Tour de Lovecraft: The Tales was the publication that launched Atomic Overmind Press. Now, a decade later, Kenneth Hite and Atomic Overmind are ready to take you on a whole new tour through the world and works of Howard Phillips Lovecraft.
“Searchers after horror,” wrote H.P. Lovecraft, “haunt strange, far places.” Tour de Lovecraft: The Destinations gives you a guidebook to those places, and to places still stranger and farther yet … places shudderingly close to home.
Kenneth Hite guided readers through Lovecraft’s plots and themes in his earlier book Tour de Lovecraft: The Tales. Now, expanding on his “Lost in Lovecraft” essay series in Weird Tales magazine, he takes you on a sight-seeing tour of Lovecraft’s settings: from Arkham to Antarctica, and from New York City to Hyperspace. For Lovecraft the setting was everything, and his legendary locations still hold meanings and secrets for today’s readers. Tour de Lovecraft: The Destinations drives the hidden routes connecting seemingly unrelated tales. It follows the tracks of Lovecraft’s predecessors and models, stops to get its bearings in the real world, then plunges back into mystery, deciphering and explaining the symbols and signs on the Master’s map.
Kenneth Hite climbs the crags of Kingsport with you, and shines a light under the shadows over Innsmouth. Don’t stray far from the group in the Dreamlands, and while in Vermont, please keep your head and hands inside the bus. With Hite as your guide and Tour de Lovecraft: The Destinations as your guidebook, you can’t get lost in Lovecraft even in the loneliest parts of the planet … unless you want to …
So that's what Tour de Lovecraft: The Destinations is all about. Now let's talk about the content.
Modern Cthulhu Mythos master Nick Mamatas provides a Foreword to start the tour. As part of his "Lost in Lovecraft" series for Weird Tales magazine, Ken has already written 14 of the 19 essays that will comprise the basic version of Tour de Lovecraft: The Destinations. Those are:
- The Woods, Arabia, Arkham, the Dreamlands, The Pacific, New York, Antarctica, Antiquity, Dunwich, Pnakotus, Kingsport, Boston, Hyperspace, and Vermont.
A further 5 essays are still to be written, but Ken already has them plotted out. They are:
- The British Isles, Underground, Innsmouth, the Apocalypse, and Providence.
All of those essays together comprise the basic edition of Tour de Lovecraft: The Destinations.
Immediate Backer Reward
Just for backing, we'll give you the current text of Tour de Lovecraft: the Destinations, incorporating all fourteen of the currently-existing Kenneth Hite's "Lost in Lovecraft" essays from Weird Tales magazine — AND the digital first edition of Tour de Lovecraft: the Tales. You can find a link to both PDFs in the first backer-only update under the Updates tab on this page.
After doing some thinking on the issue, Ken and I have decided on an addition to the reward tiers. If you are backing at Ward/Dexter or above, you will automatically receive the Digital Editions of both Tour de Lovecraft: The Tales and Tour de Lovecraft: The Destinations. This applies to Ward, Dexter, Yog-Sothoth, Nyarlathotep, and, of course, Azathoth.
Now on to the presentation formats. We're looking at four formats for the book to be delivered in, all of them featuring cover artwork by the esteemed artist Ivan Dixon. They are as follows.
The Digital Editions of Tour de Lovecraft: The Destinations and Tour de Lovecraft: The Tales comprise a PDF version of the book's text, as well as epub and mobi formats.
The standard, or Tourist, edition of Tour de Lovecraft: The Destinations will be an (at-least) 144 page hardcover book measuring approximately 5.25" in width by 8.25"in height. It will be cloth-bound, and feature a sewn binding and dust jacket.
The Tourist Edition of Tour de Lovecraft: the Tales will feature the same dimensions and specifications.
The Traveller Edition of Tour de Lovecraft: The Destinations will have the same dimensions as the Tourist Edition, but feature an exclusive blue leatherette binding and foil-stamping on the cover, along with the dust jacket. Additionally, each copy will be signed and numbered by Kenneth Hite. This edition will be limited to 75 copies.
The Traveler Edition of Tour de Lovecraft: The Tales will feature a green leatherette binding, and will also be limited to 75 copies.
Twin Travellers Edition
Now that we've unlocked Tour de Lovecraft: the Tales, we're adding a new edition to the campaign, the Twin Travellers edition. As with the Traveller Edition, this set of both Tour de Lovecraft: The Destinations and Tour de Lovecraft: The Tales will feature an leatherette binding, this time in an edition-exclusive blue-green, and foil-stamping on the cover, along with a dust jacket. Each set will be signed and numbered by Kenneth Hite. This edition will be limited to 75 sets.
The extremely limited Globetrotter Edition of Tour de Lovecraft: The Destinations will be hand-bound in leather by Sara Hindmarch of Chicago, IL. Also signed and numbered by Kenneth Hite, this edition will be limited to five copies.
Since this edition is hand-assembled, it's possible there may be a few custom extras included in the final product. If we unlock the new edition of Tour de Lovecraft: The Tales, there will be an accompanying five-copy edition of that book, and a further five copies of both books available only as a set, featuring a hand-made slipcase by Ms. Hindmarch.
Additional copies of the Tourist Editions of Tour de Lovecraft: The Destinations and Tour de Lovecraft: The Tales are available as add-ons to your backer level. Just add $15.00 to your pledge for each copy you'd like to add on. You'll be able to apply that to those copies in Backerkit. You don't have to decide now, of course. You can simply wait for Backerkit and add additional copies then.
You can also add-on copies of the Digital Edition of each book. Add $10 to your pledge for each Digital Edition.
Our plan is to have the additional material for the book written, and the book printed and delivered into the hands of backers by Halloween of next year (2018). Please note that, due to the hand work involved, delivery of the Globetrotter Edition may take 2-3 months longer than the Tourist and Traveller editions. Note that if you're backing a level including the Globetrotter Edition, we're including normally-delivered copies of the Tourist Editions of the Tour de Lovecraft books, as well as the Digital Edition.
"Ken’s always had a great combination of wit, knowledge and geekery. All of that comes to fruition with Tour de Lovecraft, an immensely readable trip through the works of everyone’s favorite dark fantasist, H.P. Lovecraft, which combines a deep love of the work with a clear-eyed view of quality of the same. If you’re a Lovecraft fan, you’ll find lots to enjoy, and to argue with."
— John Scalzi, author of Old Man's War and Lock In
“Kenneth Hite’s Tour de Lovecraft is indispensable. Thorough, insightful, and compellingly readable, it’s a perfect introduction for newcomers to Lovecraft and an endlessly fascinating review for long-time Lovecraft addicts. This is the companion-book to Lovecraft’s fiction—I read it entirely in one sitting, and I know I’m going to read it again many times over the coming years.”
— Tim Powers, author of Declare and Last Call
“Lovecraft can be terrifying for all the wrong reasons. Kenneth Hite’s charming and accessible Tour makes it much, much simpler. This is a sharp, engaging survey of Lovecraft’s most important stories, sure to bring inspiration to new fans and fresh epiphanies to longtime devotees. And I’d recommend it to any teacher looking for an introductory critical companion to the fiction itself.”
— Stephen H. Segal, editorial director, Weird Tales magazine
“Tour de Lovecraft is an insightful and witty romp through the fiction of the twentieth century’s master of horror.”
— Daniel Harms, author of The Necronomicon Files and The Cthulhu Mythos Encyclopedia
Here's an overview of our funding strategy, with a couple of initial stretch goals assuming we hit our goal for Tour de Lovecraft: The Destinations.
FUNDED! This is our basic funding level. If we hit this, we'll produce the digital and hardcover print versions of Tour de Lovecraft: The Destinations, with a completion and delivery date target of Halloween 2018.
FUNDED! If we hit this funding goal, we will not only produce the digital and physical versions of Tour de Lovecraft: The Destinations, we will also revise and reproduce the digital and physical versions of Tour de Lovecraft: The Tales. The format of both books will be the same, and pledge tiers will be added to allow backers to get both books in standard and special formats.
UNLOCKED! At this point, with the basics fully funded, we can move on to adding new content to the Tour de Lovecraft Books.
Lovecraft set three stories in Washington Irving's old stomping ground of Upstate New York, and his allusions to the Plateau of Leng tie that blasphemous country to Antarctica, nightmares, and Tibet. Ken adds two new essays to Tour de Lovecraft: The Destinations: one on that eerie undiscovered country, and another on Leng.
UNLOCKED! Ken turns his eye to Lovecraft’s collaborations, beginning with Hazel Heald (“Out of the Aeons”, “The Horror in the Museum”, “Winged Death”), Adolphe de Castro (“The Last Test,” “The Electric Executioner”), and Anna Helen Crofts (“Poetry and the Gods”), and winding up on Venus with Kenneth Sterling (“In the Walls of Eryx”). With this goal achieved, Ken adds individual articles on those seven Tales.
UNLOCKED! Like Charles Dexter Ward, Ken returns home -- to Oklahoma, to examine the setting of “The Curse of Yig” and “The Mound.” And why venture back into the past if not to examine the primordial, paleontological past with our eyestalks as well? If we power past this stretch goal, Ken adds two new Destinations: Oklahoma and Deep Time.
UNLOCKED! Ken drives the bus deeper into the collaborations, where we meet Zealia Bishop (“The Curse of Yig”, “Medusa’s Coil”, “The Mound”), HPL’s then-girlfriend Sonia Haft Greene (“The Horror at Martin’s Beach”), Duane Rimel (“The Tree on the Hill”), and Frank Barlow (“The Night Ocean”). With this goal unlocked, Ken adds individual responses to those six Tales.
UNLOCKED! Lovecraft visited the American South several times in his life, and at least four times in his fiction. And while he strangely never set a story in a jungle, the swamp seemed to hold just as much horror for HPL as the forest or the icy wastes. With this goal reached, Ken adds two hot, wet new Destinations, the South and the Swamp.
UNLOCKED! We’re out of worthy collaborations, but what about the stories Lovecraft just left unfinished? Like Lovecraft, Ken isn’t sure exactly what to do with the fragments -- “Azathoth,” “The Descendant,” “The Very Old Folk,” “Memory,” “The Thing in the Moonlight,” and “The Book” -- but if you follow him past this stretch goal, he’ll do something with them: one overlong essay, perhaps, or six little short ones. Speaking of overlong, Ken will also analyze Lovecraft’s round-robin tale “The Challenge From Beyond”, written with C.L. Moore, A. Merritt, Frank Belknap Long, and Robert E. Howard.
UNLOCKED! Lovecraft turned horror into science fiction and vice versa, even while calling back to ancient archaeological terrors. With this goal met, Ken adds two new Destinations, taking us into Outer Space and under the pyramids to Egypt.
UNLOCKED! What rhymes with “reached another stretch goal?” Lovecraft would have known, and perhaps we’ll find out when Ken adds two new pieces to Tour de Lovecraft: the Tales: one on Lovecraft’s sonnet cycle Fungi From Yuggoth, and one covering the rest of Lovecraft’s poetry.
UNLOCKED! Miskatonic University may prefer the South Pole, but Lovecraft doesn’t neglect the icy north, from Lomar to Greenland to his pal Clark Ashton Smith’s Hyperborea. When we melt this stretch goal, Ken adds two cool new Destinations, taking us up to the Arctic and onto the campus at Miskatonic University.
UNLOCKED! Fiction done, poetry done, what’s next? Our Tour becomes recursive with essays about Lovecraft’s essays, of course! If we hit this stretch goal, Ken writes a response to Supernatural Horror in Literature and an essay on Lovecraft’s “History of the Necronomicon.”
UNLOCKED! What fun is a tour without a map? If you help drive us past this stretch goal, acclaimed cartographer Mark Richardson of Green Hat Designs prepares a map of Lovecraft Country—the Miskatonic and Manuxet valleys—in the style of a 1930s road map, and we print it in Tour de Lovecraft: the Destinations as interior art.
