Alternative careers of H.P. Lovecraft:

* Paid research assistant to Harry Houdini: journalistic debunker of Spiritualism and other nonsense.

* Editor of Weird Tales magazine.

* New York advertising man, specialising in copywriting.

* Architectural historian, conservator and building restoration consultant.

* Astronomy assistant at Brown University.

* Paid researcher and writer for hire, for ‘our town’s history’ books.

* Travel writer, of practical guidebooks leavened with personal anecdote and curious local folklore.

* Part-time book cataloguer for Kirk’s expanding bookshop chain.

* Head press publicist for Sonia’s successful chain of New York hat shops.

* Archaeologist in the American southwest.

* Writer of a radio comedy-horror show.

* Purveyor of small boxed mineral and rock crystal samples, via the back pages ads of Popular Science (he owned a quarry).

* Inventor of a means of typing a story without actually typing.

* Populariser of the Patent Lovecraft Reducing Diet program.

* Dangerous Sea Life specialist of the U.S. Navy Archives at Boston Navy Yard.