The jet-pack rocketeers of the Rhode Island Science Fiction Club deliver the news that The Providence Journal newspaper has a Lovecraft short-story competition… “seeking original tales of terror” in the Lovecraftian style. 1,500 words, deadline: 26th July 2015. “The three winners will be published in The Journal‘s Rhode Islander section in August 2015.”

I’d imagine that having a light patina of local history and geography may please the judges. A couple of ideas that spring immediately to mind…

* A story woven around Lovecraft’s job as a ticket seller at a Providence cinema.

* The ‘origin story’ of the boy Lovecraft’s aversion to sea-food, with the Providence dock-side warehouses as the setting. Have this episode illuminate Lovecraft’s 1929 letter to The Journal, titled “Retain Historic ‘Old Brick Row'” / “The Old Brick Row”, in which he tried to prevent the demolition of the historic dockside warehouses.

* After his return to Providence Lovecraft noted that he sometimes visited the city’s rougher dock-side cafes, since they were good places to get very cheap filling meals. Possibly he had also used them earlier, after a night of explorations around the harbour area. Could he have once met there the inspiration for the story “The Terrible Old Man” (1920)? Lovecraft imagines meeting a similar character on the docks in the year 2000, in his early poem “Providence in 2000 A.D.” (pub. Providence’s Evening Journal, 4th March 1912)…

  With terror struck, I sought the wharf once more,
  But as my steamboat’s whistle ‘gan to roar,
  A shrivell’d form, half crouching ‘twixt the freight,
  Seiz’d on my arm, and halted short my gait.
  “Who art thou, Sirrah?” I in wonder cry’d;
  “A monstrous prodigy,” the fellow sigh’d;
  “Last of my kind, a lone unhappy man, …”

One might add some macabre link with the long-lived street cat named “Old Man”, a creature Lovecraft often met with while walking down toward the centre of Providence.