by Robert Bloch

What do I wish I'd written?

A hard question, kiddies, and it varies with my moods from day to day. Some mornings I get up with the notion that I would like, more than anything else, to be the author of the Bible – if only for the publicity involved, to say nothing of the quite considerable royalties I might command.

Other days I'm in the mood to be the author of a work like The Perfumed Garden – this because of the research and experimental work such a project entailed.

But entailments aside, the work I would be proudest to have written is probably...

(What should I say here? Decline of the West? Diseases of the Horse? The Necronomicon? Tom Swift and his Electric TTruss? A la recherche du temps perdu? Ulysses? I remember Lemuria? You see ... there's so much to choose from ... and it all depends on my feelings at the moment.)

Well, here goes. The work I would be proudest to have written, in the field of fantasy, ((the limitations used in this series)) is Pickman's Model, by H. P. Lovecraft.

Why? maybe because first loves are the best loves, and the disquieting account of the life and times of Richard Upton Pickman happened to be the first story I ever read from Lovecraft's pen. At the ae of 10, it impressed me profoundly. Today, at the age of 32, it still impresses me. Mebbe that is a sign of intellectual immaturity. But I have, through the years, recommended, shown, and thrust this story upon people in all walks (and crawls) of life – and this tale scored a perfect reaction.

Mebbe the key lies in my own phrasing ... which story I would be proudest to have written. I happen to feel that writing as a form of self-expression is definitely a form of ego-projection, and I happen to get the biggest ego-boot out of creating the most violent reaction. Pickman's Model is certainly provocative of such. I don't believe anyone can read this story and dismiss it casually. The images it evokes are too livid, too carefully calculated to shock.

I don't pretend to be a judge of literature and I'm not very firm of foot on aesthetic or artistic grounds. (( Just a slob, hey laddie?? )) Pickman's Model may not be Lovecraft's best yarn from the aesthetic standpoint; Lovecraft's writing may not be literature per se. But these are not considerations motivating my choice.

I believe H.P.L. sat down to write a shocker, and did it expertly and convincingly – handling a theme which for sheer, unsurpassed gruesomeness of concept has few parallels in the entire field of fantasy. I venture to say that while fashions in writing come and go through the years, Pickman's Model will continue to be read by new eyes for a long, long time – and new eyes will continue to pop in tribute to the diabolical concept which Lovecraft captured, imprisoned, and exhibited in all its horrifying menace in this cleverly contrived cage of words.

Only wish I could hope to do as well some day. Meanwhile, Pickman's Model continues to be my model of a good horror story.

An united fandom is a healthy fandom." ... laney

Page scans provided by Tom Veal

Data entry by Judy Bemis

Updated November 8, 2007. If you have a comment about these web pages please send a note to the Fanac Webmaster. Thank you.