Top Mythos Experiences 2016, by Matthew Carpenter

The following post is by Matthew Carpenter.

I’d like to reflect on what I really enjoyed about my little slice of Lovecraftian fandom in 2016. These are not meant to be in any particular order.

My confession is this is also the year I gave up. There is just no way I am going to be able to keep up with the pace of publication and the crowd funding associated with HPL and the mythos. As recently as 2009 I could honestly say I had read almost everything to do with the Cthulhu mythos ever published, including self published dreck. Since 2010 the pace of publication has been a relentless torrent. I have shelves full of genre related books I haven’t read, well regarded collections where I have maybe seen one story and dross I will never read. I have storage cases full of mythos board games I won’t get around to playing. Well, enough. Maybe 6 months or more ago I really cut back on my Kickstarter support. I only chip in for books that really catch my eye anymore. Starting in November, I did the same with mythos and weird fiction books. I’ll still pony up for special books, like new Cthulhu titles from PS Publishing, Centipede Press or Fedogan & Bremer. Otherwise it will have to really generate some buzz for me to take the plunge.

Anyway, what jazzed me this year?

  • For the very first time ever I attended the HP Lovecraft Film Festival, this one in San Pedro California in late April 2016. It was great! I got to hang out with Kelly Young and Mike Davis. I saw The Mist on the big screen in black and white. I went to the one and only ever performance of The Dunwich Horror Picture Show! Authors galore like Joe Pulver, SP Miskowski, Mike Griffin! Beautiful people like Starry Wisdom, Ask Lovecraft himself and Cody Goodfellow! Artists! Vendors! Short movies! I was able to get my mitts on the very first copy of Autumn Cthulhu (although Mike Davis made me give it back…). I also got to spend time with my sister Rebecca and niece Lexie. I may end up making this a regular visit on years where there is no NecronomiCon.
  • Lovecraft eZine webcast/podcast – Mike Davis should charge money to his panelists to be on because it is so much fun. I am constantly impressed by Rick Lai, Peter Rawlik, SP Miskowski, Kelly Young, Salome Jones, Phillip Fracassi and our guests! Did I mention Rick Lai’s knowledge base is impressive? The unrecorded conversations before and after the show are mostly hysterical (and, um, salty).Living in a small city, this gives me a Lovecraftian connection across the world that is irreplaceable.
  • Justin Woodman’s Lovecraftian Thing a Day on his blog, Whispers from a Ghooric Zone, has been wonderfully nostalgic trip down memory lane. You can go click through the entire listing anytime, just as well as he only has about 2 more weeks to go. I would attempt something like this but I know I would fall down on the job after maybe a week. Also, his collection is much more eclectic than mine.
  • Probably requiring a lengthy discussion on its own, while the flowering of Lovecraft/Cthulhu influenced fiction continues unabated, it is very encouraging to note that the broader category of weird fiction is also flourishing. Not everything derives from the old gent, and there are many voices worth hearing. You can start with The Weird by the VanderMeers, or the annual Best Weird Fiction anthologies from Undertow Publications if you don’t know where to start.
  • While I am cutting back, it is a pleasure to collect Lovecraftian books. What a great time to do it. Such beautiful editions are being released. For example in 2016 there is The Madness of Dr. Caligari, a labor of love edited by Joe Pulver and brought to realization by Fedogan & Bremer. PS Publishing gave us The Searching Dead by Ramsey Campbell and Black Wings 5 edited by ST Joshi. Arcane Wisdom just released The Weird of Hali: Innsmouth in a gorgeous leatherbound edition.
  • Lovecraftian comics become more weird and wonderful as well. Thanks to Kickstarter I am backing Casefile Arkham: Her Blood Runs Cold, and the omnibus edition of Nightmare World. Alan Moore’s Providence continues apace. Lovecraft and Tesla should resume publication soon.
  • Over the last 6 years or so, a significant portion of Lovecraftian fandom has migrated to Facebook. For me it is a very convenient way to learn about new writing projects and art, and conventions. For the most part it is a very friendly bunch.
  • Even a peripheral figure like me can get involved and get to know the genuine artistic geniuses feeding the glorious age of Lovecraft we live in. I have been able to help edit issues of the Lovecraft eZine and books through Ulthar Press.
  • Speaking of which, the community generated by the Lovecraft eZine is a wonderful hub for Lovecraftian fiction, art, cinema and discussion. Thanks as ever, Mike Davis!

So what am I most looking forward to in 2017?

And what was the less than great stuff that happened?

  • I am pretty much in charge of nothing so nothing much is aimed my way, but I have to blink when I see the online vitriol spewed over ridiculous stuff. A little courtesy would go a long way.
  • My work keeps getting busier. Maybe when my sons head off to school I’ll have more time to read….and do the editing work I promised other people….

Matthew Carpenter

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