cthulu

Ideas For a Cthulu Priest Throne

I was looking over a Trendland article about Maximo Riera's Animal Collection and it got me thinking. 

His chair collection is an odd assortment that mashes up animals and chairs.  That said it is also very evocative and got my imagination churning especially the piece from the picture.

I started to think what would a cool throne chair look like for a high priest of Cthulu if they took more of this style into the design. 

lets start with a nice throne with a high back on it maybe even gold colored like a papal throne.  Then put the octopus on the top facing forward with it's tentacles oozing down over the chair in a gelatinous way.  Instead of a plush material use leather so that the octopus will look more life like and it still be comfortable to sit against but still have the tentacles be raised up.  Then fill in all of the background color of the chair with a gloss black color like still dark water.  This will also help to evoke a sole eating madness for those staring at the chair too long.  What do you think?

(via Maximo Riera's The Animal Collection | Trendland: Fashion Blog & Trend Magazine)

DVD Releases: March 31st, 2009

Cthulhu-movie Out this week we have eight DVD’s to feature: Cthulhu, The Real Ghostbusters, Vol 1Dragonquest, Vampire Secrets, National Geographic: Journey to the Edge of the Universe, Ogre, and two Goosebumps: The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight, Return of the Mummy

  • Cthulhu:  I can’t wait to watch this movie.  I’m a huge fan of H.P. Lovecraft and wanted to watch this independent movie when it was in the theaters but due to it’s limited release I was unable to watch it.  For more read here.
  • The Real Ghostbusters, Vol 1: OMG we were just talking about this show on the Project: Shadow Informant.  I loved this as a kid.  I’m so excited to see it out.
  • Dragonquest: I have not seen this one but it does have dragons in it for our fantasy fans.  If you have seen this let me know in the comments if I should rent it.
  • Vampire Secrets: A History Channel exploration into Hollywood’s vampires including a look at the origin of several common superstitions and reveals the connection between the ancient vampire myths of Europe, Greece and China.  I haven’t seen this show but I like most of the History channel’s exploration specials.
  • National Geographic: Journey to the Edge of the Universe: I love these shows the imagery of stellar objects are always breathtaking.  Go on a voyage through the cosmos, beginning on Earth and traveling outward through the solar system and the Milky Way, past distant galaxies and to the very limits of the universe. Images from the Hubble telescope and innovative computer graphics make possible the single, long traveling shot that comprises this journey, and unobtrusive narration explains the sights along the way.
  • Ogre: Yet another bad monster flick from the Sci-Fi channel.  Not having watched this one yet I wonder if it’s just bad or if it passes into the realms of a craptastic B movie.  If you have watched this let me know in the comments.
  • the-real-ghostbusters For the Parents: two Goosebumps movies out this week for the young viewers.
    • Goosebumps: The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight: This collection of spooky tales:  In the title story, Jodie and Mark witness strange goings-on at their grandparents' farm. In "Don't Go to Sleep," Matt wakes up to find a family that he almost doesn't recognize. And in "Calling All Creeps," Ricky is paying the price for posting a mean girl's phone number in a personal ad.
    • Goosebumps: Return of the Mummy: A trio of spine-chilling adventures:  Gabe encounters an unhappily disturbed mummy while visiting his archaeologist uncle in Egypt in "Return of the Mummy." Next, Jeff gets a surprise when he receives a sarcophagus containing a 4,000-year-old mummy from his father. Finally, Eddie and Hat's plan to scare a boastful pal doesn't turn out the way they plan.

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Why Progressive Speculative Fiction?

Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today- but the core of science fiction, its essence, the concept about which resolves, has become crucial to our salvation if we are to be saved at all. Isaac Asimov, "My Own View," The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

While Asimov was interested solely with Science Fiction, I believe the same can be said about Speculative Fiction as a whole. Many of the problems we face cannot be faced solely by working to fix the present conditions. If we do not explore the possible futures our choices could produce, we walk blindly into the future.

It is change, continuing change inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the word as it will be - and naturally this means that there must be an accurate perception of the world as it will be. This, in turn, means that our statesmen, our businessmen, our Everyman, must take on a science fictional way of thinking, whether he likes it or not or even whether he knows it or not. Only so can the deadly problems of today be solved.

Isaac Asimov, "My Own View," The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

Again, I would broaden his words out to all of Speculative Fiction.

Lovecraft's Mythos

Cthulhu in the lost city of R'lyeh
Image via Wikipedia

Numerous horror novels/movies have shown us the problems eugenics would unleash upon our societies. Lestat's hope that there is some good in the universe heightens his fear and motivates him to find the answers.

