Julian Hawthorne’s The Strange Recollections of Martha Klemm

Be sure to check out the Kickstarter!

Cirsova Publishing’s effort to rescue Julian Hawthorne’s planetary romance The Cosmic Courtship from its ‘near-lost’ status was met with a tremendous response. We established a new and ongoing Cirsova Classics imprint devoted to finding ‘near-lost’ pulp fiction in the public domain and publishing them in modern format as part of a Stretch Goal that was met.

We only thought it fitting that, before moving on to other works by other authors, we should complete a set of Julian Hawthorne’s All-Story Weekly-era fiction in a standard set.

What is ‘near-lost’ fiction?

When we talk about ‘near-lost’ fiction, we refer to works that extant but virtually unobtainable for most modern readers. These particular stories are Public Domain and part of the world’s common literary heritage, however, in many cases, there’s virtually no way for anyone to read them! Many works from this era have only ever been printed in now very expensive and hard to find pulp magazines. Even if cost were not an object, availability often is.

As with The Cosmic Courtship, the aim of this project is to collect and reproduce these works in a standard modern format for readers today to be able to enjoy without having to spend a fortune collecting the rare and antique magazines in which they were originally published.

Who is Julian Hawthorne?

For those who are new and didn’t follow our project to restore The Cosmic Courtship, hello!  Julian Hawthorne was the son of iconic American writer Nathaniel Hawthorne and an incredibly prolific writer in his own right. Julian wrote on a wide variety of subjects, ranging from literary analysis of his father’s works to poetry to period romances and adventures. Late in his career, Julian even dabbled in the emerging genre of Science Fiction. He was especially fascinated by the metaphysical, and many of his stories foreshadow “Weird Fiction.”

Who is Martha Klemm?

“JULIAN HAWTHORNE and Marth Klemm! Here is a combination to provoke the most jaded fiction appetite. Hawthorne, who is in the tradition of his illustrious father, transcends the commendation accorded lesser lights.” Thus did the editor for the December 20, 1919 issue of All-Story Weekly introduce the second appearance of Hawthorne’s heroine.

Martha Klemm describes herself as “a handsome spinster, of the Beacon Street, Boston, brand.” Claiming descent from the “Salem witches,” Martha is bold and forward modern woman with a touch of clairvoyance and a penchant for finding herself in strange circumstance and odd adventure in her globetrotting lifestyle. 

Following The Cosmic Courtship, Hawthorne featured Martha as protagonist narrator of the horror novelette, Absolute Evil. The character must have been well received, at least by the editorial staff of All-Story Weekly. All-Story would go on to publish the novella A Goth From Boston and the novel Sara Was Judith, both of which featured Martha as narrator and a central figure in the midst of wild and tumultuous events, while vociferously lauding and touting Hawthorne’s charming heroine in the editor-written lead-ins.

The Formats

Like The Cosmic Courtship, all three books in this project will be offered in the following formats:

  •  Pocket Paperback  – Cirsova has been bringing back the Pocket Paperback format! These are no-frills and have a small type face to reduce page count and costs. A good, cheap way to get the stories, but maybe not the best for older readers and the visually impaired.
  •  Magazine Format – Cirsova recreates the look and feel of the pulps with these large-sized double-columned magazine-style paperbacks.
  •  Trade Paperback – Standard trade paperback format. Good balance of cost and convenience.
  •  Hardcover – Cirsova is offering each book as a handsome hardcover volume with wrap-around dust-jacket.

We are also offering an incredible limited edition coffee table Omnibus that collects ALL of Hawthorne’s All-Story Weekly fiction in a single oversized volume. 

All in all, that’s 13 different books!

The Tiers

There are a LOT of books being offered as part of this project, so we want to try to make things as clear as possible!

Individual books – Whether it’s the pocketbook, trade, magazine, or hardcover, you can back for a single one of the books we’re offering. You can back for one book and choose other titles/formats as add-ons to your pledge. THIS INCLUDES THE LIMITED OVERSIZED HARDCOVER OMNIBUS.

