Friday at PulpFest 2015

Aug 14, 2015 by

Weird Tales 52-01PulpFest 2015 enters it second day, following a successful night of dealer set-up, early registration, early-bird shopping, and a full slate of exciting programming. If you missed our first day, there’s still plenty of action to come.

From 9 to 10 AM today, the dealers’ room will be open only to dealers for set-up. All members will also be able to register for the convention this morning, beginning at 9 PM, and at any time during regular dealers’ room hours. Those who have prepaid for their memberships, will be able to pick up their registration packets at our door. Three-day memberships will be available for $40. Single day memberships will be available for $20 for Friday or Saturday and $10 for Sunday. Children who are fifteen and younger and accompanied by a parent, will be admitted free of charge. To help things move smoothly, please bring along a completed registration form. You can download a copy by clicking here. You only need to bring the last page of the form. Please visit our registration page for further details.

Weird Tales 35-08The dealers’ room will open to all at 10 AM and remain open until 4:30 PM. Our afternoon programming will start at 1 PM with the first of two New Fictioneers readings — by Jason Scott Aiken and John Hegenberger — followed by a presentation on the Pulp Magazines Project. Our evening programming will begin at 7 PM as PulpFest chairman Jack Cullers offers an official welcome to all attendees. Friday night’s programming will include a discussion of Standard Magazines’ managing editor, Leo Margulies, featuring Philip Sherman, the nephew of the “Little Giant of the Pulps.” Our guest-of-honor, author Chet Williamson, will discuss his career and explain how “the old gentleman” of Providence influenced him in his writing as well as the writing of his peers in the world of modern horror fiction. Our special guest, Jon Arfstrom, the last of the artists who painted covers for the original run of WEIRD TALESwill also talk briefly with pulp art historian David Saunders. We’ll also have our friends from FarmerCon X on hand for a discussion of the weird tales of Philip José Farmer, while a panel of popular culture historians will discuss the development of the Cthulhu or Lovecraft Mythos. Our final panel, Thrilling Heroes of Standard’s Pulps and Comics will feature pulp and comic book scholars Matt Moring, Will Murray, Michelle Nolan, and Garyn Roberts. We’ll close the night with a showing of THE CALL OF CTHULHU and COOL AIR, part of our Lovecraft at the Movies film series.

For pulp fans who like games, gaming fans who like pulps, or just people who like to have fun, PulpFest 2015 will be introducing a gaming track. Many of the themes found in the world of modern games resonate from the pulps and the stories published in those magazines. There are games based on Conan, the Cthulhu Mythos, space operas such as Doc Smith’s Lensman series, westerns, mysteries and, of course, the pulp heroes. Role-playing games, or RPGs, are especially noted for quick action, cliff-hangers, and adventure.

Call of Cthulhu Banner

The PulpFest 2015 gaming track will begin at 10 AM on Friday and Saturday and last until 10 PM or thereabouts.  On Sunday, games will begin at 10 AM and continue until the end of the convention. All games will be set up in the Clark Room, located on the second floor of the Hyatt Regency. The only requirements to play games at PulpFest 2015 are a PulpFest membership, your imagination, and a desire to have a good time. So if you enjoy pulps and you enjoy games, PulpFest will be the place to be. If you have questions about our gaming track, please write to PulpFest
programming director Mike Chomko at mike@pulpfest.com.

For additional details on all of our afternoon and evening programming events, please visit click the red schedule button on our home page for further details. Each entry is linked to a post that provides further information on that event. Just click on the event’s title.

If you have yet to book your room for this year’s convention, please do so without delay. Remember that PulpFest will be sharing downtown Columbus with Matsuricon this week. However, there may still be a few rooms available at nearby hotels. Please visit www.pulpfest.com/2015/06/16872/  and you’ll find a link to a list of hotels to choose from. Alternately, we suggest that you search for a room at tripadvisor or a similar website as soon as you possibly can. If you are not from the Columbus area and want to attend PulpFest 2015, we urge you to book your room now and not wait until you arrive.

PulpFest 2015 will continue through Saturday and Sunday. It concludes at 2 PM on Sunday, August 16th.

