Murgunstrumm and Others (1978)

This is Hugh B. Cave’s first hardcover collection, Murgunstrumm and Others (1978). It won him a World Fantasy Award! Cave is sort of overlooked, a hugely prolific writer that got started in the pulp era. I am not real familiar with his work beyond this collection, which is…extremely effective? Cave isn’t particularly original, he’s pretty much putting his own spin on standard supernatural pulp tropes. But what a spin! This guy could write and maintain painfully taut atmosphere, Nearly every story has a disjointed, nightmarish quality.

Lee Brown Coye, a mainstay illustrator of Arkham House books, provides all the fantastically moody art. His famous sticks are here in large numbers. My understanding is that this was his last completed work before a debilitating stroke, but you wouldn’t know he was in decline judging from the work — it’s as crisp and clean and haunting as anything else in his career.

The book was published by Carcosa, an imprint run by David Drake and Karl Edward Wagner. Its one of only four books they put out (the others are an E. Hoffman Price collection and two Manly Wade Wellman collections). I wish they kept at it, they made lovely books!

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