#bookreview – Tales from the Annexe

I’m chuffed by this lovely review and interview on Liz Gauffreau’s blog.

Elizabeth Gauffreau


My Review

As its subtitle indicates, Tales from the Annex is a collection of seven stories based on H.P. Lovecraft’s Herbert West character, followed by seven other tales. 

I went into the collection not having read Driscoll’s Herbert West novels or anything by H.P. Lovecraft. I was very curious to see whether these tales could stand on their own, as well as to gain insight into why this character would inspire a contemporary writer to reanimate him in her own fiction. 

About half-way through the Herbert West section of Tales from the Annex, I sought out and read Lovecraft’s original story: “Herbert West: Reanimator.”  I had my answer: Herbert West is in the literary tradition of the prideful scientist who seeks to conquer death by bringing the dead back to life. Endlessly fascinating! 

After reading the seven Herbert West stories, I was…

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Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Open House Interview with author Audrey Driscoll

I had the chance to participate in Sally Cronin’s Open House today. She provided some interesting questions, and hopefully my answers are interesting as well.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

My guest today on the Open House is supernatural/paranormal author of The Herbert West Series, Audrey Driscoll.

About Audrey Driscoll

I grew up reading books, and became interested in making stories myself. I worked out scenes and bits of dialogue, and made my friends act out little dramas based on my favourite book at the time – Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book.

With that background, it was inevitable I would become a writer. It just took a while. After establishing a career as a librarian – first at the University of Saskatchewan and then at the Greater Victoria Public Library in British Columbia – I had a meaningful encounter with H.P. Lovecraft’s character Herbert West.

Strangely fascinated by HPL’s corpse-reanimating physician and his friend the nameless narrator, I built a set of stories around them. In 2000, I was compelled to write them down. The result was The Friendship of Mortals…

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An Interview with Herbert West

The following interview with Dr. Herbert West might have taken place in the spring of 1923.

Q: Dr. West, what brought you into the medical profession?

A: Death. My mother and twin brother died when I was a child. Since then death has been my adversary.

Q: How do you oppose death?

A: With science. It’s the only way. What else would you suggest, Miss___?

Q: Some would say that prayer —

A: [Laughter] Prayer! Surely you don’t envision me as a man of the cloth? [More laughter].

Q: No, not at all, Dr. West. Tell me, please, where were you educated?

A: Here in Arkham, at Miskatonic University. I received both my undergraduate and medical degrees here.

Q: So you are acquainted with the Dean of Medicine, Dr. Allan Halsey?

A; I am, unfortunately.

Q: Unfortunately? I understand that Dr. Halsey is well thought of in medical circles.

A: He can be charming. All deans should be charming, but it takes more than charm to be a competent physician.

Q: What qualities do you think are essential in a physician?

A: Fearlessness. Willingness to risk all for science. Perhaps a certain ruthlessness.

Q: Ruthlessness — did you learn that in medical school?

A: [Smiles] Perhaps I did not need to learn it. But I will remind you that I was a surgeon in the recent war.

Q: Yes, will you tell me a little about your war experiences?

A: I could tell you a great deal. More than you would ever wish to know. I will say only that for me, the War was a great laboratory.

Q: So it’s true that you have done experiments on humans?

A: Many times.

Q: Can you tell me — ?

A: I can, but I won’t. Patient confidentiality, you understand. [Smiles]

Q: Some people have called your achievements miraculous. What do you think of that?

A: Nothing is “miraculous.” It only seems so to the ignorant.

Q: And there are others who call your approach unethical.

A: I put “unethical” in the same category as “miraculous.”

Q: Dr. West, do you think that it is possible to achieve immortality? Of the body, I mean.

A: Bodily immortality is the only sort I acknowledge. Achievable? Yes, by all means.

Q: You sound so certain, almost as though you have already done it.

A: Miss ___, I think this interview is now finished. But I will say one more thing — Miskatonic University is not a milieu that favours the unorthodox. Have I answered your question?

Q: Not altogether.

A: Quite.

Q: Thank you for your time, Dr. West.

Read more about Herbert West in my novel, The Friendship of Mortals, available at: