May 2022 Update

The month of May is dedicated to restoring The Brazen Head in time for the 100th anniversary of Bloomsday in June 2022. Work on White Leviathan will resume around mid-summer. There’s also a few finishing touches to add to Spermatikos Logos, but that’s scheduled for the autumn.


2022 May 24
Modern Word: A page detailing James Joyce’s poetry and satire has been added to the Brazen Head.

2022 May 15
Modern Word: A page on the great avant-garde composer Pierre Boulez has been added to the Brazen Head. He has two pieces inspired by the works of James Joyce: the Third Piano Sonata and Répons. The entire “James Joyce and Music” page is still under construction, and will open soon.

2022 May 13
Modern Word: One hundred years old this year, James Joyce’s Ulysses has been added to the Brazen Head. This page includes a synopsis of the novel, notes on structure and narrative, and advice for the first-time reader. It also contains a brief history of Ulysses’ legal battles with obscenity laws, and some explanation about the many different versions available. And of course, “The Joyce Wars!”

2022 May 6
Modern Word: Newly restored and revised to “Joyce Works,” a page on Joyce’s first novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Also, “Joyce Criticism” pages detailing annotations, guides, and criticism for Dubliners and Portrait.

2022 May 3
Modern Word: I know it’s a peculiar addition so early in the restoration of the Brazen Head, but I just saw an amazing performance of it, so I thought I’d throw it online: Pierre Boulez’s Third Piano Sonata, a wonderful piece of music partly inspired by James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake.

2022 May 1
Modern Word: It’s Beltane, so let’s get some Joyce rolling! The soon-to-be-mammoth sections of “Joyce Works” and “Joyce Criticism” re-open with modest entries on Joyce’s 1914 collection of short stories, Dubliners.


2022 April 29
Modern Word: I’ve begun restoring The Brazen Head! Established on Bloomsday 1995, this James Joyce site will officially re-open its doors in time for the Bloomsday centennial this June. But for now, a page on Joycean Quotations has been added, with much more to come over the next several weeks!

2022 April 17
White Leviathan: Chapter 2 concludes with five encounters at sea: The First Whale, Christmas, New Year’s Day, Approaching Cape Horn, and Rounding the Horn. Chapter 3 will be added in early summer, as my next goal is to restore the Brazen Head.

2022 April 4
White Leviathan: The Quiddity crosses the Line only to reach Encounter 12, The Doldrums.


2022 March 26
White Leviathan: Two new encounters complete the Quiddity’s journey to the equator—Atlantic Ocean: Encounter 10, Tropical Sailing, and Encounter 11, Crossing the Line. Father Neptune awaits, pollywogs!

2022 March 20
White Leviathan: In celebration of the vernal equinox, Atlantic Ocean: Encounter 9, “Star and Squall,” offers a Call of Cthulhu mini-game for surviving a squall at sea!

2022 March 15
White Leviathan: Five new additions to Chapter 2, all or which reflect a peaceful first few months of sailing the Atlantic. See the Chapter 2 Encounter ToC for details on Encounters 4–8.


2022 February 25
White Leviathan: Two additions to Chapter 2: Encounter 2, Selecting Boat Crews and Encounter 3, Joab’s Binding Oath.

2022 February 20
White Leviathan: Chapter 2 kicks off with three new additions: Chapter 2, Atlantic Ocean—Background, Chapter 2, Atlantic Ocean—Encounters/TOC, and Encounter 1, The First Day. This “learning the ropes” encounter features rules for “going aloft” and a system to resolve seasickness. There’s also a guest appearance by a beloved—and drunken—Lovecraftian character!

2022 February 18
White Leviathan: The final “Setting Sail” encounter has been added to Chapter 1, Kingsport 1844. Maps and family trees for Chapter 1 are coming in April.

2022 February 15
Modern Word: Interview with Steven Ricks. In 2005, American composer Steven Ricks created two remarkable pieces inspired by Gravity’s Rainbow. I this interview, Ricks discusses the influence of literature on his work and his development as an electroacoustic composer.

