Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A. Merritt Art Gallery-The Moon Pool

"The Moon Pool" by A. Merritt in
All-Story Weekly, June 22, 1918


"The Moon Pool" was A. Merritt's third published story and the tale that won him his fame. Like Merrit's previous stories, "The Moon Pool" is a romance of other worlds accessible from our own through some kind of extraordinary passageway. In Merritt's tale, the moon provides the passageway. His stories must have been a great influence on other writers, H.P. Lovecraft, C.L. Moore, Edmund Hamilton, and probably Nictzin Dyalhis among them. Raymond A. Palmer, who fashioned "The Shaver Mystery" from the scientific romances he read in his youth, also fell under Merritt's spell. Sam Moskowitz, in his book Explorers of the Infinite (1963), recounted how, after the publication of "The Moon Pool," "letters by the hundreds began to pour across the desk of Robert H. Davis, the Munsey editor who had discovered Merritt." Davis had paid Merritt $50 for "The Moon Pool." He offered forty times that for a sequel.

In 1939, the Frank A. Munsey Company began reprinting works from its old story magazines, Argosy and All-Story Weekly. The lead story in the first issue of Famous Fantastic Mysteries, dated September-October 1939, was none other than "The Moon Pool" by A. Merritt. Mary Gnaedinger was editor.

Editor Alden Norton made use of "The Moon Pool" in the Canadian pulp Super Science and Fantastic Stories for December 1945. The format appears to have been the same: old stories reprinted for a new generation. The cover illustration was recycled as well. It had previously appeared on the cover of the September 1945 issue of Famous Fantastic Mysteries, presumably illustrating "Phra the Phoenician" by Edwin Lester Arnold. The art was by Lawrence Sterne Stevens (1886-1960).

Mary Gnaedinger also edited Fantastic Novels Magazine, a companion to Famous Fantastic Mysteries. In the May issue of 1948, she reprinted "The Moon Pool" once again, and the cover artist was once again Stevens, who went by the name Lawrence.

Captions copyright 2015 Terence E. Hanley

4 comments:

  1. It's of course cool to see these old pulp covers even though they don't correlate to the Merritt story in the particular issue. I'd more like to see the interior illustrations (if any) that actually accompany the said piece. Is this doable? I realize it's unlikely that these will be of the quality of, say, Virgil Finlay or Hannes Bok, but might be interesting anyway, if only in a historical context.

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    1. Howard,

      I would like to see any original interior illustrations, too. Unfortunately, I don't have any issues of the original magazines. In fact I have very few pulp magazines at all. I rely almost entirely on images from the Internet for what I post here.

      So, does anyone out there have the original issues? If so, are there any illustrations? And if so, can you scan them and send them to me for posting here?

      TH

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  2. A bit late to reply now... but it appears that Moon Pool in the May 1948 issue was illustrated by Virgil Finlay.

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    1. StopmoNick,

      It's never too late, as my own reply shows. Thanks for the contribution.

      TH

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