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HP Lovecraft and His Work

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  • Don't get me wrong; I also have that painful-aberration known as "taste" or aesthetic/ethical-bias. It's just that everyones's is so different that those who speak loudest and clearest seem most right. Which also isn't to say there isn't a point of compromise/center between all the multifarious biases. It's just confusing how we all want everyone to be most right rather than agree/affirm the center we all circle.
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    • I suppose writing-and-art have taken the ball farther than religion. I'm hoping/inciting that we refine that which we're repeating in art/science/politics/etc. in-lieu of religion. And if/when this isn't possible, maybe we can make that a little more explicit so that people (like me) don't end up doing this: .
      ; just think some of the dreamers need to wake-up and some of the vigilants/insomniacs need to get a few-winks and a dream that are their own.
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      • Originally posted by Octo Seven View Post
        It's pure escapism with little to no real-life value.
        Once again donning the cap of The Devil's (aka C.S.Lewis) Advocate, my client wants me to ask, "Who's so worried about escapism except for jailors?"

        [EDIT:] Oops, reading on in the thread, I realize Mike already adressed that Inklingish point.

        Originally posted by Michael Moorcock
        I replied that every jailer likes escapism because it keeps prisons quiet. What every prisoner desires is escape! Few academics like to take risks. Maybe risk takers attract me, in most arts.
        Well, there ya go! Risk Takers are true escapists. Jailors like naturalistic stories of law-abiding heroes saving conventionalism and settling down for a dull marriage with the heroine.
        Last edited by Jagged; 04-28-2015, 06:38 AM.
        "If the environment were a bank, we would already have saved it." -Graffitti.

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        • Fantasy is unreal-it demands a willing suspension of disbelief. If you don't do that, it won't work.

          Science fiction/fantasy is dying-people want it to be real, and get irked when it's pointed out that most of sci-fi seems to be impossible, and that fantasy is just that.

          Did anyone here watch 'Rocky Jones, Space Ranger', long ago? Today is is cruelly mocked(it had very little knowledge of astronomy in it, and due to some spectacular ill fortune along the way, one major player went to jail, one died, continuity was poor. Planets, moons and such were confused. The ruler of Ophecious(or whatever) seemed to be a receptionist, Cleolanthe sat at a tiny desk and answered her own phone. There was no trace of other people.

          And yet, people loved it. It was a fantasy, in a time of fantasy-and in the generally crummy production values, you can see Dr. Who's early days.

          The mood of today is grim and glum, the boomers are asking, "Is that all there is?" and many past sins have come back to haunt us.

          So, until the next big thing comes along, let's try to enjoy the rich treasures in store. And not look too closely at their flaws?



          Many of the ideas from that show appeared in 'Star Trek', including the villains in comic-opera uniforms.

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          • Almost forgot-I thought you made some good points, I never thought you were being a dick.

            We're in the middle of some major rioting here in Baltimore. There have been some very big fires, and the National Guard is deployed.

            I'm a little distracted-so far, not a shot or a shout in my neighborhood, but it isn't over yet.

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            • Originally posted by krakenten View Post
              Almost forgot-I thought you made some good points, I never thought you were being a dick.

              We're in the middle of some major rioting here in Baltimore. There have been some very big fires, and the National Guard is deployed.

              I'm a little distracted-so far, not a shot or a shout in my neighborhood, but it isn't over yet.
              May God bless and protect you and yours. It seems things are calming down. I hope that's the case! Baltimore has always been a logical kind of city, and once the few bad eggs get done looting, the sense intrinsic to the city should reappear.

              There's stuff going on in Denver, too. Lots of pissed off people!

              It would scare Lovecraft!

              (See what I dd there? I done brought it back on topic! Hah!)
              Miqque
              ... just another sailor on the seas of Fate, dogpaddling desperately ...

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              • Lovecraft's influence on sci-fi was pervasive.