2022 February 1
Modern Word: The City Streets have been added to Pynchon on Record. Check out their song, “Slothrop’s Ghost!”


2022 January 31
Modern Word: High Mountain Tempel has been added to “Borges & Music.” Their 2007 space-rock album, Pacific Sky Burial (Axaxaxas mlö) is subtitled with a phrase from Borges’ story, “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius.”

2022 January 30
Modern Word: A section devoted to Online Video has been added to the Thomas Pynchon site.

2022 January 19
Modern Word: High Mountain Tempel has been added to Pynchon on Record. Their 2007 space-rock album, A Screaming Comes Across the Sky, takes its name from Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow.

2022 January 3
Modern Word: Sam Shalabi’s Land of Kush has been added to Pynchon on Record. A blend of mid-century Egyptian big-band, avant-garde jazz, and Western psychedelia, their 2009 album Against the Day was inspired by Thomas Pynchon’s novel.

2022 January 2
Modern Word: American composer Steven Ricks has been added to Pynchon on Record. He’s written two electroacoustic pieces based on Gravity’s RainbowAmerican Dreamscape and Beyond the Zero.


2021 December 29
Modern Word: Interview with Tris McCall. In 1996, the Favorite Color released Color Out of Space, which contained songs inspired by Thomas Pynchon, William Gaddis, H.P. Lovecraft, and Philip K. Dick. Twenty-five year later, the Modern Word interviews Tris McCall, the New Jersey songwriter and novelist behind the album. Now working on the ambitious Almanac, McCall discusses Color Out of Space, his critically-acclaimed solo work, and the relationships between literature and music.

2021 December 20
Modern Word: New on Pynchon on Record: Psychedelic New Orleans instrumentalists, Chef Menteur named their first album We Await Silent Tristero’s Empire.

2021 December 18
White Leviathan: Kingsport 1844 nears conclusion with the addition of the North Point Lighthouse! Next up: “Setting sail,” then (finally) some maps.

2021 December 14
Modern Word: New additions to Pynchon on Record: modern Krautrock band Ziguri, who recorded the song “Yoyodyne” on their 2014 album, Kölsch​-​Schickert​-​Erdenreich; and pioneers of power electronics, Ramleh, who based a whole album of Pynchon’s former workplace. Also, Kyle Bruckmann added to “Borges and Music.”

2021 December 12
White Leviathan: The site of the burned-down Inoculation Hospital and Pauper’s Shame, Hog Island has been added to the “Outskirts” of Kingsport 1844.

2021 December 10
Modern Word: Yep, still working on Pynchon on Record. New additions include Polish death metal group Vader, and NYC No Wave rockers Sick Dick and the Volkswagens.

2021 December 7
Modern Word: Kyle Bruckmann has been added to Pynchon on Record. His 2014 album Kyle Bruckmann’s Wrack…Awaits Silent Tristero’s Empire is a “phantasmagoria” of Pynchon songs. This is a great album—really worth your time. Also newly added: one of the Great Quail’s favorite bands, Devo, for their Gravity’s Rainbow-inspired song “Whip It.”

2021 December 6
Modern Word: Two new additions to Pynchon on Record: King of the New York avant-garde John Zorn, and electro-futurists Six Finger Satellite.

2021 December 5
White Leviathan: Two adventurous locations have been added to the “Outskirts” of Kingsport 1844: the Old Powderhouse, and the Burnt Sawmill. Also, the .30 Elgin “Cutlass” pistol.

2021 December 3
Modern Word: A page about German composer Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf has been added to Pynchon on Record.


2021 November 28
Modern Word: A page about legendary bass player and producer Bill Laswell has been added to Pynchon on Record. Also, the page for New Jersey indie-rockers The Favorite Color has been extensively revised.

2021 November 27
White Leviathan: Three minor locations have been added to the “Outskirts” of Kingsport 1844: Kingsport Head, Doyle’s Rock, and Pilot Island.

