Monthly Archives: January 2015

Book review: A Season in Carcosa

season in carcosa A Season in Carcosa (Miskatonic River Press, 2012), edited by Joseph S. Pulver Sr, is a collection of 22 short stories that are based on Robert Chamber’s King in Yellow mythos.  The request to potential contributors of this collection stated: “No reprints. No HPL anything…This is a book about madness, altered realities, splintered minds, and what is behind the mask.” The stories in A Season in Carcosa range from good to AMAZING. Most stories range in the ‘very good’ category. A few were well-developed but the writing style was not my cup of tea. I have a confession… Continue reading

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NecronomiCon Providence – tickets on sale 6th Feb

Very excited for this! Thankfully reserved a room at the Biltmore already.

TENTACLII :: H.P. Lovecraft blog

Highlights from the latest NecronomiCon Providence 2015 news…

* “Convention passes (all levels) on sale 6th February 2015”, from 12 noon Eastern Daylight Time.

* “Most of the convention programming will take place at the Biltmore and Omni hotels, but there will be numerous satellite venues hosting external programming.”

* During the Convention… “a comprehensive collection of correspondence between Lovecraft and many of his friends and penpals on display at the gorgeously renovated John Hay Library at Brown University.”

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Book review: Night Shall Overtake

nightshall overtake

Night Shall Overtake by Michael R. Collins is an urban fantasy, set in a world like our own but full of supernatural creatures ( there are no vampires, thank goodness.) The protagonist is a detective with special powers.  What starts out as a standard case turns into more than this detective and her coworkers bargained for.

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Complete Poems and Tales of Edgar Allan Poe

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This collection of Poe’s poetry and tales was published by Barnes and Noble in 2006. It is a beautiful book, and can be displayed proudly on any bibliophile’s bookshelf. The bonded leather book has a bound satin ribbon bookmark and silver gilding on the edges. It has a sturdy cloth binding and the pages lay nicely when reading.

Comparing the table of contents to the chronological list of poems and stories on the Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore site, most of Poe stories and Poems are included and are presented in mostly chronological order.

I compared the table of contents  with a chronological list of Poe’s poems and stories that is found  on The Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore website. So this collection might be better named “mostly complete.”  In addition, the chronology of the tales can be questions, and differ at times from the  what is found on the EAP Society’s website. Some of Poe’s tales were renamed and republished at different times. This collection uses that later names of the tales as opposed to the earlier names.

Missing Poems:image

  • An Achrostic
  • Spiritual Song
  • May Queen Ode
  • Epigram for wall st
  • Divine right of kings
  • Model verses
  • Beloved physician
  • Lines of ale- (questionably Poe’s)

Missing Stories

  • Journal of Julius Rodman
  • The Lighthouse

The book includes an introduction by Dawn B. Sova, author of Edgar Allan Poe, A-Z. The introduction includes a brief biography of EAP and provides some commentary on his works and his place in history.

I would have enjoyed a forward to each story, as was found in HP Lovecraft: The Complete Fiction. However it was nice to have the stories presented in chronological order

While Poe’s stories are in the public domain and can be downloaded for free on one’s electronic reading device, it is nice to have the collected tales in a hardback volume for a reasonable price.

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Book Review: The Strange Dark One by W.H. Pugmire

The Strange Dark One: Tales of Nyarlathotep

W.H. Pugmire

Miskatonic River Press
2012

the strange dark one cover

When I was young I loved monsters. I wanted to tell these poor things that I cared for them and understood them even if the rest of society did not. I always imagined myself and these creatures spending time together as two misunderstood souls. Pugmire’s work brings me back to these fantasies.

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web-comics: some thoughts

Murchison_Siluria

My ipad was stolen last year. Luckily, my lovely husband bought me a new one this Christmas. I didn’t realize how much I missed being able to read web-comics and e-books until now. While I prefer real books to e-books, I am starting to prefer web-comics to real ones. It’s a tough transition, and I remember having similar feelings when digital cameras became all the rage, I suppose I am an antiquarian in that regard.

I have a love-hate relationship with comics. As an aside, I am more of a dabbler into comic-collecting and not a hard-core collector. I am a fast reader and often don’t feel like I got my money’s worth from a $3-5 dollar comic when I can read it in 5 minutes. Also storing comics is a problem. They take up too much room in my small house. I spent time organizing my comics and filing them in comic boxes, many of which are sitting up in my attic untouched for years. I don’t want to throw them away but I haven’t felt like reading any of them in a long time. My kids got into some of them and now I have more than a few comics that are wrinkled, torn, and cover-less (sorry Little Gloomy). The collector in my internally shrieks, but the pragmatic-self is happy they are being enjoyed.

I first started going to comic stores in the 1990’s, a time when alternative comics and small press comics were on the rise. I spent much of the mid-2000’s working in a comic store and was able to read comics to my heart’s content, although noted that non-superhero comics were on the decline. Lately, when I head to a comic book store I see less and less on the shelf as the store itself is expanding its non-comic merchandise. It is rare that I see anything I like (exceptions being Hack/slash, Knights of the Dinner Table, and EC-style horror comics). However space and storage is a consideration for me when I decide to buy a new comic.

Enter web comics. This has been a thing for a while but I never felt like reading comics on a clunky computer. I think web comics are becoming more prominent now that almost everyone in a first world-country has some type of hand-held electronic reading device. I don’t think that paper comics will go away any time soon due to the collector aspect, but I think that web comics are great because anyone that want to make a comic can get it out there to readers.