UNLOCKED! You’ve waited patiently throughout the Tour, and finally you can pet a kitty! Ken (and possibly his cat Virgil) responds to Lovecraft’s essay “Something About Cats” (also published as “Cats and Dogs”). Passing this stretch goal also gets Ken to add an essay on Lovecraft’s writing advice, specifically on HPL’s “Notes on Interplanetary Fiction” and “Notes on Writing Weird Fiction”.
UNLOCKED! This is it! We’ve gone everywhere, and now we’re giving you the Master’s master itinerary! When we reach this stretch goal, Ken compiles The Lovecraftian Gazetteer: Every location mentioned in Lovecraft’s fiction, listed and keyed for your convenience. This stretch goal includes an (interior art) world map, by Ken or possibly by an even better cartographer! Both the Gazetteer and the world map will be included in Tour de Lovecraft: The Destinations.
Often requested of Ken, and just as often put off by Ken, adding brief synopses of all the stories to Tour de Lovecraft: the Tales would be undeniably handy and undeniably a pain in the tuchus to write. But if you’ve come with us this far, hitting this stretch goal means Hal will hit Ken until he buckles down and does it.
In addition to pledging for reward tiers, you can help us spread the word about Tour de Lovecraft: The Destinations through social media. The more backers we get, the better we can make the whole project!
UNLOCKED! At 250 backers, we'll go beyond just a PDF presentation of Tour de Lovecraft: The Destinations, and add full-featured .epub and .mobi editions to the Digital Edition. This also applies to Tour de Lovecraft: The Tales if it is funded.
UNLOCKED! If we hit 300 backers, we will create an illustrated Kickstarter-exclusive bookplate. These will be sent to all backers receiving physical rewards. Any backers getting both Tour de Lovecraft books (funding of both pending) will receive 2 book plates.
UNLOCKED! At 350 backers, we'll add color endsheets to the binding of the books, and add a spot gloss to the book's dustjacket.
UNLOCKED! At 400 backers, we'll add a second ink to the interior printing of both Tour de Lovecraft: The Destinations and Tour de Lovecraft: The Tales.
UNLOCKED! Once we hit 450 backers, we'll add an appropriately-colored ribbon bookmark to both Tour de Lovecraft: The Destinations, and The Tales.
UNLOCKED! While Ken's words are the star of Tour de Lovecraft, we're keen to fancy up the way they're presented. What better to do that than some artwork? When we hit 500 backers, we'll add black and white chapter headers, spot illustrations, and so on to the interior of Tour de Lovecraft: The Destinations.
UNLOCKED! The first edition of Tour de Lovecraft: The Tales was graced with spot illustrations by the excellent artist (and Darkest of the Hillside Thickets band member) Toren "Macbin" Atkinson. If we hit 550 backers, we'll expand the interior art inside Tour de Lovecraft: The Tales with even more art!
UNLOCKED! Identifying your bag when on a journey can be difficult, but we can help! At 600 backers, we'll create a set of 3 vinyl luggage labels for the more outré stops on the Tour. All backers at tiers with physical rewards will receive these for free!
UNLOCKED! Sure, set one covered Kadath, the Dreamlands, and Hyperspace....but what about Leng, Arkham, and Innsmouth? 3 labels just isn't enough to cover all the esoteric locations on our Tour... so at 650 backers, we'll double the size of the set to 6 labels. All backers with physical rewards will get the full set of 6 for free!
UNLOCKED! With the wealth of Lovecraftian analysis in these two volumes, it'd be nice to be able to find things, wouldn't it? At 700 backers, Ken is hoisted on his own verbal petard as he buckles down and indexes the pile of words he's made for both Tour de Lovecraft books.
UNLOCKED! At 800 backers, Mark Richardson's map of Lovecraft Country leaps from the pages of Tour de Lovecraft: The Destinations and takes on a life of its own! We'll turn his map into a high quality print (format still to be determined) and make it available as an add-on in Backerkit.
UNLOCKED! 900 backers? Insanity! If we get this many backers on board the Tour, we'll create a Kickstarter-exclusive slipcase that will fit the Tourist, Traveller and Twin Traveller Editions of The Tales and The Destinations, and we'll make it available as a an add-on in Backetkit.