2021 November 26
White Leviathan: Several new locations have been added to Kingsport 1844, including Ebenezer Hall Academy, Mercy HospitalThe Kingsport Masonic LodgeThe Revenue Marine & Life-Saving StationOrchard Rise, and The New Railroad Station.

2021 November 25
Modern Word: Gravity’s Rainbow adapted for solo tuba? Hell yes! A page about American composer Cort Lippe has been added to Pynchon on Record.

2021 November 23
Modern Word: A page about British composer and electronic musician Tim Souster has been added to Pynchon on Record.

2021 November 22
Modern Word: A collection of Pynchon Papers & Essays has been added to Spermatikos Logos.

2021 November 21
White Leviathan: The longest encounter in Chapter 1 has been added to Kingsport 1844: Professor Riddle’s Cabinet of Curiosities.

2021 November 20
Modern Word: A collection of Pynchon Articles has been added to Spermatikos Logos.

2021 November 18
Modern Word: A page about Soft Machine and the V.-inspired “Esther’s Nose Job” has been added to Pynchon on Record.

2021 November 16
Modern Word: A page about Warren Zevon and his bizarre, Pynchon-inspired cyberpunk album Transverse City has been added to Pynchon on Record.

2021 November 15
White Leviathan: The South Shore opens for business with the offices of Sleet, Baker & Blood, the whaling agents who own the Quiddity.

2021 November 12
Modern Word: More updates and revisions to “Pynchon on Record,” including the pages on Radiohead, Rapoon, Sauter-Dietrich-Moore, and Tim Ware. Many more to come!

2021 November 10
Modern Word: Extensive updates and revisions to “Pynchon on Record,” including the pages on Cassiber, Richard & Mimi Fariña, Frith & Kaiser, Insect Trust, The Jazz Butcher, Lotion, Nova Mob, Pere Ubu, and Poster Children. Many more to come!

2021 November 6: A screaming comes across the Web…
Modern Word: Founded in 1996 by Dr Larry Daw and myself, Spermatikos Logos is finally back online! Dedicated to exploring the works of American postmodern novelist Thomas Pynchon, the site has been generally restored to the state it was back in 2006, with a few updates to make way for the future. Additional features, updates, and new material will be added throughout 2021–2022. Currently, the “Pynchon and Music” section is being overhauled one artist at a time, moving alphabetically: so forgive the messiness of that section, there’s going to be numerous broken links until mid-November. We hope to have the three “grayed-out” sections online by December: “Pynchon Papers,” “Pynchon Articles,” and “Pynchon Images.” Special thanks to Dr. Martin Dietze for joining the Modern Word team and making this happen!

2021 November 5: Pat Fish (1967–2021)
Modern Word: To honor the recent passing of Pat Fish, a.k.a. The Jazz Butcher, it seems right to make sure the Jazz Butcher Page is renovated first in the “Pynchon and Music” section of Spermatikos Logos. Comic writer and novelist Alan Moore wrote a moving eulogy on the Jazz Butcher’s homepage.

2021 November 4
Modern Word: A page on The Mountain Goats has been added to “Borges and Music,” detailing their 2020 song “Wolf Count,” inspired by Borges’ poem “Un lobo.” This page also features brief commentary on John Darnielle’s novels.

2021 November 3
Modern Word: As a teaser for the re-born Thomas Pynchon site, “Spermatikos Logos,” I’ve place dated Pynchon Quotations page online.

2021 November 2
Modern Word: Some revisions and additions to the Performance page on Borges site, “The Garden of Forking Paths.”


2021 October 31
Just in time for Halloween mass! The Congregational Church of Kingsport has been added to Kingsport: 1844 for White Leviathan. This is the fabled church made famous in H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Festival.” Also, Adrian Talbot’s House awaits with its grim discoveries.