(Jon Arfstrom began to submit his work to the digest market around 1950. Soon, he was selling to a number of magazines, including Dorothy McIlwraith’s WEIRD TALES. He painted three covers for “The Unique Magazine,” beginning with the January 1952 issue, featured here, and continued contributing to it until its demise in 1954.

Our guest of honor for PulpFest 2015, Chet Williamson, has been collecting pulps ever since he was in college. The first pulp he ever bought was the August 1935 WEIRD TALES – pictured here with front cover art by the incomparable Margaret Brundage.

In 1981, a wargame and role-playing-game publisher known as Chaosium released the first edition of CALL OF CTHULHU, a game developed by Sandy Peterson. It is is now in its seventh edition and is one of the role-playing games that will be featured during PulpFest‘s new gaming track.)

 

Cthulhu is Calling You to PulpFest’s Gaming Track

Jul 14, 2015 by

Call of Cthulhu Banner

During the late summer of 1926, H. P. Lovecraft wrote “The Call of Cthulhu.” Initially rejected by WEIRD TALES editor Farnsworth Wright, it was first published in “The Unique Magazine” in its February 1928 issue. Although a few related stories predated it — “The Nameless City,” “The Hound,” and “The Festival” — in what has come to be known as “The Cthulhu Mythos,” “The Call of Cthulhu” is a seminal work of its author. As writer and Lovecraft correspondent Fritz Leiber observed, “Here for the first time, Lovecraft moves horror from the realm of Earth to the stars.”

In Lovecraft’s remaining years following the publication of “The Call of Cthulhu,” he expanded on its themes in such tales as “The Whisperer in Darkness,” “At the Mountains of Madness,” and “The Shadow Out of Time,” depicting a universe of mind-numbing horror and reflecting his own materialistic atheism. During his last years, Lovecraft invited other writers to pen their own tales using the “synthetic folklore” he had created. “I think it is rather good fun to have this artificial mythology given an air of verisimilitude by wide citation.” Some of the authors who responded with their own “Cthulhu” fiction were Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard, Robert Bloch, Frank Belknap Long, and Henry Kuttner.

In later years, particularly following the death of “the old gentleman,” August Derleth worked to expand Lovecraft’s so-called “mythos,” shaping it in a way that some scholars claim to be a corruption of the original author’s intent. Derleth’s “Cthulhu Mythos,” as the story-type came to be known, shifted away from Lovecraft’s nihilistic universe toward a more “good versus evil” theme. Other writers, notably Lin Carter and Brian Lumley, continued this process.

Although Derleth may have corrupted Lovecraft’s “synthetic folklore,” he also helped to popularize the author’s fiction through his Arkham House Publishers and significantly expanded Lovecraft’s reputation. His visions increasingly came under the microscope of academia and scholars. His fiction became increasingly known and popular, leading to adaptations in a variety of media. All of this came to a head in 1981 when a wargame and role-playing-game publisher known as Chaosium released the first edition of CALL OF CTHULHU, a game developed by Sandy Peterson. It is is now in its seventh edition and is one of the role-playing games that will be featured during PulpFest‘s new gaming track.

Based on H. P. Lovecraft’s observation that “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown,” the setting of Chaosium’s CALL OF CTHULHU is a darker and stranger version of our world, where the players try to hold back the darkness. The original game is set in the 1920s, the setting of many of Lovecraft’s stories. There have been numerous interesting adventures written for the game system over the years, including the CTHULHU BY GASLIGHT supplement, a blend of occult and Holmesian mystery set in Victorian England; CTHULHU DARK AGES that takes place about 1000 AD; CTHULHU RISING and its 23rd century setting; and CTHULHU INVICTUS, which takes place in the first century at the time of the Roman Empire.

Whatever the setting, the players take on the roles of detectives, criminals, scholars, artists, war veterans, and others who are drawn into the realm of the mysterious. Often, events begin innocently enough, until more and more of the true nature of reality is revealed. As the players experience more of the true horrors of the world and the irrelevance of humanity, their sanity inevitably withers away. The fun of these games comes from assuming roles that are different from everyday life and sometimes, making choices that one would not make in reality.

