of pseudonyms. I was so honored, in fact, that “Random Factors: The recurring Themes of Henry Kuttner” became the first genre piece I penned that bore my full name on publication.

Like Kuttner, I had used lots of different pseudonyms for my genre fiction. Most of my early stories had been written while I was still in the military. Although I did use Paul D. Anderson for non-fiction, my short stories and novels appeared under a variety of pen names because I wanted to keep separate my writing life from my military life. Besides, Paul Anderson seemed too ordinary a name for a writer, and I continued to use pen names even after transferring to the Army Reserve.

But when I wrote the Kuttner tribute, I discovered that one of the reasons Kuttner wasn’t remembered as a truly great writer, despite his multitude of brilliant works, was because so many of his stories were masked by pseudonyms like Larry O’Donnell and Lewis Padget.

Koblas and Carlson were thrilled with my Kuttner piece, and so was Strange Company publisher Randy Everts. Everts invited me to submit my horror fiction to his revived Arkham Samper. I did, and Randy Everts published two of my short stories, “Who Knows What Evil Lurks” and “Soon” under my own by-line. He also published “Love Till the End of Time” in a limited edition chapbook.

So the first Paul Dale Anderson horror stories were published by The Strange Company. “The Last Ding Dong of Doom” appeared in Dave Silva’s The Horror Show magazine under my Dale Anderson by-line, and I wanted to see it reprinted under my full name. So, when the “End of Time” chapbook was snatched up immediately on publication and Randy asked me to compile a small collection of short stories, I told Randy I had twenty horror stories currently available. I sent them off by snail mail. He also bought Hot Summer, a pseudonymous erotic novel that he said he was going to publish. If he did, I’ve never seen a copy. But that’s all right. I sold him all rights, which is what I was used to doing with down-and-dirties I sold to packagers and sleaze publishers. I think I still have a carbon of that story somewhere in my files.

The Devil Made Me Do It, my first collection of short stories, was published by Miskatonic University Press, an imprint of The Strange Company, in 1985. It had an original cover painting by Weird Tales cover artist Jon Arfstrom. Karl Edward Wagner sent me a handwritten note that read, “Picked up a copy of The Devil Made Me Do It. Nice work!” Devil got good reviews in The Horror Show and Fantasy Review and Scavenger’s Newsletter and even a favorable mention in The Chicago Tribune.

I’m glad to see The Devil Made Me Do It back in print after all of these years. It’s coming out soon as a digital edition from Macabre Ink and Crossroad Press.


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