The Little Mermaid has competition…

The Lovecraft translation wave continues to reach dreamers around the world. This time it’s Denmark’s slumbering Little Mermaid who hears the call, and wakes to find a Cthulhu-sized tome newly risen from the depths…

“A collection of Lovecraft’s stories is published for the first time in Danish. Cthulhu kalder: Fortaellinger 1926-1928 [‘Cthulhu calls: narratives 1926-1928’] is a book of over 600 pages”.

Published by Kandor, 31st October 2018.

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Props of Nyarlathotep

New in 2018, and shipping from the H.P.L. Historical Society, the Masks of Nyarlathotep Gamer Prop Set. I don’t normally note gaming stuff here, but this luscious collection of 109 props, handouts, vintage maps and a CNN-worthy deluge of sniffable fake news clippings may also appeal to readers simply as an aesthetic item. These are all… “called for by the Chaosium game supplement Masks of Nyarlathotep“.

An in-depth review on RPG.net is glowing in its appreciation of the collection…

   “This is gaming history in the making. This product is so pioneering, so over-the-top in what it tries to achieve and how triumphantly it succeeds, that it deserves the creation of a whole new grading system. […] Excellence is not an adequate word for me to describe the quality of the components. I wouldn’t know where to start from. The multi-page Nansen passports, of whose real-world existence I learned because of this product, and the perfect (printed) copy of the duty stamp on them? The actual cut-out duty stamps of Australian, British and American provenance? The latter even have different identification numbers for crying out loud! The authentic yellowed facsimiles of maps of the era? The transparent stickers that will be used to emulate passport control stamps, and which include as detailed and different stickers as ‘cancelled’, ‘expelled’ or even ‘persona non grata‘? The gorgeous Chinese scroll (!), packed around two well-crafted wooden pieces?! I can’t verify whether the Chinese writing is legit, yet judging from everything else I have no reason to suspect that it isn’t. The attention to detail is astounding. The whole box smells of wood, probably because of the matches and the papyrus rolls. Newspapers smell like newspapers.”

I also read elsewhere that a slipcased hardback of Masks of Nyarlathotep shipped in the last few weeks, as a “revised and updated” edition which plays nicely with the latest edition of the core Call of Cthulhu tabletop RPG. No sign of this on Amazon UK or USA, but Chaosium has a page. I’m reliably informed it’s one of the two or three best add-ons for the Call of Cthulhu RPG.

Gou Tanabe’s The Shadow Out of Time adaptation completed

Hot on the heels of Gou Tanabe’s English-translation of Lovecraft, The Hound and Other Stories (Dark Horse, due on the Kindle very soon), comes news that in Japan he has published…

“the last chapter of his The Shadow Out of Time (Toki o Koeru Kage) manga on Monday”.

Apparently he also has a lot more completed and waiting for English translation: “The Colour Out of Space”; “The Haunter of the Dark”; and “The Outsider”. Some of these are available in French, Spanish, and Italian translations, but it seems that only the The Hound and Other Stories has yet made it to English.

Thrifty prices

Wormwoodiana has a fine article on charity shops today, and specifically on “Why the net is not a good guide to book prices” for such shops…

Readers who spend any time in charity bookshops will quite often hear the manager or volunteers explain, when a customer queries a price, that they “value” their collectible books “using the Internet.

Wormwoodiana posits one plausible possibility for the ludicrously high prices often seen online. Money laundering…

A book is listed at a ludicrous price: a buyer pays it; shady money is transferred in a seemingly innocuous transaction. Who could possibly suspect second-hand bookselling of involvement with dark money?

Small sub-$150 payments, unlikely to draw notice, and with the excuse that “the robot did it” if the police start sniffing around. Seems plausible to me.

In the U.S. such physical shops are called ‘thrift stores’, or they were the last I heard. Possibly there’s now some trendy new hipster-ised name for them.

In my neck of the woods there are plenty of such charity shops and even a couple of second-hand bookshops (‘used bookstores’) left. But the days of bargains are long gone in either type of shop, as the proprietors think they know the value of everything, and add £3/$5 on top.

The other problem with charity shops is that they are so relentlessly professionalised and commercialised. Big charities now have a small army of professionalised retail managers and regional managers. Pop in to hand over your bag of donated books, and you will be immediately slammed with a robo-request from the poor volunteer staff member to “sign up to a direct debit” etc. They have to ask that of every customer, but it just means that, next time I have a bag of books to donate I’ll be stepping into another charity shop.

The exceptions to rampant commercialisation are the ‘out of town-centre’ shops, often run by a delightfully haphazard cat-lady hoard-minder for a local independent cat-rescue charity. Still the best kind of old-school charity shop. Still the best kind of charity too. If Lovecraft had made his fortune, I suspect he’s have left it all to the local cat charity.

Friday “picture postals” from Lovecraft: Crown Hotel

“She [Sonia] visited Lovecraft in Providence on 4-5 September, staying at the Crown Hotel.” — S.T. Joshi, I Am Providence.

“Having entertained Lovecraft and his aunt for lunch at the Crown Hotel, Sonia suggested inviting several leading amateurs [to town]…” — L. Sprague deCamp, Lovecraft: A Biography.

One wonders if Sonia treated Lovecraft to a ‘Deep One’ ice-cream sundae at the Hotel’s ‘Deep Sea Cocktail Lounge’, in lieu of something alcoholic…