Joshi is known for his acerbic style, and has been described by editor Ellen Datlow as 'the nastiest reviewer in the field'. Most recently he has turned his attention to collecting and editing the works of H. L. Mencken. He currently resides in Seattle, Washington.
Joshi received a B.A. (1980) and M.A. (1982) in classics at Brown University, primarily because of the holdings of Lovecraft books and manuscripts in the John Hay Library. He later did graduate work at Princeton University from 1982 to 1984, where he was the recipient of the Paul Elmer More fellowship in classical philosophy. Appalled at finding literally 1,500 textual errors in his favorite Lovecraft story, At the Mountains of Madness, he devoted years of research consulting manuscripts and early publications to establish the textual history of Lovecraft's works, in order to prepare corrected editions of Lovecraft's collected fiction, revisions and miscellaneous writings in collaboration with Jim Turner for Arkham House; they were published in five volumes between 1984 and 1995.
In August 2014, Joshi strongly criticized author Daniel José Older after the latter started a campaign to change the World Fantasy Award statuette from a bust of Lovecraft to one of African-American author Octavia Butler. Older claimed Lovecraft's image was unacceptable because of his racism; in response, Joshi stated ""the WFA bust acknowledges Lovecraft's literary status in the field of weird fiction and nothing more. It says nothing about Lovecraft's personality or character." Joshi also argued that the critics of Lovecraft were ignoring "the significant question as to whether racism should be regarded as so much more significant a moral, intellectual, and personal flaw than many other stances one could name", and argued that it was incorrect to think "that Lovecraft's undeniable racism somehow negates his immense talents as a writer and also negates the many virtues – intellectual, aesthetic, and personal – that he displayed over his life". Journalist Laura Miller took issue with Joshi's arguments, stating Joshi "is essentially telling writers like Okorafor that they must accept an honour from that community in the form of a man who considered [black people] to be 'semi-human' and filled 'with vice'. Suck it up, or get out. I'm pretty sure this is not the message the World Fantasy Convention meant to send when they gave Okorafor the prize in the first place."
In 1987, Joshi became the fifth Official Editor of the EOD amateur press association (see Esoteric Order of Dagon), an organisation devoted to the study of H.P. Lovecraft particularly but which also examines weird and fantasy fiction in all its forms.
Joshi edited the journals Lovecraft Studies (1979–2001) and Studies in Weird Fiction (1986–2005), both published by Necronomicon Press; and Studies in the Fantastic (2008–09), published by the University of Tampa Press. He is editor of Weird Fiction Review (Centipede Press; 2010), and the Hippocampus Press journals Spectral Realms (from 2014); Lovecraft Annual (from 2007); Nemesis (from 2016). He was formerly co-editor of Dead Reckonings (from 2007).
Editions of Lovecraft's letters
Joshi and his editorial collaborator David E. Schultz have edited many volumes of Lovecraft's letters to individuals: for Necronomicon Press (including those to Robert Bloch, Henry Kuttner, Samuel Loveman and Vincent Starrett); for Night Shade Books (Mysteries of Time and Spirit: Letters to Donald Wandrei) and Letters from New York; and for University of Tampa Press (O Fortunate Floridian: Letters to Robert H. Barlow). Joshi and Schultz are now progressively issuing volumes of H. P. Lovecraft's letters to individual correspondents through Hippocampus Press. Volumes already issued include Lovecraft's letters to Rheinhart Kleiner; Alfred Galpin; August Derleth (2 volumes); Robert E. Howard (2 volumes); James F. Morton; Elizabeth Toldridge & Anne Tillery Renshaw; F. Lee Baldwin, Duane Rimel & Nils Frome; J. Vernon Shea, Carl F. Strauch & Lee McBride White; Robert Bloch; and Clark Ashton Smith.
Joshi edited the five-volume set of Lovecraft's Collected Essays issued by Hippocampus Press from 2004-2006. He edited two annotated volumes of Lovecraft's best work for Dell books (the second with Peter H. Cannon). He and David E. Schultz edited the collected poetry of Clark Ashton Smith, issued by Hippocampus Press (3 volumes, 2007–2008) and the collected poetry of George Sterling (3 volumes, 2013).
Joshi was general editor of a line of original Cthulhu Mythos works from Perilous Press, including works by Michael Shea and Brian Stableford. The first publication was Shea's Copping Squid and Other Mythos Tales (2009), with Stableford's volume titled The Womb of Time (two Mythos novellas).
A bibliography of William Hope Hodgson (co-compiled by Joshi with Sam Gafford and Mike Ashley) appears in Massimo Berruti, S. T. Joshi and Sam Gafford (eds). William Hope Hodgson: Voices from the Borderland.NY: Hippocampus Press, 2014, pp. 205–302.
In 2011, Joshi was named the editor-in-chief of The American Rationalist magazine, beginning with the July/August 2011 issue.
