Absolute Evil vs. Island of Ghosts

“Lovely day for a stroll, eh, Martha?”

[Warning, contains some spoilers for a 103 year-old story. Be sure to pre-order The Strange Recollections of Martha Klemm on Kickstarter!]

Absolute Evil is one of the few Hawthorne stories that is not only extant but oft-reprinted. While Cirsova Classics is a project primarily focused on pulp stories that have never been collected or reprinted, we opted to include it for completion’s sake so that we would be releasing all of Hawthorne’s All-Story Weekly fiction together. 

Not only has Absolute Evil been collected in a recent horror anthology [American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny from Poe to the Pulps, 2009], following its publication in All-Story Weekly, it was reprinted in a British periodical, The Premier Magazine, in June 1919 as “The Island of Ghosts” with a handful of changes. Indeed, it is this version that has seen print more than the original [Island of Ghosts appears in both The Ash Tree Press Annual Macabre 2000 and Stark House’s Strange Island Stories anthology(2018)].

Most of the changes are superficial and the vast majority of the text remains the same. The only notable change of any significance is that throughout the text, the villain, the Reverend Nathaniel Tyler, an eloquent and fierce-preaching Calvinist pastor and theologian, is transformed into merely Professor Nathaniel Tyler. Some of the more blasphemous details described in the method by which a man engaged in diablerie might be granted powers to transform and work evil are omitted to tone down some of the imagery. Additionally, though of somewhat less consequence, Martha merely supposes by tradition her ancestry from the Salem witches rather than asserts it. 

To an extent, it ruins this excellent line from the original:

“I was interested in original sin, and had dabbled in esoteric philosophy; my remote ancestors had been Salem witches. So, on these grounds at least, I was ready to meet Nat Tyler half-way.”

While I personally think that the changes made to the revised version weaken the themes and horrific nature of the tale [sure, we could all see a College Professor renouncing Christ and committing blasphemies to be granted Satanic powers to terrorize the New England coast, but a well-respected New England minister? Why that pops monocles even today!], I do think it is worth checking out both versions of the story for comparison sake.

Cirsova Publishing to Collect Nearly-Lost Pulp Works of Julian Hawthorne

LITTLE ROCK, Ark., August 30, 2021 (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) –Cirsova Publishing will be collecting and restoring the nearly-lost All-Story Weekly fiction of Julian Hawthorne, son of famed American author Nathaniel Hawthorne.

In Spring of 2021, Cirsova Publishing partnered with Michael Tierney and Robert Allen Lupton to restore and reprint “The Cosmic Courtship,” a near-lost science fiction novel by Julian Hawthorne. Following the success of this project, Cirsova Publishing established a new Cirsova Classics imprint dedicated to restoring and reprinting other near-lost pulp fiction.

Given the interest in The Cosmic Courtship, Cirsova has prioritized collecting the rest of Hawthorne’s All-Story Weekly fiction in a standard format. In addition to The Cosmic Courtship, Hawthorne had one novel and four novellas published in the Munsey magazine.

“The Strange Recollections of Martha Klemm” resurrects Hawthorne’s pulp heroine, a witty and modern woman with a touch of clairvoyance and descent from Salem witches, in two volumes, collecting Absolute Evil, A Goth From Boston, and Sara Was Judith. A third volume will collect the stand-alone romances, Doris Dances and Fires Rekindled.

These collected editions of Julian Hawthorne’s All-Story Weekly fiction will be released later in 2021.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cirsova/julian-hawthornes-strange-recollections-of-martha-klemm

ABOUT CIRSOVA PUBLISHING:

Cirsova Publishing ( https://www.cirsova.wordpress.com ) has been publishing thrilling adventure science fiction and fantasy since 2016. They have published over 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.

Michael Tierney ( http://www.thewildstars.com ) 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.

Robert Allen Lupton ( https://www.facebook.com/people/Robert-Allen-Lupton/100022680383572 ) 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 ( www.erbzine.com/lupton/ ), 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 collection.

One Page Dungeon! The Revelry at Pickett Castle.

I decided to put together a One Page Dungeon for the One Page Dungeon contest at Campaign Wiki.

You can check out a system neutral version here: Pickett Castle Sys Neutral.

I’ve also got a B/X version of it that I’ll post soon.  The only difference is I’ve included monster stats, but i guess if you’re playing seriously enough to need monster stats, maybe you’re missing the point of this module. 🙂

 

Update: B/X version Pickett Castle W/Stats