Lovecraft’s The Whisperer in Darkness

Part of Lovecraft’s Investigators and Their Guns.

(set in 1928, written in 1930, published in 1931)

Blasphemous influences seemed to surround me and press chokingly upon my senses. Sleep, I decided, would be out of the question; so I merely extinguished the lamp and threw myself on the bed fully dressed. No doubt it was absurd, but I kept ready for some unknown emergency; gripping in my right hand the revolver I had brought along, and holding the pocket flashlight in my left.

While most of the gun use in H.P. Lovecraft’s writing is a one-sided affair, one of his most iconic stories features a veritable shootout. Practically all of the action comes to us second-hand, through the letters that Professor Albert Wilmarth received from Henry Akeley. This makes it feel less immediate, but the descriptions still suggest severe combat. Continue reading “Lovecraft’s The Whisperer in Darkness”

Tactical Shooting/Martial Arts: John Wick

John is a man of focus. Commitment. Sheer will.

– Viggo Tarasov in John Wick (2014)

John Wick (2014) is a revenge movie that almost entirely relies on its action scenes. Story-wise, all we need to know is that John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is a former hit man who comes out of retirement to exact his revenge on an army of Russian mobsters.

John Wick came out after the publication of GURPS Gun Fu and GURPS Tactical Shooting and therefore was not analysed in GURPS terms for those books. Note that I mention both books, which were originally written as mutually exclusive variations on a similar theme. In general, Tactical Shooting serves to model realistic gunfights, while Gun Fu is intended for over-the-top, totally cinematic gunplay. My initial reaction to this film was that it is Gun Fu, but on review and reflection the movie as a whole is certainly cinematic, set in an alternate New York that is almost out of a graphic novel, but most of the actual fight components are not. In fact, it can be used with considerable success to visualize many elements found in Tactical Shooting and GURPS Martial Arts.

Shooting Dice_TS_John Wick Continue reading “Tactical Shooting/Martial Arts: John Wick”

Lovecraft’s “The Shunned House”

Part of Lovecraft’s Investigators and Their Guns.

(set in 1923?, written in 1923, published in 1924)

We had devised two weapons to fight it; a large and specially fitted Crookes tube operated by powerful storage batteries and provided with peculiar screens and reflectors, in case it proved intangible and opposable only by vigorously destructive ether radiations, and a pair of military flame-throwers of the sort used in the world-war, in case it proved partly material and susceptible of mechanical destruction ‒ for like the superstitious Exeter rustics, we were prepared to burn the thing’s heart out if heart existed to burn. 


The US military did not have flamethrowers during World War I except for a few samples of the French Schilt No.3 (Investigator Weapons 1: The 1920s and 1930s, p. 106). Most of these remained in Europe when the war was over. This makes it highly likely that the surplus flamethrowers obtained by Dr Elihu Whipple and his nephew were former German weapons brought to America as war trophies. The returning US troops brought back huge amounts of captured weaponry, including machine guns and other heavy weapons. Flamethrowers were completely unregulated at the time (Investigator Weapons 1, p. 20). Continue reading “Lovecraft’s “The Shunned House””