Tag Archive | "lovecraft"

Flames

Preview of Move Under Ground by Nick Mamatas

Posted on March 2, 2011 by

The year is nineteen-sixty-something, and after endless millennia of watery sleep, the stars are finally right. Old R’lyeh rises out of the Pacific, ready to cast its damned shadow over the primitive human world. The first to see its peaks: an alcoholic, paranoid, and frightened Jack Kerouac, who had been drinking off a nervous breakdown up in Big Sur. Now Jack must get back on the road to find Neal Cassady, the holy fool whose rambling letters hint of a world brought to its knees in worship of the Elder God Cthulhu. Together with pistol-packin’ junkie William S. Burroughs, Jack and Neal make their way across the continent to face down the murderous Lovecraftian cult that has spread its darkness to the heart of the American Dream. But is Neal along for the ride to help save the world, or does he want to destroy it just so that he’ll have an ending for his book?

Flames Rising is pleased to present you with the first chapter from Move Under Ground, a Lovecraft-inspired novel by author Nick Mamatas. Set in the 1960s, Move Under Ground is Mamatas’s debut novel about a character named Jack Kerouac who receives strange, rambling letters from Neal Cassaday. Will Jack successfully rescue Neal? Will they escape the Cult of Utter Normalcy? Or will they face Cthulhu himself? Dubbed an “ambitious” novel, read Chapter One and enjoy a fresh voice inspired by H.P. Lovecraft.

Move Under Ground is available now at Amazon.com.

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Flames

Sirenia Digest 58-59 Review

Posted on December 16, 2010 by

Sirenia Digest is a monthly subscription PDF-zine released by author Caitlín R. Kiernan. The stories are solidly weird fiction, with healthy infusions of erotica and Lovecraftian horror. (The adult-only warning on the website stems from both the themes of the works and their illustrations.)

I’ve been a subscriber for two months, now. My first readings were hurried, so I took advantage of the holiday downtime over Thanksgiving break to do a second reading of two recent Sirenia Digest issues (#58 and #59), to give each story my full, undivided attention. This time, I read them alone in a silent, darkened room in the wee hours of the night, with a giant picture window behind me, and silhouettes of writhing tree branches splayed across the floor.

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Kevin and the Devil House

Posted on November 22, 2010 by

Kevin Lucia is the author of Hiram Grange and the Chosen One, book four of the popular series. He is also an editor and reviewer for Shroud Publishing. In this guest post he talks about what sparked his interest in the horror genre.

I remember when I first became interested in horror. The summer of 1996, I spent lots of time with my friends bumming around Otsego Lake, NY. My best friend’s grandmother owned a cabin there, so we spent all our weekends riding the boat, eating and napping on the dock.

One weekend we got bored. Which country boys tend to do. This usually means trouble. We were lying around on the dock when my friend Joel remarked, “We should take Kevin to the Devil House.”

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Dear Cthulhu, Have a Dark Day Review

Posted on September 8, 2010 by

Dear Cthulhu, Have a Dark Day: The Collected Columns, Volume One by Patrick Thomas is a collection of humorous advice. Taking on the persona of the Elder God, each piece of guidance is based on the concept that Cthulhu is actually very conservative. He abhors those that like to break rules. He discourages cold-blooded killing, because killing is “a right which should be Cthulhu’s alone” or at least saved for official sacrifices.

There are a lot of funny letters contained in the volume. For instance, a young woman writes in to ask for advice regarding peer pressure to give up her virginity. Cthulhu’s response? She should keep her virginity, because “it is better to be a leader of men than a follower.”

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Billzilla

Cthulhu Week: Madness One Die Roll At A Time

Posted on August 21, 2010 by

Continuing the adventures of Cthulhu Week we have a series of reflections on some of the Call of Cthulhu RPG supplements by reviewer Bill Bodden.