CALL OF CTHULHU has a reputation as a game in which it is quite common for a player character to die in gruesome circumstances or end up in a mental institution. Eventual triumph of the players is not a guarantee. However, dying heroically or going insane is part of the fun of this game. But who knows? You may gain the tools you need to defeat the creatures of the night – mystical knowledge and magic – and outsmart your opponents. As H. P. Lovecraft wrote in 1926, “The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents.”

The PulpFest 2015 gaming track will begin at 10 AM on both Friday and Saturday and last until 10 PM or thereabouts. On Sunday, games will begin at 10 AM and continue until the end of the convention. All games will be set up in the Clark Room, located on the second floor of the Hyatt Regency. The only requirements to play games at PulpFest 2015 are a PulpFest membership, your imagination, and a desire to have a good time. So if you enjoy pulps and you enjoy games, PulpFest will be the place to be. You can join us at the beautiful Hyatt Regency in Columbus, Ohio, beginning on Thursday evening, August 13th and running through Sunday afternoon, August 16th. To book a room for this year’s convention, please visit www.pulpfest.com/2015/06/16872/. Then, click the red “register” button on our home page to learn how to register for “Summer’s Great Pulp Con,” and now, “Summer’s Great Pulp Gaming Con.”

(Many thanks to Chaosium, the publisher of CALL OF CTHULHU, one of the most recognized role playing games in the world. Chaosium has donated a selection of books and role-playing-game supplements to be used as prizes for PulpFest‘s new gaming track.)

The Call of Cthulhu and the Lovecraft Mythos

Jul 6, 2015 by

Tales of the Cthulhu MythosDuring the late summer of 1926, H. P. Lovecraft wrote “The Call of Cthulhu.” Initially rejected by WEIRD TALES editor Farnsworth Wright, it was first published in “The Unique Magazine” in its February 1928 issue. Although three related stories predated it — “The Nameless City,” “The Hound,” and “The Festival” — in what has come to be known as “The Cthulhu Mythos,” “The Call of Cthulhu” is a seminal work of its author. As writer and Lovecraft correspondent Fritz Leiber observed, “Here for the first time, Lovecraft moves horror from the realm of Earth to the stars.”

In the years remaining to Lovecraft following the publication of “The Call of Cthulhu,” he expanded on its themes in such tales as “The Whisperer in Darkness,” “At the Mountains of Madness,” and “The Shadow Out of Time,” depicting a universe of mind-numbing horror that was a reflection of his own materialistic atheism. During this period, Lovecraft invited other writers to pen their own tales using the “synthetic folklore” he had created. “I think it is rather good fun to have this artificial mythology given an air of verisimilitude by wide citation.” Some of the authors who responded with their own “Cthulhu” fiction were Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard, Robert Bloch, Frank Belknap Long, Henry Kuttner, and August Derleth.

“All of our gang frequently allude to the pet daemons of the others — thus Smith uses my Yog-Sothoth, while I use his Tsathoggua. Also, I sometimes insert a devil or two of my own in the tales I revise or ghost-write for professional clients. Thus our black pantheon acquires an extensive publicity & pseudo-authoritativeness it would not otherwise get.”

In later years, particularly following the death of “the old gentleman,” August Derleth worked to expand Lovecraft’s so-called “mythos,” albeit shaping it in a way that some scholars claim to be a corruption of the original author’s intent. Derleth’s “Cthulhu Mythos,” as the story-type came to be known, shifted away from Lovecraft’s nihilistic universe toward a more “good versus evil” backdrop. Other writers, notably Lin Carter and Brian Lumley, continued this process, basing their work on what Lovecraftian scholars have labeled, “the black magic quote,” purportedly written by Lovecraft:

“All my stories, unconnected as they may be, are based on one fundamental lor or legend: that this world was inhabited an one time by another race, who in practicing black magic, lost their foothold and were expelled, yet live on outside, ever ready to take possession of this earth again.”

