The SFFaudio Podcast #327 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Moon-Bog by H.P. Lovecraft


The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #327 – The Moon-Bog by H.P. Lovecraft; read by Martin Reyto courtesy of Legamus. This is an unabridged reading of the short story (24 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse Willis, Seth Wilson, Jim Moon, and Juan Luis Pérez.

Talked about in this episode:
Title has a hyphen; published in Weird Tales in June 1926, but written for a St. Patrick’s Day event; most critics dismiss the story; most characters are nameless; no Cthulhu mythos; Greek ties to Lovecraft’s The Tree; H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast; thematic similarities to The Rats in the Walls and Hypnos; conflict between the bog goddess and her servants; frogs; moonbeams; Greek Pan pipes, not Celtic pipes; on the story’s un-Irishness; competing models of colonization; Protestant work ethic; Pied Piper of Hamelin; surviving narrator motif similar to Ishmael in Moby Dick; departure from the traditional Lovecraftian narrator; the poetry of Lovecraft’s prose, alliteration, etc.; Lovecraft’s Supernatural Horror in Literature; spoiler in Weird Tales art; the joys of reading aloud; Lovecraft’s Dunsanian story The Festival; architecture; Tolkien’s Dead Marshes and the gothic symbolism of bogs, etc.; Lovecraft’s descriptionn of cities in The Mountains of Madness and landscapes in The Dunwich HorrorThe Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and similar impressionism in film; The Quest of Iranon; unreliable narrators à la Edgar Allan Poe, especially The Fall of the House of Usher; laughing; bog draining and the curse of the Tiddy Mun; the city of Bath and the intersection of Roman and Celtic cultures; John Buchan’s The Grove of Ashtaroth; this is actually a happy Lovecraft story!; Robin Hood and the defense of the land; humans destroy megafauna; Lovecraft’s The Hound; American horror trope of the Indian burial ground; the lack of Celtic mythology; will-o’-the-wisps; how does one drain a bog? Ask the Dutch; disappointment in scientific explanation for stories; the ruins and the Gothic tradition.

The Moon-Bog by H.P. Lovecraft

The Moon Bog by H.P. Lovecraft - illustrated by Jesse

Providence, Issue 10, The Moon-Bog by H.P. Lovecraft - illustrated by Raulo Cáceres

The Moon-Bog by H.P. Lovecraft - art by Stephen Fabian

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Dark Adventure Audio Theatre: The Shadow Over Innsmouth

SFFaudio Review

SFFaudio EssentialThe Shadow over Innsmouth cover artDark Adventure Radio Theatre: H.P. Lovecraft’s The Shadow Over Innsmouth
Adapted from the novella by H.P. Lovecraft; Performed by a full cast
1 CD – Approx. 77 Minutes [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: HPLHS
Published: October 27, 2009
Themes: / Horror / Cultists / Deep Ones / Cthulhu Mythos /

The final installment of a great series of faux Old Time Radio dramatisations of Lovecraft stories by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society’s very own Dark Adventure Radio Theatre is probably the easiest to convert in their point of view. By no means do I want to belittle their skill and effort but of all of Lovecrafts stories “Innsmouth”‘s dramaturgy comes easier to audio than, say, The Shadow out of Time [Review]. Bear in mind that Lovecraft was not exactly known for his use of action or suspense in the traditional sense, but  this novella about a degenerated community on New England’s seaside features his attempt of a chase and narrow escape plus a final plot twist.
I assume that most readers will at least be vaguely familiar with the plot but for those who are not here’s a very brief overview.
A young man tours New England, more precisly the fictional area that became known as “Lovecraft Country”, in a search for antiques and his family’s history. He learns of the town of Innsmouth which used to be a prosperous fishing and trading port but which has long ago fallen into gloom and decay, shunned by outsiders and inhabited by secretive people on whom generations of inbreeding have not been kind.
Of course, he disregards all warning not to go there and buys a ticket for the bus to Innsmouth. Ahh, the carelessnes of youth!
Sure, he only wants to get a quick peek and then leave again with the evening bus. What he learns from his own observations and the only two people willing to talk to him – an outside shopkeeper and the town drunkard – is bad enough. All the churches of Innsmouth have  either been abandoned or have been converted for use by the town’s sinister cult the Esoteric Order of Dagon. The cult that was brought to Innsmouth from the Pacific by one of its most prominent captains at a time when Innsmouth’s economy was failing. The new gods helped but at what terrible price our young protagonist is abuot to find out. Too bad that the bus that was supposed to bring him out of town in the evening has most inconveniently broken down leaves him stranded and cut-off in a town filled with people who are not entirely human anymore and even less keen on snooping outsiders than your usual run-of-the-mill hillbillies. Fortunately, there is a room available in the best (and only) hotel in town… and this is where the fun begins – our protagonist has to escape from Innsmouth.
But remember… you may take a man out of Innsmouth but can you take Innsmouth out of the man?
Find out more and watch <a title=” Shadow over Innsmouth Trailer” href=””>the trailer on Youtube.
There is not really much more  to say about the last and thus far final installment of DART that is different from the previous ones. Although the crew does not produce audio dramas for a living they take this serious enough to be on par with most professional publishers, and indeed even better than some. Luckily they don’t take it so serious as to avoid the tongue-in-cheek humour which stands ol’ Lovecraft better than you might think.
The story has been dramatised well, music and sound design are great, the acting convincing and the feeling of an Old Time Radio show has been well preserved. The fact that DART have invented a visit from a government official to the protagonist (a fact actually mentioned in the original story) not only provides a convincing reason why the narrator keeps going on in the typical Lovecraftian monologues but also made it possible to tell  the  story’s ending a bit more dramatic than its literary predecessor.
Every DART show comes as both MP3 download and “enhanced” physical CD. The Shadow over Innsmouth  is no different and the CD contains such props as a “real” match book (with one final match left) of the Gilman hotel, a handdrawn map of Insmouth, a fake newspaper clipping, and a postcard. A nice extra (and free for all) service is the downloadable script to read along.
To round off this the final audio drama the HPLHS offers a nicely designed box in the shape of a classic tube radio that holds all four currently available CDs.
The only thing that this leaves me wanting is more. I want more Dark Adventure Radio shows! Alas, the HPLHS has been awfully quiet on the audio front recently. One can only assume that their resources have been eaten up mainly by their film endeavours.

