From The Desk Of Gilmer C. Merton


Wolfe's comments from the Introduction to Storeys from the Old Hotel

"'From the Desk of Gilmer C. Merton' is the story my agent (Virginia Kidd) dislikes the most; she thinks Georgia Morgan's modeled on her. Nah. I should point out that Velo's a village near here. I don't think there's really a North Velo City, but in a few years there might be -- this is Barrington, and there's also North Barrington, South Barrington, Lake Barrington Shores, and Barrington Hills. So you see."


The story is made up of a series of letters between Gilmer C. Merton, an (initially) aspiring writer, and Georgia Morgan, a literary agent. Morgan places Merton's novel with a publisher, Saul Hearwell, who is a slow and reluctant payer. Merton borrows money to buy a word-processor formerly used by a horror writer named Steven E. Presley, who suffered an unspecified untimely death. Over the remaining letters, Merton changes his own name to Wolf Moon, his second novel from SF to horror and its title from Galaxy Shuttle to Come, Dark Lust, and suggests that he has exacted a horrific occult vengeance on Hearwell. Finally, he requires Morgan to sign their new agency agreement in her own blood.


  • Georgia Morgan shares the name pattern [Southern state of the US] [Surname of famous pirate] of Wolfe's agent Virgina Kidd, so it may be that his protestation quoted above is a little disingenuous.
  • The story reads as an in-joke for the SF writing/publishing community. "Steven E. Presley" refers to Stephen King, and "Berry Longear" and "Oar Scottson Curd" are also mentioned.
  • "Gilmer C. Merton" is not an anagram of Wolfe's own name, but it does contain the letters of "Gene" so may be an anagram of some phrase involving him. That Merton becomes a "wolf" by the end of the story is suggestive.
  • "Saul Hearwell" is David Hartwell, Wolfe's longtime editor. Saul was the Biblical king before David. "Hearwell" is close to "Hartwell" and suggests that Mr. Hartwell is a very good listener - Wolfe is praising his editor.

Unresolved Questions

  • What has Wolf Moon née Merton become? His new name suggests he might be a werewolf, but the story doesn't seem to bear that out, suggesting instead he has acquired more occult powers somehow after coming into possession of Steven E. Presley's word processor.

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