Sunday, July 30, 2023

Crossover of the Week

Autumn 1928


The Kurd Ali al-Ghazi meets with a Texan. Ali, who tried to scare off an American expedition to Shahr-i-Zahr a few years before, says, “Honestly, I reckoned Jim had his eye on them since they came by way of the Levant, and King would intercept them when they headed into the Khyber Pass.” The Texan says the expedition’s dragoman would never have willingly led them into the Land of Ghouls. Ali asks the Texan if he’s ever heard of the Leng Plateau, and gives him greetings from Sonora, who has a brother who has trouble walking and sells his fever-dreams to a pulp magazine called Cleft Hooves or something similar. He also mentions Aga Khan and Shah li-Zahr. The Texan mentions the Gorge of Ghosts. The members of the expedition included a former Foreign Legionnaire, a man with a camera, a young man who had wild stories about a village in Hungary they visited, and a poet who was engaged. Ali brings up Kara-Shehr, and the two discuss Clarney. The Texan asks which of the expedition said the name Ghulistan. Afghanistan was known as Afghulistan before the Flood. The Texan once fought someone named Konaszevski. 

Short story by Sam Inabinet in Pickman’s Gallery, Matthew Carpenter, ed., Ulthar Press, 2018. Ali al-Ghazi (or el Ghazi) is a disguise used by Robert E. Howard’s character Kirby O’Donnell. The Texan is another of Howard’s heroes, Francis X. Gordon, aka El Borak. Shahr-i-Zahr is meant to be Shahrazar from the Kirby O’Donnell stories “Swords of Shahrazar” and “The Treasures of Tartary.” Shahrazar is also mentioned in the El Borak story “Blood of the Gods.” The Land of Ghouls and Ghulistan are from the El Borak story “Three-Bladed Doom” and Howard’s Conan story “The People of the Black Circle.” Afghulistan is from the latter story. Aga Khan is Baber Khan from “Three-Bladed Doom,” while Shah li-Zahr is Shalizahr from the same story. Ivan Konaszevski is also from “Three-Bladed Doom,” as is the Gorge of Ghosts. Jim and King are James Schuyler Grim, aka Jimgrim, and Athelstan King from Talbot Mundy’s novels. The Leng Plateau is from H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos stories. Sonora is Steve Allison, aka the Sonora Kid, who appears in both his own series of stories by Howard and the El Borak tales. Sonora’s brother is James Allison, the wooden-legged hero of a series of stories by Howard dealing with reincarnation. “Cleft Hooves” is a reference to the magazine The Cloven Hoof from Howard’s John Kirowan story “The Children of the Night.” The Legionnaire is Randolph Carter from Lovecraft’s Dream Cycle. The photographer is Richard Upton Pickman from Lovecraft’s “Pickman’s Model.” The young man is Justin Geoffrey from Howard’s “The Black Stone.” The poet is Edward Pickman Derby from Lovecraft’s “The Thing on the Doorstep.” Kara-Shehr and Steve Clarney are from Howard’s “The Fire of Asshurbanipal.” Edward Pickman Derby married Asenath Waite in early 1929, a few months after they met, so this story likely takes place in late 1928. 

This crossover is one of hundreds included in my book Crossovers Expanded: A Secret Chronology of the World Volume 3, to be published by Meteor House! All three volumes are AUTHORIZED companions to Win Scott Eckert's Crossovers: A Secret Chronology of the World Volumes 1 and 2!

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