“Through the Gates of the Silver Key” is a rather un-Lovecraftian (hey, it’s a collaboration) but very interesting story. I almost regret that Lovecraft didn’t take E. Hoffman Price’s offer to work on yet a third story in the series (“Beneath the Planet of the Gates of the Silver Key”?), particularly since, according to S.T. Joshi, Price proposed using the proceeds from the sale to fund a trip for the two of them to California. Imagine if Lovecraft had met Clark Ashton Smith and Robert E. Howard in person…! That’s almost as exciting as the story itself, at least if you’re a Lovecraft/Weird Tales biographical nerd like me.
Incidentally, I want to mention that I don’t see any easy way to reconcile the events of this story with “The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath” in the Randolph Carter Mythology. The events of “The Silver Key” and this story at best reduce “Dream-Quest” to a dinky diversion, whereas to me “Dream-Quest” is one of the greatest Lovecraft stories of all time. Once he’d outwitted Nyarlathotep and escaped the perils of Azathoth and remade the universe in his own image, I’d like to think Randolph Carter didn’t immediately fall into “Silver Key”-esque ennui and nostalgia. I like “Through the Gates”, but I will always think of the two Randolph Carters as inhabiting parallel universes, one of which ends with “Dream-Quest” and one of which ends with the “Silver Key” cycle.
In other news: sadly, there won’t be a “Sarnath” page this week because I’m working hard on my other Mystery Lovecraft Project (as well as some freelance work). I promise, “Sarnath” will return next week with an extra-special page!! And the fruits of my other labors will not rot on the ground in the orchard! Please wait for them & eat them!