We Value Your Privacy

This site uses cookies to improve user experience. By continuing to browse, you accept the use of cookies and other technologies.


Remembering Brian Lumley, the Creator of Necroscope 

If only we could talk to Brian now…

remembering brian lumley mm feb 2024

In the late 1960s, Brian Lumley was serving in the British Army Corps of Royal Military Police and writing macabre stories in his spare time. While stationed in Germany, he came across a collection of stories by H.P. Lovecraft, the writer who was destined to become one of Lumley’s most important influences. He began collecting every piece of Lovecraft’s work that he could get his hands on, which led him to write to August Derleth, who was then running Arkham House, a publishing imprint dedicated, in part, to publishing the works of Lovecraft and others who wrote in his “Cthulhu Mythos” story cycle. 

Impressed by Lumley’s letters, Derleth asked the young writer if he had anything that could be included in a forthcoming anthology and the rest, as they say, is history. Arkham House published several of Lumley’s short stories and the earliest of his books, including the short novel Beneath the Moors and collections such as The Horror at Oakdeene

Lumley continued to write and publish, even as he served 22 years in the Royal Military Police. His tales, which included the adventures of the occult detective Titus Crowe, were obvious successors to Lovecraft, who had died just nine months before Lumley was born. 

There were distinct differences, though. Lumley had grown up on pulp and “boys’ adventure” fiction, and he summed up the difference between his own writing and that of his literary forebear as follows: “My guys fight back. Also, they like to have a laugh along the way.” 

This pulpy, two-fisted approach made Lumley popular with readers and, by 1980, he retired from the army to pursue writing full-time. He completed several other novels, including the first of his Psychomech trilogy, which was also his first long work to be published in his native United Kingdom. It wasn’t until 1984, however, that Lumley wrote the novel that would define his career and dominate his remaining years. 

Necroscope combined many of the things that Lumley had dealt with in his previous work. Here were occult detectives, extrasensory perception, and Lovecraftian scope and scale, all combined with vampires that were equal parts Dracula and John Carpenter’s The Thing to create a unique mythology, centered on Harry Keogh, the eponymous Necroscope, who had the ability to speak with the dead. 

Published by Tor Books in the United States, Necroscope and its various sequels became a huge hit for Lumley, kicking off a series that continued across more than a dozen novels. While the writing was obviously the main appeal, the books were helped along by consistent, iconic, and eye-catching cover art created by Bob Eggleton across the entire Tor run. 

On January 2, 2024, Brian Lumley passed away at the age of 86. By the time of his death, he had published more than 50 books, many of them bestsellers. He had served as president of the Horror Writers Association and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from both that organization and the World Fantasy Award, and his fiction had introduced countless new readers and writers to weird fiction and the works of folks like Lovecraft, James, Howard, and others—not a bad legacy to leave behind. 

Brian Lumley Books

Necroscope: Invaders

Necroscope: Invaders

By Brian Lumley

Originally published in 1986, Necroscope introduced readers to Harry Keogh, an agent of the British E-Branch, a covert organization that uses psychic abilities for intelligence gathering. Harry has a very unique ability indeed—he can speak to the dead, and they to him.

And it turns out that the dead are afraid, for a Russian agent in a similar organization has been contacted by a long-dormant vampire, and the two pose a threat to both the living and the dead. Combining espionage, two-fisted action, and gripping horror, the book proved to be Lumley’s greatest success—and kicked off a long-running series of sequels starring not only Harry, but also his wife and children, and other members of E-Branch. 

blood brothers for remembering brian lumley mm feb 2024

Blood Brothers

By Brian Lumley

Originally published in 1992, Blood Brothers is technically the sixth book in the Necroscope series, but it also introduces what is known as the Vampire World Trilogy, which Lumley himself considers his “finest, most ambitious and important work.”

The three novels in the Vampire World Trilogy contain “some three-quarters of a million words of horror, fantasy… even a little of the author’s first love, science fiction,” according to Lumley’s own website. These take place on the vampire homeworld that had been introduced in earlier Necroscope novels, and massively extend the mythology of the series, while following the exploits of two of Harry Keogh’s sons. Blood Brothers was followed by The Last Aerie and Bloodwars to complete the trilogy. 

psychomech for remembering brian lumley mm feb 2024


By Brian Lumley

Prior to the publication of NecroscopePsychomech the first of Lumley’s books to achieve mainstream success, and it prefigures many of that novel’s preoccupations, including ESP and its use in espionage, as well as merging consciousnesses to create new entities who possess nearly godlike powers.

Before the massive success of Necroscope was obvious, Lumley had already penned three books in the Psychomech Trilogy, following this one with Psychosphere and Psychamok. Across the three novels, Lumley tells a gripping, sometimes over-the-top story of personal betrayal, espionage, and horror, on the kind of sci-fi scale that would come to define his oeuvre.

the burrowers beneath for remembering brian lumley mm feb 2024

The Burrowers Beneath

By Brian Lumley

These days, H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos has infiltrated any number of corners of popular culture, but that wasn’t the case back in the 1970s, when Brian Lumley first introduced readers to his occult detective Titus Crow. Crow exemplifies Lumley’s assertion that “my guys fight back.”

Though wise and learned, heroic and noble, Crow is also tough, and the stories that follow him are “adventure horror,” as the cover copy proclaims, “featuring travel to exotic locations and alternate planes of existence” as Crow and his companions “fight the gathering forces of darkness wherever they arise.

 In this case, those forces will be familiar to readers of Lovecraft, with names like Cthulhu and Azathoth, though Lumley reinvents and repurposes them in his own unique ways. 

fruiting bodies and other fungi for remembering brian lumley mm feb 2024

Fruiting Bodies & Other Fungi

By Brian Lumley

In addition to his many novels, Lumley wrote and published more than a hundred short stories across his long and distinguished career. Many of these have been collected in a variety of volumes published by the likes of Tor, Subterranean Press, and others. Fruiting Bodies & Other Fungi is just one collection among many, though it contains one of Lumley’s most beloved and acclaimed short stories.

“Fruiting Bodies” won the British Fantasy Award when it was first published in 1989, and in this volume, it is nestled among several other classic Lumley stories, such as “The Thin People” and “Born of the Winds.”