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REVIEW: The King in Yellow as adapted by INJ Culbard

The King in Yellow by INJ Culbard

Robert Chambers’ The The King in Yellow contains two of my absolute favorite short stories of all time, certainly two of my favorite pieces of weird fiction of all time, and the book in it’s entirety is a beautiful piece of fin-de-siecle weirdness that has few real contemporaries.

I have greatly enjoyed INJ Culbard’s Lovecraft adaptations so far. His art is excellently matched to the subject matter and his choices when transforming the stories have clearly been made carefully and I think, for the most part, made correctly.

He has decided, one would imagine for reasons of length, not to adapt the entire book. Instead, he adapts just four stories from Chambers’ book – “The Repairer of Reputations”, “The Yellow Sign”, “The Mask”, and “In the Court of the Dragon”. These stories are the “weirdest” in the book, and Culbard has chosen to link them via a (very loose) framing story. The main characters of each story mention each other.

I find this conceit to be unnecessary. I also found that the adaptation was not as lyrical as the Lovecraft adaptations. Perhaps it speaks to the difference in prose and dialog, but there seemed to be much more missing than in his version of Mountains of Madness, for example. (Now that can’t possibly be true, given how Mountains of Madness reads.)

"The Yellow Sign" from The Repairer of Reputations in Culbard's the King in Yellow

However, I greatly enjoyed the actual representation the characters were given in the this book. The squamous unnamed carriage driver in The Yellow Sign looked appropriately gross, and the deco landscape of 1890’s Paris and New York is lovingly rendered.

If you’ve read the other Culbard Lovecraft adaptations and enjoyed them, there is no reason not to get this book, you’ll probably enjoy it. Also, King in Yellow completists will no doubt find this interesting. If you haven’t read the Chambers’s book, I would recommend at least seeking out The Repairer of Reputations and The Yellow Sign in advance of picking up this volume.

The King in Yellow by INJ Culbard on Amazon

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Trail of Cthulhu – Soldiers of Pen and Ink

Trail of Cthulhu Soldiers of Pen and Ink cover art

Soldiers of Pen and Ink: What is it?

The cover art for Trail of Cthulhu Soldiers of Pen and Ink was tweeted by Pelgrane Press publisher Simon Rogers, attributed to Jerome. A google search revealed that this was a new, upcoming scenario conflating the Cthulhu Mythos and the Spanish Civil War.

Scenario author Adam Gauntlett shared a few more tidbits on his blog.

The thing’s huge – more than 43,000 words – and includes, among other things, four new character archetypes: the Extremist, Volunteer, Black Marketeer and Spy. For those of you who picked up Dulce et Decorum Est and liked the lists of tanks and aircraft, there’s new stats here for even more military equipment. There’s also a new Ability, Politics, and a new take on Hastur the Unspeakable and his terrifying Byakhee: The Hastur Mneme.

The official Pelgrane Press website gives the following description for the book material.

The protagonists, sponsored by the Paris-based political organisation BNVS, have come to Spain to shoot a documentary on the war, and find themselves marooned in Madrid. One of their team goes missing, and their literary colleagues say it’s pointless – even dangerous – to ask what happened to him. In a war of competing ideologies, unorthodoxy can merit the death penalty, but is this Communist oppression or something more sinister?

Looking forward to it?

Honestly, I’m both excited and apprehensive for this thing. Generally speaking, I get really excited about historically themed role playing supplements, but I am often unable to convey my enthusiasm for the material into research and get my players excited about it. I am going through a major King in Yellow phase right now, having just come late to the party for True Detective, and am working my way through “A Season in Carcosa” as we speak.

UPDATE: I wrote a review of the supplement, which is now available from Pelgrane Press at the Link below.

Trail of Cthulhu: Soldiers of Pen and Ink