Although Derleth may have corrupted Lovecraft’s “synthetic folklore,” twisting it away from its author’s intent, he also helped to popularize Lovecraft’s fiction through his Arkham House Publishers, significantly expanding Lovecraft’s reputation. The New Englander’s visions increasingly came under the microscope of academia and amateur scholars. His fiction became more widely read and popular, leading to adaptations in a variety of media including motion pictures, television, comic books, role-playing and video games, and even action figures and other toys. His stories are known the world over and though he lived much of his life in poverty, Lovecraft’s words and ideas have been transformed into a multi-million-dollar industry.

Call of Cthulhu One-SheetAs part of its celebration of the 125th anniversary of the birth of H. P. Lovecraft, PulpFest 2015 is proud to welcome John D. Haefele, author of A LOOK BEHIND THE DERLETH MYTHOSa critically acclaimed account of the birth of the Cthulhu Mythos; Don Herron, editor of the scholarly landmark, THE DARK BARBARIAN, and winner of the 2006 Black Circle Award for lifetime achievement in Robert E. Howard studies; popular culture scholar Rick Lai, who regularly appears as a panelist on podcasts produced by THE LOVECRAFT eZINE; Professor Tom Krabacher of California State University, Sacramento and a member of the Pulp Era Amateur Press Association; and Nathan Vernon Madison, a researcher involved in The Pulp Magazines Project and author of the Eisner-nominated ANTI-FOREIGN IMAGERY IN AMERICAN PULPS AND COMICS for a presentation entitled “The Call of Cthulhu: The Development of Lovecraft’s Mythos.” Scheduled for Friday evening, August 14th, at 9:50 PM, our panelists are promising a lively discussion that will explore the inspirations and origins of the Cthulhu Mythos as opposed to the Lovecraft’s Mythos and the Mythos of his contemporaries, as well as the controversies and personalities involved with these ideas over the years.

Join PulpFest 2015 at the beautiful Hyatt Regency in downtown Columbus, Ohio, beginning on Thursday, August 13th and running through Sunday, August 16th, for a salute to H. P. Lovecraft and WEIRD TALES, just a few short days before the author’s 125th birthday. Although our host hotel is completely booked, there are still some rooms available at nearby hotels. Please click here and you’ll find a link to a list of hotels to choose from. If you are not from the Columbus area and want to attend PulpFest 2015, we urge you to book your room now and not later. Rooms that are relatively close to PulpFest are disappearing fast during the time frame of our convention.

(The first edition of TALES OF THE CTHULHU MYTHOS is credited to “H. P. Lovecraft and Others.” Edited and with an Introduction by August Derleth, it was released in 1969 by Arkham House Publishers in an edition of 4024 copies. The jacket art was created by the incomparable Lee Brown Coye who twice won the “World Fantasy Award for Best Artist.” Coye and his artwork will be the subject of a presentation at PulpFest 2015 on Saturday afternoon, August 15th, beginning at 2:30 PM.

As Lovecraft’s fiction became more widely read and popular, it led to adaptations in a variety of media including motion pictures, television, comic books, role-playing and video games, and even action figures and other toys. It was left to an organization devoted to the live-action role-playing game CTHULHU LIVES, to create one of the most faithful film adaptations of the work of H. P. Lovecraft. In 2005, the H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society released THE CALL OF CTHULHU, a silent movie based on Lovecraft’s 1928 story. PulpFest will be offering a fully authorized showing of this film on Friday, August 14th, beginning at 11:30 PM. It will be accompanied by “Cool Air,” an episode from ROD SERLING’S NIGHT GALLERY that originally aired in 1971. Learn more by reading “The Films of H. P. Lovecraft.”

Please be sure to visit www.pulpfest.com/pulpfest-2015-registration-information/ to learn how to register for “Summer’s Great Pulp Con” and be part of our salute to H. P. Lovecraft, WEIRD TALES, and the art of Lee Brown Coye.)

Free Stuff at PulpFest 2015

Jul 4, 2015 by

Fighting Yank 44-02Bring on the fireworks! It’s time to celebrate our nation’s freedom. What better time for PulpFest 2015 to offer our thanks for some of the donated material that our members will receive free of charge when they join our convention at the Hyatt Regency in the heart of downtown Columbus, Ohio from August 13th through the 16th?

