Monday, August 20, 2018

The LovecraftianThing a Day (2018) No.232: Happy Birthday HPL!

In celebration of his 128th birthday, today we present the bust of a perwigged Howard Philips Lovecraft - modelled on Virgil Finlay’s classic illustration of Grandpa Theobald, and crafted by the extremely-talented Joe Broers. Of all the Lovecraftian object d’art I currently own, this is, without doubt, one of my favourite pieces. You can purchase the bust here.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

The Lovecraftian Thing a Day (2018) No.231: Cathulhu

Insofar as Lovecraft was enamoured of cats, that inscrutable species plays a not-insignificant role in tales such as ‘The Cats of Ulthar’, ‘The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath’ and others; unsurprisingly, thsis has manfested in the tabletop rpg arena in the form of a number of feline-themed Lovecraftian games; Cathulhu by Sixtystone Press is one such - an iteration of the Call of Cthulhu rpg engine, which allows players to take on the role of cats intent on protecting humanity from the terrible forces of the Cthulhu mythos - presumably receiving a good head-scratch and a generous portion on catnip as reward for their endeavours...

Saturday, August 18, 2018

The Lovecraftian Thing a Day (2018) No.230: Colonial Gothic - Lovecraft

Colonial Gothic began life as a Colonial era supplement fo the Call of Cthulhu rpg, before mutating into its own unique system and setting, but minus the elements of Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos. Given the centrality of the Amercan Colonial period to Lovecraft’s aesthetic sensibilities (even if - the historical elements and architectural details in The Case of Charles Dexter Ward excepted - it is not often a focal point of his fiction), it is surprising that we haven’t seen much by way of a Lovecraftian rpg setting for this period. 

Colonal Gothic - Lovecraft tries to rectify this - albeit not entirely successfully: whilst a worthy attempt, with some nice illustrations, this tends towards the mechanical moreso than the fluff, such that it is pretty much the bestiary, tomes, and magic of the Call of Cthulhu rpg converted into Colonial Gothic stats, with a modicum of setting details. Not a bad effort, but the definitive Colonial setting for Lovecraftian tabletop gaming is, I think, yet to be written.

Friday, August 17, 2018

The Lovecraftian Thing a Day (2018) No.229: The King in Yellow CD

Produced by The Society of the Yellow Sign, and released by Rainfall Records, The King in Yellow is a concept album exploring the mythos created by Robert W. Chambers around the eponymous, fictive play. Whilst I have owned this for some years, I have only just realised that I have never actually listened to it - indeed, I’m sure that, like many collectors of things Lovecraftian, far too many of our books or cds remain unread or unplayed these days.

However, for the purposes of this post, I have dipped into a few tracks - and suitably lush, ethereal folk-psychedelic rock appears to form the foundation of the piece; to which I might add I do rather like what I have thusfar listened to, and mean to give the entire album a spin over the weekend. Hopefully immersion into the decadent madness of the black stars which hover watchfully over Carcosa will also help me forget briefly the rather nasty case of conjunctivitis that has been afflicting me these past days...

The King in Yellow also come with a rather nice insert, and includes a cover illustration by Steve Lines.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

The Lovecraftian Thing a Day (2018) No.228: Heroes and Hobgoblins

I think I’ve been largely unaware of L.Sprague de Camp’s weird poetry: as I understan it, Heroes and Hobgoblins collects the majority of contents of the four of five short volumes of de Camp’s verse which have been published over the years, and contains a number of poems themed around the Cthulhu mythos. This has now been added to my ever-expanding pile of weird poetry, all of which will, I hope, one day be read.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Lovecraftian Thing a Day (2018) No.227: Subterrenean Horror

Today’s offering is another original piece of Steve Lines’ art - again, I can’t quite remember the title of this, but I have a feeling it may have appeared as an illustration to Ann K. Schwader’s weird sonnet cycle In the Yaddith Time. For the moment, though, I refer to this piece as ‘Subterrenean Horror’. Nice.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The Lovecraftian Thing a Day (2018) No.226: The Elder Pharos?

Today’s offering is another original piece of Steve Lines’ artwork - I can’t recall what this one is titled, but I find the imagery intensely evocative of two speculative zones of abyssal horror found in Lovecraft’s work: Kadath in the Cold Waste, and the Plateau of Leng (which supposedly borders the former region); indeed, the image reminds me of the description of Leng found in ‘The Elder Pharos’, the 27th sonnet of Lovecraft’s The Fungi from Yuggoth sonnet cycle:

From Leng, where rocky peaks climb bleak and bare
Under cold stars obscure to human sight,
There shoots at dusk a single beam of light
Whose far blue rays make shepherds whine in prayer.
They say (though none has been there) that it comes
Out of a pharos in a tower of stone,
Where the last Elder One lives on alone,
Talking to Chaos with the beat of drums.

The Thing, they whisper, wears a silken mask
Of yellow, whose queer folds appear to hide
A face not of this earth, though none dares ask
Just what those features are, which bulge inside.
Many, in man’s first youth, sought out that glow,
But what they found, no one will ever know.