The HP Lovecraft Film Festival

It's taken a while to write this, I think this is rewrite #3. Going for the short form this time. Had a really good time at the Film Festival. Portland as usual is the kind of city I enjoy. Good food, interesting buildings, a metro system that works, and a distinct lack of mountain cedar. Did my usual wandering, raided Powell's City of Books (Oh, my credit card bill). I also went over to the Oregon Maritime Museum and Movie Madness Video. Then, Friday night was time for the Fest...

As usual it was mostly feature films for me. So after saying hi to people I know, I found a seat for 'Necronomicon: The Book of Hell'. A flick from Argentina, that I've been wanting to see since I first heard about it. Movie about one of the copies of the Necronomicon that HPL said was kept at the Biblioteca Nacional in Buenos Aires. Creepy book tale (which themed to be a theme for me this year). Lots of fun, low budget but it worked well for me. Then again, crazed book folks hit a special note with me. Hoping it gets an international release. Next flick was 'The Rules of Ruin', another forbidden tome book, this one from Mexico. Also creepy, it didn't hang together quite as well as Necronomicon, but it was enjoyable. Again, hoping for a wider release (and a physical copy for me).

Saturday started with 'Carbload for Cthulhu' a signing event, with bagels and Voodoo donuts. (I had a quarter of 1 donut due to the evil diabetes, was good but not worth sugar coma). Met some more friends, met a number of new authors and bought a bunch of books. Then was the HPLHS presentation of 'The Shadow Over Innsmouth' as a radio play. As a card carrying member, I had to get a front row seat. Then was dinner, sushi with pals, then back to see 'Hammer of the Gods', a Canadian wilderness horror flick. The same people did 'Black Mountain Side' a few years ago, which blew me away. This was different, jarring spikes of horror, mixed with general 'oh crap this will end badly'. Really enjoyed it, will be staying out of the Canadian wilderness. Last flick for Saturday was a Japanese adaptation of 'The Shadow Over Innsmouth'. Was enjoyable, if a little slow. But it's one of those things I'd probably never get to see again, so glad I went.

Sunday started with more wandering and talking. Some folks had their wedding at the HPLFF, and they opened it to anyone who wanted to attend. Cody Goodfellow presided, I highly recommend getting married by a crazy Cthulhu cultist if you are of the inclination.

Movies were Clark Ashton Smith adaptations, one from 'Night Gallery' and two by Richard Stanley, 'Mother of Toads' (which I've seen a few times) and 'The Sea of Perdition', which isn't a direct adaptation, just using some themes and going off a really cool landscape he found in Iceland. Richard Stanley did a Q/A which was really interesting, he's a very quirky dude. I then hit my one shorts block, the NSFW set. Definitely was not safe for work, or sanity. Will never look at lobsters or mirrors the same way again. *wink* Final flick was 'Corpse' based on the King in Yellow mythos of Robert Chambers. Very psychedelic, multiple timelines that were kind of hard to keep up with, and IMHO needed a bit of editing, but it really got the creeping insanity of Carcosa (not Carcosa Corp). And with that, my fest came to a close.

*looks up* Yeah, this is the short form. I can get wordy really bloody easily. As I said, I had a blast. Saw a number of friends, made a bunch of new ones. Was already wishing it was time for the next fest before I got to the airport the next day. Many Thanks to Gwen and Brian Callahan, along with their eldritch minions for putting on one hell of a fest.

Pilgrimage to Innsmouth West

Heading out to Portland in a few hours, for the HP Lovecraft Film Festival. Very much looking forward to it, hoping for an easy trip (I have a sinus infection, and that's making me a tad nervous about flying). Lovecraftian movies and people, book raid on Powell's City of Books, and some rather good food. So wish me luck, and I'll post again after I get back, and fill you all in on the eldritch details.

Goin’ Down to Innsmouth

Been a while since I posted on an actual blog. Part of the problem is I can't just open a term window and post to wordpress, like I used to do on Livejournal. Those were the good ol days. There are tools, but they're way overpowered, have weird access, and well...I'm just paranoid enough to worry about installing strange php scripts on servers. (Yes, I'm talking about wp-cli).

So what's been going on ? I've had some crazy mood/anxiety issues. I'm fighting it, but I'm very tired of fighting. So I'm trying a kind of Iä Cthulhu play, and taking a short vacation this coming week. Flying up to Boston, and from there driving north to Gloucester. Or as I call it, Innsmouth. Grandpa Theobald based his depiction of Innsmouth on Gloucester and the nearby town of Newburyport. So, I'm going to my city of dreams, see the 'Gilman House' and the 'Esoteric Order of Dagon Hall'. I'm also going sailing around Cape Ann on a schooner, and I'll be spending more than a little time in my old friend, the Atlantic. Will only be up there 4 days, but I hope it will be enough to reboot my brainmeats. And if nothing else, I get to check a few items off the bucket list.