Thanks are owed to the Catalyst Game Labs‘ demonstration team who will not only show our gamers a fun time through their SHADOWRUN adventures, but will also be offering adventure modules and rule books as game prizes.

We’d like to offer many thanks to Chaosium, a publisher of books and games and the creator of CALL OF CTHULHU, one of the most recognized role playing games in the world. Chaosim has donated a selection of books and role playing game supplements to be used as prizes for PulpFest‘s new gaming track.

Likewise, Engle Publishing has generously offered to provide copies of THE PAPER & ADVERTISING COLLECTORS’ MARKETPLACE for distribution free of charge at PulpFest. They’ve been doing so since the first PulpFest in 2009.

Gordon Van Gelder and FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION, the award-winning magazine that is celebrating its 66th anniversary in 2015, will again be offering copies of back issues for our members. Gordon’s magazine has been supporting PulpFest — and Pulpcon before it — for many years. We’re extremely grateful for its longstanding support.

Feral House has generously offered us a pair of exciting new books: PULP MACABRE: THE ART OF LEE BOWN COYE’S FINAL AND DARKEST ERA and a new and expanded edition of IT’S A MAN’S WORLD: MEN’S ADVENTURE MAGAZINES, THE POST-WAR PULPS. Attend our evening programming on Friday or Saturday night and you’ll have a chance to win a copy of one of these two fine books.

Paizo Inc., a leading publisher of fantasy role-playing games, accessories, board games, and novels, will be providing adventure modules and rule books for gaming track prizes. A number of Paizo’s PATHFINDER games will be played at PulpFest 2015run by the Columbus chapter of the Ohio Pathfinder Society.

Another strong supporter of our new gaming track has been Pelgrane Press. publisher of Kenneth Hite’s award-winning TRAIL OF CTHULHU — a role playing game based on the creatures, cults, and gods found in the work of H. P. Lovecraft and other writers — Pelgrane has donated six game modules and several specialty dice that will be used as prizes during PulpFest’s new gaming track. They’ve also provided a couple of game master screens that will be used by those running this year’s games.

Tom Brown and Radio Archives, the leading producer of old-time radio collections and pulp audiobooks, for sending a pair of Will Murray’s DOC SAVAGE audiobooks that will be awarded as door prizes for our members who attend our evening programming on Friday or Saturday.

Finally, we’ll also have a selection of LOCUS MAGAZINE back issues, reporting on the science-fiction and fantasy fields since 1968. These were donated to the convention by our guest of honor, writer Chet Williamson.

We’d also like to thank the many bookstores and comic shops throughout Ohio and other states, as well as the many book fairs and conventions that have helped to promote “Summer’s Great Pulp Con” all through the past year. We couldn’t do it without you. Thanks so much!

(The Fighting Yank first appeared in STARTLING COMICS #10, dated September 1941. The character was given its own book in the fall of 1942, only one of two Standard Comics super heroes to be so honored. A supernaturally created character, he was Standard’s answer to Timely’s Captain America and the many other mainstream Golden Age patriotic heroes. The Yank also appeared in AMERICA’S BEST COMICS. Created by Richard Hughes and artist Jon Blummer, the series ended in 1949.

Many covers for THE FIGHTING YANK — including the 7th issue, dated February 1944 — were drawn by Alex Schomburg, an artist who began contributing covers and interior art to the Thrilling pulp line during the 1930s. Later, he began working for Ned Pines’ Standard Comics, the parent company of Better Publications and Nedor Publishing. He would produce about three hundred covers for Standard Comics as well as two hundred for Timely/Marvel. His best remembered works are his covers for the Timely superheroes Captain America, the Human Torch, and Sub-Mariner.)