Pay close attention, however, as Bill does sneak in a note about his favorite Trail of Cthulhu adventure as well…

I’ve been a devotee of the Call of Cthulhu RPG for more than 25 years. Along the way there have been some excellent adventures created, and in celebration of Cthulhu Week, I’d like to share a few of my favorites. Hopefully, they’ll intrigue you as they did me, and you’ll consider adding them to your own campaign, or running them as one-off adventures for your gaming group. Be warned that a few small spoilers may be found in what follows…

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Jason Thorson

Cthulhu Week: The Lovecraft Movie Dilemma

Posted on August 21, 2010 by

Next up for Cthulhu Week we asked reviewer Jason Thorson to tell us about his favorite Lovecraft-inspired movies. Not an easy task to say the least, but we were certainly willing to risk his sanity for this investigation.

Read on to learn of the challenges he faced…

In the interest of full disclosure, I have to give you some background on what you’re currently reading – what’s now become a ranting blog on H.P. Lovecraft film adaptations. My initial intention was to write a feature about the nature of Lovecraftian flicks and then list the five best examples. However, I immediately anticipated some difficulty. My original thesis was that most of these films don’t work, but surely there have been so many attempts to adapt Lovecraft’s work that I’d certainly be able to find five movies worthy of recommendation. Right?

Wrong.

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Cthulhu Week: The Man Who Shot Joseph Curwen

Posted on August 20, 2010 by

Kenneth Hite, author of Cthulhu 101 and other Mythos tomes of dark intent brings us a tale of the Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game from Chaosium.

Enjoy this contribution to Cthulhu Week, but don’t read too deep…we can’t be held responsible for what horrors are left behind…

In Call of Cthulhu, your character explicitly starts no better than any other. There is no leveling up, no percentile strength, no special class skills or feats separating your character from any other citizen of Arkham. Yes, your character may well gain magical powers and travel to exotic destinations, as in other roleplaying games. But such “improvements” come at a cost, at the cost of lowering your irreplaceable Sanity. In Call of Cthulhu, the player knows at the outset that his character, if played long enough, will go insane and die. That’s a very different proposition from hoping that your character will become the vampiric Prince of Pittsburgh or get a Helm of Command at 18th level. Of course if that was all it was, Call of Cthulhu would simply be nihilistic, an exercise in masochistic masturbation. At best, its characters would resemble the decadent aesthetes of Lovecraft’s short story “The Hound,” seeking ever more outré pleasures, or perhaps the shortsighted Tillinghast in “From Beyond,” accepting insanity as the necessary visa for interdimensional tourism. And in many of Lovecraft’s stories, this is the case — Lovecraft was, after all, a nihilist (albeit a gentlemanly nihilist) himself, who considered morality “mere Victorian fiction.” The object of terror, for Lovecraft, is terror.

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Billzilla

Cthulhu Week: Cthulhu Tales Comic Review

Posted on August 20, 2010 by

The works of H.P. Lovecraft have inspired hundreds of other writers; in the 1970s, his stories became popular material for the growing underground comics movement, and that popularity, though it waxes and wanes, has yet to vanish completely. Currently enjoying an upsurge in interest, one of the latest offerings, Boom Studios’ Cthulhu Tales, brings brand new Lovecraft-inspired material to the graphic novel format. I was excited to see these when I attended C2E2 in Chicago, and purchased volume one of the series with great anticipation.

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Cthulhu Week: The Tentacles That Bind

Posted on August 19, 2010 by

Next up for Cthulhu Week is a little something from Flames Rising reviewer Eric Pollarine. Eric takes a look at some of his favorite fiction, music and movies and talks about how these folks have been influenced by H. P. Lovecraft and just what that means to him as a horror fan.

H. P. Lovecraft.

The name alone sets the stage in your mind, if you are a fan of horror, or even if you are not -to a place in time that is alive with the nightmares of the industrial revolution and arcane secrets hiding in dusty old texts. A place of extraordinary psychological terror, a time in which we were a young nation, exploring the limits of our capacity to both destroy and create -the modern, and the profane; the forbidden knowledge of the Garden of Eden, the limits and expectations of Fate and above all else the limited resources of man faced with the fact that he is in and of himself the primary cause for both guilt and civilization’s current state.

