New York: Astounding Stories, 1936. Howard Brown. First Appearance. Softcover. Good. Item #6
New York: Street and Smith, 1936. First appearance of At the Mountains of Madness by H. P. Lovecraft serialized in three parts (Feb, Mar, and Apr) in Astounding Stories with illustrations by Howard Brown. Initially praised by Lovecraft, the liberties taken by Orlin Tremaine’s editors would later greatly disappoint. “That goddamm’d dung of a hyena” as Lovecraft would refer to Orlin, had flattened the prose and so altered the intending ending that Lovecraft scarcely considered the story as published. What has become central to his literary canon, Mountains was not well received by the author or Astounding’s readership in 1936. What can only be described as coincidental, the condition of these three volumes deteriorates in the same order as the editorial liberties. The February first installment is in very good condition with the most minor 1/16th of an inch chip to the head of the spine, a ¼ crease to the lower right corner of the front cover. The wrappers are intact, bright, and free from the normal afflictions of a pulp. The interior pages are soft and turn easily without damage. This volume is one of the best I have seen. The March issue has evidence of moisture exposure. The wrappers are slightly warped and stiff at the spine. Very light chipping to corners and small tears to edges. Wrappers have a brown circular stain the bleeds through to the first and last interior page. There are two tears affecting the “ASTO” on the cover, brittle from exposure, and preparing to come loose. Cover has a diagonal crease not visible to the eye. The third and final installment is representative of the destruction to Lovecraft’s original text. Significant loss to the spine with remaining paper very brittle. The wrappers are in similar condition to the previous volume however with a more significant rigor mortis near the spine and some tape repairs at the head and feet. With the dirty work out of the way, these three pulps are in good but delicate condition overall. The interior text is clean, albeit yellowed as usual, and complete. There are no errant marks or loss to the pages.