The Films of H. P. Lovecraft

Mar 27, 2015 by

Whisperer in DarknessWhisperer in DarknessWhisperer in DarknessHoward Phillips Lovecraft’s fiction has been adapted numerous times to film, often badly. Most of the efforts to transform the horror master’s prose to the silver screen have yielded far more groans than screams of terror. The best known motion picture to be inspired by Lovecraft’s work is probably Stuart Gordon’s cult favorite, RE-ANIMATOR, a horror-comedy loosely based on the author’s “Herbert West–Reanimator,” a story originally serialized in HOME BREW in 1922. Gordon’s film, released in 1985, went on to gross nearly three-million dollars and was followed by a pair of sequels–BRIDE OF RE-ANIMATOR (1990) and BEYOND RE-ANIMATOR (2003).

Although financially successful, devoted fans of the author have called Gordon’s film “a desecration of Lovecraft.” Even the film’s admirers, such as Curt Holman in PASTE MAGAZINE, have labeled it “not Lovecrafty.” Holman writes, “RE-ANIMATOR more closely resembles a zombie film than Lovecraft’s signature brand of occult sci-fi.”

It was left to an organization devoted to the live-action role-playing game CTHULHU LIVES, to create two of the most faithful adaptations of the work of H. P. Lovecraft. In 2005, the H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society released THE CALL OF CTHULHU, a silent movie based on the story, originally published in WEIRD TALES in 1928, that introduced the author’s most famous creation, Cthulhu. Filmed by Andrew Leman and Sean Branney, with cinematography by David Robertson, THE CALL OF CTHULHU was an official selection at more than thirty international film festivals and winner of numerous awards.

In 2011, the Society followed with an adaptation of Lovecraft’s THE WHISPERER IN DARKNESS, a masterful blending of horror and science fiction that originally ran in the August 1931 issue of WEIRD TALES. With Branney and Leman again collaborating with David Robertson, THE WHISPERER IN DARKNESS ran in selected theaters nationwide and was again screened at film festivals across the globe.  Mirroring the style of such classic horror films of the 1930s as DRACULA, FRANKENSTEIN, and KING KONG, this entertaining film features an “atmosphere of barely-controlled hysteria.”

As part of its celebration of the 125th anniversary of H. P. Lovecraft’s birth and his relationship with WEIRD TALES, the leading supernatural fiction magazine of its time, PulpFest 2015 is very pleased to offer fully authorized showings of both THE CALL OF CTHULHU and THE WHISPERER IN DARKNESS. The films will be respectively shown on Friday, August 14th and Saturday, August 15th, beginning at 11:30 PM. Each will be paired with an episode from ROD SERLING’S NIGHT GALLERY that originally aired in 1971–“Cool Air” and “Professor Peabody’s Last Lecture.”

To thank the H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society for their generosity in allowing us to exhibit their films, PulpFest has offered to help the organization with a couple of research projects.

Other than her collaborations “The Curse of Yig,” “Medusa’s Coil,” and “The Mound,” the H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society is looking for copies of any pulp stories published by Zealia Brown Reed Bishop. It is thought that she had a number of stories published, probably in romantically inclined pulps, and most likely credited to Zealia Reed or Zealia Bishop, depending on the year in which they were published.

Andrew Leman recently explored a trove of letters from Lovecraft to Bishop, in which he names a number of her manuscripts on which he had worked. Click here for a list of their working titles. Some of these stories may have never been published or they may have appeared under other titles. Zealia’s last name was Reed when she was writing these stories, and she didn’t marry Mr. Bishop until later in life. So if any of these stories were published, it probably would have been under the name Zealia Reed or Zealia Brown Reed. The stories are not weird tales or science fiction, but domestic or love fiction.

Additionally, the Society is seeking high quality scans of any advertisements placed in WEIRD TALES by H. P. Lovecraft for his services as a revisionist. It is thought that one ad appeared in the August 1928 number of “The Unique Magazine,” but there were probably others published at an earlier date.

(If you are able to help with either of these projects, please contact Andrew Leman at leman@cthulhulives.org or Sean Branney at branney@cthulhulives.org. To view a trailer of THE CALL OF CTHULHU, click here. To view a trailer of THE WHISPERER IN DARKNESS, click here. The one-sheet, pictured above, is copyright 2015 by the H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society.)