Our Member of the Month for May 2017 is Sophie "SoMK" Klesen of Sherbrooke, Quebec, near Montreal. With her husband Alex, So describes herself as a "two-headed entity", which should not surprise anyone from this group, really. One head (Alex) is a translator by day and gamer by night. The other (Sophie) is artist by day and night. Both heads have a similar background: their love for science fiction and horror goes way back to their childhoods. It was nurtured by movies but started with books: HPL's among them. We asked Sophie and Alex which book started it all and how they began reading Lovecraft.
Alex: "Always been fascinated by SF/Fantasy genre, starships and Jules Vernes. The very first book I bought was Tintin's Explorers of the Moon, when I was about 7. I remember that years later my mum thought it was a good idea to get me some 'real' SF books for my 11th birthday since I loved SF so much. So I got The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man and that was that. I first read Lovecraft when I was 16 years old. I remember it was "The Shadow over Innsmouth" and I read it during the summer holidays with friends on the Brittany coast. We were camping near some cliffs overlooking the sea, reading until dusk to the sound of the crashing waves… and as an added difficulty, we were three friends who wanted to read the same book (which also included Charles Dexter Ward) at the same time! We were lucky to have good translations of Lovecraft's novels, be they French or German."
So: "My grandmother read me some Tolkien when I was very young but as far as I remember, I think that the first book I bought with pocket money was a Zelazny. I came to Lovecraft during my reading bulimia that started around 12 or 13 years old. I bought and read everything I could find about science fiction and horror. It was shortly after the first Alien movie, definitively my turning point. I totally fell into it and I didn't look back ever since :p "
We asked them if Lovecraft directly influences their actual work.
Alex: "I am a translator, and mainly for the game industry so yes, I frequently use or come across references. Lovecraft's mythos is a pillar on which a lot of worlds are built. What fascinates me in Lovecraft's novels is that moment when the limitation of the human mind makes the perception of the protagonist — and that of the reader — jump back and forth between horror and fascination. So, the Elder Things, the Great Race of Yith or the Fungi from Yuggoth totally fascinate me. (…and the way HPLHS brought 'The Whisperer' to its logical conclusion, it was really excellent!)"
So: "It is a sort of background task, something I go back to again and again. A few years ago it was mainly through jewelry and more recently with illuminated manuscripts, but there is always something brewing. My favourite story still is "At the Mountains of Madness" (for the both of us), mainly because of the setting itself (South Pole ! Could as well be Mars!) but also the sculptures and the Elder Things themselves. I have a fascination for this alien species, their art, their society. They are not malevolent, they are different. That is the part I love. Not quite sure about the idea that something wants to come back and eat us but I don't need reminders that we as a species don't count for much in this universe XD"
In the slideshow above are a couple of pictures of the gorgeous jewelry that So and Alex have made, and you can check out more of their past work at this link. You can see Sophie's illuminated manuscripts and other current work at Sophie's website.