Sets of a title – You can back for a set of a single title and receive all formats for that title. For instance, if you backed for a set of Sara was Judith, you would receive the pocketbook, the trade, the magazine, and the hardcover formats of Sara was Judith, and you could add other titles/formats as add-ons to your pledge.

Sets of a format – You can back for a set of all titles in a single format. For instance, if you backed for a hardcover set, you would receive Absolute Evil & A Goth From Boston, Sara Was Judith, and Doris Dances & Fires Rekindled in the hardcover format, and you could add other titles/formats as add-ons to your pledge.

The Add-Ons

All of the titles and all of the formats we’re offering through this project are available as add-ons which may be added individually to any tier. THIS INCLUDES THE LIMITED OVERSIZED HARDCOVER OMNIBUS! We’ve set aside an additional 100 which may be included as add-ons to orders for individuals who want the other sets or individual volumes.

The Goals

This project has taken an immense amount of time, money, and energy from the team. Copies of the issues containing pieces of the stories that were NOT extant had to be tracked down, purchased, and scanned.

The text then had to be retyped from the scans of the pulps by Robert. 

The retyped text has had to undergo numerous reviews for accuracy and then placed into format. We’ve brought in additional help, Cirsova Magazine copy editor Mark Thompson, so that P. Alexander isn’t doing all of those reviews himself. Hopefully, this third set of eyes will reduce embarrassing errors and typos managing to get through.

The artwork has had to be digitally restored by Michael using multiple copies of old, faded and sometimes damaged pulp covers.

We’re getting these fantastic stories back into the world come hell or high water, but being able to compensate the team for their time, effort, and investment is absolutely critical to allowing us to continue this project of restoring near-lost pulp works.

$10,000 – Pulp Trading Cards

We will be including free pulp trading cards for the Cirsova Classics releases. Each card will be fronted with the cover of the Cirsova Classics pulp title, and the reverse will contain vital facts, such as author, publication dates, originally printed, etc. and a short summary. Backers will be sent cards corresponding to the titles they pre-order. A card for The Cosmic Courtship will be sent to backers who pre-order the Hawthorne Omnibus. These cards will be exclusively made available through our pre-orders for Cirsova Classics titles!

$15,000 – Digital copies to all backers and donating the text to Project Gutenberg

The ultimate goal of a project like this is to make these available to the world because they are part of our literary heritage and everyone should be able to discover and analyze these works to better understand the patchwork history of this fascinating era of fiction.

If we manage to hit this goal, we will give EPUB ebooks to all backers AND we will donate the digital texts of these stories to Project Gutenberg!

The Books:

Absolute Evil & A Goth From Boston

This volume collects the novelette Absolute Evil and the novella A Goth From Boston.

Unlike many of Hawthorne’s All-Story works, Absolute Evil has been collected and reprinted many times and is considered an absolute classic of horror. A Goth From Boston is a bit more obscure. Serialized across two issues, this story CAN be found online in scans with some digging, but has never been collected and presented as a whole.

Absolute Evil – (1918)

“Thomas Aquinas says that angels, white and black, can change men into beasts permanently; enchanters could do it, too, but not for long. Seventeenth century witchcraft affirmed that certain natural objects and rites could produce strange effects without aid of God or devil. But the operator must renounce God and Christ, be re-baptised, trample on the cross, and be marked in a certain way—a symbolic transaction. The person could then do only evil—good was forbidden to him, or her!”

Absolute Evil is, in many ways, Julian Hawthorne’s coda on his father’s works pertaining to the theme of Calvinist “doom.” Many of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s villains and tragic figures hearken back to  Marlowe’s Faustus, with the worldview that destiny and damnation are unalterable though it was the choices they made through free-will that set them on the road to hell.

Unlike his father’s work on the subject, however, Absolute Evil is an action-packed thriller in which a Presbyterian minister turns himself into a werewolf and haunts the New England beaches.

