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HP Lovecraft and His Work

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  • Sky People living in sky lands or sky islands feature in some native american stories. They do seem more common in the east than the west -- at least I can't remember any from the west coast or quickly find any examples.


    • Originally posted by SeeDoubleYou View Post
      After my exhaustive 10-seconds of googling


      • The staying power of myth is considerable. Fiction can easily be taken for fact, just give it a few decades to cool off.

        The Vile Vortex is taken for fact(by people who credit such things)when it was debunked almost at once as an attempt to cash in on the Bermuda Triangle. After the recent exploitation by the History Channel,hungry for more material after the mermaid mockumentery, expect to see it again.

        I've seen Bierce's 'Difficulty in Crossing a Field' cited as fact. It seems to have been inspired by the disappearance of a plantation owner who went for an after dinner walk and was never seen again-a party of slaves was sent to search, and also vanished.

        The things that can happen to a man alone in the woods at night are many, some of them quite improbable, and is it impossible that the slaves did a runner, considering the circumstances?

        Last night I saw a documentary on the Mary Celeste case-another reasonable explanation of an odd but not unprecdented case. Derelicts are not that rare-in fact, there's one drifting about the North Atlantic even now that may be infested with very hungry rats. Charming.

        My current area of interest is the deserted, cyclopean cities of Latin America. Built by giants, of course. Sure.

        What seems to be coming through here is that there's an awful lot of history missing, and likely to stay that way for quite a while.

        Also, the number of extensive abandonments this world has. Some of the ghost cities of the Andes date to the 1200s-not that long ago.

        I imagine that some of them turned out to be too difficult to sustain(building them was a feat) and the populations just left over time. I'll cite the Buckner Building in Whittier,AK, big place, but no longer needed, and who wants to live in Whittier,anyway? Seattle is available by road,rail or ferry, not a very long trip, but the winters there must be a trial, snowfall is really serious.

        (I don't mean to rattle on about the Buckner, but it does have some relevance to our subject. And imagine it being rediscovered after some dislocation left it forgotten?)

        How did Lovecraft come to suspect such things? Extensive reading, an active imagination and pure luck.


        • More afterthoughts.

          Lovecraft was deeply influenced by "The Arabian Nights'', some sources say that the al-Hazred name was a character he invented as a child for games of desert adventure.

          The Great Old Ones resemble the djinni, and the ghouls are stock characters in Arab folklore, they explain the condition of corpses and carcasses after a time. The world of the Arabs and Persians was full of strange beliefs, including the curious idea that the sounds heard at night were the calls of the djinni.

          Al-Hazred and the Necronomicon were placed in Yemen. Yemen was pretty obscure back then, most of the contact Westerners had there was at sea ports. Just the sort of place to spawn horrors from the Unknown. I'm sure that stories told by mariners, Rhode Island being a maritime sort of place were well known to HPL.

          HPL also heard tales of the South Pacific and saw Jenny Hannivers, brought home as souveniers. The Jenny Hanniver(a taxidermic fake made by sewing a monkey torso to a fish and letting it dry out) is a perfect template for the Deep Ones.

          Tales of cannibals and strange gods, well, who could resist? Anything might happen in such a place. Note that R'leyh is located very close to the Pole of Inacessibility, the place most remote from land.

          A place almost as remote as the Moon, back then.

          Lovecraft made a mulligan stew, it turned out pretty tasty.


          • I sometimes think of how much use HPL would have gotten out of Puma Punku, and Teotehuachan(a large abandoned city not far from the great Aztec capitol, said to have been built by devils or giants).

            We may take a lesson from these abandoned and forgotten places-civilization is somewhat fragile, and it will break. Human memory is short. Things get lost.

            Orbiting cameras are showing us just how many of these places exist. I think HPL would be thrilled.

            Perhaps the vogue for Lovecraft and the Ancient Aliens-akin, I think-comes as we discover how little we really know about the past, and what was accomplished in long gone days.

            Little green men? I doubt it. Could be, maybe humanity is a cargo cult?
            Maybe not. Place your bets.

            My wager is on humanity having a far way to go yet, and should we stumble and fall, yet will we rise again.

            Some people are bitter because the future they were sure was coming isn't. Right now, it looks like routine space travel, time travel and even interplanetary colonies are impossible, and we feel cheated. Gimmie back the wonder!

            I'm sad about it, too. All we can do is keep calm and carry on, blundering into the future with all its strange surprises.


            • SF in the present is a slippery proposition-William Gibson is very effective at it, and a lot of his work is outright prophecy on general conditions.

              Much of it-the cyberpunk paradigm of high tech and low life-has come to life witness the cyberscams,viruses and those endless popup ads that annoy and mystify(even if you were foolish enough to try to buy something, there's no way to do so)

              Of late, I've noticed a vogue for strange stories that involve the fairly recent past, WWII, the Cold War(madness abounding, secrets galore, lies in wholesale lots!) and even the many undergrounds of today.