UNLOCKED! Dread has come upon us all! Because Hal is in fact a monster, at 1000 backers Ken's fervent protestations will be roundly ignored, and we will unleash the unspeakable: the Tour de Lovecraft Tote Bag. The tote bag will feature the art from both books, be the best quality we can find to customize, and be available as an add-on in Backerkit.
There are many more destinations and many more Lovecraft tales that Ken would like to write about, and with your kind support, we have many more interesting stretch goals ahead. Stay tuned!
Atomic Overmind Press is committed to supporting brick and mortar book and hobby retailers. We fully understand how Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms create new challenges for traditional retail stores, so we’re taking steps to encourage retailer support of our products. Here are a few things we are doing.
1. We know cash flow can be an issue, and most retailers don’t want to tie up capital while you wait for fulfillment. With that in mind, you can become a retail backer of Tour de Lovecraft at the "Pickman" level to let us know you’re interested in carrying the book, and during the BackerKit process you can adjust your order to fit what you need at that time.
2. You’ll get Tour de Lovecraft: The Destinations copies early, and you’ll be able to sell for at least 30 days before it hits distribution.
3. In-store, freight-free pickup option for backers local to you: You’ll have the option to add your store’s name to our Retailer Backer List for in-store pickup (US stores only). If you do, any of our backers can save the cost of shipping their books by picking their Tour de Lovecraft rewards up at your store. Yes, we need their support pledge to make Tour de Lovecraft: The Destinations happen, but you will have the opportunity to expose a potential new customer to other products and accessories your store has to offer. Both you and the backers local to you will need to coordinate with each other ahead of shipment. We’ll provide the list of participating stores in an update as we get closer to the release.
Shipping. It's the biggest wildcard and largest misunderstood cost of any crowdfunding project.
We've chosen not to fold shipping costs into the reward tiers for this campaign, and have reduced the pricing on those tiers accordingly. Shipping will be charged using Backerkit when we are finally ready to get the project physically into your hands. Our shipping partners, Studio 2 Publishing, have extensive experience with Kickstarter fulfillment and will be able to provide us with the most economical methods to get your rewards delivered to you in proper shape.
For overseas backers, costs will naturally be higher, but we are committed to finding the best-cost solution possible for you. This includes finding and working with localization partners to ship the final rewards if possible. We cannot offer guarantees on what those prices will be. But if you trust us, we promise do the absolute best we can for you.
And well you should ask!
Project Author: Kenneth Hite
Multiple Origins, Golden Geek, and ENnie Award winner Kenneth Hite has designed, written, or co-authored over 100 RPG books, including GURPS Horror, Call of Cthulhu d20, The Day After Ragnarok, Trail of Cthulhu, Bookhounds of London, Qelong, the Delta Green RPG, The Fall of DELTA GREEN, The Dracula Dossier, and Night’s Black Agents. Outside gaming, his other works include Tour de Lovecraft: the Tales, Cthulhu 101, The Thrill of Dracula, The Nazi Occult and The Cthulhu Wars (both for Osprey), several Cthulhu Mythos short stories, the “Lost in Lovecraft” column for Weird Tales, a regular column for Sweden’s Fenix magazine, and four Lovecraftian children’s books. He is half of the award-winning podcast Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff, and an Artistic Associate at Chicago’s WildClaw Theatre.
Project Producer: Hal Mangold
Hal Mangold owns and operates Atomic Overmind Press. He is also the Director of Production at Green Ronin Publishing, a freelance graphic designer, and occasional game designer. There have been some awards involved over the years.
Additionally, he is a huge nerd.
Bookbinder: Sara Hindmarch
Risks and challenges
The risks and challenges for actually executing on this project are fairly low, outside of your usual act-of-Cthulhu type occurrences. All of the people involved in creating Tour de Lovecraft are experienced participants in the crowdfunding process. We have our manufacturing partners in place, and a reasonable timeline in which to create and deliver all the rewards from this campaign. The majority of the essays for Tour de Lovecraft : The Destinations have been written already. Nothing in life is a sure thing, but we're as confident as one can be that Tour de Lovecraft can be completed and delivered to backers by our target date.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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