There are many good Lovecraftian web-comics out there. I’ve been searching the internet looking for some that I used to read and seeing if there are any new ones out there.

I’m excited to support a Kickstarter project for a Lovecraftian web comic: Wart- a cosmic horror comic.

Speaking of Kickstarter, Lovecraftian Science has a kick starter to fund a formal collection of the author’s research: Lovecraftian Science: Volume one.

I missed out on this guy’s presentation at NecronomiCon in 2013, but I heard it was excellent. I’m hoping this project gets funded.

Next post I am hoping to discuss some Lovecraftian  web-comics that are currently out there. Any recommendations?

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Horror for the Holidays

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Horror for the Holidays is a collection of 26 Lovecraftian tales published by Miskatonic River Press. It was published in 2011 and was edited by Scott David Aniolowski. The figure of Krampus is featured on the cover. He is standing beside a 19th century-garbed evil elf-child and what appears to be a sack full of dead children. Despite this cover, the collection features holidays throughout the year, not just Christmas.

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Weird fiction writers and the ladies who loved them

Since reading Coffee with Poe (Andrew Barger) I have become enamored with the relationship between Poe and Whitman. I’m not sure why I have such a fascination with the love lives of my favorite authors: Edgar A. Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, and Robert E. Howard. Maybe it is due to the unrequited nature of these doomed relationships, making them somewhat tragic and therefore more romantic. If any of these authors were capable of settling down and raising a family like a normal chum, it is doubtful that their writings would be as prolific or as haunting. None of these authors wrote as a hobby to pass the time on the weekends. It seems these authors were compelled to write out of some frantic exorcism of inner demons or channeling of horrors lurking in the anima mundi.

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Perhaps my fascination is an interest in the women themselves: Sarah Helen Whitman, Sonia Greene, and Novalyne Price. All three were strong, well educated, and opinionated. Sarah Helen Whitman was a poet in her own right and also had an interest in the occult. Sonia was a writer and a self-employed business woman. Novalyne Price was a school teacher who had a love of knowledge and writing.

These three authors had intense and perhaps unhealthy relationships with other women that increased their inaccessibility. Lovecraft’s overbearing mother dominated his early years and haunted him even after her death. His aunts later took her place albeit less intensely. Robert E Howard’s devotion to his mother was so intense that he could not live without her. Poe tended to a sickly young wife who spent years wasting away with tuberculosis.

While there is a captivating book written by Robert E Howard’s love interest, Novalyne Price; Sonia Greene’s memory of her relationship with HP Lovecraft is just a few pages long. Poe and Whitman had a very public relationship, with each writing poem to each other as well as a multitude of letters.

novalyne price Robert E Howard

Their devotion to their art, the other women in their lives, and perhaps just their eccentric personalities made them inaccessible. Perhaps it is this inaccessibility, in addition to the fascinating minds behind their stories, which made them so desirable.

Poe was the ladies’ man out of the three. Many of his poems were to the various loves of his lives. We don’t hear what Lovecraft has to say of his relationship with Sonia. However he did write her an eldritch Christmas poem:

Once more the ancient feast returns,
And the bright hearth domestic burns
With Yuletide’s added blaze;
So, too, may all your joys increase
Midst floods of mem’ry, love, and peace,
And dreams of Halcyon days.

(from: http://www.hplovecraft.com/writings/texts/poetry/p432.aspx )

HP Lovecraft and Sonia Greene

In letters to each other, Bob mentions to Lovecraft that he is  “going with” a girl. Lovecraft visited Sonia Greene in Conneticut and didn’t find it significant enough to relay to Howard, instead spending a paragraph describing the geography of the area. (A Means to Freedom: The Letters of H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E Howard, 2011, Hippocampus Press)

I find these relationships so romantic because none of them are the typical boring love story. Thinking of Sonia Greene and Lovecraft retyping a horror tale on their honeymoon, Poe and Whitman spending their nights in St John Cathedral burial ground, and Robert and Price driving around the Texas plains talking about his yarns just makes me smile!

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Book Review: The Sea of Ash by Scott Thomas

The Sea of Ash by Scott Thomas

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The Sea of Ash is told from a first person perspective by a school teacher who has won the lottery and taken up a hobby of collecting rare books. He has become obsessed with a rare copy of  a Victorian doctor’s journal. The teacher goes on a journey to see the sites that are described within the journal. He starts off as a self-proclaimed “tourist” but ends up getting touched (literally) by the mysteries and horrors described by the doctor.

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The Dystopian World of Black Mirror

Black Mirror

Black Mirror from IMDB

I just binge watched both seasons of this on Netflix yesterday. Each season is only three episodes, so I didn’t feel too guilty. I don’t think I have been as hooked on a TV show since Game of Thrones.

Black Mirror is British series that has been compared to a modern-day Twilight Zone. I love the Twilight Zone so this is right up my alley. The twist is that all of the episodes feature technology we may have in the near future, or even have now. This makes the story lines follow a “new technology is evil/science is bad” trope. However, the technology itself is not the issue. The story lines revolve around human nature and how we humans twist these technologies to our own base devices. In the show the technology is just there. The focus is not on developing the technology or destroying it, but an individual’s personal experience with it and society.

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