Joshi was raised in Illinois and Indiana. After attending Brown University, he settled in the New York City area, where he was a senior editor at Chelsea House Publishers. Currently he lives in Seattle, Washington. Joshi married Leslie Gary Boba on September 1, 2001. They divorced in December 2010.
He wed Mary Krawczak Wilson in July, 2014 at a private ceremony in Seattle, WA.
On H. P. Lovecraft and the Cthulhu Mythos
H. P. Lovecraft and Lovecraft Criticism: An Annotated Bibliography (Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 1981). This volume is now superseded by Joshi's completely updated/revised edition: H.P. Lovecraft: A Comprehensive Bibliography (University of Tampa Press, 2009).
An Index to the Selected Letters of H. P. Lovecraft (Necronomicon Press, 1980; 2nd ed, 1991). (This indexes the five volumes of Lovecraft's letters published by Arkham House.)
H. P. Lovecraft (Starmont Reader's Guide 13) (Mercer Island, WA: Starmont House, 1982).
H.P. Lovecraft and Lovecraft Criticism: An Annotated Bibliography: Supplement, 1980-84 (with Leigh Blackmore) (Necronomicon Press, 1984).
H. P. Lovecraft: The Decline of the West (Mercer Island, WA: Starmont House, 1990).
H. P. Lovecraft: A Life (West Warwick, RI: Necronomicon Press, 1996). (Paperback, with a 250 copy limited hardcover printing). A condensed version was issued as A Dreamer and a Visionary: H.P. Lovecraft in His Time (Liverpool University Press, 2001). The Necronomicon Press edition was reissued in 2004 (paperback) with a new Afterword by Joshi. A new revised/uncut edition (as I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H. P. Lovecraft) (2 vols, hardcover) has been issued in 2010 (Hippocampus Press); this restores 150,000 words cut for space reasons from the original edition, and is also thoroughly revised and updated in regard to new information on Lovecraft that has come to light since 1996.
A Subtler Magick: The Writings and Philosophy of H. P. Lovecraft. (Wildside Press, December 1996). (A much revised and expanded version of Joshi's 1982 Starmont Guide on Lovecraft.)
An H. P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia (with David E. Schultz) (Greenwood Press, 2001).
Primal Sources: Essays on H. P. Lovecraft (New York: Hippocampus Press, 2003). ISBN9780972164405.
The Rise and Fall of the Cthulhu Mythos (Poplar Bluff, MO: Mythos Books, 2008). ISBN0-9789911-8-4. Revised/expanded edition as The Rise, Fall and Rise of the Cthulhu Mythos. NY: Hippocampus Press, 2015.
The Weird Tale (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1990).
The Shadow Out of Time by H. P. Lovecraft (with David E. Schultz) (Corrected text ed, Hippocampus Press, 2003).
Collected Essays by H. P. Lovecraft (NY: Hippocampus Press, 5 vols, 2004–2007). Hippocampus have also issued a searchable CD-ROM version containing the complete 5 volumes of Lovecraft's essays on one disc.
The Removal Company: An Historical Mystery Novel as by "J.K. Maxwell" (Borgo Press, 2009). The identity of Joshi as the author of this novel was revealed on W. H. Pugmire's blog on 1 Aug, 2010, and has since been acknowledged on Joshi's own Web site. The title has since been reprinted under Joshi's own name.
Tragedy at Sarsfeld Manor/Conspiracy of Silence (Borgo Press, 2011)
The Assaults of Chaos: A Novel About H. P. Lovecraft. NY: Hippocampus Press, 2013.
Introductions and forewords
Leigh Blackmore. Spores from Sharnoth & Other Madnesses. (P'rea Press,2008, 2010; Rainfall Books, 2010).
Washington Irving. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Stories (Tartarus Press, 2009).
VoltaireGod and Human Beings (Prometheus Books, 2010), the first translation of the work Dieu et les hommes (tr. Michael Shreve).
Lovecraft Studies (1979–2004)(Nos. 1-41:Necronomicon Press); the double issue 42/43 was published by Hippocampus Press, after which rights reverted to Necronomicon Press, who published the final two issues, 44 and 45. Lovecraft Studies was replaced with Lovecraft Annual (see below).
Studies in Weird Fiction (1986–2003) (Nos. 1-24 and 27: Necronomicon Press). (No. 25 published by Hippocampus Press.) Note: The Summer 2003 issue was erroneously numbered 25 (which had been previously used on the Summer 2001 issue). There was no Issue 26. The final Issue was No. 27, Spring 2005.
Necrofile: The Review of Horror Fiction (1992–1999) (Necronomicon Press) (co-edited with Stefan Dziemanowicz and Michael A. Morrison). See also Necropsy under Reviews (below).
Lovecraft Annual (2007- ) (Hippocampus Press).
Dead Reckonings (2007-2012) (first co-editor Jack M. Haringa; second co-editor Anthony J. Fonseca) (Hippocampus Press). Since 2012 June Pulliam has replaced Joshi as co-editor of Dead Reckonings.
Studies in the Fantastic (2008–2009) ( Nos. 1-2 (all published): University of Tampa Press).