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HP Lovecraft and His Work

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  • I'm a big fan of RW Chambers' weird stuff. The Repairer Of Reputations is one of my all-time fave tales in that genre although it wasn't a genre at the time of his writing it. Early Arthur Machen is the most poignant to me and the one that influences my writing aspirations the most, Algernon Blackwood is the most flawless, Clarke Ashton Smith is most imaginative, Howard is the most no-nonsense, I hesitate to include Bierce because frankly his writing is on another level to any of those guys, even if I might prefer to read some of them more. Dunsany also stood on his own highly influential feet. Lovecraft is the strange glue that connects them despite some of them being before his time. Poe is the great unwavering shadow that covers him.

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    • As a kid I spent years, dosh and disappointment looking for more Chambers stories like The King in Yellow, much as I sought Vol 2 of Felix Krull. Don't some of those writers work in a Poe tradition while others r s seem to be in the tradition of Morris, even the Gothics.

      Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
      The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
      Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


      Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
      The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
      Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

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      • Chambers had a way with words-I remember part of his Mr. Keene output where an American Army officer, just back from service in the Phillipines(and hard service that was, during the Insurrection and the Moro Uprising. For years, when an officer who had fought on Samar entered the mess for the first time, the senior officer would call, "Stand, gentlemen, he served on Samar!") comes to Mr. Keene's office. A better portrait of a war-damaged man has not been drawn in words.

        I guess The King in Yellow was a one-off, because nobody has ever managed to do much with the idea since. Been tried, never really worked.

        Several hard-boiled detective yarns make mention of the title, and of course, there was the plot device on 'True Detective'

        "I will show you fear in a handful of dust", now there's a frightening bit of biz! Elliot made play on the occult revival post WWI, he knew what string to pluck and when to pluck it to best effect. Had those guys (the occult mafia)
        hopped on the Ancient Aliens bandwagon, who knows what might have happened?

        Machen's great skill was in invoking ideas that remain mysterious. Mao Games? Voolas? Wicked Voorish domes?(the three imposters were thinly disguised portraits of known occultists of the day, the Big Cheese is almost certainly Crowley).

        (I must correct an error of mine-I said that Ivan Sanderson published his Vile Vortices silliness in 'Argosy' magazine, actually it was 'Saga' a nearly identical publication.)

        I'm enjoying the foofaraw of Ancient Aliens-the genre is a sort of magic show, a carnival trick-entertainment for us all. Besides, how else to get a tour of these sites before some simpleton destroys them for spite? The debunking has already begun, not that it has much effect.

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        • The Ancient Aliens Gang had a real bang up special on the History Channel last night.

          As I watched them jump several sharks, something came to me-this is very much like a sideshow magic act. You know it isn't real, but it can be fun for a bit to pretend along.

          One thing about the paranormal, nothing ever really dies. It gets debunked, lies doggo for a bit, then returns as newly revealed truth.

          Long ago, the Bermuda Triangle was shown to be bogus-many of the lost ships never existed, others were lost in documented storms and some 'ghost ships' were cases of vessels that slipped their moorings in rough weather and drifted out of the harbor.

          Even today, derelicts are common enough-witness the 'rat ship' wandering the North Atlantic after being abandoned-sometimes ships just won't sink.

          The 'Marine Sulphur Queen',a noted vanishment that gets trotted out to show the Triangle's hazards was not seaworthy-her bo'sun jumped ship at the first port. She was a war surplus tanker, badly converted and loaded with molten sulphur-a little sea water, BOOM! What mystery?

          Flight 19? Trainee pilots, the flight leader reporting himself not able to fly(by some accounts), recipe for disaster if indeed they encountered navigational difficulties. Big ocean, small planes, the Okefenokee Swamp on the other hand(when navigational errors occur, 180 degrees is all too common).

          No, these mysteries are just the fog of time wrapped around sad but normal events. In a generation, the lost Maylasian airliner will have gathered scads of legends. (Which are not needed, this one really is a mystery!)

          Mysteries divert-but usually, the more complex the problem, the simpler the explanation. Dammit!

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          • Returning to our original thoughts:

            I looked up Erich von D on Wikipaedia, I knew he'd done jail time for fraud, didn't know it was three times.

            The Wiki also makes the Ancient Astronut-Lovecraft connection-as soon as I heard of it, the penny dropped. Lovecraft co-opted many ideas to craft his tales, much in the post-modern way.