Posted by Carsten Schmitt

Free Listens review: A Shadow over Innsmouth by H.P. Lovecraft


A Shadow over Innsmouth by H.P. Lovecraft

Source: Voices in the Dark (Part 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 )Voices in the Dark logo
Length: 2.6 hours
Reader: Sean Puckett

The book: While on a architectural tour of New England, a man visits the isolated port of Innsmouth. Locals from neighboring towns view the place with suspicion and treat the odd-looking Innsmouth natives with disgust. While there, he hears rumors of strange goings-on and investigates further. His investigations turn up more than he expects.

This is a dark and frightening tale that also causes some unease when it comes to digging beneath the surface as a modern-day reader. Lovecraft is obviously drawing upon pre-War racist attitudes and fears of miscegenation in his portrayal of the Innsmouth people. He shows mistrust of non-Western people and their “demonic” religions. Though thematically distasteful, this novella is probably my favorite H.P. Lovecraft story, though I can’t say I’ve read Lovecraft’s entire oeuvre.

Rating: 8/10

The reader: Puckett narrates this story in a melancholy tone that fits well with the mood. For characters like Zadoc, he drops into a believable-enough dialect. He has a few repeats of phrases and there is some background noise, but otherwise this is a good recording.

Posted by Seth

Review of Dagon by H.P. Lovecraft

SFFaudio Review

This is the 18th story this month, and I’m still clinging to my sanity…

Horror Audiobooks - The Dark Worlds of H.P. Lovecraft, Volume 2Dagon
Contained in The Dark Worlds of H.P. Lovecraft: Volume 2
By H.P. Lovecraft; Read by Wayne June
3 CDs – 3.5 hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Audio Realms
ISBN: 9781897304013
Themes: / Horror / The Sea / Cthulhu / Black Slime / Insanity /

I am writing this under an appreciable mental strain, since by tonight, I shall be no more. Penniless and at the end of my supply of the drug which alone makes life endurable, I can bear the torture no longer.

This poor guy then goes on to tell a story that starts at sea, middles with a wallow in black slime and other crazifying ancient things, and ends right where it starts – with the narrator’s “appreciable mental strain”. The trip takes about 15 minutes and Lovecraft does plenty in that space. If someone wanted a brief introduction to him, “Dagon” would be an excellent choice because it’s short yet contains some of Lovecraft’s trademark subject matter, including a lone man taking a long walk to an ancient place, seeing things no man should see, and struggling with his sanity afterward.

Wayne June narrates, and we’ve said it here before – he was born to read this stuff. Instantly compelling and chilling. Lovecraft and June are a perfect match.

