Lovecraft and Interstellar

Perhaps I’m just over-sensitised to H.P. Lovecraft’s ideas, but it seems to me that the excellent new sci-fi blockbuster film Interstellar has some interesting elements drawn from Lovecraft’s fiction. I was expecting epic civilisation-building space opera on the Foundation scale, yet the film is anything but that. It’s much more down-to-earth, more of a deft melding of Sagan’s Contact and Clarke’s 2001 series. Click on to read spoilers… Continue reading

An Impression of Arthur Machen

A full scan of On Strange Altars: a book of enthusiasms (1924) by Paul Jordan-Smith, containing his essay “Black Magic—An Impression of Arthur Machen”. A hat-tip to the Son of Yog-Sothoth, who writes that…

The second part of the essay is, perhaps to me, the most unexpected: the author had in 1920 travelled to England and visited Arthur Machen and his wife, where Machen briefly spoke of his acquaintance with Oscar Wilde. It seems to me that I must have read something of this in one of the essays or biographies of Machen, but I’ll leave tracking that down to some other day.”

This may interest some, as it’s a view of Machen by an American who discovered him a few years before Lovecraft did. Lovecraft first discovered Machen’s work in the summer of 1923 (S.T. Joshi, I Am Providence, p.454).

Paul Jordan-Smith’s Cables of Cobweb book, listed facing the title page, sounds like a supernatural novel but apparently isn’t…

A young Virginian, revolting against his parents conservatism, experiments with radicalism but with maturity becomes conservative”

Likewise his novel Nomad, which seems to have been a sort of light-hearted philosophical quest story, with the hero and his companions moving through and exemplifying various philosophies. It sounds like Pilgrim’s Progress meets Gulliver’s Travels?


Call for papers:

“Wonderlands: reading, writing, telling fairy tales and fantasy”: a one day symposium in Chichester, England. 23rd May 2015.

We are seeking papers which explore all aspects of reading, writing, and telling fairy tales and fantasy. In particular, we invite discussion of wonder lands in fantastical literature, classic and modern fairy tales, and contemporary oral storytelling.

Possible topics of focus include, but are not limited to:

Other worlds, otherworldliness, Wonderland, and wonder lands
Relationships between reading, writing, and/or telling fantasy
Contemporary scholarship in children’s and adult’s fantasy literature
Storytelling as a vehicle for the fantastic
Practice and performance of fairy tales
Fantastical non-fiction
Relationships between real and imagined wonder lands
Meta-textual conversations with classic fantasy literature
Imagining the fantastical world through illustrations and picture books

We also welcome paper submissions or panel presentations which include a creative or performative element.

Deadline: 31st January 2015. Please submit abstracts of no more than 300 words (or panel proposals of 1,000 words) and a short personal bio to the organisers, Joanna Coleman, Joanne Blake Cave, and Rose Williamson at Registration dates will be announced on the Sussex Centre website in the near future.

Feline Classics

Feline Classics (Eureka Productions, Aug 2014, 144 pages), a new anthology. It melds new art and comics with public domain stories and poems. When you flip it over, it reverses into being Canine Classics on dogs — which is not so Lovecraftian. In the kittee section Lovecraft is represented by his poem “The Cats”, alongside an illustration for it. There’s also an essay on cats by Robert E. Howard, “The Beast from the Abyss”, on the rough lives of the semi-wild cats of a Texan oil town.

• Ancient Sorceries – by Algernon Blackwood
adapted by Alex Burrows and Randy DuBurke

• The Beast from the Abyss – an essay by Robert E. Howard
illustrated by Peter Kuper

• Dog, Cat and Baby – by Joe R. Lansdale
illustrated by Lance Tooks

• A Little Fable – by Franz Kafka
illustrated by Vincent Stall

• Tobermory – by Saki
adapted by Trina Robbins and Lisa K. Weber

• The Owl and the Pussy-Cat – a poem by Edward Lear
illustrated by Mary Fleener

• The Cat and the King – by Ambrose Bierce
illustrated by Johnny Ryan

• Fog – a poem by Carl Sandburg
illustrated by Skot Olsen

• The Cats – a poem by H.P. Lovecraft
illustrated by Allen Koszowski

• The King o’ the Cats – by Joseph Jacobs
illustrated by Pat N. Lewis

• What I learn from Cats – a poem by John Lehman
illustrated by Milton Knight


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