The virus abates, for now, as I had expected it to at the end of May. I’m glad to say that I haven’t yet keeled over and been wheeled away. I was almost blown away by a terrific three-day wind-storm, but the mighty-walled Tentaclii Towers withstood the buffeting. As I type only a faint breeze riffles the tops of the verdant May-time greenwood that is inner-city Stoke-on-Trent, and the merest grunting can be heard from within the curiously conical burrows that cluster beneath the boughs.
I’m pleased to see that no Lovecraftians have yet trimmed me from their Patreon list, in the face of a lockdown downturn in their finances. In fact, My Patreon has edged up a bit and now stands at an encouraging $64 a month. Anything you can do to nudge it closer to the magic ‘$100’ will be most welcome, please.
Here at Tentaclii I found various items relating to Lovecraft the man and his environs. I posted a link to the amusing 1940s memoir-cum-horoscope “Lovecraft and the Stars”. I similarly located a substantial and previously unconsidered cat book that influenced the boy Lovecraft, The Fireside Sphinx: A Cultural History of Cats (1901). The book Corners and characters of Rhode Island (1924) is also now at Archive.org, and it seems another key Lovecraft book but for a different reason — it’s now a handy visual reference book for the various Providence houses mentioned in Lovecraft’s stories and letters. Various new pictures from Lovecraft’s era and city were found, as seen in my regular ‘Picture Postals’ series of posts. The ‘Kittee Tuesday’ feature also continued this month, though future kittee posts depend on the availability of items. I’ve made a start on reading the volume of letters to Bloch and others, and hopefully this will help me locate many suitable posts over the summer.
As for Lovecraft scholarship, about another eight items were added to my Open Lovecraft page. I also posted a long review of the Lovecraft Annual 2019, and along the way made a few new discoveries about Red Hook and the Red Hook poem “The Cats”. The seminal long essay “New England Decadent” has also turned up for free at the French open-access journals service Persee, and it was linked here. My Patreon patrons now have access to my new 10,000-word near-final draft PDF discussing three possible newly-recognised sources for Lovecraft’s “The Shadow out of Time”…
… and yes, I took account of the letter to Clark Ashton Smith, which appears to prefigure the idea of the ‘captive minds from across time’.
Here at Tentaclii I comprehensively surveyed the weird and wonderful goodies entering the public domain at the start of 2021 in nations which follow “the 70 year rule”, the author having died in 1950. A slightly less rich vein of plot-sources can now be found in my “Consult Mr. Lovecraft” page, which has returned to operation after a hiatus of several years.
In media, the excellent Lovecraftian 1940s fantasy-detective movie Cast a Deadly Spell (1991) is said to have fairly recently landed on Amazon Prime, and I had a signposting post on it and its past incarnations and sequel. I discovered the existence of Jason Eckhardt’s “Map of Lovecraft’s Providence” posted (sold out), which I had not been aware of before. My post “Fragments from the Dreamlands” surveyed 1970s Lovecraft book cover illustrator Gervasio Gallardo. I also undertook another of my monthly surveys of new items on DeviantArt. I noted a call for the world to take curated VR tours of Lovecraft’s Providence.
This month I elsewhere produced Digital Art Live #49, a substantial issue of the magazine. The suitably lockdown-subdued theme is “Mono” (silhouette art, b&w, lineart), and it includes an in-depth interview with occasional Lovecraftian comics maker and adapter Matt Timson. Also, I hope that the next issue of sister title VisNews, a monthly publication for comics makers, will feature a long interview with Mockman (the Dream Quest graphic novel, wall-map of the Dreamlands, and more).
And lastly, I didn’t forget Robert E. Howard this month. I undertook what appears to be the first online survey of the various Conan encyclopaedias and gazetteers, even digging some of them out of The Wayback Machine. Also noted here were facsimile reprints of the Weird Tales sister title Oriental Stories / Magic Carpet, now available for purchase.
That’s it for May, onward into the summertime!