Our Indian Summer ends and the year turns. Increasingly cold gusts buffet Tentaclii Towers. Things crawl. Moths become crawling larvae that inch their way up walls, to wrap themselves in silk. Spiders crawl into houses and skitter around the bath-tubs. Chill winds send dry leaves crawling and tumbling over the paths. A new virus-hysteria also crawls over the land, very probably needlessly. The sturdy grocers who supply Tentaclii Towers bewail their empty shelves, where once there were walls of toilet-rolls and Dettol. Still, the ginger beer remains in-stock, and a good supply of this is now lining the cobwebbed cellars of Tentaclii Towers, thanks in part to my Patron patrons.
My Patreon total still stands at $69 a month from 24 patrons, as it did last month. But at least the total is not going down, at a time when many people are cancelling monthly subscriptions. This month my patrons have enabled me to bag two useful bargain-priced books. H.P. Lovecraft: Letters with Donald and Howard Wandrei was found as a half-price £10 copy inc. shipping, as an Amazon Warehouse deal. Mauling by warehouse werewolves had apparently caused “severe damage” to the covers, but when the book arrived in the Amazon locker it was fine. Just a very slight and gentle crease in one corner of the front cover, hardly to be noticed. This new book immediately yielded up another piece in the jigsaw puzzle that is the life of Lovecraft’s friend Arthur Leeds. I had already established his late presence at Coney Island, but this was further illuminated by Lovecraft’s remark to Wandrei that Leeds had become associated with a human freak show. One then wonder if Lovecraft ever dropped in on this show, on some New York visit? It was a proper full-on freak show, and there are now at least two New York history books devoted to it.
I was also able to bag an eBay bargain, a copy of the Lovecraft Annual No.2 for 2008. This had somehow turned up in a thrift-store, way out on the plains of middle-America. Smaller thrift-store chains can have nice prices, as they don’t operate in the “we know the price of everything, add $10 on top, and just auto re-list it until it sells” mould. They want to ship ASAP, so they can make room for the next consignment of kind donations. They were willing to sell for a mere $10, inc. shipping across the Atlantic. Nice. The book should emerge from the hoary hold of a transatlantic tramp steamer any day now.
In other book news this month, I noted a new ebook edition of H.P. Lovecraft in Britain. This led me to discover that the original might still be available in paper from the author, and at a very nice price too. S.T. Joshi kindly revealed the next three titles set for the ongoing Letters series: “Letters to Hyman Bradofsky and Others; Letters to Woodburn Harris and Others; Letters to Richard F. Searight and E. Hoffmann Price.” The new expanded Letters To Rheinhart Kleiner and Others is being polished now and should be the next to ship, later in 2020. Spurred by the Kleiner letters being listed at Hippocampus, I was pleased to prise from the archives a fine light poem by Kleiner. This evoked the 1921 experience of visiting the early news-reel and travelogue cinema shows, and in a way it offers some additional context for Lovecraft’s circa-1922 emergence into the social world. His world was also widening at the cinema.
R.E. Howard books were not forgotten. I was pleased to hear of a new updated and expanded edition of the old Starmont Guide Robert E. Howard: A Closer Look, and I also noted a curious new book on Conan’s ‘philosophy’. My Patreon patrons were also alerted to the sale of a large and desirable Howard collection by mail-order, with items sensibly priced.
In scholarly journals from the continent I played catch-up with the Italian Studi Lovecraftiani journal for 2020 and 2019, and also gave English readers the translated contents lists for these volumes. For the 2019 edition this entailed quite some digging into various Italian blog posts, as there’s no simple list. I found another open journal, AILIJ : Anuario de Investigaciin en Literatura Infantil y Juvenil (2001-2019, ‘Research Yearbook on Children’s and Young People’s Literature’).
