A Covid-like two-week cold, still persisting even now as an annoying cough, prevented Tentaclii from operating as full tilt this month. But a lot was done, even so. The regular ‘Picture Postals’ post was the main item to get a bit lacklustre. I tracked down some of the 1940s/50s Rhode Island drawings of James Francis Murray, and found three or four that were evocative of Innsmouth. I newly found some fine old picture of places I had previously considered, such as the Providence Library steps, the Handicraft Club on College Street (Lovecraft’s aunt lived there for a while), and Pascoag and Chepachet (“The Horror at Red Hook”).
I began an occasional series looking at Lovecraft’s publication The Conservative, and in March I tracked through his first two issues. Among other things I discovered what the “Wet Hen” was, and more about the Lovecraft-admired writer and macabre poet John Henry Fowler (1861-1932).
Also in biography I did initial research on who the early Lovecraftian and Weird Tales story writer David H. Keller was, since he’s now all but forgotten even by Lovecraftians. I linked to his available weird/fantasy collections and more, and was pleased to find had had a series of historical-fantasy tales set in Cornwall, England. Elsewhere Deep Cuts had a long article on “Hart Crane, Loveman and Lovecraft”, and I linked this and added three additional relevant quotes on Loveman.
In new books, S.T. Joshi reported the arrival of Robert Barlow’s greatly expanded collection Eyes of the God. The German Fungi von Yuggoth edition proved to be a handsome volume and also earned the coveted Joshi stamp-of-approval. The team now move on to translating Lovecraft’s essays into German. In France, the huge multi-volume new French translation from Mnemos completed and shipped.
The journal Dead Reckonings No. 32 (Fall/Autumn 2022) has also shipped, again according to S.T. Joshi. On Archive.org, I noted a partial run of Reader and Collector, the worthy fanzine of H.C. Koenig. Some other curiosities popped up on Archive.org, such as the one-off Necronomicon Ilustrado and a timely cutting on Lovecraft from the Chicago Daily Tribune, April 1945. Sadly the big publishers won the first round their law-suit against Archive.org on “books to borrow”, but the initial ruling is being appealed and I guess it may even go all the way to the Supreme Court.
Various audio readings and podcasts were noted. Sadly it looks like Voluminous, which beautifully reads Lovecraft’s letters, has finished its long run.
The well-reviewed 1930s Lovecraftian mystery-puzzler videogame Call of the Sea (2020) was released for free. Not covered by Tentaclii, the usual tidal-wave of Lovecraftian games were released, both videogames and RPGs. The ocean-going Dredge is a Lovecraftian game now being heavily promoted.
In free or low-cost software, I was pleased to find that the unique $47 desktop writing assistant CQuill Writer has a free sci-fi module trained “on 1950s sci-fi authors”. Also of note was OpenChatKit, the first of what will hopefully be many open and genuinely free AI text services. In image generating AI, Dream by Wombo just keeps getting better and can now do hands with reasonable fidelity. Now if only Wombo would provide any kind of ‘landscape’ as a well as their one-size ‘portrait’ output. In the meantime, Playground AI is has a range of output sizes and also genuinely free.
In comics, Dark Horse has finally dated Gou Tanabe’s mammoth adaptation “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” in English. Why Japanese graphic-novels and French BDs can’t be translated into English more quickly is beyond me. You’d think there would be a small industry in quick translation and sales by now, pushing books through to the large and lucrative English market simultaneously with their release in French, Italian or Japanese. Instead, English translations can take years to arrive, if ever.
Over in Tolkien-land, I released my third and probably final edition of the ebook for The Cracks of Doom: Untold Tales in Middle-earth, which now also covers the events of The Hobbit. The third issue of my free occasional PDF ‘zine for Tolkien scholars, Tolkien Gleanings, is also progressing nicely and should be available soon.
That’s it for March. My thanks to my Patreon patrons for sticking with me during this difficult time. And don’t forget… if anyone also wants a substantial monthly PDF magazine produced on their favourite topic, then it would only cost $700 a month to make that happen with myself as Editor.