Audio Realms published a whole line of these Lovecraft collections, all read by June. Since the last time we posted about them, they have become available for purchase and download at The Audiobook Shop. The downloads are DRM-free, and most of the excellent Audio Realms audiobooks are there.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Review of At the Mountains Of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft

SFFaudio Review

At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. LovecraftDark Adventure Radio Theater: At the Mountains of Madness
Adapted by Sean Branney and Andrew Leman from H.P. Lovecraft’s original novel
1 CD – 75 minutes
Publisher: The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society
Published: 2006
Themes: / Science Fiction / Horror / Elder Things / Antarctica / Cthulhu Mythos /

The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society brought us a film last time, the 47 minute long The Call of Cthulhu. That film gained acclaim for adapting a renowned H.P. Lovecraft story into a silent-film, black and white style that was the type of films that Lovecraft watched in the 1920s. This time they have given us another classic in the form of a radio broadcast of At the Mountains of Madness in the style of the 1930s. This is brilliant work and every Lovecraft fan should buy the CD and enjoy it.

H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) is one of the premiere horror writers of the Twentieth Century. His dense prose, written in a style a century out of date, told stories of cosmic horror in which people often lost their sanity. At the Mountains of Madness is Lovecraft’s longest work, just topping 40,000 words, which makes it a novel, just barely. It is his favorite of mine because of the sense of wonder it evokes. Written in 1931, his normal publisher, Weird Tales, rejected it, and five years passed before Astounding Stories published the novel. The tale describes an expedition from Miskatonic University to the Antarctica which finds the ruins of an ancient civilization and flees awful horrors that should remain undisturbed.

This radio adaptation is eerily true to the original, even though the story had to be truncated to fit the radio form. The main plot points are all included, the flavor of Lovecraft’s writing is included with direct quotes from the original, and the overall effect of reading the original is maintained. They even used the word “cyclopean” twice, always my favorite Lovecraft adjective, along with “singular.” The faux radio broadcast is authentic in even including advertisements by the sponsor, a cigarette manufacturer, Fleurs-de-Lys. Three extra items are included with the CD: a newspaper clipping about the expedition, two reproductions of photographs taken by the expedition, and a reproduction from an expedition sketchbook.

Rumors from Hollywood whisper that Guillermo del Toro (director of Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth, and the upcoming The Hobbit) is also making a movie of our story. Sean Branney and Andrew Leman have set the standard, albeit in a different medium, that del Toro must live up to.

The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society has also just released another radio drama, Dark Adventure Radio Theatre: The Dunwich Horror.

Posted by Eric Swedin

Review of The Unnameable: Four Tales by H.P. Lovecraft

SFFaudio Review

The Unnameable by H.P. LovecraftThe Unnameable: Four Tales by H.P. Lovecraft
By H.P. Lovecraft; Read by David Cade
1 CD – 1 Hour 16 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tales Of Orpheus /
Published: 2005
ISBN: 0955209005
Themes: / Fantasy / Horror / Cthulhu Mythos / Cats / Music /

“We were sitting on a dilapidated seventeenth – century tomb in the late afternoon of an autumn day at the old burying ground in Arkham, and speculating about the unnamable.”

Dumb move guys, being in Arkham was the first mistake. Hanging out at the cemetary at twilight was the second. You don’t get a third with Lovecraft. Fortunately we get both a third and a fourth! This collection contains four complete Howard Philips Lovecraft short stories! Included are:

“The Book”
Told in a creepy first person, a disembodied voice, a voice that decries the day it discovered “the book”, in a library beside a great black oily river. The voice has forgotten its family, its life, even its own name. You will never forget this story. Probably written in 1933, a point at which Lovecraft was at the height of his powers, it shows.

“The Music Of Erich Zann”
One step from vagrancy, our anonymous narrator, recalls a fellow lodger Erich Zann. They shared a decrepit building on a mysterious French street, but Zann’s eerie music was not nearly as haunting as horror that chased him. First published in 1921, still

“The Cats Of Ulthar”
A cryptic fable that gives reason to why killing a cat may be the most dangerous thing one can ever do. There are two kinds of people in the world: Dog people and
cat people. H.P. Lovecraft was obviously a cat person. Cats are mysterious, small but quite powerful and work best at night, just like this story. First published

“The Unnameable”
Randolph Carter, who we already know from The Statement Of Randolph Carter recalls the events which followed their visit to an Arkham, MA cemetary. This is the only story in this collection considered part of the Cthulhu Mythos and Carter is probably the only character to survive two brushes with the who should not be named. First published 1923.

British actor David Cade reads all four tales. There is some question in my mind on one matter, does having an English accent whilst reading very American stories necessitate a conflict? It probably would if there was much dialogue – but seeing as Lovecraft was far friendlier with exposition than he was with speaking parts it isn’t much of an issue at all. Cade is effective at bringing the mostly expository prose to gruesome life. All four stories are framed by muscial excerpts that are very well matched to the thematic material. One thing that bothered me greatly though was the lack of titles, each track is distinctly seperated by music, but the stories themselves are not named in the audio, one must look at the back of the CD case to find out which story you are listening to – something a blind listener would be unable to do.

Posted by Jesse Willis