            Let each one choose what seems best to them, I'm persuaded that there is a connection.

            Others, like Churchward, Donelly and Blavatsky had similar ideas, but HPL cast them into form and made entrertaining fiction of them.

            Last night, double event! A very amusing second look at the mermaid mockumentry, and a factual look at in the wild.

            What will be dredged up next?

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            • There's no citation or reference to anything I'd call strong evidence but:
              Von Daniken was once actually asked if Lovecraft had been the source of any of his ideas. He not only denied it, but seemed never to have heard of HPL.
              Source: http://crypt-of-cthulhu.com/chariotsofoldones.htm

              And here's some Lovecraftian scholar on the theosophy connection:
              http://crypt-of-cthulhu.com/lovecrafttheosophy.htm

              Blavatsky was much bigger than Lovecraft before, during, and after his life. The simple answer is that Daniken was mining many of the same sources as Lovecraft.

              As for theosophy, besides the charlatanry (as Lovecraft called it) its call for universal brotherhood among the races was probably cause for Lovecraft to despise them. Hence their inclusion among the degenerate cults in his "Call of Cthulhu" story. Easy to see it as satire carrying a cautionary "see what happens" type theme. He seemed to do much the same thing in other stories involving artists and their decadent tastes.

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              • evd is a lying sack of s**t.

                His criminal record impeaches him, so if he says he never heard of Lovecraft, I'd say it was a good bet he cribbed a lot of his ideas from HPL. Remember, he wrote his third book to pass the time in prison.

                He's a montebank, but a pretty good one, as long as he keeps his line of patter going in makes sense, but when he stops, and some research gets done, that's the ball game.

                I rather think he's fun, like Penn and Teller.

                And that's about it.

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                • For myself, maybe others -- especially those who've spent any time taking lectures in the anthropology/archaeology department -- even if von Daniken never broke a law, his "findings" would still be total bilge; essentially, anti-information.

                  Because his "methods" are at best discredited leftovers from the 19th century or earlier, or just simply based on ignorance of what he's actually observing. For instance, one of his favoured "proofs" is to note that something looks like another thing and then declare a connection. So he looks at some Mayan image, thinks to himself it resembles an astronaut in an Apollo capsule, and viola ancient astronaut.
                  Last edited by Heresiologist; 05-24-2015, 06:20 PM.

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                  • Yeah but I love all that stuff. It's one of my favorite things, I grew up with it. It's all complete crap, but I don't judge anyone for it. Never mind the ancient alien conspiracists, the pseudo archaeologists write the best 'speculative fantasy' there is.

                    Pauwels and Bergier exist on another level, their trilogy is very pleasurable, a very dense and stimulating collection of weirdness that outshines most 'fantasy'.
                    Last edited by opaloka; 05-24-2015, 06:49 PM.

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                    • Originally posted by Heresiologist View Post
                      There's no citation or reference to anything I'd call strong evidence but:
                      Von Daniken was once actually asked if Lovecraft had been the source of any of his ideas. He not only denied it, but seemed never to have heard of HPL.
                      Source: http://crypt-of-cthulhu.com/chariotsofoldones.htm

                      And here's some Lovecraftian scholar on the theosophy connection:
                      http://crypt-of-cthulhu.com/lovecrafttheosophy.htm

                      Blavatsky was much bigger than Lovecraft before, during, and after his life. The simple answer is that Daniken was mining many of the same sources as Lovecraft.

                      As for theosophy, besides the charlatanry (as Lovecraft called it) its call for universal brotherhood among the races was probably cause for Lovecraft to despise them. Hence their inclusion among the degenerate cults in his "Call of Cthulhu" story. Easy to see it as satire carrying a cautionary "see what happens" type theme. He seemed to do much the same thing in other stories involving artists and their decadent tastes.
                      von Daniken could have lifted the alien seeding idea straight out of the BBC Quatermass and the Pit, from 1959. There was the whole thing, full formed. Whether he'd read Lovecraft, or not, hardly matters.

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                      • The notion of ownership of ideas is akin to the idea of owning the food you eat.
                        sigpic

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                        • Originally posted by opaloka View Post
                          Yeah but I love all that stuff. It's one of my favorite things, I grew up with it. It's all complete crap, but I don't judge anyone for it. Never mind the ancient alien conspiracists, the pseudo archaeologists write the best 'speculative fantasy' there is.