A Goth From Boston – (1919)

“Her father assured me with pride that she could—as he expressed it—lick any boy of her age on the Beach. And he said to her once, in my hearing, when she had come in rather late to cook dinner, with that grin of hers, in spite of a black eye and a bloody nose, and with a tale how she had ‘walloped’ her latest antagonist—‘Right-o, Polly, my lass,’ he said; ‘as long as ye lick ’em, ye’re excused; but the first one as licks you ye’ll marry him—mind that!—so be he’s not married already; and that’ll be a lesson to ye never to mix it up with married men, anyway!’ A plain reversion to the Stone Age, you see.”

While on an errand to gently turn down a proposal from Cabot Selwyn, a Professor of Biology, Martha Klemm meets a most intriguing and alluring beauty–working in the service of the good doctor as mere maid!

Fate and the forces of nature conspire to throw the trio together time and again: can the Doctor escape his ivory tower understanding of biology and embrace the human? 

Hawthorne explores the dichotomy between the “Prospero” and the “Caliban” within the human spirit, in this adventure on the high seas featuring a delightful Tomboy, a hapless professor, a chad sailor, and of course, Martha Klemm!

Sara Was Judith

This volume collects a true near-lost Hawthorne story. Originally serialized across five issues, Sara Was Judith was Hawthorne’s final novel for All-Story Weekly. It has never been collected or reprinted until now.

Sara Was Judith – (1920)

“She is not there, she is something else; she is an angel—or a devil come back to peep at us, to be worshiped, to mock us, to kill us, to smile on us as we die, and to go on to another, again to ravish and destroy him! What is she—who is she? No one knows! But she was, before the Pyramids, and when our great Londons and Parises are a jungle and a swamp, she was what men desire and can never possess, the glimmer in the dark, the mirage in the desert, the thing that is, and is not!”

The editor for All-Story Weekly called “Sara Was Judith” “one of the most remarkable stories ever written. It is entirely unlike any story that you have ever read.” Indeed, Hawthorne weaves a strange tale that straddles gothic, romantic adventure, and even body horror in a work that is truly prototypic of what would eventually become known as “Weird Fiction.” 

Martha Klemm’s school chum, Sara, is an impossibly bland and uninspired woman living a rather dull and ordinary life–quite the contrast with Martha’s, filled with globetrotting adventure. Sara’s daughter Judith is her exact opposite: filled with life and vibrancy, mystery and mischief.

When a deadly storm drowns the girl saving the young lad who fancies her, Sara, in her one act of passion, hangs herself in her boudoir. Pronounced dead, Sara shocks the mourning household, friends, and doctor when she emerges later that evening, more vivacious than she has ever been… and protesting that she is Judith!

Julian Hawthorne’s final novel for All-Story Weekly is a haunting and beautiful tale of love and betrayal and the struggle between good and evil that Miss Martha Klemm finds herself caught, an active and partial observer, within!

Doris Dances & Fires Rekindled

Before All-Story would revisit Martha Klemm in 1919 with A Goth From Boston, the magazine ran two more of Julian Hawthorne’s novellas, which are collected in this volume. As neither of these stories had accompanying cover art, we’ve commissioned this original cover with pencils & inks by Dark Filly [Tales of the Mongoose and Meerkat, Wild Stars] and colors by Michael Tierney [Wild Stars, Beyond the Farthest Star]. 

Doris Dances – (1918)

“But for two kittens, Bob might have grown up a Calvinist divine, and been celebrated in ecclesiastical annals. As it was, he can boast of no memorial more pretentious than this plain record of his career.”

Robert “Bob” McIvor Melrose, an eccentric banjo-playing millionaire, was always a child at heart and wanted nothing more than a child of his own. When his gold-digging wife, forces him to choose between her and an orphan infant girl he adopted, Bob takes little Doris with him on the road. 

Leaving all but a pittance for himself and Doris to live on to his wife, the father and daughter live a simple and carefree life as tramps. Gerda Kent, an artist on the verge of fame, hones her skills and creates her masterpiece capturing the loving father and daughter, Bob picking on his banjo while Doris dances.  

