HP Lovecraft Slept Here — and So Can You!

lovecrafthouseThis sounds like a writer’s dream — or nightmare, depending on how one looks at it: A one-bedroom apartment in the same house in which the master of weird fiction himself, H.P. Lovecraft, lived and wrote is available to rent for just $965 a month in Providence, R.I.

The room is in a Victorian house at 10 Barnes St. — an address that Lovecraft actually incorporated into The Case of Charles Dexter Ward as the home of Dr. Marinus Bicknell Willett. It boasts hardwood floors, high ceilings, off-street parking and basement laundry facilities.

Lovecraft was born in Providence in 1890 and moved to New York City when he married Sonia Greene in 1924. But hated Brooklyn so much — have you read “The Horror at Red Hook”? — that he moved back to Providence without his wife just two years later. He was taken in by two aunts who lived in this house.

As you can see, the photos of the rooms provide no hint of the “queerly irregular shape” and “peculiar angles” or sloping floors that one might expect to have nurtured the author of “The Dreams in the Witch-House.”
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Notes on Lovecraft’s ‘At the Mountains of Madness’

madnessnotesHere is a page of history for my fellow lovers of H.P. Lovecraft: a page of his notes made while writing the novella At the Mountains of Madness, one of his finest works — and one of my favorites.

These notes were made on an envelope that Lovecraft unfolded; he wasn’t doing too well financially in 1931, so he was saving paper. Good thing, too, since ATMoM wasn’t published until 1936.

Lovecraft made about seven pages of notes, and this one details the anatomy of the Elder Things, just one of the mind-bending creatures from the story. If you’ve never read it, you definitely should. The entire text is available here for free. You will doubtless recognize a number of elements that have been ripped off homaged by lesser writers ever since.

‘Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom’ — the Movie

A series of graphic novels spun around the supposed adventures of a young H.P. Lovecraft has been published by Arcana, and somehow I didn’t know about it! Not only that — one of the books, Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom, has been adapted by Arcana Studios into an animated film!

Here is the teaser trailer:

Looks like a lot of fun. The 3D animation seems to have some kind of weird, disorienting effect — or is that just me? I like it, though.
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A Pre-‘Pocalyptic Pony Proposition!

maddie05What was once just the fever dream of a few dedicated toy professionals is about to come to pass — but only with a little help from their fiends friends! And Friendship is Madness!

Little Maddie and the Four Horsies of the ‘Pocalypse is an attempt to summon into existence a line of designer collectibles for the discerning adult with a touch of that ol’ H.P. Lovecraft netherworld madness. But these toys cannot become manifest on this plane unless we help Bigshot Toyworks with its Kickstarter campaign to raise enough funds to pay for earthly necessities like sacrificial offerings raw materials, dark altars factories and minions workers and such.

While Little Maddie shows a dark Chthuloid influence, the Four Horsies of the ‘Pocalypse owe a debt to more classical sources. They are Raven (Famine), Clash (War), Calamity (Pestilence) and Ghost (Death).

Check out the Little Maddie Designer Figure Kickstarter page.

Revisiting a Post: Robert E. Howard — One Who Walked Alone

Today marks the 108th anniversary of the birth of pulp author Robert E. Howard, the creator of Conan the Barbarian and one of the most prolific, influential and successful authors from the era of pulp magazines. I usually post an ode to the Man From Cross Plains on this date, and this year I decided to do something a bit different: Taking a page from pulp mags like Weird Tales and Fight Stories, which used to publish Howard’s tales, I’m posting a reprint of a “classic” REH post (one I penned in 2010) with some slight editing. If you want to read what I wrote about REH last year or in 2011, follow the links. Enjoy! — Joe 01/22/14

The date Jan. 22 has been important to me since I was a lad, because it marks the anniversary of the birth of pulp author Robert E. Howard in 1906. One of my true favorites, Howard is most famous for creating Conan the Cimmerian, but his oeuvre also included such colorful characters as King Kull, Cormac Mac Art, El Borak, Sailor Steve Costigan, and another particular favorite, Solomon Kane, a Puritan adventurer. This was evocative stuff for a youngster, and Howard was the first writer I ever tried to emulate. I loved writing my own Conan stories, even though I was the only one who read them.
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A Little Pony of a Different Colour

This H.P. Lovecraft Mythos-inspired character looks like something straight out of a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Brony’s nightmare! The adorable little critter is called “Little Maddie — Friendship Is Maddness.”

Created by the folks at Behance, Little Maddie is said to be under development for a series of animation shorts and toys. Go check out their site, if you like your madness in cute pastel colors.

It makes me want to write a sanity-stripping short story set on a tiny New England farm and called “The Colour Out of Equestria.”

H.P. Lovecraft: A Dreamer and a Visionary

lovecrafttombToday would have been the 123rd birthday of one of my very favorite writers, H.P. Lovecraft. The Gentleman From Providence is probably the most influential writer of the 20th century that most people have never heard of.

Lovecraft was the foremost practitioner of “weird fiction” in the early part of the last century. His stories specialized in atmosphere — atmosphere that would suck the oxygen right out of your lungs. Atmosphere that was truly terrifying and really could send chills through your bloodstream. (Read “Cool Air” for a truly chilling tale of… air-conditioning?)

Without Lovecraft, horror movies, books, games and comics would look very different. Perhaps someone eventually would develop the idea of beings from other planets worshipped as gods by primordial humans, and lurid tales of Piscean species interbreeding with centuries of townsfolk and ancient ruined civilizations in Antarctica and leaping, chittering things trapped in crypts — but in our universe, H.P. did that. His was the imagination that gave us an artist who painted ghouls from live models.
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Del Toro To Try Scaling Mountains of Madness Again!

madness1Director Guillermo Del Toro, bless his geek heart, has decided to take another run at getting his dream project — a faithful adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s classic tale At the Mountains of Madness — off the ground and into multiplexes.

The Mexican maestro is so dedicated to this project that reviving ATMOM was one of the reasons Del Toro turned down a chance to direct Star Wars — Episode VII!

Del Toro had gotten pretty far into preproduction on ATMOM with none other than Tom Cruise in the lead role way back in 2011 when Universal suddenly pulled the plug, nervous about the flick’s unavoidable R rating and a budget that was anything but cheap.
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Have a Very Mythos Christmas!

cthulhutreeHere we are, in the depths of the shopping frenzy for the holidays, counting down the time left for grabbing gifts. I absolutely hate venturing out into the traffic jams to crawl to a mall to buy stuff people don’t really need just to “prove” that I really love them.

I cannot stand those rapid crowds, so I am very much an online shopper. I’m perfectly willing to indulge in the gift-giving frenzy; I just want to obtain the stuff I’m giving from a distance. Give me Amazon.com over a mall with no parking spaces any day!

This is a wonderful Christmas tree* that I found on The Lovecraftsman website and I just had to share it. It put me in mind of that holiday classic, “The Festival.” Don’t we all wish that instead of trudging to the in-laws’, we could spend this Yule-tide in the curious fishing village Kingsport, descending into secret caverns and riding uncanny beasts so hideous that the human brain cannot bear to remember them?

Let us celebrate the season in a fashion that might please H.P. Lovecraft himself: “O Cthulhu Tree, O Cthulhu Tree, how lovely are your tentacles…”

*No discrimination implied. Show me a Mi-Go menorah, etc., and I will feature it!