“Top Mythos Experiences 2014”, by Matthew Carpenter

Matthew Carpenter

Matthew Carpenter

The following article is by Matthew Carpenter.

Can it be that the year has already slipped away?  I guess so.  And that means it’s another chance to reflect on what I’ve most liked in the world of weird fiction/Lovecraftiana for the past year.  This is in no particular order.  It also doesn’t have to make sense chronologically; if I just read it, it’s new to me!

1.  I went to the Wildclaw Theatre’s production of The Shadow Over Innsmouth in early January 2014.  By chance, that day they also did a dramatic reading of their version of The Dreams in the Witch House.  Best of all, I got to meet Kenneth Hite, and he made remarks to the audience before the show!  What a wonderful day!

2.  Dark Adventures Radio Theatre goes from triumph to triumph.  Some days I have a 45 minute commute; on those days, The Dreams in the Witch House and The Case of Charles Dexter Ward made me not want to leave my vehicle.  This coming year I get to experience Imprisoned with the Pharaohs!

3.  Also available from the HP Lovecraft Historical Society is the rock opera, Dreams in the Witch House.  Mike Dalager assembled a dream creative team, and the result was not only a piece with good Lovecraftian sensibilites but also very striking music.  I am very happy to have the CD on my shelf.  Kudos to all involved.

4.  I love the Sunday afternoon chats at the Lovecraft eZine.  I have learned so much from Joe Pulver, Pete Rawlik, Rick Lai, Livia Llewellyn, Bill Holloway, Mike Davis and all the viewers who provide commentary on the Facebook page.  But some things that make it such a hoot, not visible to the audience, is the running chat taking place on the google ap during the show, and the discussions before and after the public part of the show.  I’ve never had a group of fellow cosmic horror enthusiasts to hang out with before.

5.  Maplecroft: The Borden Dispatchs by Cherie Priest – Lizzie Borden wields a mean axe!

6.  Dyatlov Pass by Alan K. Baker  – If any historical event merited a Lovecraftian treatment it was Dyatlov Pass.  The novel is very engaging.

7.  The New Annotated HP Lovecraft by Leslie Klinger – My only beef with this marvelous book is that it excluded too many of favorite stories for the flimsiest of reasons.  It still is a beautiful book.

8.  The Death of a Gentleman: The Last Days of Howard Phillips Lovecraft by R. Alain Everetts  – I am trying to review HPL’s medical records because I think his death certificate is wrong.  This 1987 pamphlet (I was given a copy by ST Joshi) is invaluable.

9.  Revival: A Novel by Stephen King – Wow, some of the grimmest stuff King has written, with his trademark wonderful characters thrown in.

10.  Sex and the Cthulhu Mythos by Bobby Derie – the book I wish I had written.  Congratulations on a superb achievement, Mr. Derie.

11.  Lovecraft: El Horror de Dunwich with illustrations by Santiago Caruso – I can’t read the text.  So what?  The illustrations are exquisitely beautiful.

12.  True Detective: Season 1 – Whatever else is said, I cannot describe the incredible frisson of excitement I had when I had seen the first episode and watched the previews of the second, and there were references to Carcosa in the victim’s notebook.  I had heard nothing about this series until that point.  What a superb TV series.

13.  The Weird Company by Peter Rawlik – Mr. Rawlik is the Lovecraftian’s Lovecraftian.  Annotations, please, sir.  Hardcover editions too.

14.  The success of the Lovecraft eZine’s publishing venture has really raised my spirits, particularly when so many small presses seem to be teetering on the brink.  Lovecraftians are dependent on the success of the small press so our support is crucial.    I very much enjoyed their edition of The Sea of Ash by Scott Thomas.  I look forward to their further endeavors, partiuclarly if new works can be released, not just reissues.

15.  Last one!  I love some of the Kickstarter projects recently, particularly Littlest Lovecraft’s The Dunwich Horror.  Might I add the t-shirts from C is for Cthulhu and The Littlest Lovecraft are my favorites this year!

Of course, if you have good experiences, there have to be less than stellar ones as well, right?

1.  I think the trend was always that Kickstarter was more geared to promoting games than books or films, but that has become even more pronounced in the last year or two. I gather it is simply harder to get sufficient funding to create a book.  In a related first world problem, I tend to order the limited editions and these are often released months/years after the completion of the project.  This means I, as a supporter, often don’t get my book until well past the general release.

2.  I am hesitant to mention it, but the HPL racism discussion is so pervasive I can’t avoid it.  And here is my conundrum.  The reason I include it in a list of things I am not enamored of is because it becomes so acrimonious, so needlessly.  Here are the salient points for me.  HPL was racist.  Let’s not defend the indefensible.  If you have said everything you have to say on the subject, all well and good.  Do not begrudge other persons the right to speak their minds.  If you think every post is a tiresome retread, OK.  However, in our ever widening Lovecraft circle, there are always new readers/fans/authors who want to explore the subject.  How is this different than the half dozen threads a year about when did you first encounter HPL?  If you don’t want to participate, just click on by.  Let everyone else voice their feelings.  How does it hurt you?  It sure doesn’t hurt HPL because he’s long gone.  Your permission is not required anyway.  My view is that none of this discussion will lessen HPL’s influence or cause his work to be suppressed.  None of this discussion will lessen my enjoyment of HPL’s work, others riffing on his work in a dizzying array of media and none of this will lessen my enjoyment of weird/cosmic fiction in general.  If we cast a broader net, if some other creative talents are inspired, maybe they will write some new gem for me to marvel at.  Embracing new authors doesn’t mean kicking out old favorites.

3.  I am very saddened at the deaths of CJ Henderson and Larry Latham.  In terms of a legacy I hope Bob Price can carry through on his planned multivolume retrospective of Mr. Henderson.  I hope someday, for Larry Latham’s sake, that we get a compilation print edition of Lovecraft is Missing.  In the meantime, I’m sure CJ would want you to check out Erica Henderson’s artistic efforts.

4.  I remain stymied by a lack of free time to read.  Work is busy, my sons are busy with school activities and scouts, and Isabelle and I are trying to do more couples activities, leaving little time for me to indulge myself.  This is why I must be 30+ anthologies behind and my number of reviews has tanked.  In a few years the boys will be driving themselves/graduated and I should be able to actually read the books in my library instead of just periodically gloating over them.  Similarly I cannot get the free time to attend the various HP Lovecraft film festivals.

5.  I was bummed the Lovecraft eZine Kickstarter to fund movies based on the stories flopped.  I hope this is revisited.

And what am I most looking forward to in 2015?  Can there be any doubt?  NecronomiCon in Providence.  I am itching to buy my ticket!

Merry Cthulhumas all!  See you in Providence!

2 responses to ““Top Mythos Experiences 2014”, by Matthew Carpenter

  1. Matt, I like your unordered list, mucho! I truly dig the Sunday discussions; it’s like hanging out with friends you’ll never get to see or interact with, which is kinda weird and cosmic in its own right. But make no mistakes, it is most appreciated. I too hope Mike makes another run at getting his movie dream off the ground with Kickstarter. You are an entertaining and talented bunch of Kool-Kats! 😀


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