Monday, November 01, 2010

The Digital Internet Era and Lovecraft

I suppose Chrispy is on the cutting edge of societal evolution (to steal a Rushism). Chrispy was digital blogging before Lovecraftians knew much about what a weblog was. Times are a changin'.

In the older days, we had people who knew Lovecraft personally.

As that generation passed away, and I suppose Probst was one of the last, the new folks had to use Lovecraft's writings and library resources. In those days librarians were wonderful, they knew things and could say "we have it" or "they have it", and you planned your vacations and holidays around those locations. That generation and era is quickly passing.

These days a library is more likely to sell a collectible item for a $1 than to archive it away for future posterity. Some others are scraping volunteers and money to scan their valuable documents into digital archives. Progress is being made. The Dead Sea scrolls will soon be online after Herschel Shanks forced the issue, and FOIA (freedom of information acts) are unloosing goverment stuff, particularly in ufology, or political arenas.

But are Lovecraftians making use of this?

Not a lot, but Chrispy is seeing some movement. Bright lights are Dave Goudsward, and Will Hart, each in their own manner. Others are beginning to get the "bug". Hooray! Go fer it.

Without a doubt Lovecraft is obsessive. You want to know more, or write like him, or something. For a deqad materialist atheist, he sure does haunt a lot of people.

I suppose I've read five thousand pages of contemporary historical Lovecraft-era records. I post a lot of these on the blog. With google and other sources, I can do in minutes what people did in weeks back in the 1970's. Lovecraft is no longer an intellectual construct, or an abstract. He is flesh and blood living being who was influenced by every day events just like you and me. It just couldn't be seen before, becuase the canvas was too coarse. Not enough pixels. The sieve can now retain so much more.

He rode a balloon. Of course! Why not! There was a time that HPL adored "progress" and if he were alive in 2005, and was 21, he would have wanted to ride the space shuttle. However, at some point that all fizzled. He became antiquarian and lived in the past more than the future. But on one special day he went to the Brockton Fair and pretended to be an aeronaut. Yes, we now be that accurate.

One day, we'll find all kinds of Lovecraft material that will shock us. There won't be one great thing, it will be a hundred thousand little things that will sum up to a shocker.

When Halley's comet came, he rode a trolley to Rehoboth to see it near the Great Meadow. Yes, we can use online tools to determine that, and even use google sattelite imagery and astronomical software to reproduce the conditions. In 25 years, we'll be able to reproduce Lovecraft in 3-D watching Halley's comet, and ride with him on the Taunton-Providence Pike trolley. Maybe we'll even talk to him, and he'll give us an astronomical lecture, and tell us how bad he felt when he lost over 50 pounds with the measles earlier in 1910.

Back in 1904 he made a garden because it was the "in" thing to do. He read dime novels in 1898 because his new friends at Slater did. Then he wrote stories for them, most likely.

He did a hundred other things that make him eccentric to us, and yet they were common everyday events in his era - like cramming two pages on to a post card. Very 1905-ish. We can see it now, in contemporary historical documents.

As I write this, I listened to Jacques Vallee,who if you are a Fortean, ufology buff, or C2C'er you know who this is. He just did a book that was researched by using files on the internet. His collaborator assembled a dozen interested parties in many countries to sort through library files and this coalesced into a very different book that showed the human conditiona and experience produced ufo descriptions eerily similar to today's reports. More and more it may be more of psychological response to some type of physical stresses, not just visitors out there.

Now we come to Lovecraft. You, too, can play the Lovecraft game. Go to your favorite search engine and site, and begin taking those books you have on your library shelf, read them, and search for more depth on them. You will find things.

I know you may not be a scientist or historian, but you can learn. de Camp was a good man, but made errors. You will, too, but phone a friend, and talk to them. Take a night class or correspondence course to learn how to do research, and history, and think scientifically. Then go after that obscure individual who haunts you. I did, and have amassed significant findings.

I've traced the histroical trajectories of dozens of Lovecraft neighbors, friends, and acquaintances. I've followed instituitions to understand what impact they had on Lovecraft and his life.

Folks this does not have to be a spectator sport. I get emails from those who are working hard at uncovering brand new Lovecraft connections that have never seen the light of day before. This is what the internet is about. Collaboration.

Next year there is now no question but I have to start slowing down. Maybe I will slowly go to three times a week, but I have put so many things on the backburner they can't wait any longer. Despite the digital age coming, books are still the lingua franca of Lovecraft. They will be for another 15 years. In addition, the blog format is quickly fading. 21st centruy people want multidimensions, and reading is too slow. Thankfully, Will Hart and Wilum Pugmire (and others) are experimenting with this new media opportunity in their own way. I don't think I'm going to have the energy or time to do this, not do I have their talents. My talent is research, and I am making efforts to finalize this and put feet to the mission to get the thousands of posts here into a more permanent and readable format. Brian Keene does this same thing with his blog - not that I am Mr. Keene - but he shows the way.

2011 will be a great year. It will be the start of the digital era, and we must be ready for it. 4G is here, so what will 10G be like? Surely the PC box on the desk will be gone by 2020. 100,000 TV channels will come - it just won't be "television" any more. It will be something very Star-Trekkian. By then there will most likely be 30 Lovecraft channels alone.

So, stay tuned to the blog as we chronicle this as long as we can - and have readers. Email Chrispy if you have new ideas, or need a little help once in a while, or you just want to tell a little story. I do enjoy getting mail! I try to answer every mail I get, though some weeks it gets a little tough.

Remember, in the scheme of things while to you Lovecraft looks huge - especially if you try to buy all the $100 books coming out - only several thousands of the billions of people alive are even yet aware of what a Lovecraft is - or care.

You are very special!

Thank you for reading the blog.


Anonymous said...

You bet I'll stay tuned - it's been fascinating thus far.

Scott said...

Great post. I've been surprised to find there's no dedicated E. R. Eddison blog out there as far as I can tell. I just don't know if I've got time and energy to get up to speed to start and maintain one. :|

Lady Lovecraft said...

Excellent, as always - thank you for encouraging people to continually do research ... as long as people reseach throughly and look at different sources, they're at least not falling for every rumour that ever surrounded HPL :).

A very, very appreaciated entry - I hope all goes well in 2011, so we can continually hear from you!!!



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