                He went out of fashion during the 1950-1970 age of rocks and rockets-everything was logical and scientific-and began a revival as most of what we expected from the space age proved impossible(see my thoughts on Rocky Jones, a true classic of that type of space opera)

                As a practical matter, we may be alone in the Universe-seperated from the almost certain intelligent life forms by space and time.

                Perhaps there is only one technological civilization at a time? Perhaps, if there are several, they don't care, or are hostile?

                On a mild, clear night, take a blanket and lie down looking up at the stars. Then say HPL was absurd.

                Last night, on one of those 'little green men built everything' shows, there was mention of telechines, a classical myth. These were able to stay underwater for long periods, among other things. I must look deeper, perhaps these inspired the Deep Ones? Lovecraft was a keen classical scholar.

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                • Originally posted by Miqque View Post
                  ... Baltimore has always been a logical kind of city, and once the few bad eggs get done looting, the sense intrinsic to the city should reappear.

                  There's stuff going on in Denver, too. Lots of pissed off people!

                  It would scare Lovecraft!

                  (See what I dd there? I done brought it back on topic! Hah!)
                  Other than seeing the ongoing slow motion destruction of what remains of the New Deal, why would this scare Lovecraft? Today's pissed off people seem a lot less scary to the powers that be than those during Lovecraft's time.

                  Beyond that, the guy almost lived through The Depression, lived before the antibiotic era, saw his country participate in a world war and survived the post war influenza epidemic. In his day southern trees bore that strange fruit and when he was young the fallout from the Filipino Insurrection saw a general tried for giving an order to kill everybody over the age of 10. Also consider all violence associated with the Prohibition gangsters and Depression era outlaws. And race riots seemed a bit more frequent as well. It was a time when the bodies of dead criminals were put on public display and shown in newsreels.

                  Which I guess is just a really longwinded way of saying he lived in interesting times too.

                  Where I live the only things I'd expect to give the old boy the frights would be all the sushi restaurants, and all the mixed race people and couples sauntering about.
                  Last edited by Heresiologist; 05-02-2015, 10:41 PM.

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                  • If you think it was bad here, in Brazil the severed head of the brigand Lampiao was on display for half a century, the family had to sue to get it buried!

                    The XX Century was perhaps the cruelest ever. The XXI is bad, but nothing like the atrocities of the XX.

                    Lovecraft lived in the violence and disorder, the conditions that spawned Hitler and his gang. I'm thinking that this was no accident.

                    Now, on to strange matters. The Nazi Anenerbe(or however you spell it) went blundering around looking for various occult treasures to present to Himmler and Hitler. Nazi science was bad science, and since it was often wishful thinking, it was counterproductive. The Nazis loved cheap and easy solutions, and damn the consequences.

                    This is why, I think, those who have continued Lovecraft's work often have much to do with the Third Reich(in fiction), and why it works so well.

                    Lovecraft's bastard child, the Ancient Astronuts(and isn't this fiction,really?) harps endlessly on Der Glocke and the Wunderwaffe-the fog of war has effectively remained to shroud much of this.

                    Der Glocke did not fall on Kecksburg, PA(I actually saw that one). I'll buy the Soviet spacecraft explanation-it broke up very messily, and slowly-but not a Nazi time machine.

                    But like the silliness that tells us the pyramids were electric power stations, and the Mythos, the story will not die.

                    (I just saw the Ancient Astronut take on Puma Punku. More on these stone mysteries later-for mysteries they are, even without little green men.)

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                    • Just to keep the pot boiling nicely. A musical interlude.


                      Eskaton - Dagon

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                      • Thanks, that one works pretty well. Scary and just a bit dated.

                        Ancient Astronuts.....Puma Punku.......and now, the History Channel has dug up the moldy old Vile Vortex tale from 'Argosy' magazine-a complete crock, soon debunked. But here it is again, a few decades later. An offspring of the Bermuda Triangle hoax, the vortices were a wretched attempt to extend the reach of the Triangle.

