The HPLHS has been delighted to be a participant in all six editions of the Stockholm H.P. Lovecraft Festival. This past weekend, I was back in Sweden to partake in an offering of Lovecraftian fun, meet with Swedish fans of HPL, and share with the Scandinavian community some of the projects that the HPLHS is working on. The festival kicked off Thursday night with a sold out movie screening at the Kulturhuset (translated poorly as “Culture Home” I suppose). The “Impaired Visibility” lineup featured Lovecraftian shorts and double feature of “The Mist” and “The Fog”. Delays at the airport kept me from being able to catch the movies, but I was happy my seat was given to another fan who could take in the mist-shrouded terrors.
Friday I visited SF-Bokhandeln, Stockholm’s biggest and best science fiction bookstore and game store. The HPLHS has been partners with them for many years - in fact, they are our biggest wholesale partner in the world. I made my way through the ancient streets of Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s old town, for a lunch with Ulf Hässelbäck, our go-to guy at SF Bokhandeln. We caught up over a traditional Swedish lunch at a nice cafe in the old town.
Later that afternoon, I made my way to the Kulturhuset which has been the home of the Stockholm Festival. It’s a mammoth building in central Stockholm housing the National Theatre, movie theaters, and numerous other cultural outlets. There I met festival director Anders Lundgren.
After kicking off an art exhibit, I was treated to another unique element of Swedish culture. The Swedes have a sporting event which, if you can believe it, is played upon a sheet of ice. Men on skates chase a small rubber puck with sticks in attempt to drive the puck into a goal at one end of the ice. They call his game “hockey”. After a vigorous match, the home team of Djürgården was defeated by the visiting team from Linsköping.
Saturday the festival moved into full gear at the Kulturhuset. The HPLHS set up a display of its wares, including the Deluxe edition of our forthcoming “Brotherhood of the Beast” in a glass display case. We sold products to discriminating Swedish Lovecraft fans. Saturday’s programming for the festival featured gaming sessions of Arkham Horror and Call of Cthulhu. We want to give a shout out to our friends at Chaosium, Inc. and thank them for donating a number of CoC books to the festival and to SF Bokhandeln for supplying even more Lovecraftian games.
As the gaming day wrapped up at the festival, we moved on to the Queen’s Head pub for a Lovecraftian Trivia game. In a basement room, five teams squared off, facing each other and a daunting set of 30 questions written by Anders Lundgren and me. Over food and beer, memories were put to the test. We’re pleased to say that the winning team consisted of the one-man team (well, maybe one and a half, as his wife provided moral support) of Lewis Evans - a longtime HPLHS member who made the trip up to Stockholm from his current home in Germany. Lewis won the grand prize - a bag of swag provided by Chaosium, SF Bokhandeln and the HPLHS. Second and third runners-up teams also received packages of fabulous prizes. The trivia quiz proved to be one of the festival’s highlights - an international gathering of like minded Lovecraft fans bonding over beer and ruminating over the names of Lovecraft’s aunts.
Sunday, the festival was back at the Kulturhuset. Programming featured a sneak preview of the HPLHS newest Dark Adventure show, "The Brotherhood of the Beast". A number of HPLHS members were on hand to hear the beginnings of the new show and see the prototype of the Deluxe Prop Collector's Edition on display. After the preview, Anders and I talked about the new show, the challenge of adapting a role playing game into a dramatic radio play and took questions from the audience. The day wrapped up with more sales at the Bazaar of the Bizarre and the sixth Stockholm H.P. Lovecraft Festival came to a close.
The Festival in Stockholm is a small event compared to Providence’s NecronomiCon or the HPL Film Festival in Portland. But even with its smaller size, it draws a crowd of enthusiastic local fans (and some unwitting innocents who wander in) who show a keen appreciation for all things Lovecraftian. We hope this event will continue to thrive and help Lovecraftian fandom grow throughout Europe.