June 3rd, 2008


Walkin' in Providence

Happy birthday to nakeisha, and happy early birthday to ebonange and shelled_avenger! I hope all three of you have fantastic days and wonderful years to come.

My Summer Schedule of Insanity continues; I'm gearing up to leave this Friday to teach a week-long seminar for the Institute for Humane Studies at Brown University in H.P. Lovecraft's very own Providence, Rhode Island. As part of my lectures, I will be discussing the "Lovecraft-Tolkien connection" (based on my article) and leading a walking tour of Lovecraftian Providence. My plan is to take plenty of pictures so I can share a "virtual tour" with those who are interested when I return. You can see the tour I've created here, complete with descriptions:

View Larger Map

I will also be discussing Native American history and U.S. policy and the tradition of dystopian thought, among other things, while I'm at Brown. A later trip will mean that I miss Charlotte's Can't Stop the Serenity screening, but I will be holding a "Phantom Screening" at Brown for my students and incorporating Serenity (and Firefly) into two of my presentations.

And now, some links of possible interest:

* Library Journal lists recommendations for books of urban fantasy and magical cities.

* The Guardian lists recommendations for books set in fantastic places.

* SF Canada interviews Native fantasy author Daniel Heath Justice.

My quote for the day:

"The diary is strangely reticent about what Blake deciphered, but he was patently awed and disconcerted by his results. There are references to a Haunter of the Dark awaked by gazing into the Shining Trapezohedron, and insane conjectures about the black gulfs of chaos from which it was called. The being is spoken of as holding all knowledge, and demanding monstrous sacrifices. Some of Blake's entries show fear lest the thing, which he seemed to regard as summoned, stalk abroad; though he adds that the streetlights form a bulwark which cannot be crossed.

"Of the Shining Trapezohedron he speaks often, calling it a window on all time and space, and tracing its history from the days it was fashioned on dark Yuggoth, before ever the Old Ones brought it to earth. It was treasured and placed in its curious box by the crinoid things of Antarctica, salvaged from their ruins by the serpent-men of Valusia, and peered at aeons later in Lemuria by the first human beings. It crossed strange lands and stranger seas, and sank with Atlantis before a Minoan fisher meshed it in his net and sold it to swarthy merchants from nighted Khem. The Pharaoh Nephren-Ka built around it a temple with a windowless crypt, and did that which caused his name to be stricken from all monuments and records. Then it slept in the ruins of that evil fane which the priests and the new Pharaoh destroyed, till the delver's spade once more brought it forth to curse mankind."

- from "The Haunter of the Dark," H.P. Lovecraft