                        One of the best Triangle cases is the USS Cyclops, a huge seagoing collier that voyaged from South America to Baltimore at the beginning of WWI with a loopy skipper who was a very bad navigator, a cargo of corrosive manganese ore, some diplomats and naval prisoners(some sentenced to hang). After sending some rather crazy wireless messages, the ship failed to make Baltimore. Ever.

                        A look at the ship shows a horrendous top-hamper(needed to shift the coal). She had two sister ships, one also vanished at sea, the other was converted into an aircraft carrier, refitted as a seaplane tender and scuttled after being savaged by Japanese carrier planes. Not lucky ships.

                        One wonders what would have happened if the 'Mary Celeste' had foundered before being spotted. No more mystery!

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                        • Originally posted by krakenten View Post
                          If you think it was bad here, in Brazil the severed head of the brigand Lampiao was on display for half a century, the family had to sue to get it buried!
                          Did Lovecraft visit, or have an abiding interest in, Brazil? Because it was stated that Lovecraft would be scared of certain social conditions in present day USA, then it was countered that his era had its own share of social problems which very much resemble those of the present. Basically, a plus ca change type argument. Your response looks more like a poor excuse for nation level misbehaviour (i.e. but Mommy look what the Brazilians did!) than a pertinent retort.

                          But since you brought up severed heads, let's go off on a tangent and revisit the Filipino Insurrection. Much like later guerrilla wars, the body count problem presented itself. One solution was to take the heads of fallen rebels. But then the piles of rotting heads became a problem and (if I remember right) that led to orders and instructions on how to de-flesh the heads so as to have nice clean piles of skulls. Later, these heads became a lucrative revenue stream as the rebels believed dead people arrived in heaven in the same condition as that of their mortal remains. Ransoming of the skulls soon followed.

                          Originally posted by krakenten View Post
                          The XX Century was perhaps the cruelest ever. The XXI is bad, but nothing like the atrocities of the XX.
                          I beg to differ. The Belgian Congo, the American Civil War, the ongoing genocide of natives in the America's (i.e. North, South and Central), the Paris Commune, the tail end of the Atlantic Slave Trade, the Taiping Rebellion... it just goes on and on. The scale and body counts of the 20th Century might be larger (maybe not as a proportion of total population though), but I sometimes wonder if the signal difference with previous eras is just that the 20th century brought industrialist practices to the horrors of previous centuries. In other words new tools for old behaviours.

                          At any rate, sounds like presentism to me. Which makes me wonder how you can miss that here, but trot it out so quickly anytime Lovecraft's racism is mentioned.

                          Originally posted by krakenten View Post
                          Lovecraft's influence on sci-fi was pervasive.

                          He went out of fashion during the 1950-1970 age of rocks and rockets-everything was logical and scientific-and began a revival as most of what we expected from the space age proved impossible(see my thoughts on Rocky Jones, a true classic of that type of space opera)
                          ...
                          While I would agree he was influential, pervasive, especially in regard to sci-fi, is not obvious to me. Could you please support your assertion?
                          Last edited by Heresiologist; 05-03-2015, 09:30 PM.

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                          • OK, let's be down and dirty.

                            Lovecraft's talent was in dropping enough real details(like actual folklore and real books)and enough carefully invented or cunningly borrowed material to give his work a certain versimilitude-remember, it was a lot harder to check facts back then. Especially obscure ones.

                            He used Fort's technique of tossing out 'facts' and never giving enough for them to be checked. For example, Queen Nitocris was real enough(there were two of them), and at least one had a bad reputation as a mass murderer and a suicide.

                            Probably total buzunga, but why spoila good story?

                            By borrowing from other stories, he made his work seem even more real(if you can accept hybrid offspring of humans and things from deep space).