H. P. Lovecraft's fiction had a simple message behind the supernatural horror.  Humankind's chief sin is hubris.  We think too highly of ourselves, and as a result blind ourselves to the fact that somewhere in this vast cosmos, there are creatures who are infinitely more powerful than we are, and whose motives are unfathomable by human logic.

Cthulu, Nyarlahotep, Azathoth, the color out of space, and the color out of time are all horrifying warnings that if we lie to ourselves, pretending there is not a bigger fish out there, we will eventually be devoured by it.

Frankenstein

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is an all too familiar cautionary tale about scientific and technological advance without the restraining forces of morality and common sense.  The tale has been told and retold, spawning an entire subgenre of horror about the dangers of dabbling in things not understood.

The Resident Evil franchise, Godzilla, and so many others I could spend the rest of the year naming them have picked up the mantle and and shared the horrific future we could create for ourselves if we are not careful to think ahead and not blindly rush into the future.

Star Trek

star-trek-crew-tm.jpgShowed us a future we could hope for.  Imagine a world  where hunger and poverty were removed from the equation.  New challenges would raise their heads, some of which would threaten to return us to the barbaric world we had left behind.

Gene Roddenberry kindled a vision in the hearts and minds of his fans of a world of limitless possibilities.  A world were our only limitations were our imagination and our character.  It is a world to strive towards.

Lord of the Rings

In the Lord of the Rings books, J. R. R. Tolkien showed us a world on the cusp of transition from one age to another.  His mythic prose illuminated the choices that people have to make when culture finds itself on the crossroads of history.

The basic choice is demonstrated through the characters of Sauroman and Gandolf.  Their world, their age was ending.  They had the choice to either embrace the future and try to make the new world a better place to live, or to hold on the past and seek the destruction of the new world before it comes.  Gandolf chose the first path, Sauromon chose the latter.

Star Wars

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Image via Wikipedia

Anakin Skywalker is faced with the same choice in the Star Wars saga.  At first he fights the future out of his attachment, but when he is faced with the ultimate decision, watching the future be destroyed in the person of his son, he learns that he must let go of his attachments and help the future come.

I wonder if that is why more people don't love the prequel trilogy.  It touches a nerve in them, and despite our bravado, no one really wants to think of themselves as Darth Vader.  No one wants to entertain the thought that they could destroy everything they believe in and care for as a result of trying to protect it.

Like all great stories, Star Wars holds a mirror up to us and says, this could be you.

We need Progressive Speculative Fiction

Many things are hard to talk about.  Stories can often show us things we would not or could not have seen otherwise.

Next time, we will discuss the differences between Positive Scifi and Progressive Speculative Fiction.

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What is Progressive Speculative Fiction?

"Progressive Speculative Fiction is a story told in any medium which has a “What if” at its core and is filled with hope for the future and promotes a sense of community (Project: Shadow Manifesto)." Of all the things I wrote in the Project: Shadow Manifesto, that one sentence has proven to be the most controversial.  Writers have emailed me asking if their work is Progressive SF or not.  Let's approach the question slowly.

What is Speculative Fiction?

Speculative Fiction is any fiction that has at its core a "What if?"  There are five main subgenres of Speculative Fiction:

  • Science Fiction
  • Scifi
  • Fantasy
  • Horror
  • Alternative History

What sets these stories apart from the mainstream?

All fiction asks the question, "Suppose X happened to this character, what would happen?"  Speculative Fiction asks, "What if X were true about the universe, how would this character react?"  For example:

  • Harry Potter: "What if magic existed in the world and it could do anything but bring people back from the dead?"
  • Lord of the Rings: "What is the prehistory of Europe where a mystic struggle between the powers of light and darkness over the nature of the world to come?"
  • Dune: "What if it were possible to alter consciousness enough for people to see the interconnectedness of all things"
  • Cthulu Mythos: "What if there were beings in the universe as powerful and incomprehensible as we are to an ant?"

The question is the heart of the story.  You cannot have a ghost story unless you ask, "What if ghosts interfered with the lives of people?"

That is why it is called Speculative Fiction.  It speculates about a world that is different from ours in some way.

What makes Speculative Fiction Progressive?

Hope for the future and promotes a sense of community.  Some have taken this to mean that dark fiction cannot be Progressive.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Heroes and Battlestar Galactica

i has BSG S3!!!
Image by Mostly Lisa via Flickr

Heroes is not progressive, but Battlestar Galactica is.  Both of these stories are dark, and at times bleak.  Why is one Progressive and the other not?

There is no hope in Heroes.  Nothing inspires the characters forward.  They looked into Kierkegaard's void and could not take their eyes off of the fact that the world is free from purpose and meaning.  They embrace their meaninglessness, and robs the series of any lasting merit it could have.

