A number of friends have been asking me about ‘The King In Yellow‘, a series of short stories by author and H.P. Lovecraft pal Robert Chambers. I wouldn’t shut up about it when I read it several years ago, to their mild annoyance, but now that HBO show ‘True Detective’ has made mention of a Yellow King, suddenly they’re all TELL ME EVERYTHING YOU KNOW.
As I haven’t seen one second of the HBO show, I doubt anything I share would be informative, and still recommend reading the book. Do you like Lovecraft, but could do with toning down the purple prose, upping the human psychological factor, moving the action to New York City and adding in a different forbidden tome of mystery you must never read or you’ll DIE?! Then you will love ‘The King In Yellow!’ I’m not claiming any sort of high ground having read it sooner; heck, I only came across the book because it was the name of the last Dead Milkmen album. It’s a really great high gothic read, and I wouldn’t have come across it but for a bit of digging.
In that same spirit, a quick search on Project Gutenberg revealed Robert Chambers was as prolific as his other fiction writing chums, with 43 of his books available free. There’s the one tie I can make – a TV show with a name like ‘True Detective’ seems to directly reference the creator’s love of pulp genre writing. The sheer list of his titles is a joy in itself:
The Gay Rebellion
The Crimson Tide: A Novel
The Tracer of Lost Persons
My friend asked ‘does it REALLY have three exclamation points?’ when I typed it out for them.
In Search of the Unknown
Who Goes There!
The Slayer of Souls
The Danger Mark
A Young Man In a Hurry (wonder what that’s about)
and the extremely exciting-sounding Adventures of a Modest Man.
Best of all, some out-of-context images from the above!