About this project
“In his house at R’lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.” —H.P. Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu
The Book of Starry Wisdom compiles newly edited editions of H.P. Lovecraft’s public domain cycle of Cthulhu stories, edited and produced by myself, Simon Berman, and illustrated by renowned deific and fantasy artist, Valerie Herron (The Book of the Great Queen).
Accompanied by essays and musings by some of today’s premiere Lovecraftian scholars, writers, and devotees, The Book of Starry Wisdom will be a luxurious, approximately 192 page hardback tome, featuring a leather textured cover with gold foil pressed symbols of significance to the Cult of Cthulhu, 13 interior B&W illustrations, as well as other features to be unlocked as the Kickstarter meets its stretch goals. This premium volume will be a stunning addition to the library of any enthusiast of H.P. Lovecraft or worshipper of Dead Cthulhu Who Lies Dreaming.
The Book of Starry Wisdom will contain Lovecraft's original tales that most specifically deal with Dread Cthulhu and his cult:
The Call of Cthulhu
The Shadow Over Innsmouth
These iconic tales are accompanied by newly unearthed essays and mad ravings that blur the line between fact and fiction, science and madness.
It was from the artists and poets that the pertinent answers came, and I know that panic would have broken loose had they been able to compare notes. —H.P. Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu
Adam Scott Glancy (Delta Green)
Orrin Grey (Never Bet the Devil & Other Warnings, Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts)
Leanna Renee Hieber (Strangely Beautiful, The Eterna Files)
Ann Koi (Honor & Sacrifice: Tribes of Heaven)
C.A. Suleiman (The Lost Citadel, Mummy, the Curse)
Molly Tanzer (Vermilion, A Pretty Mouth)
Thom Truelove (Surfing the Zeitgeist)
Bryan Thao Worra (On the Other Side of the Eye)
Creating a tome worthy of Lovecraft's own fabled books of forgotten horror has long been a dream of mine. These days, I'm the social marketing guy and sometime writer at Privateer Press where I've worked on our award winning games, WARMACHINE, HORDES, and the Iron Kingdoms Full Metal Fantasy Roleplaying Game, as well as the independently produced Gas-mask chic Role-Playing Game of Neo-Victorian Horror, Unhallowed Metropolis. But back in the dark depths of the early 1990s I was just an impressionable teenager, finding Lovecraft for the first time by a synchronicitous combination of roleplaying games and heavy metal songs. You may be surprised to learn this, but I was a nerdy kid who liked books. Naturally, this meant that even as Cthulhu himself was worming his way into the depths of my brain, I was equally impressed by Lovecraft's descriptions of hideous, mind-shattering tomes. Books that could drive their readers mad. Books hidden away to moulder for centuries before being rediscovered by some unfortunate soul. Naturally, I wanted one for myself, which is what brings me here, to this project.
The Book of Starry Wisdom will be worthy of taking a place on the shelf of any antiquarian's library. With your help, we'll fund a limited print run of 1,000 copies, pay my illustrator a fair price for what amounts to half a year's work for her, and pay a fair wage to all of my other contributors. But most of all, working together like any good cult, we'll bring a nightmarish volume of unspeakable evil into the world, and isn't that worth it all?
New to Lovecraft?
When you have read these hastily scrawled pages you may guess, though never fully realise, why it is that I must have forgetfulness or death. —H.P. Lovecraft, Dagon
It's my fervent hope that at least a few people will first encounter Lovecraft's works in this edition. It warms the pit of my blackened heart to think that someone will spend a dark night or rainy afternoon with this book in their hands, exploring Innsmouth and R'lyeh, and shivering to contemplate what might lurk beneath the deepest waters waiting for the age when the time of man is at an end. If you're new to Lovecraft's work, this collection contains three of his most iconic works.
In Dagon, a morphine addict recounts the incident that led him to drugs and madness. The lone survivor of a U-Boat attack, he found himself adrift in the midst of the vast Pacific where he encountered a curious geological upheaval and bore witness to a place and creature that drove him to the edge of sanity.