2021 October 30
The Kingsport: 1844 resource for White Leviathan has the “Downtown” neighborhood filled in. While these encounters are more for “completion and color,” they’re important parts of Kingsport’s thriving community, and include the Brimblecombe House, Turner Hall, the Hotel Poseidon, and South Street Station.

2021 October 23
With the addition of Drugs, Intoxicants & Poisons to White Leviathan, Keepers may ensure their players remain stoned, drunk, and envenomed. Includes general Call of Cthulhu mechanics on intoxication and addiction.

2021 October 21
The “Keeper’s Section” of White Leviathan is now complete with the addition all eight player characters to “Player Characters Secrets and Development.”

2021 October 20
The “Downtown” neighborhood of Kingsport 1844 is established with the Offices of the Kingsport Chronicle, the Kingsport Public Library, and the Marine Bank of Kingsport.

2021 October 19
Two new neighborhoods added to Kingsport 1844 for White Leviathan: The Wharves, which includes the Kingsport Custom House and the Quiddity Dock, and The Hollow, which includes Black Joe’s Tavern and the Kingsport East India Marine Hall, aka “Turkey Hall.” Also, Pickering Hall, where “Jonah’s Amazing Whaling Panorama” is on display. And, “Player Characters Secrets and Development” continues to be fleshed out with the additions of Ulysses Dixon and Dr. Montgomery Hall. And finally, the “Keeper’s Section” now has notes on Managing the Campaign.

2021 October 14
A very substantial addition to White Leviathan: The Quiddity, the Kingsport whaling ship at the center of the campaign, and the player characters’ home-away-from-home during the campaign. This is the Keeper’s version, with all the ship’s secrets exposed! There’s also a spoiler-free “Player Version.”

2021 October 7
Additional Keeper’s Information being filled in on White Leviathan; including Background Part 4—Pocket Dreamworlds and the beginning few entries on Player Character Secrets and Development.

2021 October 5
Over two dozen small additions to White Leviathan; including all player-character letters and handouts previously missing from their corresponding character profiles and location pages. A few minor Keeper notes have been added as well. Interested visitors may check the Table of Contents for a complete list, look under “X. Handouts.” Many of these have accompanying PDFs with fancy typography.

2021 October 3
Four more White Leviathan locations have been added to Kingsport 1844, including Erasmus Doppler & Sons, a workshop for carving figureheads; King Timmy’s Hotel, a sailor’s flophouse; Valentine & Howell Gun Shop, perhaps on loan from my Deadlands campaign; and the Byram Theological Seminary, first conceived by Lin Carter and Robert M. Price. Also, numerous pieces have been revised or slightly expanded, including player characters Rachel Ward and Tobias Beckett,  The Whaleboat, and Life On a Whaling Ship. Two “player items” have been added: Lady Jezebel’s Pepperbox Pistol and Silas Grimble’s Penan Blowpipe. And finally, Hunting Whales and Trying-Out a Whale are now more-or-less complete; but may be tweaked after further play-testing.

2021 October 2
Three more White Leviathan locations have been added to Kingsport 1844. The Starry Busk, Kingsport’s high-end brothel; the neighborhood known as “The Yards,” and the Tuttle Shipyard.

2021 October 1
Another location has been added to Kingsport 1844: The Diving Bell, a notorious saloon, brothel, and opium den located in the Cauldron.


2021 September 29
The Keeper’s Information and Campaign Background for White Leviathan now details The Great Work, the Kingsport Cult’s plans to resurrect Dagon. Also added: Kingsport’s Fishermen’s Chapel, and two Cult grimoires: Une histoire de la flamme viridienne, and Le livre de la méchanceté.

2021 September 23
The Keeper’s Information and Campaign Background for White Leviathan now has a detailed History of Dagon. This is an alternate view of Dagon from the standard Call of Cthulhu milieu.

2021 September 21
A description of the common Whaleboat has been added to White Leviathan.

2021 September 20
Two additions to White Leviathan: a complete gaming system for Hunting Whales, and a small overview of Whaling Tools. Both are applicable to any Call of Cthulhu game inspired by Moby-Dick.