Hawthorne delivers a cozy and clever comic romance to warm the heart.

Fires Rekindled  (1919)

“Yes, it may be that thunders of Armageddon portend that after so many blindfolded ages, the veil of Isis is being lifted at last! Some of us at last may consciously be admitted to intercourse with souls disincarnate, and hear nightingale notes of paradise. How can I doubt it!”

Against the backdrop of the Great War, an American visitor in London is struck by a peculiar deja vu–much stronger than the mere sense he has been to the house where he is staying, he finds he knows of details that he could not possibly, even had he once visited in his youth. The strange sense sends him on a quest for knowledge to uncover a past-life love and solve a century-old possible murder!

Fires Rekindled: The Complete All-Story Weekly Fiction of Julian Hawthorne

This hardcover coffee-table volume will collect ALL of Julian Hawthorne’s All-Story Weekly Fiction in one oversized omnibus. This is limited to the Kickstarter and will NOT be made available through retail! 

  • The Cosmic Courtship (1917)
  • Absolute Evil (1918)
  • Doris Dances (1918)
  • Fires Rekindled (1919)
  • A Goth From Boston (1919)
  • Sara Was Judith (1920)

About The Team

Michael Tierney is a pulp historian and archivist who has written extensively on Edgar Rice Burroughs, having created the massive four volume Edgar Rice Burroughs 100 Year Art Chronology, and is currently working on another Art Chronology about Robert E. Howard. He has been involved in the comic book industry for 40 years, owning two of the oldest comic book stores in Central Arkansas until switching to mail-order only in 2020. He is also an accomplished science fiction writer and artist, having worked on his Wild Stars saga since the 1970s. Michael not only made his pulp library available for this project, he provided the photographic images of these rare magazines so that a manuscript could be produced. He has also lent his years of experience digitally restoring damaged pulp art to restore the original covers of A Goth From Boston and Sara Was Judith. He also did colors for the Fires Rekindled/Omnibus cover.

Robert Allen Lupton is a prolific author, pulp historian, and commercial hot air balloon pilot. He has published nearly 200 short stories across numerous anthologies, including the New York Times Best Selling Chicken Soup For the Soul series, and has published several anthologies and novels. His most recent novel, “Dejanna of the Double Star” was published in December 2020. Robert has been an active Edgar Rice Burroughs historian, researcher, and writer since the 1970s, including at ERBzine, where several of his articles and stories are published. Robert has painstakingly recreated the texts as they were originally published from the digital images provided from Michael’s and his collections.

Cirsova Publishing has been publishing thrilling adventure science fiction and fantasy since 2016. They have published nearly 20 issues of their flagship publication, Cirsova Magazine. Additionally, they have published a number of anthologies, a fully illustrated edition of Leigh Brackett’s Planet Stories-era Stark adventures, Jim Breyfogle’s Mongoose and Meerkat, and the 35th Anniversary Editions of Michael Tierney’s Wild Stars.

House of Seven Gables + DC Festival of Asian Heroes

Given how much of Julian Hawthorne I’ve been reading lately, I thought it behooved me to read a bit more of his father’s work, and I just happened to have a fairly nice illustrated copy of The House of Seven Gables lying around waiting to be read.

I get why kids who had to read this in high school hated it, I really do. Though it is a tale of mystery, murder, madness, mesmerism and a wizard’s curse, so very little happens and Hawthorne takes his sweet time in the telling to get there.

Yet, despite how tedious and absolutely turgid House of Seven Gables is, I feel like it could be easily adapted into Children’s Puppet Theatre, probably boil the whole bloody gist of it down to about 20 minutes.

I have to admit that I felt a bit smug that Henry James’ afterword for House of Seven Gables seemed to entirely support and justify this belief.

He notes that the characters, while lavishly and intricately detailed, are mere “pictures” and grotesques, acting out their tropes, than truly fleshed out ‘real’ characters. The book focuses almost entirely on tableau and scene, painting the picture of these characters.