                          Pauwels and Bergier exist on another level, their trilogy is very pleasurable, a very dense and stimulating collection of weirdness that outshines most 'fantasy'.
                          Well then, how about some of that stuff featuring Lovecraft himself?

                          Lovecraft's Secret Source for the Cthulhu Mythos: http://secretsun.blogspot.ca/2014/08/lovecrafts-secret-source-for-chthulu_9.html
                          "Here's a bullet-point summary of the arguments I'll be making here:
                          • Alice Bailey was a well-known Theosophist who expanded on Madam Blavatsky's work
                          • Beginning in 1922, Bailey began preaching a prototype of what is now known as Ancient Astronaut Theory
                          • Bailey's work contains several unique innovations on Blavatsky's exegesis
                          • Careful study of Lovecraft's "Call of Cthulhu shows the distinct influence of Bailey's work on the so-called Chthulu Mythos
                          • This influence is shown in the names, origins, physical natures, relationship to humanity, past history and other unique details
                          • Specific clues to Bailey's influence can be found in "Cthulhu" as well as "Shadow Out of Time"
                          • Bailey's original appeal for Lovecraft may have been that she had written a sequel to the Book of Dzyan, a phatasmagorical Theosophical text that HPL found inspiration in"
                          Total bunk, time to teach the controversy, or entertaining tangent. You decide.

                          Originally posted by Pietro_Mercurios View Post
                          ...
                          von Daniken could have lifted the alien seeding idea straight out of the BBC Quatermass and the Pit, from 1959. There was the whole thing, full formed. Whether he'd read Lovecraft, or not, hardly matters.
                          Oh my glob. Haven't seen that since the pre-teens. What was it? Hob lane? Hordes of insectoid martians jumping up and down like pogo-ing locusts. Fun stuff.

                          Speaking of martians, I'll just mention that 1898 novel, Edison's Conquest of Mars, is supposed to boast the first use of the aliens built the pyramids trope.

                          I'd like to say this ancient astronauts/alien visitors idea just seems like such a zeitgeist element, but it's a rather long lived one seeing as the theosophists were doing it with flame masters (or something) from Venus in 1880 or so. Seems like an easy conclusion to make soon as the idea of planets develops. In which case maybe it goes back to Giordano Bruno.
                          Last edited by Heresiologist; 05-24-2015, 08:00 PM.

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                          • One might also mention the many lunatic fringe beliefs the Nazi's held so dear-the Hollow Earth, the Vril, Eternal Ice and the deadly madness of the racial theories.

                            The 19th Century crackpots left behind a lot of false information-none of it ever dies, it just hides for a while.

                            There are a few truly baffling cases in history, but just a few, they keep being trotted out, even after being explained. People add to them-often late at night in bars, and after a while they become so layered with false memories and lies that they are unrecognizable.

                            These are descended from the campfire legends of old, fantastic tales told to pass the time. Fun, if you don't take them so seriously.

                            Trouble is, some places, supermarket tabloid "facts'' are taken for truth, enthusiasms get engaged and there is mischief done. Some places in Africa, people still kill 'witches' with some regularity.

                            And meanwhile, Hanford and Fukishima still glow blue, sins that will haunt us for a long time.

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                            • Dunno, I have trouble with HPL, too. I like a few of his stories, but most of it, I think, is tedious.

                              I like The Hobbit and LotR; The Sillmarillion was tedious as well. I have no urge to read any more of the Prof's work, though.

                              You're not a failed fan, Mike. You're just selective.
                              Madness is always the best armor against Reality

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                              • Let me second that!

                                As a critic of fiction, MM stands well above the others, he cuts to the heart of the matter quickly, with flawless logic-fantasy and SF is essentially illogical, so much attention must be paid to the internal logic of the story. That's not easy.

                                I remember when Elric encountered the earth god Grome-Grome is somewhat slow witted, yet you can see he means well. There is a certain logic to the encounter, but rather a sad outcome. Quite logical.

                                Our good host's formidable knowledge of the literature often shines through.

                                (and "The Silmarillion'' is tedious! I think Tolkein wrote it to help himself keep the sprawling story straight, perhaps not even for publication. I doubt it would have ever seen print were it not for the success of LOTR, a fun read it is not!)

                                Remember Sturgeon's Law-90% of everything is crap. That applies to HPL, too. I suspect that Mr. Moorcock has indeed read some of HPL's output, and simply didn't like it.

                                He's entitled.
                                Last edited by krakenten; 05-25-2015, 03:55 AM. Reason: afterthought

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