Besides brainmeats and Innsmouth, I've been kind of doing the usual. My reading has kind of narrowed down to almost all history. Part of that is coping with mood problems, it's very hard to develop an emotional connection to things that happened 100/1000/2500 years ago. Which is kind of weird, as I've been binge watching 'Babylon 5' the last week or so, which is full of characters I care about. Oh well, it's still fun, even if it's made me want to cry more than a few times.

Also, I've been playing a lot of chess against the Shining Trapezohedron. I've always wanted to be a good chess player. I'm not one. But lately I've found that I can plan further ahead than before. Not much, but enough that I don't have to play the computer on the utter beginner mode, instead 1 level up for beginner. So far I'm batting .500. Which I'll take, and the small endorphin pulse I get from a win, or for even fighting a solid loss.

So, long post short, I'm struggling. But I have plans, and tools, and I'll keep on trying. Hopefully it won't a month and a half before I post again. Ciao cultists.

Can someone help me find my lung?

It's April Fool's Day. Been caught at least twice, possibly I should just avoid the internets today. Oh well.

Was kind of a rough week, still feeling puny, work has ramped up my meeting queue, and I've been kind of flailing around trying to get stuff done. Glad it's the weekend though. Today is movie theater day, going to see 'Ghost in the Shell' then 'Life' this evening to celebrate Nymaz spawning day (early, since the poor viking is stuck on call on his actually spawning weekend). There will also be general hangout time, and dinner at a diner we all like by the movie theater. Omelet for days, and maybe even pie.

Still coughing up shoggoths, still feeling less than good. I'm hoping it's just my lungs clearing with a side of allergies redux. But there may be yet another doctor visit coming up, as this is utterly miserable.

Otherwise, things are ok. Double-checked vacation approval with my boss's boss. Wasn't 'worried' but I wanted to make sure it was cool up the chain. I also found a reason to adjust my pre-Providence travels. Kirk Hammett, along with being a guitarist, is a major horror collector. So a museum in Salem is doing a exhibit of some of his stuff. And since I'm flying into Boston, I may have to make a side trip up to Salem the day I fly in. (on top of visiting old Ironsides and the Boston Aquarium, maybe driving to the Atlantic shore...) Really, I need to make a separate trip to Boston in the future, lots of things I want/need to see with adult eyes. Oh well, that's what 2018 is for.

What's up in cultist ville? Books, including finishing the late John Glasby's 'Dark Armageddon' trilogy. The series is about humans trying to survive when the stars come right. It's very Brian Lumleyesque, but I've always liked Glasby's writing. He doesn't reinvent anything, or won't take home the gold in Cthulhu writing, but he does right solid, readable, enjoyable tales that scratch that tentacle itch.

Also, remember 'Winter Tide? Book freedom day is this Tuesday. It should be in your local brick+mortar stores, as well as findable at your online bookplace of choice, plus there's always I've got the Kindle edition preordered, and I'll be at the local B&N on Tuesday to get my hardback edition. April has a lot of preorders coming out, so it will be a good reading month.

Also, speaking of Lovecraft, next weekend is the release date for The Void. Lovecraftian film, that has people/shoggoths/mi-go all abuzz. (literally when you mention the later). It will be showing in DFW at one of the Alamo Drafthouses, and I'm looking to go see it on the big screen. (then of course, pick it up on bluray afterwards).

Ok, that's enough rambling for today. Wish me luck on good movie sign, and feeling better, and I'll ramble later.

From the Starry Wisdom Library: A Review of ‘Winter Tide’

One of the best bits of Lovecraftian lore I've read in the last 5 years was Ruthanna Emrys' 'The Legacy of Earth'. A novella about a Innsmouth Marsh who is living in San Francisco after World War II. Now anyone who's read or talked to me any great degree knows I'm rather pro Deep One. Those last few paragraphs where Robert Olmsted talks of the wonder and glory of those living under the sea...it's always had a special place in my swim bladder. So a story from the point of view of an Innsmouth native, I'm sold. I've sung the praises of this story before, so when I heard the author had a novel of the future adventures of Aphra Marsh, well I may have happy danced a bit.

Skip ahead to last Cthulhumas, and said author said 'Hey I have ARCs, tell me about your Winter Solstice Traditions, and you may win one'. So I posted, and guess what, I won one. Yay for pre-reading preordered books. So, in thanks here is my quick review of 'Winter Tide'.