So, while the “story” is, imo, great–fantastic, really–it is such a small portion of the work itself–buried, really, like the old sorcerer himself, underneath the endless description of the house and its accursed inhabitants.

I think that it could be distilled easily into 20-30 minutes:

  • Narration of the Pyncheon vs. Maule saga culminating in the bloody death
  • A brief parade of the characters and their foibles, culminating in Phoebe’s awkward introduction to Jaffrey
  • Tableau of the dinner, Phoebe and Clifford’s relationship, maybe the bit with the weird chickens, done in a couple minutes’ description and puppet pantomime
  • Phoebe and Holgrave + Holgrave narrates the story of Alice, Phoebe departs.
  • Jaffrey’s attempt to confront Clifford
  • Clifford and Hepzibah’s flight + a very condensed version of Clifford’s rant about impending modernity
  • The return to Seven Gables, Phoebe & Holgrave’s union, and the discovery of the lost “treasure” could be condensed to a single scene with a narrated happily ever after.

I’d probably cut Uncle Venner, since, while he may be thematically important, I think he can be removed wholly from the narrative and the story remain unaffected. He’s there only as commentary and to comment on the other characters who are engaged in the plot.

Anyway, whether or not I’ll have time to come up with a puppet operetta, we’ll have to see…

So, I recently picked up Festival of Asian Heroes as an excuse to introduce myself at a new shop. I don’t know what I was expecting, but somehow this book was much worse and much more cringe than I imagined. Practically no one knows how to write cape stories anymore… practically every story just doing the “here is the character monologuing about their life and their feels while things happen in the panels.” Plus the awful strawman villains in the Katana story were oof.

Literally the only short I liked was Tamaki’s Cassie, and even tho it was mostly monologuing, at least it pulled off being cute. It sucks that they chose to showcase Asian capes [somehow Damian Wayne qualifies as this?] in such a lousy book with such lousy stories. I’d say these characters deserve better, but I’m not really caring that much anymore.

Foreword: “There just weren’t any Asian heroes in comic books when I was a kid.” will_smith_wildly_gesticulating_at_the_glut_of_now-forgotten_asian_led_titles_in_the_70s_and_80s.jpg

Dice Latte - DC Festival of Heroes The Asian Superhero Celebration #1 (One  Shot) Cover B Stanley Artgerm Lau Variant
Pretty much the only reason I bought this.

The ArtGerm variant was gorgeous, I was curious to see what Gene Luen Yang was gonna do [was kinda disappointed] and it was an excuse to meet the new store without having to add it to a pull [so at least DC doesn’t get to boast about order numbers from picking up an extra that the new place had.]

  • Sounds: Liked it, favorite of the bunch. I think I’m forgiving of internal monologuing when it’s Cassie because she has a speech impediment.
  • Dress Code: eh… So, asian green lantern wears an asian dress tunic. plz do not make fun of him.
  • Hawke and Kong: okay, I guess. Two Asian expys of other heroes who don’t get along fight a villain and become friends. Whatever…
  • Special Delivery: didn’t like it, also I guess Damian Wayne is Asian?
  • Masks: okay, but mainly I guess it was the sort of story I would’ve liked to have seen after the new Cheshire had been brought into Catwoman [I don’t know that they’ve done anything at all with her since she was introduced, and I had just about forgotten about her.]
  • What’s in the Box: I don’t even know who the other character who is not Cassie is
  • Family Dinner: Cringe and tired ‘meeting the parents’ story. Seriously, can we stop doing “gay superheroes meet dad/mom over dinner and it’s awkward” comics?
  • Kawaii Kalamity: cute but didn’t really do anything for me
  • Festival of Heroes: Ultra cringe with a stupid strawman villain [a bunch of white supremacists show up to harass people at an Asian food festival]; sad that this was what they had for the Katana story.
  • Perseptible: dull, didn’t like it, but I’ve never really liked Captain Atom.
  • The Monkey Prince: torn between okay and cringe; kinda wanted to like it cuz I love what Yang has done w/other books, but I rolled my eyes a lot. May still give it a chance. On one hand, a Son Goku vs. capes comic could be a lot of fun, but this gave off really bad “How do you do, fellow kids?” vibes that are really disappointing considering that Yang writes/wrote two of my favorite DC titles [Terrifics and Batman/Superman]

Really, DC missed out on a great opportunity to introduce a new anti-Asian villain, The Fixer–an obese enby who goes around “fixing” Asian people’s artwork.

