“The Adventure of the Antiquarian’s Niece” — Barbara Hambly

Barbara Hambly is the bestselling author of dozens of books, including the James Asher vampire series, Those Who Hunt the Night and Traveling with the Dead. She has written many other novels as well, such as the popular Dragonsbane and its sequels, as well as media tie-in projects for Star Trek and Star Wars. Her Benjamin January series may be of interest to Holmes fans, being as it is both mystery and historical (set in 1830s New Orleans). Hambly has also written other novels of historical fiction, such as Patriot Hearts, and has a Masters degree in Medieval History.

H. P. Lovecraft went to great pains to make his fantastic otherworldly creations appear authentic. One of his techniques was to write his fiction in an extremely detailed faux-documentary format, incorporating, for example, realistic-sounding newspaper clippings that corroborated elements of his narrators’ tales. Another technique was to reuse certain names from story to story, and to encourage other writers to make use of those names as well. Lovecraft felt that made-up names would resonate with more authority if the reader had heard those names somewhere before. The best known of his creations are the evil octopus-headed god Cthulhu and the book of black magic, the Necronomicon. A similar accursed tome is the Book of Eibon, invented by Lovecraft’s friend Clark Ashton Smith and used by Lovecraft in several of his own stories. Lovecraft also made multiple references to Yog-Sothoth and Shub-Niggurath, malevolent gods, and to shoggoths, large protoplasmic servants. Many of these creations are now ubiquitous in popular culture and are familiar even if you’ve never heard of Lovecraft. Our next story continues the tradition of using these familiar elements to connect the tale to a larger body of fantastic literature.