Lovecraft: Knowledge and terror

Italian philosopher and SF story writer Eric Marschall takes a look at Lovecraft: Knowledge and terror in a new ebook. Marschall looks at… “the fear of knowing and the love of knowledge that are both present in Lovecraft’s stories”. Amazon will send you a free 10% sample. In which one finds that the book starts from general philosophical ideas about such matters and then tries to map these onto aspects of Lovecraft’s fiction.

Also new in philosophy, the book Fragmentos filosoficos de horror. 25 essays in Portuguese, and it seems the well-regarded author has an interest in Lovecraft. Though I can find no table-of-contents for the book, which might reveal any specific essays on Lovecraft or his circle.

New sourcebooks for Lovecraft Country

A new series of Lovecraft Country sourcebooks from the makers of the Call of Cthulhu RPG, under the series title “Arkham Unveiled” and with the first book possibly titled “Call of Cthulhu: Arkham”. Supposedly the series is to start publishing in February 2024 [update: Amazon now says March 15th] and will then grow to cover Kingsport and Innsmouth etc. Which has been done before by Chaosium, often several times, though possibly not in such a “thick n’ slick” format as in this rather sumptuous and expensive-looking new series.

New Miskatonic University and Dreamlands sourcebooks are also said to be pencilled in. It might be nice to see some inter-twingling between those two, perhaps with several of the professors having investigated first-hand accounts of the Dreamlands and there also being some way to access the Dreamlands via some “Beyond the Wall of Sleep”-like secret device at the University. You’ll recall that in the early “Beyond the Wall of Sleep” (1919) the protagonist sees into ‘cosmic dreamscapes’ via a self-invented device.

Baranger’s Innsmouth – due 2025

Artist Francois Baranger has announced his next lavishly illustrated book project. Lovecraft’s “The Shadow over Innsmouth” is currently underway in his studio, for a possible 2025 release. I think this will be his fourth in his illustrated books of H.P. Lovecraft’s tale. Innsmouth will be in the same artistic style as the others.

Looks to me like he may want some photo reference for the bus. His is too 1940s French. I found this a while back, the Newbury area bus from the correct time-period…

Annals of the Jinns

Pegana Press blogs that the limited edition Annals of the Jinns is now test-binding and that…

I will share more news and photos of this lovely Limited Edition of Annals of the Jinns by R.H. Barlow soon

These tales appeared in print as a Fantasy Fan series in 1933-35 and thus would have been read by Lovecraft, around the time of the penning of The Shadow Out of Time and the experiments that led up to it. They can be found on Project Gutenberg and in good form in the Barlow collection Eyes of the God.

Barlow’s overall title comes from Vathek

Thither [to the lovely flowered island] Ganigul often retired in the daytime to read in quiet the marvellous annals of the Jinns, the chronicles of ancient worlds, and the prophecies relating to the worlds that are yet to be born.

I had often, while in Shadukan, read the annals of the Jinns, and, as soon as you spoke of the fatal cupboard, I knew what it contained.

Heavy dark LORAs

More new free LORAs of possible interest, for use with your local AI image generation software (ComfyUI, InvokeAI, etc, running Stable Diffusion 1.5).

Death Metal artwork, in an album-cover style though one can remove the lettering (SD 1.5 doesn’t do readable lettering). Seems well-liked by those who’ve tried to work with it.

Possibly also useful for fantasy-horror needs, the new environment LORAs Fantasy Swamps (generic) and Ice Age (old and future Ice Ages, sci-fi ice worlds).

Perhaps interesting to combine in Lovecraft-y ways, the new silhouette-y Shadow Concept and the dusk-with-glows Shadow Concept.

And finally, a new Solomon Kane character LORA, based on stills from the movie.

Lovecraft’s eyes

There’s a new and interesting scientific wrinkle on Lovecraft and ‘fear of the dark’. You’ll recall that Lovecraft had darkish hazel-brown eyes. A new pre-print research paper from Liverpool in the UK tested the “Effect of iris pigmentation of blue and brown eyed individuals” of European descent, in terms of their low-light vision. They found that…

Blue eyed individuals were identified to have significantly better ability to see in lower lighting

… after a short adaptation period. In other words, after a short time of ‘letting your eyes get used to the lowering light’. The authors suggest that the already-known susceptibility of blue eyes to ‘straylight'(*) is the likely cause, providing just…

enough luminance to provide blue-eyed individuals with a visual advantage to make out shapes

… with relative speed in lowering-light environments. Such as hunting at dusk. This seems plausible, though note that the study has a small sample size.

But the implications for Lovecraft is that as an adult he saw darkness as more of a ‘void’ than he might have done if he really had been a blue-eyed Nordic type. Although in 1923 he joshed with the Mediterranean-favouring Belknap Long in a letter that he was really a Nordic, and thus entitled to imagine himself…

a comrade of the wolves, and rider of nightmares — aye — I speak truly — for was I not born with yellow hair and blue eyes — the latter not turning dark till I was nearly two, and the former lasting till I was over five? Ho, for the hunting and fishing in Valhalla!

Thus, there may have been a ‘double impact’ here for Lovecraft in early childhood. An imaginative tot’s intense fear of the dark exacerbated by his blue eyes, until the age of two, due to good perception of subtle shapes in the dark. Then a strong and perhaps sudden lessening of this ability, leading to the increasingly imaginative child’s fear that the terribly phantasmal shapes were still there in the dusk, but were now dangerously unseen…

Their hand is at your throats, yet ye see Them not; and Their habitation is even one with your guarded threshold.” (Necronomicon).

You’ll recall also Lovecraft’s early fear of the dark. Evidenced by the lengths his grandfather went to, to try to cure the boy of it. Also his love of cats, friendly creatures able to see relatively easily in the very low light.

* straylight — “light that enters the eye but does not reach the retina in a focused manner”

Le Dernier Jour d’Howard Philip Lovecraft

A new quick official video peep at the art for the new graphic novel Le Dernier Jour d’Howard Philip Lovecraft, or more accurately a ‘BD’ (being the French/Belgian format of a large-format and relatively short but high-quality graphic-novel in hardback).

This led me to another video which reveals the 5,000(!)-copy printing sold out over Christmas and it’s reprinting (“a new printing has taken place”). This video also has a flip-through giving a quick preview of the interior art and layout. Possible spoilers.

Hopefully the success will encourage an English translation and ebook version.

Those looking for more immediate yuks and yawps might plump for the new Elvira meets Lovecraft #1 comic…

Lovecraft vs. werewolf Elvis…

Medieval cats and braces

For ‘Kitty Tuesday’, a new Medieval cats LORA for your PC’s local AI image-generator. Cats as seen on medieval manuscripts. That was when they had rocket-cats. Really…

Also a new Retro Men’s Suspenders Outfit LORA, which could be useful for those making an ‘H.P. Lovecraft as character’ comic or 1920s-50s Call of Cthulhu RPG artwork with AI image generation. In British English, suspenders = braces.

So far as I’m aware, he used a firm belt rather than braces, but the LORA is certainly depicting a key aspect of his era.

Multi-voice Dexter Ward

Actor William E. Hart’s multi-voice unabridged The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, from the corrected text. This is actually from way back in 2012, but it seems to have passed me by. It’s free, just over five hours, and the .MP3 links are still live.

How my AI sees the tale.

Just the thing to liven up a slow Monday, perhaps. Or, you might choose the new LibriVox public domain recording of Belknap Long’s “The Space Eaters”.