Intimations of Unreality: Weird Fiction and Poetry by Alan Gullette


  •   Introduction by Robert M. Price
  •  Cover art and interior illustrations by Denis Tiani
  •  ISBN: 978-1-61498-040-7







"...if you enjoyed the many books that Robert Price edited for Chaosium, you will enjoy this."

–Don Webb, NYRSF September 2013

"...if you’re curious about what a “pure” and uncommercial weird story might have looked like, Alan dares tread into that territory. “The Door in Lheil,” for example — first publication in this collection —  showcases a protagonist in “a most peculiar state of extended dream” entering “the vast and sprawling necropolis of Lheil.” And you follow along, down corridors, changes in light and darkness — the whole enchilada is the sort of thing that Lovecraft or Clark Ashton Smith or Robert E. Howard would use briefly in the course of a longer plotline, but here it is the plot..."

–Don Herron, Rediscovered: Of Derleth and Dreamland

 Review © by Steven Snead from Data Dump #182 (April 2013)


INTO THE BEYOND titles the substantial poetry section of “Intimations of Unreality” by Alan Gullette. It includes 58 poems, 76 pages of the handsomely produced Hippocampus P[ress]’s 335 overall.


There is also poetry within some of the fic[tion], incl[uding] the song of a condemned killer in “The Axe of the Executioner”, a final poem descriptive of his fate found by a sorceror in the titanic ruins of “The Twilight Necropolis” & 3 poems in the dreamily surreal novella of a writer’s bizarre journey to self-discovery., “The Green Transfer”.


In the actual poetry section, although many of the poems, both rhymed and free verse, cover well-trodden dark fantasy themes, personified death, dream and nightmare, there is often a quirky, sideways approach to language, imagery, & implied or overt narrative which makes them meaningfully, even memorably, individual in their approach.


To mention a handful of particularly striking individual instances: the longest poem here, “A Trip to the Hypnotist” takes its protagonist back through time to the universe’s birth, down inside the subatomic, under the influence of Dr. Siegel’s swinging silver chain, to a bleakly fearful ending.


The startlingly visual “Vest” depicts a triple interior self-revelation, of machinery, red working organs, & universe.


In “The Mere Weather Sends Transport”, powerfully strange as its title, a couple ineptly share a “waiting room day”, alone together as it were, till the woman retreats to bed, to shake & transform, leaving the man below in vague selfhood search.


“Lizard Life” is a sensuous narrative of immortal, or at least millennial, beings, which “She” is a beautifully vicious poem of loving a suicide “carving a sky with her razor tongue/spilling purple protoplasmic fishes/into the dark night sky.”


“Painting: Dreamscape” with its “mottled bier of a thousand hues” gnaws the “rotting” aftermath of crucifixion, “Song to Helios” is harsh worship, while “The Witnesses” Account” aftermaths apocalypse with the most curious of cloned resurrections, in a weird regrown “village ... gambrel-roofed”, round-portaled as Hobbiton, of sightless wizards, Gullette’s gift for unexpectedness again.


This omnibus gathers for the first time all of the author’s Cthulhu Mythos tales, together with two previously unpublished weird novellas and a large sampling of his fantasy poetry.   

The Lovecraftian pieces range from stories written as a teenager in the 1970s, many of which saw serial publication in notable fanzines of the day, to new pieces composed especially for this collection. The early works include the acclaimed “Derrick’s Ritual” and “The Summons of Hastur” along with the unpublished “The Door in Lheil.” 

The two novellas represent the author’s efforts at extending the dreamlike atmospheres and weird states achieved in his shorter fiction to greater length within modern or postmodern architectonic structures. “The Green Transfer” is a light fantasy-adventure with many dream elements; “The More, The Marigold” is a series of tales-within-tales featuring increasingly strange tableaux.

The fifty-eight poems, gleaned from four decades of poetry writing, display a variety of forms and styles while exploring themes both mordant and metaphysical.   Free verse and blank verse are found alongside more traditional meters, evidence of an experimental approach unusual for the weird genre.

Striking, imaginative artwork by veteran weird artist Denis Tiani embellishes both the cover and the interior.

            In sum, this omnibus lives up to its title by offering unique glimpses into an imaginary terrain that is the author’s own, expressed in an equally unique language and style that playfully blends elements of the Romantic and Gothic, fantasy and supernatural horror, Surrealism and the Absurd.




“Alan Gullette’s remarkable gift for finding exactly the right word for the right place, his scintillating use of symbol and metaphor, and the keenness of his insight into the fundamental weirdness of everyday life should give him high rank among modern poets.  It would be impossible for him to write anything unpoetical. … [He is] worthy to carry the torch of Californian imaginative poetry.”  – S. T. Joshi


“Your short novels are distinctive; the style, rhetoric, and general presentation are yours and are modern.  Again, they are quietly, or modestly, distinctive; they are entertaining.”  – Donald Sidney-Fryer


“Your poems manage to capture those carefree moments of transport that occur all too rarely after childhood – the rapture, beatitude and ecstasy of simply being alive. Reading your poems gives me flashbacks to the times when I was tripping in fields of wildflowers, or in forests, with a dryad by my side.”  – Keith Allen Daniels


 “It is a thinking poet who can take the material of the ancient world – of Mayan ruins or the Seal of Solomon – & make them into modern hymns of angst & love & unease. If you awake in the middle of the night overcome with a terror that you have no purpose, that nothing has purpose, you could do worse than to read such things as ‘Lizard Life’ … to reassure yourself, at least, that even in a pessimistic hour there’s something to be said for being right.” – Jessica Amanda Salmonson


“Marvellous… amazingly clever… Incredibly limpid.  Really very astonishing and profound, with magnificent imagery.  You are one of my favorite modern poets.”  –Robert Temple


The Green Transfer has about it… the genuine feel of a dream… a feeling of strangeness… You have a dreamlike voice all your own that would be difficult to mimic.”  – Kenneth W. Faig, Jr.


“I have for some time believed that today’s readers deserve the chance to enjoy Alan Gullette’s work.  His Lovecraftian tales… fall into the parameters of classic Lovecraft-Derleth-Kuttner-Bloch pastiche. That is, it works. It is the real stuff, the kind we are only too glad to have a little more of. Alan Gullette is like the black-robed celebrant of a blasphemous mass, leading us ever deeper along the well-trod paths of damnation. Why write more of the old-style stuff? Simply because there isn’t enough of it! And we have Alan Gullette to thank for bringing to us a new and heaping helping of these unholy viands!  Like many or most Lovecraftian scribes, Gullette has considerably expanded his skills and his repertoire, and you will read the proof of it here. – Robert M. Price [from the Introduction]


This product was added to our catalog on Thursday 16 August, 2012.