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Flames

Cthulhu Week: A Note from the Editor at Innsmouth Free Press

Posted on August 17, 2010 by

Innsmouth Free Press Issue Number 4Flames Rising is pleased to present you with a guest post from Silvia Moreno-Garcia, the publisher at Innsmouth Free Press. According to the “About Innsmouth Free Press” page, this webzine is “a fictional newspaper publishing faux news pieces – lovingly called Monster Bytes – in a Lovecraftian/Cthulhu Mythos universe, as well as original short fiction stories.” Uncover the sordid details behind these Monster Bytes, how Silvia fell in love with Lovecraft’s work, and how you can be a part of this Mythos-inspired ‘zine:

Every few months Innsmouth Free Press will get an earnest e-mail from someone who thinks Innsmouth is a real place. Oddly enough, it actually exists, at least in our collective minds.

Innsmouth Free Press is a zine that publishes daily articles, interviews and reviews about all things horror and speculative. Three times a year, we produce a free issue of Lovecraftian fiction.

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Flames

Cthulhu Week: Your Top 20 Cthulhu Mythos Reviews

Posted on August 16, 2010 by

Cthulhu Scribe by Drew PoczaWhat do you and Cthulhu have in common? A love of the mythos, of course! In this post, we take a look at your favorite reviews of Cthulhu and other Mythos-related music, games, comics, books and films that you’ve enjoyed over the years. While we have an extensive selection of Lovecraft-related reviews and articles on the site, we chose these twenty not only because you really enjoyed reading these, but also because we felt that they were definitely worth a second look during Cthulhu Week. After all, who better to recommend something Cthulhu-related than your fellow cultists readers here on FlamesRising.com?

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Flames

Cthulhu Week and Contest at FlamesRising.com! Ia, Ia!

Posted on August 16, 2010 by

Did you know that H.P. Lovecraft was born on August 20th in 1890? We did! In honor of H.P. Lovecraft’s birthday, we’re having a week filled with Cthulhu! Whether you’re a gamer or a horror aficionado, we will have something for everyone.

Cthulhu Week at FlamesRising.com is special in a lot of ways because of Lovecraft’s influence on the horror genre. Over the years, we’ve covered books, movies, games and music that were either directly or indirectly related to the Cthulhu Mythos. Hands down, Cthulhu is definitely your favorite elder god. From our interviews with Kenneth Hite, Joseph Vargo and A. Scott Glancy to our coverage of the Trail of Cthulhu RPG, Unspeakable Words board game, the Beyond the Wall of Sleep review and several other books, comics, movies and games, it’s clear what an influence Lovecraft has had on the horror genre. We have a lot of really great goodies in the pipeline, including a wonderful contribution from Robin D. Laws, who provided the rules design for TRAIL OF CTHULHU!!!

If you don’t want to lose your mind, be sure to stay tuned this week as we travel to the underwater city of Ry’leh to embrace all things Cthulhu! “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!”

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Age of Cthulhu: Shadows of Leningrad Review

Posted on July 13, 2010 by

Shadows of Leningrad is the third in Goodman Games’ Age of Cthulhu series. These adventures, set in the 1920s, allow for pulpish globetrotting (Luxor and London set the scenes for the first two adventures). While these adventures can possibly become rather violent, their design strongly favors a traditional investigative format. With an unforgiving setting (early Communist Russia), a generous sampling of supernatural entities, and mundane threats, the adventure proves to be a daunting one.

The book’s smart layout ran a printer-friendly gambit of basic two-column text, minimal artwork, and good looking bordering along the headers and footers. When sidebars popped up, they were positioned at the bottoms of the pages.

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Flames

Curse of the Yellow Sign, Act I: Digging for a Dead God Review

Posted on June 28, 2010 by

I wasn’t overly familiar with the works of John Wick before I picked up the first two Acts of this Curse of the Yellow Sign series (presumably a trilogy), but on the strength of what I’ve read I’m encouraged to seek out more. That’s always a good sign (pun not intended). Since then I’ve noticed that his name has been linked to some other reputable games, such as Legend of the Five Rings and 7th Sea and, more recently, Houses of the Blooded.

To a certain extent there is much to compare the Curse of the Yellow Sign series with the trilogy of scenarios within the Chaosium monograph Ripples of Carcosa – three scenarios that explore the ‘Hastur Mythos’ over different eras.

