Monday, September 21, 2015

Progress Report: To My Readers

Now that The R’lyeh Tribune has entered its third year of continuous publication, it seems a good time to step back and reflect on its further development.  Though the focus remains on H.P. Lovecraft and his work, dozens of others from his time period as well as more contemporary authors of weird fiction have also been discussed here.  Robert E. Howard and Clark Ashton Smith will continue to receive attention, but there are still several important writers from Lovecraft’s time that are yet to be investigated.  For example, just the other day one helpful reader mentioned a writer named John Taine, whose Antarctica adventure story may have been an influence on Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness.

The R’lyeh Tribune has really only just begun to mine the deep vein of horror, science fiction and fantasy published in 1920s and 1930s.  This fascinating body of literature was produced some time between the “Radium Age” and the “Golden Age” of Science Fiction, before horror, fantasy and science fiction became more clearly differentiated from each other. 

Gadgets, gizmos and pseudo-scientific theories appear in these stories, as do ghouls and ghosts and the Unausprechlichen.  Science and technology vie with supernatural explanations of the unknown.  Cosmicism and traditional religious sentiment also wrestle each other over questions of ultimate meaning and fate.  The tensions between these various perspectives reflect a period of great transition, and express the fears of a modern society going through many rapid changes—not unlike our own.

Lately I have been encouraged by the uptick in overall traffic to the site, and by the increasing number of helpful comments visitors have made on individual posts.  The R’lyeh Tribune continues to have a fairly stable readership with a steady output of twice weekly posts.  August saw a total monthly page view count of just under 3000—a record, for me at least.  Requests for book reviews have begun to increase, which is also exciting.  I am especially grateful to those of you who graciously added The R’lyeh Tribune to your blog roll over the past year.

For the convenience of my visitors I have reorganized the Index, mainly by dividing up many of the items under “General Topics” into more useful categories.  These include book reviews, film, horror theory, “personal notes”, and television.  Now that the blog has accumulated over 400 posts, this was necessary and long overdue housecleaning.  (My advice to aspiring bloggers out there:  begin to index your “evergreen” content soon after you begin, both for your mental health as well as that of your readers.)

Though I have long used Google+ and to a lesser extent LinkedIn, I can now be found on Twitter and Facebook.  I am thinking of exploring Goodreads next.  I welcome your advice and suggestions in this area. Social media is amazing, and our interaction with these marvelous systems must surely be altering our minds in subtle, and as yet undetectable ways.  Certainly it has already revolutionized how we communicate with each other, how we publish, and even how we conceive of our society. 

On a nuts and bolts level, I am thinking of adding a bibliography tab so that I can list resources—especially nonfiction books—that may be of interest to those who would like to delve further into early twentieth century horror, fantasy and science fiction.  This would be a bit more refined than the current “Of Interest” section.  Family members have suggested that I produce some audio files of selected posts, which may be fun. 

With respect to the scope of the blog, I am wondering about doing some further investigation of the Gothic and “Radium Age” authors that preceded Lovecraft and his circle, as well as the next generation of weird fictioneers that followed in the 1940s and 1950s.  Several contemporary writers, for example, Thomas Ligotti, and those inspired by Lovecraft’s mythos stories, are also of interest.

As always I welcome and remain open to your comments and suggestions.

Thanks for visiting.  

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Thank you for your interest in The R'lyeh Tribune! Comments and suggestions are always welcome.