Speaking of comics, be sure to check out the next installment of Badaxe in the Summer issue!

Cirsova Publishing to Reprint Nearly-Lost Julian Hawthorne Planetary Romance, “The Cosmic Courtship”

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.—Cirsova Publishing is proud to announce that it has partnered with Michael Tierney and Robert Allen Lupton to restore and reprint Julian Hawthorne’s The Cosmic Courtship, a never-before-collected pulp Planetary Romance by the son of famed American author Nathaniel Hawthorne.

The Cosmic Courtship Serialized across four issues.

Mary Faust, a brilliant scientist, has developed a machine that can allow the conscious human soul to explore the cosmos! Her promising young assistant Miriam Mayne has accidentally transferred her consciousness to Saturn, where she falls under the enchantment of an evil sorcerer! Jack Paladin, her love, sets out after her on a thrilling celestial journey to the ringed planet! Swashbuckling adventure and high romance await in Julian Hawthorne’s The Cosmic Courtship!

While most are at least somewhat familiar with Nathaniel Hawthorne as one of the great American authors, less well known is that his son Julian was an incredibly prolific writer in his own right. Julian wrote on a wide variety of subjects, ranging from literary analysis of his father’s works to poetry to period romances and adventures. Late in his career, Julian even dabbled in the emerging genre of Science Fiction.

The Cosmic Courtship was serialized in Frank A. Munsey’s All-Story Weekly across four issues, beginning with the November 24, 1917 issue and running through the December 15, 1917 issue. While this story has been in the public domain for some time, it has never been collected or published elsewhere until now.

Cirsova Publishing has taken on this exciting project with the aim of preserving this story for posterity and ensuring that it is not lost to future generations.

Fred A. Small Cover Restored by Michael Tierney

Michael Tierney is a pulp historian and archivist who has written extensively on Edgar Rice Burroughs, having created the massive four volume Edgar Rice Burroughs 100 Year Art Chronology, and is currently working on another Art Chronology about Robert E. Howard. He has been involved in the comic book industry for 40 years, owning two of the oldest comic book stores in Central Arkansas until switching to mail-order only in 2020. He is also an accomplished science fiction writer and artist, having worked on his Wild Stars saga since the 1970s. Michael not only made his pulp library available for this project, he provided the photographic images of these rare magazines so that a manuscript could be produced. He has also lent his years of experience digitally restoring damaged pulp art to restore the original cover by Fred W. Small to create a unique cover for this edition.

Robert Allen Lupton is a prolific author, pulp historian, and commercial hot air balloon pilot. He has published nearly 200 short stories across numerous anthologies, including the New York Times Best Selling Chicken Soup For the Soul series, and has published several anthologies and novels. His most recent novel, “Dejanna of the Double Star” was published in December 2020. Robert has been an active Edgar Rice Burroughs historian, researcher, and writer since the 1970s, including at ERBzine, where several of his articles and stories are published. Robert has painstakingly recreated the text as it was originally published from the digital images provided from Michael’s collection.

Cirsova Publishing has been publishing thrilling adventure science fiction and fantasy since 2016. They have published nearly 20 issues of their flagship publication, Cirsova Magazine. Additionally, they have published a number of anthologies, a fully illustrated edition of Leigh Brackett’s Planet Stories-era Stark adventures, Jim Breyfogle’s Mongoose and Meerkat, and the 35th Anniversary Editions of Michael Tierney’s Wild Stars.

This collected edition of The Cosmic Courtship will be released later in 2021.