Battlestar Galactica looked into the same void, and the characters chose to carve out their own meaning in the cosmos.  They have hope for the future, even if it is challenged often, and they are continually struggling to build a viable community.

Hope for the Future

Hope is a necessary element of fiction that many post-modern writes/producers neglect.

  • Without hope, the characters have nothing to loose.
  • With nothing to loose, there is no tension.
  • Without tension, there is no reason to care about the characters.
  • If you don't care about the characters, there is nothing left but spectacle.

That is the primary problem with shows like Lost, Heroes, and Fringe.  All they have is spectacle and shock value.  They have no depth, and there is no reason for people to care about them.  People watch simply to see what crazy thing happens next.  They will be forgotten quickly.

Community

A side effect of the hopelessness and ennui that fills post-modern SF is the focus on the individual to the detriment of the community.  This factor alone was able to change my opinion of Battlestar Galactica.  I didn't used to like the show, but after I marathoned the boxsets, I could see and better still feel the communities that were trying to maintain themselves.

A sense of community is integral to Speculative Fiction because most if not all stories present a world that is different from our own, and without a sense of community it is hard if not impossible to understand the nature of the setting.  For example look at Legend of the Seeker:

  • The levels of mistrust amid Darken Rahl's soldiers
  • The submissive population of Brennidon
  • The reverence of the Confessors for each other and their outrage at sacrelige
  • The prevelence of hidden valleys and islands

All these and more add up to a better understanding of the world under Darken Rahl's control.  Through these communities and the relationships between Richard, Zedd, and Kahlan defines the setting.

Hope and community are part of what Progressive Speculative Fiction is, but they are also Why Progressive Speculative Fiction is important, which we will talk about in the next post in this series.

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The Call of Knitted Cthulu

The creativity of knitters never stops impressing me.  I really hope I can find patterns so I can make a couple of these for myself.  I can just imagine the looks on people’s faces if I went into town wearing a knitted Cthulu ski mask, or the creature from the black lagoon.  O the looks, muhaha, I need to get some for me and all my friends.

knit1 knit2

knit3

(via Flickr 1, 2, 3, Thanks Jessi!)

Cthulhu Raises In Select Theaters

I am struck with both excitement and trepidation.  H.P. Lovecraft wrote some amazing Supernatural Horror.  There are some past attempts to translate some of his stories onto the big screen some worked and other has not.  After watching the trailer I had much higher hopes.  It looks good and spooky.  Unfortunately the release is limited so that means that I will have to wait because my odds of finding the silver key is probably better than having a screening near me.

Cthulu

Cthulu:

Watch The Trailer in the P:S HQ

Release Date:   schedule  (via The Official Site)

8/22 Hollywood, CA: Regent Showcase 614 N. La Brea 8/29 Atlanta, GA: at DragonCon 9/ 03 Austin, TX: at G&L International FF 9/12 Atlanta, GA: Plaza Theater 1049 Ponce De Leon NE 9/26 Denver, CO: Starz FilmCenter 900 Auraria Parkway

Listed as:  Drama, Suspense, Horror,

Studio: Regent Releasing

Director: Daniel Gildark

Produced by: Jeffrey Brown, Anne Rosellini

Written by: Grant Cogswell, Dan Gildark, H. P. Lovecraft

Stars: Cara Buono - Dannie, Jason Cottle - Russ, Richard Garfield - Zadok, Ian Geoghegan - Ralph, Scott Green - Mike, Dennis Kleinsmith - Reverend Marsh, Amy Minderhout - Julie, Robert Padilla - Ancestor, Tori Spelling - Susan, Nancy Stark - Aunt Josie, Hunter Stroud - Teen Russ, Rob Hamm - Jake

The Plot / Story:

History professor Russ is called upon by his sister to execute their late mother's estate, he is reunited with his boyhood chum and with his father, the charismatic leader of a New Age cult.  While exploring his memories, Russ wanders into a warehouse where hundreds of names are listed on the walls.  As he sleeps that night, he dreams of a stone cudgel and awakens to find a cudgel in his motel room.

The Town Drunk Warns Russ that it is an instrument of sacrifice, and a young liquor store clerk enlists him to help find her brother, who she believes has been taken by the cult.  Russ' aunt, who has been living in an asylum, tells him that his mother left a message hidden in her house.

Looking for answers in the warehouse, Russ is taken on an unbelievable journey through the small town's ancient, subterranean origins.  When he escapes, he and Mike find the girl's brother murdered.  Russ begins to believe preparations are underway for a mass sacrifice, and engages the attentions of a sexy seductress in order to obtain information.  Raped and arrested for murder on the eve of the May Festival, the stakes are raised for Russ - maybe higher than the world has ever known.    (via The Official Site)


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