I’m pleased to see that Tentaclii is back at No. 1 for a simple search for lovecraft blog in the Google Search results. Not that you’d know that if you were using Bing or even the DuckDuckGo search-engines. Bing seems to ‘black-hole’ Tentaclii, giving the blog a mere one result and nothing in the ‘last month’ filter. And that’s despite my submitting the blog URL when I re-started posting, just before they announced they were shutting down the Bing URL submission service. I can only assume that Microsoft’s bot runs an algorithm that says “Tentaclii = not a proper word, must be a spam-blog” without actually giving the content a sniff.
Hathi has announced that bookworm and other free tools can now worm merrily across the full-text from all of Hathi’s 16.7-million items. Previously the tools were restricted only to the public domain holdings, but they now also include the locked-down texts.
One can now easily do cool searches, for instance, to discover that 1808 was the year of “peak eldritch” in literary books. And that the arrival of the mass-market browser-based Internet in late 1995 probably caused the “Lovecraft bounce” which began then.
Free on Archive.org, Mike Ashley’s overview book The Time Machines : The Story of the Science Fiction Pulp Magazines from the Beginning to 1950 (2000, University of Liverpool Press). I assume the University of Liverpool Press have unlatched it via the ‘Knowledge Unlatched’ programme. Amazon USA wants amazingly high prices for it in print, though Amazon UK has more reasonable prices.
There’s also a follow-on book for the 1950-1970 period.
This may be of interest to Lovecraft artists who use 3D. A new all-terrain height-map of Antarctica has just been released, with a mapping resolution that’s high enough to spot one of Lovecraft’s Star-Headed Old Ones and possibly even to count the number of points on his star (2m resolution in rocky parts). There’s a Google-Maps-like Web Viewer of this summer 2015-16 snapshot of the mighty continent’s terrain.
Presumably the data sets will soon be loaded to the main 3D terrain download service TerrainParty, which is free and public, from where you’ll be able to get it with relative ease to creative 3D landscape software such as Vue, Terragen, World Creator Pro etc. And you can then create any true-life vista of Antarctica you want, without risk of frost-bite or shoggoth attack.
I’m pleased to say I’ve been sent a low-res PDF of the new Lovecraft graphic novel He Who Wrote in the Darkness, for review, and am currently half-way through savouring it.
When faced with a low-res PDF many reviewers might have preferred to have been sent a proper Kindle app store review-copy. Because that would have opened with the Amazon app — an app which offers a panel-by-panel ‘guided’ view of comics when reading. For the benefit of other reviewers of graphic novels who want such a ‘guided’ view, here’s what you do when you get an awkward layered PDF (i.e.: where the text is on a separate layer that sits above the art).
1. On your Kindle tablet, add a side-load install of the wholly free Comic Time Reader app as a downloaded .APK file. It does ‘panel detection’ (aka frame-by-frame viewing, aka ‘guided view’), just like Comixology and the Amazon Kindle Viewer do for purchased comics. Given this vital feature, seemingly unique among free apps not tightly tethered to a payments ecosystem, it’s perhaps unsurprising that Comic Time Reader is not present on the Amazon App Store where it would impinge on Amazon’s business model. But it works fine on the 2017 Kindle Fire HD 10″ tablet. The only problem is that the app can’t load PDFs.
2. Then convert your .PDF to .CBR with the Windows desktop freeware Comic Book Archive Creator, at maximum image quality and with .JPG output. Unlike its only free rival Comic Rack, Comic Book Archive Creator can correctly handle a PDF with layered text when converting. Also, it appears to save pages at 600dpi, which means that ‘the jaggies’ are minimal on the flattened lettering, balloons and captions. Its only problem is that it works v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y and can be a bit of a system hog while it’s working.
3. If you left Comic Book Archive Creator on its default output type, rename its resulting .ZIP file to .CBR format. .CBR is just a bunch of numbered .JPG page-scans inside a re-named .RAR or .ZIP file, so it’s a very flexible format. Now send it over to your Kindle. You’re then ready to read your graphic novel in a ‘guided’ frame-by-frame manner in the excellent free Comic Time Reader. If Comic Time Reader occasionally has trouble detecting a frame edge in a complex layout, you just press and hold in one corner of the frame, then drag your finger to the opposite corner. That tells the app where the frame is.
(If you end up with a ridiculously large 600Mb-to-multiGb comic, because the source input was actually high-quality and/or a very long graphic novel, simply unzip the page-images to a folder, run an Irfanview batch reduction on them, and then re-zip them and re-name into a .CBR file. Irfanview’s batch has the advantage over Photoshop here, in that it knows how to re-size an image without needing to know the dimensions on both sides. It’s also much faster than Photoshop).
Announcing PulpFest 2019. Thursday 15th – Sunday 18th August 2019, just north of Pittsburgh, USA. No theme, but there’s a mention of “Children of the Pulps and Other Stories” which I’m guessing might suggest a planned focus on spin-offs, revivals and the later afterlives of pulp characters?
The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies, booking now for Autumn/Fall classes in Los Angeles, New York City and London. Starting 11th-13th September 2018, dates vary between centres.
Themed Lovecraft mythos short-story anthologies that the world still yearns for…
1. Cthulhu Was My Roommate! Mythos stories set at H.P. Lovecraft conventions.
2. Tie-die Cthulhu. Mythos stories set in the hippie 1970s.
3. Cathulhu. Mythos stories with kittens. What could possibly go wrong?
4. Cthulhu Is Our Muse. Lovecraft’s conventional poetry re-written as Mythos fiction.
5. Chocolate Chip Cthulhu. Mythos stories involving ice-cream.
6. President Cthulhu. Mythos stories set in the surrealpolitik era after a Cthulhu cult takeover.
7. Fifty Shades of Cthulhu. Mythos stories brimming with Lovecraft inspired sexual repression.
8. Emperor Cthulhu. Mythos stories written in Latin and set in Ancient Rome.
9. Automatic Cthulhu. Mythos stories featuring big sexy guns.
10. Into Infinity with Cthulhu! Mythos stories about anthologists of Mythos stories.