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HP Lovecraft and His Work

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  • #31
    Originally posted by Kyrinn S. Eis View Post
    SNIP

    Don't try and read his novels before devouring his short fiction. They are the foundation that allows for 'attenuated' further reading.

    Did I mention the Doom that Came to Sarnath, or Through the Gates of the Silver Key?
    "Devour"

    That must be the most appropriate word in relation to HP Lovecraft I ever came across. "The Color Out of Space" is a story about people devoured by the unknown and unknowable; "The Rats in the Wall" is one about someone devoured by the unknowable past. While "The Doom that Came to Sarnath" - the first Lovecraft I ever read - he gives a view of a city's history devoured by unmentionable deeds committed in times long past - but still the priests commit the ancient and secret rite in detestation of Bokrug, the water-lizard ... In "Arthur Jermayn (The White Ape)" he is actually funny - have a read of it, Mike, I think you'll like it.

    But stay away from the Derleth knock-offs - they're nowhere near as good as the genuine Lovecraft.
    sigpic Myself as Mephistopheles (Karen Koed's painting of me, 9 Nov 2008, U of Canterbury, CHCH, NZ)

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    • #32
      McLizard Sandwich, Please -- Ai Ai Fatagn!

      Originally posted by In_Loos_Ptokai View Post
      "Devour"

      That must be the most appropriate word in relation to HP Lovecraft I ever came across. "The Color Out of Space" is a story about people devoured by the unknown and unknowable; "The Rats in the Wall" is one about someone devoured by the unknowable past. While "The Doom that Came to Sarnath" - the first Lovecraft I ever read - he gives a view of a city's history devoured by unmentionable deeds committed in times long past - but still the priests commit the ancient and secret rite in detestation of Bokrug, the water-lizard ... In "Arthur Jermayn (The White Ape)" he is actually funny - have a read of it, Mike, I think you'll like it.

      But stay away from the Derleth knock-offs - they're nowhere near as good as the genuine Lovecraft.

      Great! Now I'm really hungry!

      Last edited by Kyrinn S. Eis; 11-20-2007, 09:03 AM. Reason: 'Now' from 'No'
      Ani Maamin B'emunah Sh'leimah B'viyat Hamashiach. V'af al pi sheyitmahmehah im kol zeh achake lo b'chol yom sheyavo.

      "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." - Phillip K. Dick

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      • #33
        Apologies for returning to such an old thread (nothing new to see here, move along!) but I just thought I'd post a quick note that my article mentioned earlier in this thread - on H.P. Lovecraft and the perhaps misguided creation of the Cthulhu 'mythos' by August Derleth and others - is now online.

        The article originally appeared in Death Ray magazine and can now be read on my blog at http://thestarchamber.wordpress.com/, under 'Articles'.

        Regards,

        Matt

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        • #35
          Great article, Matt. Hope you don't mind if I quote this bit about Brian Lumley for people who aren't up to reading the whole thing:

          in his Titus Crow stories, the titular character being a kind of Lovecraftian witch-hunter on a mission to root out Cthulhu’s minions no matter where they might hide. ‘…the main difference between my stories …and HPL’s…’ Lumley says is that ‘…my guys fight back…’. Born in the North-East and having spent much of his adult life in the military, Lumley himself is no doubt accustomed to fighting back, but the suggestion that someone, even a Geordie, might somehow fight back against the nuclear chaos at the centre of the universe is, frankly, a bit silly.

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          • #36
            That about sums it up. I think Lumley would have been better off sticking to his original stuff - like Khai of Khem or his Necroscope stories rather than these Weird Tales fan-boy things.

            That's not to say that there isn't mileage in using HPL's mythos stuff - but that takes a special talent IMO, and Lumley is no Philip Jose Farmer.
            Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

            Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

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            • #37
              Great article.
              I am reminded of the most terrorfying nightmare I ever had, masked not because of any particular "spoiler" effect, just to spare the eyes of those who find reading about others dreams the height of lameness


              Again Matt, great article.

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              • #38
                Originally posted by Michael Moorcock View Post
                I can't read it. Try hard to, since so many of my friends like it, but so far haven't been able to read anything of Lovecraft's, for instance, apart from Mountains of Madness and Unknown Kadath, which I understand aren't typical. I get too scared reading M.R.James, too...
                I wouldn't say those two stories aren't typical Mike, I'd just say they are among his very best. I'd chime in with the rest in adding Shadow Over Innsmouth and Call of C'thulhu as the other really great ones. I love reading him so much I enjoy a lot of the lesser tales too. I can't pretend to defend him as a writer, but then I also like Jackson Pollock's paintings even though he can't be considered a master painter by any even vaguely normal standard.

