Today’s episode of Minutes at the Edge is a very happy one. I talk about the New Horizon mission to Pluto, the discoveries made and the geek fest the people at NASA had naming the geological structures they found on Pluto and Charon.
Please enjoy this shiny podcast!
And here are some links for further reading (all highly recommended):
Oh well, I should have known, since I am taking a vacation at one of the centers of cult activity around the globe… Anyway, yesterday evening a few local folks and me were sitting around a table in the lobby of the Gilman House and one of them brought the following to my attention:
The Stars are Right as ‚Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land‘ Launches!
After a year of intensive development, the small indie team of Red Wasp Design have announced that their anticipated title, Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land has launched on iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The game is a turn-based strategy RPG inspired by the works of cult horror writer H.P. Lovecraft and developed in co-operation with Chaosium, the publishers of the cult horror role playing game, Call of Cthulhu.
The game is now out on iTunes and is a universal iOS app so the same game works for iPhone and iPod Touch both SD & HD and for iPad, and carries graphics optimised for each of those platforms. It is priced $4.99, £2.99 & €3.99 for the full universal app. The game’s designer, Tomas Rawlings said, “We’ve put a vast amount of our time, energy and ideas into this game over the last year. It’s been a long journey for us because we want to get it right. We’re not a huge studio, but I hope that fellow gamers will appreciate what we’ve achieved with The Wasted Land.”
The game features nine 3D levels set in the trenches of World War One. The player controls a team of up to six investigators charged with uncovering a deadly inhuman conspiracy underlying the clash of empires of the Great War. Barbed wire, mustard gas and machines guns will prove to be the least dangerous thing that the investigators will encounter as they venture out into no-man’s land to solve the mystery of the Wasted Land. As the game progresses, the player can build up the skills, weapons and equipment of the team to suit their playing style. As well as the physical danger, the investigators must guard their sanity against the myriad horrors that threaten to destroy it.
To stay in touch with the developers and get updates on the game, help and strategy guides and more you may want to connect to Red Wasp Design on Facebook, Twitter (@redwaspdesign) and on their site at redwaspdesign.com
I am a fan of Neil Young. I own several albums and Keep on Rocking in the Free World and Hey hey, my my are two of my all-time favourites. I also noticed recently Hey hey, my my can be turned into a Cthulhu Mythos hymn quite easily:
Hey hey, my my
Great Old Ones can never die
They Sleep and lie
Hey hey, my my
Out of the dark awake from their dream
Their return’s gonna make us scream
And once they’ve come – no turning back
Your mind may explode or it may turn black.
The King in Yellow, he is not forgotten
His mask is pallid, his garments rotten
Civilization burns, then it turns to dust
The King in Yellow, he is not forgotten
My my, hey hey
Ancient cults are here to stay
The things they call
will pop your eye.
Hey hey, my my
First things first: Happy Birthday, Mr. Lovecraft. If you would still be with us today, you would be 121 years old. 121 is a very interesting number in deed…
Let me demonstrate, I found the following this very night in a dream:
You see, 121 is 11 squared. Eleven is 1 and 1 which equals two. And 121 has one 2 and two 1s. 1+2 is 3 and three is C. 11 minus one is 10 and ten times 2 is 20 and 20 is T. 1+2 is 3 and 2 times 2 times 2 is 8 and 8 is H. And now it get’s spooky. 121 can be interpreted as 1×21 and 21 is U. Along the same line it is possible to interpret it as 12×1 and that is L. 121 contains 3 and 4 twice 1+2 is 3 and 2+1 is 3. 1+1 is 2 and 2 is 4 and 1+1 times 2 is also 4, so we can take 3 and 4 twice which in this case means (if you have paid attention) H and U. And what do we get if we line it all up:
Oh my gods! 121 is obviously a highly complex code for Cthulhu! It proves the Great Old One has manipulated the development of mathematics and our alphabet since the very dawn of our civilization!
Well, what can I say, numerology is fun but the Cthulhu Mythos is far more fun!
The earth has yet again completed another orbit and again it is time for the Parsec Awards. The nominations have been closed and the finalists have been announced.
When I went through the shortlist, I was mightily pleased to find a number of podcasts amongst the nominees I regularly listen to.
So today, I give a shout out to my favourite podcasts and wish them the best of luck.