              The large numbers of long term abandoned buildings in many American cities are fertile ground for weird fiction. Before Baltimore began to demolish the worst deteriorated structures in downtown there were collapses as brick buildings, the mortar long perished, fell over in a stiff wind.

              There were, and still are, places that have been empty for decades. Ever wonder what secrets they might hide? People pass by them for years, and never even speculate.

              Did you watch 'The Wire'?-remember the abandoned houses turned into tombs? Never happened on purpose, but more than a few homeless people mummified in those old units.

              I'm reading one where a woman is surveying an abandoned bank-and there are more than a few of those around. Unsettling.

              Science fiction quickly becomes dated, even the great classics, often because the advanced tech turns out to be impractical or surpassed along the way. (Neal Stephenson's cyberspace in ''Snow Crash'' never came about, still a darn good story).

              As usual, you are right on the money, science fiction set in the present has much to recommend it.

              And Lovecraftian fiction does well in the present-witness ''Resume With Monsters'' or Charles Stross' Laundry Files.

              So does conspiricy fiction.


              • I don't think we get 'Person of Interest here-at least I can't find it.

                Of late, the dysfunctional rules. 'Helix' was a good one, but lost its way after one season(like 'Twin Peaks') "The Strain' is enjoyable, 'The Walking Dead' is gripping and '12 Monkeys' is what you might call Time-Punk. None of them is filled with hope for a Ray-Gun Gothic golden age to come.

                Recently, I called up an old friend from my home town-news was not good. The town is in decline, population shrinking rapidly(so rapidly I noticed it in a few years) and now, there is a crime-wave/heroin epidemic really taking hold. I'm glad I escaped to Baltimore again-not that it's Paradise-and won't have to watch. The decline and depopulation of Baltimore is sad enough(they keep building things here, Red Lion is just falling down).

                Red Lion is disturbingly akin to Innsmouth-complete with superstitious yokels and dark secrets. Now, it's final hour may be near. Might be why I'm so fond of Lovecraft?

                HPL loved decay and abandonment. It spoke to his deeply pessimistic soul. I'm becoming convinced that the depopulated cities we keep finding are telling us we can achieve, but cannot maintain.

                I just watched 'Children of Men', and found it moving. It concentrated the life cycle(boom-bubble-bust) quite precisely. Perhaps this is the meaning of life?

                I think humanity has a far way to go, extinction isn't that close. But a new Dark Age? Signs point to yes.

                And yet, though all things must end, life goes on. Someday, the Sun will finish Earth off, but that's a long way down the road. We won't see it.

                Right now, I feel hopeless and alone. Death is near, and I'm not afraid, the curtain falls on every show. Still, I ask "Is that all there is?"

                Yep. Probably.

                All in all, it was a pretty good ride.


                • We do get 'Person of Interest'-I'm trying to find out when it airs.

                  Usually, all I watch is cable-thanks for the information!


                  • After finishing all his novellas, I find The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath to be my fav.


                    • I'm thinking if I were to watch it again I would do so from the beginning, through all seasons. Scripts varied but were generally excellent and the acting of a generally high standard. Same for directing. I think you'd get pretty confused if you just jumped in. Given the problems of resolving one arc and offering a cliff hanger for the next I think that they did a good job. The series depends on its characters and their relationships while still being an excellent thriller.

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                      • Lovecraft's dreams must have been very vivid.

                        He wrote a prose poem, 'Nyerlathotep', that showed that being for the first time. Later, a film was made of it(available from the HP Lovecraft Historical Society)that catches the spirit of the thing very well indeed. He said it had come to him as a dream, and described the dream carefully-when HPL dreamed, he dreamed all the details!

                        His Dreamlands were his refuge from an unhappy waking life, a place he might find ideal.

                        I can't imagine why you have such difficulty with 'At the Mountains of Madness', a corking tale of cold weather claustrophobia in the vein of Simmons "The Terror", Poe's Pym and the original version of 'The Thing'(film). But in matters of taste, there is no dispute.

                        Having just survived a nasty winter-Baltimore winters are often hard, but this one was demonic, there was so much ice!-I realized how frightening cold weather can be. I'm old, and my fear of falling is bad(not irrational, brittle bones and little agility)-it got to me this year.

                        I'm about to finalize my thinking on Ancient Aliens and other Great Mysteries. It won't be very long, if anyone is interested, and able to tolerate a few paragraphs, I'll put it up for your examination, and the useful insights it may attract.

                        Short version, hooey, but skillfully done.
                        Last edited by krakenten; 05-14-2015, 04:07 AM. Reason: left out something