The Call of Cthulhu is perhaps Lovecraft's most famous work. In it, he weaves a complex web of disparate encounters, historical accounts, and the secrets of an ancient and terrible cult. The narrator writes of his growing unease as he uncovers a conspiracy working towards the awakening of the so-called Great Old Ones. His final discoveries provide a glimpse of cosmic horror beyond the comprehension of mere humans.
Finally, The Shadow Over Innsmouth ties the secrets and revelations of the former works together. In the decrepit and shunned town of Innsmouth, Massachusetts, some of the deepest secrets of Cthulhu's cult are revealed, and their implications spell a doom that ripples from the 1920s to the very present.
In addition to the book itself, a number of Kickstarter exclusive giclee art prints are available to backers.
The Kickstarter exclusive, 8"x8", signed and numbered B&W print, "Father Dagon, Mother Hydra," is available with all rewards at the $65 Acolyte reward level and above.
"Cthulhu Magus," a Kickstarter exclusive, full color, 11"x 20", signed and numbered art print, is available to all backers at the Priest of the Old Ones reward level and above.
As well, art prints of all of the interior B&W illustrations are available to backers at the Deep One reward level and above.
A limited number of premium rewards are also available. Backers at the Sacrifice reward level will receive an original sketch by Valerie Herron of Cthulhu devouring your likeness (or that of a loved one!) as supplied by you, as well as all of the previously mentioned rewards.
As well, backers at the Vile Tome reward level will receive an additional copy of the Book of Starry Wisdom featuring an original, hand-sculpted cover by sculptor, Jason Soles, as well as all of the previously mentioned rewards, including the original sketch of Cthulhu.
Finally, the Heeder of the Call reward level includes all previously mentioned rewards, including the interior art prints, original sketch of Cthulhu, a hand-sculpted cover edition, and ultimately, the original physical painting of "Cthulhu Magus."
You may add-on additional copies of The Book of Starry Wisdom, up to a total of 5 including the original reward, to your pledge at a cost of $40 per book. Shipping is included in your original pledge.
Map of the "R'lyeh Triangle!"
This map of the South Pacific charts the coordinates given by Lovecraft in his Cthulu-related stories, indicating points of importance and the possible location of R'lyeh itself. Created by master cartographer, Ed Bourelle of Skeleton Key Games, this map is available as a beautiful poster print or as a digital download. These prints will be signed and numbered and suitable for framing.
.Art prints add-ons
Three of Valerie Herron's header/quarter page images for the book are available as add-ons. These will be 8" x 10" giclee quality art prints and only available as add-ons. Each print is available for $15 or all 3 for $40.
Select an add-on by doing the following:
Click the “manage your pledge” button on the project page.
Increase your pledge by the amount needed to claim the add-on(s).
Save your pledge. Do not change the tier that you originally pledged at.
The Book of Starry Wisdom is already a premium hardcover edition, but should I exceed my funding goal, I have some stretch goals in mind to make it an even more luxurious volume. Any stretch goals that add features to the book will benefit everyone who gets a copy! Our first stretch goal, a map of the South Pacific, illustrating points of note relating to the lore of dread Cthulhu, will be added to the endpapers of the book when we reach $25,000! As we unlock stretch goals, more will be unveiled!
Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn
Risks and challenges
Producing a project like this with numerous contributors means tracking many moving parts. Art, writing, graphic design, and layout all have to be managed on a time schedule. Everyone I've commissioned as part of this project is a hardened veteran of professional creative work, many of them have already handed their drafts over, and much of the art is already finished or in progress. Barring serious emergency, I expect all of my contributors will have their works submitted safely in time to meet the July 2016 shipping dates.
Printing books is not without possible stumbling blocks but I've been working in a printing related field for almost 8 years, now. Should challenges arise that I have not personally encountered before, I have access to a number of expert colleagues who can help me solve problems.
This is also not my first crowdfunding endeavor, having overseen a very large campaign for my day job (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/409030043/warmachine-tactics).
Fulfilling rewards can be challenging, but I have spent the last six months planning shipping and packaging and foresee no significant problems arising.
Having backed many Kickstarters over the past few years, I know full well how much trust you're putting in me to deliver. I promise I won't let you down!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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