Chaosium Inc. (paperback)
Cover design by Inkspiral Designs/Matt B
The Necronomicon. For centuries, scholars of the occult have sought out the darkly fabled tome, hoping to gain insight into the secret workings of the universe—or simple brute power. What the book offered them instead was, more often than not, madness and devastation.
Under the guidance of Shirley Jackson Award-winning editor Joseph S. Pulver, Sr., The Leaves of a Necronomicon traces the impact of a single copy of the mysterious work on its owners and those around them as it passes from hand to hand across the decades. The history is told in braided novel form, with chapters contributed by a gathering of outstanding horror and dark fantasy authors, including S.P. Miskowski, Michael Cisco, Damien Angelica Walters, Nick Mamatas, Anna Tambour, Jeffrey Thomas, and more.
Table of Contents:
Introduction: From Hand to Hand… to Hand—, by Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.
Chapter 1: The Bookmaker, by Nate Pedersen
Chapter 2: The Collector of Rare Editions, by Donald Tyson
Chapter 3: Down to a Sunless Sea, by Allyson Bird
Chapter 4: Dawn Watch, by Daniel Mills
Chapter 5: Eyes of Flame, by Cody Goodfellow
Chapter 6: In Waves, by S.P. Miskowski
Chapter 7: Horrors Worse than Hell, by Robert M. Price
Chapter 8: Laying the Words, by Don Webb
Interlude: Mysteries Don’t Sleep, by Anna Tambour
Chapter 9: The Sun Saw, by Mike Allen
Chapter 10: American Ghost, by John Claude Smith
Chapter 11: Flickering I Roam, by E. Catherine Tobler
Chapter 12: Sewn into Pieces, Stitched into Place, by Damien Angelica Walters
Chapter 13: 11:00, by Nikki Guerlain
Chapter 14: Void Kiss, by Michael Cisco
Chapter 15: Liquor City, by Nick Mamatas
Interlude: Letter Found Sitting Atop a Rare Old Handbook of Dark Portent, by Anna Tambour
Chapter 16: Too Many Pages, by Simon Strantzas
Chapter 17: And I Watered It in Fears, by Sunny Moraine
Chapter 18: Miles and Katherine at the Crimson, by Michael Griffin
Chapter 19: Passages for the Dying and the Dead, by S.P. Miskowski
Chapter 20: Ménage à Trois, by Ross E. Lockhart
Chapter 21: The Persuader, by Jeffrey Thomas
For three+ decades I had the one-eyed “Teddy” that two-year-old Joey was given to quiet him while he was in the hospital with a fractured skull. Then, one day it was gone. To where? How? I still own the cigarette-pack size, 9 volt Motorola “Six Transistor” AM radio (and the leather case it came in) I was given when I was eleven. I have the first novel I bought when I was eleven, Time For The Stars, and some of my Aurora monster models. I, like you, have my cherished mementos (from my teens and 20’s and 30’s and 40’s…); they sit here with me, wrapped in if and why. Old treasures, the memories and baggage they carry, they bring tears and joy, and carry me away, as do yours.
Possessions. Rosebud. We own them and they own us. Like friends we lost along the way and ex-lovers and partners, and places we were, they are part of us, parts that can shape and/or change us. Possessions and memories (of them and there and that moment) that can bring the faraway near. Some move with us through the years, some come into our lives and go. Lost or broken or sold or stolen or tossed out. Gone, but not forgotten . . . Never forgotten.
That red plastic fire truck you so adored, the only toy you received for Christmas when you were six. How often do you wonder where it went? Remember the comics your mother tossed out (or gave away) when you went off to college, or in some cases, to war? Remember the baseball your best friend gave you for safekeeping before he left for his tour in ‘Nam? He did not return and you held on to it for two decades, then, suddenly, one day it was gone. Remember the doll you were told you where too old for? Where is your Slinky? What happened to the high school yearbook your best friend signed, the best friend who died from AIDS? Where are they now? Did they find their way to the dump, or to other hands? Did a roommate throw a party while you were out of town on business and when you arrived home that cherished book your aunt gave you for your 16th birthday and the bag of records you had bought, but not had the chance to play, come up missing?
Where is your G. I. Joe?
Where is your first Barbie?
How did your skateboard, the blue one with the tiger and the snake, the last birthday gift from Dad before cancer took him, go missing?
Why did Mom toss out your Kenner ALIEN?
What beloved childhood treasure, preserved as if it were a museum piece, did you have to sell to keep the wolf from your door?
What is your Rosebud?
In the mid-90’s I had the idea it might be fun to look at what could happen if a Lovecraftian object, in this case, a copy of the Necronomicon, entered and exited the lives of various owners over a time period of approximately one hundred years. I felt it needed to be a novel-length work, but I didn’t want to write it. In my mind, the work needed to be told by truly different voices, in different styles, by distinctly different owners. It needed to be a novel-length round-robin; a form I’ve always enjoyed. I also thought the various writers (at least some of them) would not know anything about the history of the article they now had in their possession. I had my rough outline/notes about the owners of Lovecraft’s infamous book, and the time periods in which they owned the tome (and in some cases, what the book did to, or for, them—if anything), all I needed was the writers and a publisher. 15 years later and I found a publisher who said, let’s do it. The list of writers I wanted to invite came quickly; a few had been on my wish list since the day the idea for this tome came to me.
You are about to see the creation of a John Dee translation of Lovecraft’s famous creation, and follow it hand to hand, through lives. It will change owners; it will be sold and lost.
What of history? What of betrayal?
You’ve seen Francois Girard’s The Red Violin, read Anne Proulx’s Accordion Crimes, (two works I love), you know the trope, how fertile it is. It’s an age old trope I still adore.
This is the account of victims and survivors, of dreamers and the passions that consume them, and hate… and what love (or greed, or expectation) can do, and the depths of cannot. Perhaps the journey from Then to Now will not be smooth, it is, after all, Lovecraftian (in some fashion), perhaps it will contain knots and holes, ladders and tar-black shadows. What changes along the way? Anything? Everything? What will you discover when you meet this gallery of fools and villains and dreamers? What will be left unexplained?
It is now time for you to begin your… journey. Travel well, and stay safe.