In category the category Best Fact Behind the Fiction Podcast this is actually tricky, since three of the five nominees are podcasts I listen to every week. Two of them I have mentioned here before, the third (the first in this list) I have not. Never mind, all are excellent, educational, enlighting and fun to listen to:
Yes, the GearHeart made it again, too, and for a number of reasons, Alex gets some extra vibes from this blog here, he really deserves it. And now I will have a listen into the other podcasts on the list as well. I am actually listening to George Hrab’s Geologic Podcast (if you never heard of him before: Just like the skeptics up there, he is one of the TAM crew, now go and find out what TAM is).
Today, the loot for my support of The Infernal Device arrived! YES! Now I can truely and honestly say: I’ve got the t-shirt. Even better, I also got the clouring-book and an original piece of art which will soon be framed.
So this is part of the loot:
Yes, the nice apparition on the right page of the colouring book actually is none other than Great Cthulhu, so this is another wonderful example of Cthulhu and Steampunk mixing really well. I am so pleased. I also cannot wait for Friday. Guess what I am going to wear in the office on Friday…
So, thank you Myke, for allowing me to be part of the project and for sending this amazing loot!
A valid question and one that has come up within the Lovecraft Community on a number of occasions. Among others, Chad Fifer, Chris Lackey and Andrew Leman discussed this on the side once in an episode of the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast. The H.P. Podcraft team mentioned the Cthulhu plushies in particular. Back in 2006 when I was writing my master thesis on the Cthulhu Mythos I stumbled upon the plushies for the first time and incorporated them in the paper, of course. In fact, I’ve got a plush Cthulhu and a plush Nyarlathotep sitting on my nightstand and I guess sooner or later either one of the two or both will migrate into my son’s bed.
The plushies are only one facet of the overall tendency to turn the entire Cthulhu Mythos into something rather cute.
So, today’s topic (and the name of the hypothesis to explain the phenomenon) is:
The Kawaii-Drift of Cthulhu
A quick stock take of the elements of Cthulhu Fandom or the Mythos inspired subculture as a whole shows the following picture (again, this needs a deeper look into)
On the horror side of Call of Cthulhu:
The fiction by Lovecraft, his collaborators and their modern successors.
The Call of Cthulhu Role Playing Game
some Youtube videos
Lovecraft inspired adaptions in various forms of media (comics, videos, movies, audio plays etc.)
On the far less evil side:
various web comics with Cthulhu making guest appearances such as Userfriendly.org
a significant number of short subjects and videos (see below)
My first impression: The humorous part has in recent years eclipsed the horror part in productivity (i.e. output of material measured by volume) and is also the more visible part. I have also observed a tendency of light-heartedness in the respective role-playing community (and not only regarding Munchkin Cthulhu).
The question I ask is this: What motivates the Kawaii-Drift? If you take a broader perspective, you will notice that Cthulhu or rather the Cthulhu Mythos as a whole is not the only horror topic affected this way. A lot of monsters of the olden days have had an image change of one sort or the other.
Take for example the Peter Jackson adaption of King Kong. Peter Jackson’s King Kong is not a monster. He is actually a hero and mankind is the real villain.
Dinosaurs, one of the staples of monster-movies since the dawn of film itself have had quite a renaissance and are also available as toys and plushies. OK, the toys have been around for a while but in popular opinion, Dinosaurs have come a long way from the dull, hulking brutes they were still perceived as in the 1970’s (oh dear, that’s 40 years ago…)
Dragons, too, have had quite an image shift. They are no longer the maiden-eating, peasant-terrorising monsters but range from sophisticated leaders (Dragonheart) to pet (Harry Potter).
And then the vampires and werewolves… Don’t get me started. Their proud and fearsome heritage has been blemished by the abominable, sanity-shattering works of… STAKE EDWARD!
Excuse the outburst.
I thus speculate the Kawaii-Drift of Cthulhu is not a phenomenon only affecting the denizens of R’lyeh, Sarkomand and Dunwich. It is a trend concerning horror as a whole. Of course this needs more looking into and I could fall victim to confirmation bias, here.
The fact that so much non-evil Cthulhu material is appearing, very likely more than in any other comparable movie/RPG/literary subculture maybe is explainable thusly:
The works of Lovecraft attract a certain type of person, possible with above-average whacky tendencies. They also tend to be more creative and driven, almost like a cult and the Cthulhu Mythos is an idea with a lot of stickiness to it.
So, “Cthulhu Cultists” turn their creativity towards the Mythos and make all kinds of stuff out of it. Since the overwhelming majority of real world Cthulhu cultists are genuinely great and fun people, they turn out great and fun stuff. (This last statement is, quite obviously, not biased at all.)
And here are some visuals I’m sure you will enjoy:
Well, Iä! everybody, have a great day and disturbing dreams of non-euclidean cities beneath the sea!