The Memory Hole

We’re back and we’re indulging in some therapeutic negativity. Normally, we use the podcast to talk about things we like. This time we’re venting our bile ducts, spewing forth about aspects of gaming, books and films that give us dyspepsia. We are generally positive, or at least as positive as people who write about soul-crushing horrors in a cold and uncaring universe can be. It turns out, however, that there are an awful lot of things that irritate us.

Buy Matt a cocktail at a convention, ask what irritates him and clear your schedule for the following week.

We gave a lot of thought to things to drop down the memory hole, but actually spent most of our prep time debating whether our listeners would know what the memory hole was. Having seen some of the learned comments you lot post on social media, I have every faith in you! That said, we still may need to explain what we’re doing with the concept. As this is episode 101, Paul suggested we do a riff on the long-running BBC panel show, Room 101. We tried not to ape it too closely, partly so we could make it our own, but mostly to avoid painful and unnecessary lawsuits.

We would put lawyers in Room 101, but that would leave us without some of our favourite players.

Room 101, the TV series, is inspired by George Orwell’s novel, 1984. The book’s Room 101 is a torture chamber tailored to each prisoner, containing their idea of the worst thing in the world. The TV programme interprets this as somewhere that panellists may consign the things they would like to remove from existence. Not only is this wrong, but 1984 already includes such a conceit in the form of the memory hole. We explain this a little more in the episode itself.

Forget mundane horrors like rats. Scott’s Room 101 is filled with incorrect interpretations of Room 101.

Speaking of the worst thing in the world, we sing again in this episode. This is our enthusiastic but fundamentally misguided way of thanking our generous $5 Patreon backers. If the singing sounds slightly less awful than usual, it’s because Mike Mason joined us for this recording. He is trained in this kind of thing and tried to curb our worst excesses.

We, on the other hand, take this kind of approach to singing.

Our normally short news segment is a little longer than usual. There seems to be a lot going on. We mention the ongoing Kickstarter campaigns for Q Workshop’s metal Cthulhu dice and for Triple Ace Games Mythos Cthulhu Mythos book badges. If you are interested in the latter, you had better act quickly. The campaign will end around 24 hours after this episode goes live. We also have news of the release of Chaosium’s Grand Grimoire of Mythos Magic and issue 2 of our own Blasphemous Tome fanzine.

Fly, my pretties, fly!

We also mention a couple of videos in the episode, both dice-related. The first is Mike Mason’s brief overview of the Q-Workshop Cthulhu metal dice set. The second is Louis Zocchi of GameScience, explaining what is wrong with most polyhedral dice. I never realised how passionate someone could be on the subject of RPG dice until I watched Colonel Zocchi’s video. I shall never be able to look at the contents of my dice pouch in quite the same way again.

The Appeal of Lovecraft

We’re back and we’ve made it to 100! There’s no sign of our telegram from the Queen yet, but it will surely be here any minute. We have spent countless hours sitting around in a drafty shed or clustering around a microphone perched on a teetering pile of books to get here. Much of that time was spent in helpless laughter or streams of virulent profanity, but Paul has done an excellent job of editing around this to leave you with something resembling a podcast. And now we have 100 episodes to show for it (or 102, if you count the specials, which we are choosing not to). We could scarcely be more excited!

Lovecraft smiling

This episode is so exciting that it almost made Howie grin.

To celebrate our centuried status, we thought we’d tackle a big topic. As Call of Cthulhu writers, it’s no exaggeration to say that Lovecraft plays a central role in our lives. He is a larger presence than many people we actually know in person and who aren’t dead. But why is this the case? What is it about the man and his work that exerts such a hold on us?

Lovecraft was a complex figure, and while this episode is largely a celebration of what we love about his work, we try not to shy away from his negative aspects, most notably his racism. We hope the result is a balanced, reasonable discussion.

The latter part of the episode is given over to an interview with Sandy Petersen, creator of Call of Cthulhu, in which he discusses the influence Lovecraft has had on his own life and work. Unsurprisingly, he has some deep and fascinating insights to share.

Clearly the smile of a man who has spent decades getting to the heart of Lovecraft.

And, once again, there is singing. We have a large number of Patreon backers to thank, including several at the $5 level. Regular listeners will know that this means that we create aural nightmares to thank these brave and generous people. We actually tried to sing this time instead of just making strange, gibbering noises. I’m not convinced the result is any less disturbing. Once again, to limit the damage done, we have restricted ourselves to two songs. This means that there are still several people waiting for us to sing our thanks to them, and we will share them over the next few episodes.