Monthly Archives: January 2011

On the Subject of Cthulhu

So apparently Cthulhu’s been having a resurgence lately?  With the circles that I run in, it’s really hard to tell.  For those not in the know, Cthulhu is a squid-headed, dragon-bodied being from beyond the outer planets of our solar system who currently lies dead, or just sleeping, deep beneath the seas in the sunken city of R’lyeh, waiting until the time when the stars are right, at which point he/she/it will awaken and, being really hungry after sleeping/being dead for so long, devour everyone in sight.  Or so the story goes; you’d have to ask Howard Phillips Lovecraft to get it straight.

Anyhow, it seems silly to have a blog about urban fantasy and not mention Cthulhu somewhere.  I mean, I love Cthulhu.  Dude sits in my car and keeps watch over my shifter.  Really.

It came to my attention that Cthulhu, and the works of Lovecraft in general, are seeing something of a resurgence because of today’s lesson on Surviving the World, which, in turn, led me to this helpful diagram:

If there was an original point to this post, other than to make more people aware of Tie-thulhu, I don’t know what it was, other than maybe to say that, yes, my writing is informed by Lovecraft and yes, I am a dork.


SEPTA: Philadelphia Topside

Many of the stories that I have set in Philadelphia are set back in the 1970s, and nothing says mid-’70s (or earlier, or into the early ’90s) Philadelphia quite like a PCC trolley car.

I love trolleys, even though most of SEPTA’s current fleet are the boxy white Kawasaki trams that serve Center City and West Philly on the five Green Line Subway/Surface routes, but I especially love the old PCC cars and the refurbished PCC-IIs which run down Girard.  You can imagine my delight, then, when I stumbled across Philadelphia Trolley Tracks, a site devoted to SEPTA’s trolley lines past and present.  The site is filled with photos of trolleys, some of which date back as far as the 1920s, as well as historical maps and rosters of rolling stock.

So what’s the use, yeah?  The internet is absolutely wonderful for finding information on really specific topics, but there’s a lot of stuff to troll through.  Since I began writing my 1970s paranormal investigator character, I’ve spent a lot of time researching Philadelphia circa 1970 because there have been a lot of changes.  Transit tunnels are especially interesting to me, especially historical ones, but the information I’ve been able to find has been a bit sparse, especially in the picture department.  It turns out that nobody was running around with a digital camera taking thousands of pictures of random stuff back then.  Who knew?

I’ve been thinking about the kind of stories that happen in trolleys and in tunnels lately because I’ve been looking at this site, or I’ve been looking at this site a lot because I’ve been thinking about stories.  We’ll see how things develop, but I’ve got a lot of writing coming up in this, my last semester at Wilson.


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