Andrew Pulver has a point here until he runs out on it & effectively turns his own piece into a coffee table conversation. It happened to books across the same period. The reading group & literary festival select for clever, nuanced, unchallenging product. It’s a process of flattening. There’s no point blaming the publishing industry for this when art fiction’s great enemy is its own careful, self-protective, self-selecting audience–sensibly slim, nicely educated & wearing their special protective clothing to go out for their bike ride. Who knows, maybe everyone’s getting a bit bored playing safe ? Elsewhere, Sternezine runs an Amazon one-star reviews edition. I particularly enjoyed the Sebald commentary. Last but not least, since the Guardian is being slow to run my Lovecraft review, here’s the man himself, interviewed by WPA newsreel in 1933. He supposes that his work is “intended to fill the gap science has left in the place which was occupied in years past by religion. In that vacuum, we have to entertain ourselves. Our imaginative creations are our faith now.” He hopes these creations will save “New England civilisation”. Clearly an accomplished expressionist, he already looks dead as well as a bit of a fish.