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Tour de Lovecraft: The Tales, by Kenneth Hite, from Atomic Overmind PRess

Tour de Lovecraft: The Tales, by Kenneth Hite, from Atomic Overmind Press

Ken Hite is a genius. He’s so bright that if you stand next to him you cast no shadow. He travels the universe absorbing books whole, transmuting information into knowledge in a clean-burning process that produces only text and conversation in its wake. In the winters, when I tend to go home to Chicago, I make a point of stopping by his house and warming my hands on his brain.

The next best thing to talking to Ken is reading him. When he writes as himself, from his own expertise and opinion, he can produce complex, insightful, revealing prose. Ken’s most famous area of expertise is doubtlessly Lovecraft… and anything that shares a border with Lovecraft’s work. Other writers are well versed in the works of Lovecraft, as if they were parts of a lost city they’ve lovingly reconstructed, but Ken Hite was born in that lost city and it’s easy to believe that only he knows the way back there.

Ken Hite’s newest book of Lovecraft tourism, Tour de Lovecraft: The Tales, isn’t dry analysis or strict criticism; it’s a walk through the Lovecraftian landscape, past the landmarks and under the lamplights, with Hite pointing out architectural details we somehow missed and sharing bits of folklore and history that only the locals would know. Tour de Lovecraft is like a distilled conversation with an expert, with all the impurities and interruptions removed.

As a small-press publisher, I love seeing this book in print. Atomic Overmind Press founder and master, Hal Mangold, has designed a wonderful, portable, eminently readable book here, elegant and classy. This thing was put together, from title to footnotes, out of enthusiasm for the material, and it shows. Anyone who name-drops Cthulhu (or gets the jokes of folks who do) should read this book. It’ll make you smarter.

Tour de Lovecraft: The Tales is available in print and PDF from Atomic Overmind Press.