Sunday, January 24, 2016

Lovecaftian Thing A Day No.24: An Atlas of Fantasy

In the very first post in this series I noted that the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction acted as my formal introduction to Lovecaft's fictive universe, but that I had heard rumour of the Old Gent prior to my encounter with that volume. Today I present J.B. Post's An Atlas of Fantasy, published in 1973 by Mirage Press (and reprinted in an amended/expanded edition by Ballantyne In 1979). I believe that this was one of the sources of my very first encounters with the Lovecaftian milieu, containing as it did the famous Gahan Wilson map of Lovecraft's Arkham, a map the Dreamlands, alongside various maps documenting the strange worlds envisaged by others of the Lovecaft circle.

I found ths book in my local library - which, in retrospect, seems to have been on par with the Restricted/Special Collection of the Miskatonic Unversity Library with regards to the kind of eldritch tomes of forbidden lore I was able to peruse there - sometime around (I think) 1977. I distinctly recall being very taken by the the Frank Utpatel map of Ramsey Campbell's Severn Valley, which led to an almost decade-long quest to track down Campbell's mythos tales (only realised in 1987 with Graftons UK paperback release of Cold Print - more of which at a later date).

I picked up this copy of An Atlas of Fantasy from the much-mourned Fantasy Centre in Holloway Road, London: until its closure, probably one of the last bastions of independent horror/fantasy/sci-fi bookselling in the British Isles (another matter to which I am sure to return).

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