                            Because the true measure of a writer of strange tales is what he/she can get you to swallow before your suspension of disbelief fails. Today, we call that jumping the shark.

                            Because this technique worked so well, others adapted it to fiction told as fact-the alien astronuts.

                            By simply witholding facts in a story, a journalist can bend the truth. Both Poe and Ambrose Bierce were newspaper men, well acquainted with the humbug, a sensational story planted on a slow news day to boost sales.

                            The astronut brigade plunges forward to rash, yea, loony conclusions from doubtful facts. Yes, there are some mysterious ruins about, but how does that prove that little green men made them?

                            In France, there's a strange construction of large rocks, a near city. It was built by a postman as a hobby. In Washington DC, a network of tunnels was discovered-built by a college professor and his sons, just for the fun of it. No bug eyed monsters needed.

                            The astonishing structures at Petra, Nan Midol, Rapa Nuai and eek,the Pyramids could well have been the work of ordinary men, but glory, what a lot of them!

                            And there is no real evidence that the pyramids were ever used to generate electric power. The burial chambers are empty because all that wealth was needed to power the Egyptian economy.

                            However, we must pause to consider some of the mechanisms of antiquity, the Antikythera Machine, the never constructed Difference Engine(but not the Air Loom!) and the very elaborate and effective wooden clocks and mechanisms that were built just before the machine age reached full swing. These are now remembered in the Clockwork Universe stories, but they were real enough.

                            Yes, there were some marvels in the past, and some of them are still mysteries, but Little Green Men?

                            Oh, earthling, puh-leeeze!

                            Yes, I know I've scrambled a bit of time there, but I beg pardon.

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                            • Originally posted by krakenten View Post
                              Thanks, that one works pretty well. Scary and just a bit dated.

                              Ancient Astronuts.....Puma Punku.......and now, the History Channel has dug up the moldy old Vile Vortex tale from 'Argosy' magazine-a complete crock, soon debunked. But here it is again, a few decades later. An offspring of the Bermuda Triangle hoax, the vortices were a wretched attempt to extend the reach of the Triangle.

                              One of the best Triangle cases is the USS Cyclops, a huge seagoing collier that voyaged from South America to Baltimore at the beginning of WWI with a loopy skipper who was a very bad navigator, a cargo of corrosive manganese ore, some diplomats and naval prisoners(some sentenced to hang). After sending some rather crazy wireless messages, the ship failed to make Baltimore. Ever.

                              A look at the ship shows a horrendous top-hamper(needed to shift the coal). She had two sister ships, one also vanished at sea, the other was converted into an aircraft carrier, refitted as a seaplane tender and scuttled after being savaged by Japanese carrier planes. Not lucky ships.

                              One wonders what would have happened if the 'Mary Celeste' had foundered before being spotted. No more mystery!
                              Back when I was investigating most of the popular Great Mysteries the story of the Cyclops really got to me. There is apparently a mate to the Bermuda Triangle over in the northeast Phillipine Sea http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devil%27s_Sea
                              called the Devil's Sea. There's a decent review article at Wikipedia:
                              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bermuda_Triangle

                              One thing I do is watch for what is not being said, not being investigated, not being shown. There seems to be little or no information about odd magnetic readings or fields (covered by "compass readings"). Or about really aberrant weather. Or if there were random attacks by the Old Ones.

                              A connection with the Earth's magnetic fields seems one likely explanation. The Cyclops, in particular, with all that metal up in the air and making it look like it would flip over anyway, is especially suspicious. It would not take much for a ship to be affected if they hit just wrong a potent edge to such a field. Turn a ship more than about 30؛ and most times it will capsize. (In a kayak, ol' Miqque has found it takes about 5؛ either way to end up floating upside down trapped in a kayak.) Should such a field move or vary over time it would be very difficult to detect and/or define.

                              I also note the lack of reports since GPS became common!

                              Miqque
                              ... just another sailor on the seas of Fate, dogpaddling desperately ...

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