A bit late, here’s my quick round-up of Tentaclii activity for August and a bit more.
Late August and early September have at last ushered in a beautiful English summer. The mighty walls of Tentaclii Towers has so far basked in a rare full week of fine weather. Cool-enough early mornings leading to days that are hot but not-too-hot. Nor is everything frazzled to an ugly brown crisp, as happens in the British Isles at the end of some summers. Since paid work still eludes me, these fine mornings have thus been used for a litter-picking of the entire Towers estate and even The Sinister Fringes That Lie Beyond. This mammoth task is now complete, just as the weather now grows increasingly misty and possibly-thundery. Unusual fungi have started to appear, heralding the autumn…
Not much news in books this month, but S.T. Joshi announced the anthology The Weird Cat. Amazon UK has this shipping in mid October and thus in time for Halloween.
In my weekly ‘Picture Postals from Lovecraft’ posts on Tentaclii I looked at: Lower Manhattan from Brooklyn Heights, and came fairly close to a vintage picture illustrating the opening of “He”; I probed the vampiric under-crypts of St. John’s, Providence; I was pleased to find more pictures of Eddy’s bookshop on Weybosset, although not the shop-front or basement interior; and I found and colourised a fine and revealing view of the town end of his long and beloved Angell Street, which revealed another reason for Lovecraft to think fondly of the city’s First Baptist Church steeple.
A patron’s question spurred the long post “Lovecraft and Vermont”, in which I surveyed the likely places there that a Lovecraftian might want to visit today. With pictures.
With the Lovecraft Annual 2023 almost due to ship, I posted a long review of the Lovecraft Annual 2022. Joshi has accepted my 2024 submission for the Annual (calling it “brilliant”, which was pleasing) and I now just have to find the time to whittle all the references and bibliography into the required format. Also in journals news, it seems that the purchasable run of old Crypt of Cthulhu PDFs have gone offline, along with the more recent 2017-2022 run. This means modern scholars have lost access not only to most of Lovecraft Studies, but also to most of Crypt.
Over in Middle-earth I published Tolkien Gleanings issue 6, my free PDF news ‘zine for Tolkien scholars. I finally pushed my big scholarly Tolkien book Tree & Star out in Lulu paperback alongside the earlier ebook edition. I also made Little Delvings in the Marsh, a search tool for Tolkien scholars.
Various choice items turned up on Archive.org or in Creative Commons, and were duly noted here.
In Germany, Lovecrafter and Lovecraft Online called for new staff, and released their annual double-issue Lovecrafter 11 and 12. I produced a quick English summary of what’s in #11 and #12. The Germans also have a new translation of Lovecraft’s Fungi from Yuggoth.
In events, The R.E. Howard ‘Howard Days’ announced 2024 dates. The Providence wing of the Lovecraft Film Festival should be booking soon, if it’s not booking already.
In Lovecraftian arts, not much in August. But more recently I was pleased to find the free Wrath of the Elder Gods pinball table (digital, videogame emulation), and the forthcoming French graphic novel Le dernier jour de Howard Phillips Lovecraft. Both look like quality, each in their own way. Another post on new Lovecraft comics is coming soon.
I’ve also been doing more learning and tinkering with AI, as much as I can using free services (I don’t have the RTX 2080 8Gb graphics card I need to do it locally, nor the price of the resulting electric bill). The key problem in AI image generation is still getting repeatable / pose-able characters, for storytelling purposes. Specifically for hyper-critical graphic-novel readers. Though my long-standing interest in the Poser software (the proper desktop software, not the unrelated mobile app of the same name) makes me think that Poser + AI will be a possible solution. Poser can do real-time comic-book renders from 3D figures and handles Python 3 very easily, so an AI plugin for Poser seems quite feasible. The trick would be make the real-time comic-book renders quickly look “in the style of Gil Kane” or “in the style of Jack Kirby”.
In audio, for Lovecraft’s birthday I offered an enhanced audiobook reading of Lovecraft’s “Vermont, a first impression”, enhanced with music and SFX. Also for this year’s birthday, the French play Lovecraft, mon amour was kindly released in full on YouTube (though with no good English subtitles). In podcasts, ‘Lovecraft & Astronomy’ was the topic of Talking Weird #52. Two of the PulpFest 2023 Lovecraft-relevant presentations appeared online as audio and were also linked.
A very kind benefactor has funded me for £56 worth of ‘thermals’ for the winter (top and leggings), a winter which will again have to be heater-less due to the massive electric bills and inflation that we’re all suffering with. They are the “max” thermals, supposedly good down to minus 15 degrees. The UK is overdue an Arctic winter, and I’m now better prepared if that happens. A £10 per hour job that can pay electric bills would of course be nicer to have, but no-one even wants to interview me… so the thermals and a scarf will have to do for now. As always, donations and new patrons are welcome. PayPal or an Amazon voucher code are two of the easy ways to make one-off donations.
That’s it, onwards into September!