Lovecraft was fond of Frank Belknap Long, Jr. So much so, he often called him “Belkapius”. It is somewhat unfair to look at an individual only through the eyes of HPL, so here’s a little extra information that might round out the long career of the weird tale writer.
Long, Jr. grew up in a relatively privileged environment, since his father was a dental surgeon in New York.
One supposes it all started a few years after Frank Belknap Long, Sr. graduated from the New York College of Dentistry (10 March 1892). On 20 November 1895, Dr. Long and his dear bride, Miss May Mansfield Doty, joined hands and were wed. The bride wore a gown of heavy white satin with flounces of point lace.
As nature took its course, Frank, Jr, came along on 27 April 1901. Sadly we lost him in 1994, but he lived a long and productive life.
At first, he was a champion and practitioner of the weird tale. While Lovecraft remained to his last day challenged to write the ultimate weird tale, time marched on and the atomic era dawned. While the venerable Weird Tales hung on for several decades, the new rage was Scientifiction (later Sci-Fi, coined allegedly by Forest J. Ackerman).
Long embraced the new writing style, and for a time put out both weird tales, horror, and Scientifiction. It is little known that he also wrote neo-gothic stories with the pseudonym Lyda Belknap Long.
After HPL died, Long missed him. As the years moved by, he thought of his long-ago friend and finally came out with a very readable memoir. Sadly, it has never been reprinted, and like so much of Lovecraftiana, it is hard to acquire, and expensive. In it he told a classic few stories.
Once, HPL was sitting in a cemetery with Long, and Long said, “Look, Howard.” In the coolness of the crepuscular darkness, wisps of moisture coiled. Long thought they resembled ghosts. Lovecraft pshawed this notion, and went into a scientific explanation that added a different kind of chill to the supernatural evening. However, HPL was just as quick to conjure weird out of the mundane. Once he went to a museum with Long, and upon touching part of an Egyptian exhibit went rapturous over evil and long dead Egyptians on a rampage.
Just as some have “heroes of the faith”, we honor the antiquarian thread of horror as it twists and turns through history, time and space. On this occasion, today, we celebrate a firmly woven thread of the tapestry: Frank Belknap Long, Jr.
Below are a few title of Frank Belknap Long, Jr. we have available at Miskatonic Books
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