After the events of 'The Legacy of Earth', Aphra is asked to return to Massachusetts to look into possible use of Aeonist magic by foreign powers. Shockingly, it's at Miskatonic U, which is where most of the contents of the libraries of Innsmouth ended up. There is wild library usage, visited to relatives under the sea, flashbacks to life behind the wire, accidental magic usage by stupid college kids, Yithians being pissy, and the wild world of early Cold War spycraft. Yes, it sounds like it's confusing and muddled from the above, but seriously it works together.

Now, if you think the Canon of Grandpa Theobald is the measure to all other tales, you'll have issues. This isn't Zadok Allen's Innsmouth. To give you a non-spoiler, people in Innsmouth call the rocky island offshore 'Union Reef' not 'Devil Reef'. The lead character is female and Innsmouthian, and spunky. The other characters in her investigation party are not classic Lovecraft W.A.S.P.s either. There's no flinching at how sexism and racism was in 40's New England, especially in universities. The worship of the Great Old Ones is basically no different than any other religion. Including that some people are just like everyone else, except their god has tentacles, and that others are complete maniacs and kill people. Pretty much like any religion I can mention... Belief isn't evil, knowledge isn't evil. Evil is what you choose to do with both.

Long paragraph short, if you want your deep ones evil, pass on this book. If you want to see things from a different point of view, give it a read. 4 out of 5 tentacles up. Winter Tide is due out on April 4th, 2017, for Kindle and Hardcover.

P.S. I preordered both the hardback and the kindle edition before I was sent the ARC. I still have them preordered, yes I enjoyed it enough to buy it when I got it for free.

From the Starry Wisdom Library: Return of the Old Ones

Adding a new feature of my blog, 'From the Starry Wisdom Library' aka where I talk about my favorite things in the world, books. So get your reading glasses and get into your favorite chair, and lets look at a book.

Cthulhu rises, the Deep Ones come ashore, the Whatleys finally let the Old Ones back into our world. So what happens next? This has been a question for the Mythos fandom for years, and a number of authors have taken a stab at it. Latest, from Dark Regions Press, is 'Return of the Old Ones'. 19 stories in 3 sections, pre-apocalypse, as the tentacles hit, and life after the world as we know it ends.

First though, some disclaimers. One, Brian M. Sammons, the editor of the collection sent me an eARC in exchange for a fair review. Second, I'm not the biggest fan of post-apocalypse fiction, Cthulhu or no Cthulhu. I find the afterward of the end of the world to be kind of depressing, and I read Mythos as escapist fiction. (and yes, I know what kind of nut I sound like saying that).

But when I read the ToC, I knew I'd enjoy this collection. Favorites like Jeffrey Thomas, Tim Curran, and William Meikle, among many others. Honestly, even the authors that aren't my 'favorites' are still ones I cheerfully will read in any collection. And you get all kinds of stories, from apartments full of cultists, and why conspiracy theorists might lead us to the apocalypse, to zombies from beyond space-time and DARPA vs Deep ones, to finally we go true post Cthulhu Singularity, with colonies hiding underground, or in the swamps, or even a truly bizarre story that is equal bits 'Star Trek', trans-humanistic, and bizarro. No matter how you view the Mythos, there will be stories you love, and others you enjoy. I did find this to be a collection I read in sections, as some of the stories were dark in a way that Mythos doesn't generally hit for me.

Currently Dark Regions Press is doing an Indiegogo for this as well as two other collections, 'You, Human' which is dark scifi, and 'The Children of Gla'aki', a tribute to Ramsey Campbell. They will be released in retail format after the Indiegogo is complete, and the backers have gotten their goodies. I've backed a number of their crowdfundings in the past, and I've always enjoyed what I received. So if you like your Mythos dark, and your human meat-snacks on the run, I'd recommend 'Return of the Old Ones'.

Oh, and while I don't recommend judging a book by it's cover, but check out the cover... RotOO Cover

00-Fhtagn

All the spy Mythos fiction out there, with all the different secret/black agencies, SPECTRA, The Laundry, Delta Green, The Black Chamber(s), etc... In all the various countries and treaty alliances and such. all exist in a very weird world in my head. All the contradictions and negative opinions are just a long series of disinformation and inter-agency/inter-ally/inter-enemy squabbling. They all work for the same master spy. Hotep. Nyarlat-hotep. He likes his minds shaken, not stirred. (Thanks to Douglas Wynne for the original inspiration for this post, and for the quirky dudes in SPECTRA) (Yep, I have one of my own. A small. sub branch of the US Office of Naval Intelligence (pun intended) tasked with keeping a dialog open with certain aquatic powers that woke up one day and found their favorite little village of hybrids was gone, and got a tad annoyed. Luckily, Deep Ones are nothing if not practical and a deal was struck. What kind of deal...well that's above your security clearance Senator. Some day I really should come up with a cool code name for this bit of mental rambling on my part)