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The Lovecraft Tarot

David Wynn and D.L. Hutchinson (Illustrator)

A Mythos Books Publication

ISBN 0-9659433-0-5

$29.95; 77 cards


Reviewed by Rick Kleffel (c) 2001



Horror, Non-Fiction


It's not often one has the opportunity to review cards, yet 'The Lovecraft Tarot' demands to be reviewed here. This is not a tarot deck that Lovecraft himself developed. One is tempted to think that he would have found tarot rather trivial and childish. Rather, this is a tarot deck in which the typical symbols and characters are replaced by creatures, people, places, and books from the Lovecraft Mythos.

As a tarot deck, it's not going to be particularly useful. The booklet that accompanies the cards explains that "the order of the Major Arcana is seemingly random", and other provisos that take these cards out of the realm of cool substitute for a real tarot deck. You would think that the authors could have lied and just explained how to use the cards as if they were a real tarot deck, but no - they had to go and be honest. That said, David Wynn does provide a concise explanation of what these cards are and how to use them as if they were a real tarot deck. It's just that they're not. They're also printed fairly darkly, so that that the suits and values of each card are not particularly easy to read. Alternative Lovecraftian-oriented usages are also offered. But clearly, that's not the point here.

The point is the revelation the casual card-flipper will have as they look through the cards themselves to enjoy the illustrations of D. L. Hutchinson. What will happen is that the average Lovecraft reader will realize that each and every subject on these cards is intimately, completely, immediately familiar, that the average Lovecraft reader has practically an encyclopedia's worth of knowledge about the artificial mythos created by Lovecraft and his followers. Some will find that fact frightening.

The cards themselves loom up next. Printed on a nice, heavy card stock, they are a deep bluish-green, and often a bit too dark. Some of the printing and titles on the card are nearly illegible, but the pictures themselves are quite wonderful. Everyone's here. Azathoth, Cthulhu, Lovecraft himself, Wilbur Whately, De Vermis Mysteriis, you name it from the Lovecraft Mythos, and D. L. Hutchinson has done a wonderful illustration of it here. Everyone who buys this will find at least one illustration they'd like to have in a much larger size, and alas, artwork is available from the publisher, in case you haven't spent enough money on Lovecraft trivia of late.

'The Lovecraft Tarot' is both an excellent (but costly) catalog of D. L. Hutchinson's work, and a decent collection in its own right. If you think you might want something of this nature, you're probably going to be pleased with your purchase, enough so that the address for contacting the artist for the purpose of obtaining further work will be of great interest.