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Flames

Insylum RPG Review

Posted on June 1, 2010 by

INSYLUM, a role-playing-game by Dennis Detwiller, has players locked away in an asylum as Patients, with the gamesmaster playing the asylum Facilitator hoping to cure them. The Patients are all linked in a strange and vague way, all recollecting fragments of their past. At night they are able to escape their cells, venturing out into a surreal dreamscape beyond the walls of the asylum, known as The Night World.

I’d suggest the game is for experienced gamesmasters with some knowledge of the background material (see below). The Patients all begin the game with amnesia. They all have the same stats (and only three of those). The core premise is that that they have no memory of why they’ve been locked away, and their key motivation being to discover the truth that sent them there, by regaining first Lucidity and then Memory. Only by regaining Memory can the Patient hope to be cured.

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Flames

Ex Occultus: The Seal of Solomon

Posted on April 17, 2010 by

Ex Occultus is a globetrotting, serialized epic combining elements of Indiana Jones, H. P. Lovecraft and The X-Files as it follows the exploits of adventurer and fortune-hunter Francis Wakefield, the gruff and grizzled Englishman with a tortuous past, and his protégé, a young man only known as Hollander, as they journey through the arcane in search of treasures and fortune, righting wrongs as they go.

The Seal of Solomon

1874. Sofia, Bulgaria. Wakefield and Hollander are hired by a mysterious nobleman to track down the fabled Seal of Solomon, a ring of supernatural origin with the abilities to summon and control demons. What first appears to be a simple mission, however, soon becomes something far more deadly.

Ex Occultus: Seal of Solomon is available at DriveThruComics.com.

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Flames

The Watchers in the Sky a new adventure for Trail of Cthulhu

Posted on March 30, 2010 by

Your friends cannot be trusted, your knowledge means nothing, and everything you hold dear turns to dust.

Blending Lovecraft with Hitchcock, The Watchers In The Sky is the new adventure from Graham Walmsley, the author of The Dying of St Margaret’s.

A madman feeds the birds, paranoid they are watching him. Later, the same strange birds stare from the rooftops, warping the laws of physics and chemistry. And, when the Investigators dissect one of the creatures, they find something monstrous inside.

The Watchers In The Sky is available at the Flames Rising RPGNow Shop.

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Critter Cache: Lovecraftian Bestiary Review

Posted on December 10, 2009 by

I’m surprised it took this long. I know there have been flirtations between Dungeons & Dragons and Call of Cthulhu in the past; however, the affair is now fully public. Two of the biggest games in the market now have a serious connection. This book offers nearly fifty pages of how to bring Lovecraft’s creations into your beloved fantasy game. It’s essentially a small book of monsters. It’s just happens to be a damn good book of monsters.

Erik Nowak’s graphic design and layout catches the reader’s attention towards exactly what you need. Stats are blocked out differently than the flavor text. Bold fonts and borders keep the reader wrangled into the material.

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The Cold Case of Robert Suydam RPG Review

Posted on November 18, 2009 by

Super Genius Games brings us another piece of Lovecraftian horror with After Lovecraft: The Horror at Red Hook. Lovecraft’s creations have been responsible for a tremendous amount of gaming material. The After Lovecraft project takes an innovative approach to Lovecraft’s work. This line transforms Lovecraft’s writing into in-game materials. Since many of Lovecraft’s tales come from the First Person perspective, they make wonderful “diaries.”

You can even download the source material at supergeniusgames.com should you or your players need it (or you want to trick it out as an in-game prop). Because awesome people work at Super Genius Games you can also find a copy within the game as a handout.

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Rough Magicks (Trail of Cthulhu) Review

Posted on October 12, 2009 by

From the moment you see the cover to Rough Magicks, you know you have something a little demented in your hands. This supplement to Trail of Cthulhu defines magic for that game. You know magic? It’s that aspect to a Cthulhu game that simultaneously levels the playing field (or at least works towards that effect) and causes your character to consider a lengthy stay at the nearest sanitarium. This slight book comes from Kenneth Hite, so the demented disclaimer probably should get mentioned again.

The book’s layout is really tight, but a bit drab. The bulk of the text falls into a three column format, which works well for it. “Chapter” lead-ins are set aside nicely by invoking a certain Twenties style one might find on business cards from that period.

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