In continental books, the Italians are set to ship Io Sono Providence: la biografia di H.P. Lovecraft, this being the second volume of Joshi’s biography. The Italians also have a substantial new book on Kenneth Sterling and Lovecraft, by a past contributor to the Lovecraft Annual. In French I found in open access the academic book Fantastique et Evenement: Etude comparee des oeuvres de Jules Verne et Howard P. Lovecraft.
My own scholarly posts were rather light. But I took a look at Lovecraft’s pursuit of the Perkins line in his family-tree, and posted a much more substantial survey of Lovecraft and voodoo.
Tools for scholars are also of interest to some Tentaclii readers and I noted the release of the useful PDF Index Generator 3.0 (generates ‘back-of-the-book’ indexes), and showed how to keep the free DocFetcher running (generates a local index of folders of documents, enables keyword searching of these). For bloggers I gave many tips on setting up the free Open Live Writer, useful for those fleeing the ‘Block editor’ at the free WordPress.com blogging service. Also of possible interest to wranglers of words is my new free booklet of useful regex, the My Little Regex Cookbook, for Notepad++. My own JURN academic search-engine (open-access only, with a focus on arts and humanities) has now completed a back-end overhaul and link-check and is thus once again ready for the ‘back to university’ crowd. I also have a new link-tree which provides a handy list of my other non-Lovecraft projects, including JURN.
There was a ripple of science items this month. Fred Lubnow produced a new blog post, “Some Notes on the Biology of the Shoggoths”. There was a call for papers for “Science Fiction in the Museum”, a link to a new “Ancient Earth Globe” interactive website, and a podcast on the strange world of the lichens.
My regular Friday ‘Picture Postals’ feature once again dug into Lovecraft’s College St., and the second of these posts literally ‘dug in’ — with a look at the 1935 demolitions. For this I was able to pair record-photographs with art from Stacey Tolman, to reveal Tolman’s exact locations. Another ‘Picture Postals’ post also led in a roundabout way to another interesting local artist, H. Cyrus Farnum, via initial consideration of an all-night coffee shop in Providence. Another more general College St. post, “Between Waterman and College Streets”, considered if an evocative Athos Zacharias 1950s lithograph might (or might not) show Lovecraft’s final home.
Various forthcoming Lovecraft events were noted. NecronomiCon 2021 has appointed its poet laureate. There was an update on Hungary’s National Lovecraft Meeting 2021, plus details and a poster for Germany’s Cthulhu Fest 2021. Give the current behaviour of the second-wave virus (spreading, but seemingly not very deadly at all) it’s quite possible these will happen face-to-face. Or at least with some cool hand-made cultist face-masks.
In audio, Cadabra Records released a “Behind the scenes” video for their new 6 x L.P. boxed-set vinyl for H.P. Lovecraft’s “At the Mountains of Madness”, and I noted that their “The Loved Dead” vinyl LP is still available. Psilowave Records is getting in on the act, with a new two-LP “The Dunwich Horror” on coloured vinyl. Several Lovecraft-heavy album releases were noted in the heavy metal genre. There was more from the Voluminous podcast which is reading extracts of Lovecraft’s letters, and on YouTube I found a new and full reading of Lovecraft’s seminal expression of cosmicism “The Poe-et’s Nightmare”.
In the graphic arts, a popular Tentaclii post surveyed a wealth of recent Lovecraft graphic novels, and here I was especially pleased to discover the Lovecraftian graphic novel Weird Detective (2017). There was no DeviantArt art survey this month. Post-Inktober will be a better moment to make such a survey. But various archival bits of art were brought to light, and from Archive.org I was delighted to dig up “Lurker in the Lobby #3” by Kennon James, which depicted Lovecraft’s one-time job as a cinema-booth ticket-clerk. Where is the rest of this set, in this original form? Finally I noted that the H.P. Lovecraft Archive now has a handy new page linking to ‘Lovecraft’s Drawings’ as scanned and online in the Brown repository. These run from “Nude, Bearded Lovecraft” to “Kittens at Play”, all as drawn by Lovecraft himself.
That’s it for this month. Please consider becoming my Patreon patron.