2021 September 18
Two more White Leviathan locations have been added to Kingsport 1844: The Kingsport Mariner’s Bethel, and St. Erasmus Home for Mariners. Next up is Kingsport’s red-light district, The Cauldron.

2021 September 17
Can’t have a game about whaling without whales! The Sperm Whale has been added to the White Leviathan bestiary, along with notes and game mechanics for rendering the poor creature into precious oil: Trying-Out a Whale. Although I have a lot more to add until Chapter 1 is complete, I am working on polishing the sections on whaling, so the pace of updates will slow until next week. In the near future: campaign background on Dagon and Cthulhu, notes on managing the campaign, and the remainder of Kingsport 1844. Also, handouts: lots and lots of handouts!

2021 September 16
The final player character has been added: Rachel Ward. Also, the crew of the Quiddity is ready for all hands on deck!

2021 September 15
The articles of the Quiddity have received another player character: Milton Redburn, based on non other than Herman Melville himself.

2021 September 14
The sixth player character has been added to White Leviathan: the harpooner Quakaloo, based on Melville’s Queequeg.

2021 September 13
Another player character has been added to White Leviathan: Leland Chappell Morgan, the Quiddity’s blacksmith.

2021 September 10
White Leviathan’s Kingsport is granted its own nineteenth century gang, The Powderhouse Ghouls, in loose alliance with the Kingsport Cult. Two additional player characters have been added: the harpooneer Ulysses Everett Dixon, and the visiting naturalist, Dr. Montgomery St. John Lowell.

2021 September 8
Two of eight player characters have been added to White Leviathan: Tobias Beckett and Mr. Joseph Coffin.

2021 September 7
Three NPCs have been added to the White Leviathan rogue’s gallery: Silas Grimble, Captain Gideon Sleet, and Jacob Macy.


2021 August 24
New to White Leviathan: A detailed history of the Kingsport Cult, from its Cathar origins to its nineteenth-century zenith in Kingsport; plus the three NPC officers of the whaleship QuiddityCaptain Jeremiah Joab, Mr. William Pynchon, and Mr. P.H. Whipple. More material will be added the first week of September—I’m on vacation the rest of August.

2021 August 23
New to White Leviathan: Life on a Whaling Ship, a description of the general structure, duties, and culture onboard a nineteenth-century whaler. Also added the Call of Dagon gaming mechanic, and the Period & Setting 1844–1846 campaign resource.

2021 August 22
I added a few things to White Leviathan, including a Campaign Introduction, the Player Character Cast Sheet, a page on Kingsport Cult Degrees, and the humble beginnings of Chapter 1: Kingsport 1844—kind of a nineteenth-century sourcebook for Kingsport. So far I have the first two locations online: The Knotted Iron, a pub for whalers; and The Kingsport Hotel, a boardinghouse run by a disgruntled Dreamer. Much more to come, including all the player characters and the campaign background.

2021 August 21
Dozens of new spells for Call of Cthulhu have been added to White Leviathan, broken down by four categories: WitchcraftCult SorceryEldritch Magic, and  Pacific Shamanism. Some are “period variations” on existing 7th Edition spells, but many are my own creations, including: Scrying Gaze, Ritual for the Creation of a Mandragora, Brew Sabbath Unguent, The Rite of Aquelarre, and the ever-popular Hand of Glory. White designed for the White Leviathan campaign, they may easily be adapted to any Call of Cthulhu scenario. Also added: a host of new Nautical Skills, whaling-based New Occupations, and a work-in-progress Bibliography.

2021 August 20
In honor of H.P. Lovecraft’s 131st birthday, my epic Call of Cthulhu adventure White Leviathan is finally being harpooned from my ocean of rough drafts and tried-out on Shipwreck Library! Right now there’s only a splash page, the Table of Contents, and a game mechanic called The Curse of Jonah; but much more is coming over the next few months. I expect it to be complete by mid-2022.


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