review – Starry Wisdom Library


Starry Wisdom Library:

The Catalogue of the Greatest Occult Book Auction of All Time

Edited by Nate Pedersen
PS Publishing  (2014)

In 1935, Robert Bloch was completing “The Shambler from the Stars” and wrote to H.P. Lovecraft for permission to kill him off in the story. Lovecraft not only agreed, but returned the favor by offing horror writer “Robert Blake” in his sequel, “The Haunter of the Dark.” The Blake character becomes obsessed with a deserted church across the street from his apartment in Providence, RI. He learns the blighted building once was the home to the esoteric Church of Starry Wisdom. Exploring the church, Blake discovers that when the cultists vanished, they left behind their library of rare and ancient books on the occult and black magic. Blake reads from the tomes, translates a journal best left untranslated, and dies unpleasantly.

Nate Pedersen has returned to the moldering library of the lost cult in the new book The Starry Wisdom Library. He has developed the premise that in 1877, the Church of Starry Wisdom was preparing to leave Providence under their own terms (didn’t happen), and approached the infamous Arkham auction house of Pent & Serenade, specialists in discreetly selling off occult collections.

In preparation for the auction, Pent & Serenade, well aware of the value of the library, commissioned 19th-century scholars and specialists to write essays on the histories of the books for the catalog of items being auctioned. This catalog has only been recently rediscovered in the Miskatonic University Library and this book is the “facsimile reproduction” of the original publication.
The “19th-century scholars” who have contributed essays on the malignant books are some of the top writers and researchers in the weird fiction field today. Here, firmly formatted as a Victorian pamphlet, are Lovecraft’s history of the Necronomicon, as well as contributions from F. Paul Wilson, Ramsay Campbell, Joseph Pulver, Pete Rawlik, Robert Price, W.H. Pugmire, E.P. Berglund, and 37 other scholars.

If you play Call of Cthulhu RPG, it’s a priceless tome unto itself, providing ample background material to obliterate the players. For readers of weird fiction, it is a delightful compilation of notorious texts of varying degrees of familiarity, all carefully formatted by antiquarian bookseller Jonathan Kearns. It is gorgeously styled, quirky, and a unique addition to any weird fiction bibliophile’s shelf.


About goudsward

Writer of stuff not easily categorized. (Trust me, I got the royalty checks to prove it)
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