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The Shadow Over Cyberspace

The ghosts of Conan and Cthulhu
haunt the Web

By Zack Stentz

THERE IS A specter haunting the World Wide Web. Well, two, actually. The works of H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard hold a particular appeal to the inhabitants of cyberspace, with both Usenet discussion groups (alt.horror.cthulhu for Lovecraft literary discussion, alt.fantasy.conan for Robert E. Howard fans and alt.sex.cthulhu for, well, don't ask) and a number of Web sites devoted to the authors and their works. Here are a few highlights:

Donovan Loucks' HPL Archive: The best and most comprehensive of the Lovecraft sites and built as a labor of love by the Phoenix-based Loucks ("it's like having another full-time job," he says wearily), this page contains everything from a brief author biography and bibliography to a skilled debunking of the Necronomicon hoax (sorry, folks, it doesn't exist), a list of Lovecraft references in rock music and a photographic tour of New England's Lovecraftian sites.

The Robert E. Howard Archive: Classiest of the Howard pages, this site contains many valuable resources for Conan lovers, such as a few reprinted essays and letters (including one to pen pal H.P. Lovecraft!), and some samples of Howard's archaic but often moving poetry. Another valuable resource: a complete story chronology and bibliography for the astoundingly prolific author.

The Arkham Archives: An unofficial page devoted to Arkham House, the specialty horror-book publishing house that first published Lovecraft and continues to crank out a series of highly sought-after horror and fantasy titles. A must for collectors.

H.P. Lovecraft in the Movies: A subsidiary page of the Beyond Books Web site, this site chronicles the depressing history of Lovecraft on celluloid. While the reviewers have done an admirable job of tracking down some of the more obscure Lovecraft titles (Cthulhu Mansion, the page suffers a bit from some underinformed, overly opinionated attempts at film criticism. Best of all, though, are the interviews with Lovecraft-related filmmakers.

The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets: The Web page maintained by and devoted to the titular band, a Vancouver surf-punk outfit with a heavily Lovecraftian bent. Sample song and album titles: "Shoggoths Away," "Goin' Down to Dunwich," "Cthulhu Strikes Back." The page contains band member bios, lyrics, audio clips of sample songs and some pretty decent essays about Lovecraft, punk, horror, and other related subjects. A one-joke band, to be sure, but hey--it's a pretty funny joke.

Selected Authors of Supernatural Fiction: A site devoted to not just Lovecraft, but Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Machen, Clark Ashton Smith, Ambrose Bierce and other well-loved and influential fantasy and horror writers. These pages contain pictures, biographical materials and essays by and about the authors, including an excellent piece by Robert Bloch (Psycho) comparing and contrasting Poe and Lovecraft.

Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu page: This attractive and graphically rich page belongs to the game company that designs Call of Cthulhu and Mythos, two games based on Lovecraft's fiction, and contains summaries, illustrations and ordering information for the company's various products, Cthulhuoid and otherwise.

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From the January 2-8, 1997 issue of Metro

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