                It's funny, because I was influenced in the early '80s as a teenager by the Deities and Demigods D&D book to read both him and your Elric books (an authorial association that TSR and Chaosium created for you that I'm sure you've dreaded through the years). A quarter century later and I don't much like (and certainly don't respect) a lot of the fantasy stuff I read back then, yet those two series are still treasured as all time favorites I can return to.

                Of course I'm glad that you're the living one of the two who I can communicate with via the internet for all sorts of relatively obvious reasons.
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                • #39
                  Is The Mountains of Madness the one about Antartica? If so, I really enjoyed it. But then, I'm also a Pollock fan (as well as Clyfford Still, Barnett Newman, and Marc Rothko). Thanks for the Coltrane last week.
                  Kevin McCabe
                  The future is there, looking back at us. Trying to make sense of the fiction we will have become. William Gibson

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                  • #40
                    Originally posted by Kevin McCabe View Post
                    Is The Mountains of Madness the one about Antartica? If so, I really enjoyed it. But then, I'm also a Pollock fan (as well as Clyfford Still, Barnett Newman, and Marc Rothko). Thanks for the Coltrane last week.
                    Yes, that's the one. Joseph Campbell ripped it off for a short story that got turned into the movie The Thing.

                    Glad you enjoyed the Coltrane. Nice to know somebody was listening right then since I went on early and the first hour wasn't archived like the rest of the show. Once could certainly extend the comparison of Pollock's painting to that era, Interstellar Space, of Coltrane's playing, but not really since even the most annoyed Jazz purists couldn't claim he didn't know exactly what he was doing.

                    I wasn't familiar with Clyfford Still (despite sharing a home state with him!), so thanks for the name to investigate. I rather like what I found. And I think you may have nailed a better painter analogous to Lovecraft's writing than I did too (though their both probably turning in their graves at the concept!)
                    Last edited by Dead-Air; 11-25-2007, 12:24 AM.
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                    • #41
                      Still's articulation of what Art is - a living force trying to break free onto a canvas - certainly has resonances with both improvisational jazz and multi-dimensional bad guys breaking into the house. Mostly, I think it looks really cool. I've always wanted to go back to the Met and listen to Coltrane while walking through the New York School section. Maybe someday (sigh). Anyway, I agree with you about Interstellar Space. I think John Coltrane knew exactly what he was doing, as he did it, any time he picked up his ax. Some people can't connect to his more sophisticated work (my sister's ex once said of Marsalis' Black Codes "I prefer more form to my music"). This has always struck me as a failure to engage on the part of the listener, rather than a failure of the artist.
                      Kevin McCabe
                      The future is there, looking back at us. Trying to make sense of the fiction we will have become. William Gibson

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                      • #42
                        Worth noting here that ears and eyes can be very different. Men and women don't necessarily see and hear in identical ranges. What's 'formless' to one person is sublime form to another.

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                        • #43
                          You're right, of course, but he was a guy. Anyways, you're far kinder than I. I just thought he was being a snob. Really, the failure to engage bit was about me. I'm pretty well convinced that some of Coltrane's stuff is so far beyond the understanding of a non-musician, like me, that I lose track. This doesn't make it any less stellar. Just means that musical genius can be beyond a guy who doesn't play an instrument. It's sort of like A Cure For Cancer. It will take me a second, maybe even a third or fourth, read. And, I am set up with the mental toolkit to appreciate narratives that operate on mulitple levels of access. That's the difference, I think. I've got the tools to appreciate literary geniius, but musical genius sometimes eludes me. Fortunately, Coltrane did a ton of super-accesible stuff.
                          Kevin McCabe
                          The future is there, looking back at us. Trying to make sense of the fiction we will have become. William Gibson

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                          • #44
                            It is always worth remembering that people also have diferent tastes in food, culture, music etc. This is not to say that there aren't snobs, just that sometimes lack of engagement isn't a failure of the observer or artist, just a matter of taste.

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                            • #45
                              True enough, but probably wrong with respect to this fellow. He is, after all, an international merchant banker.
                              Kevin McCabe
                              The future is there, looking back at us. Trying to make sense of the fiction we will have become. William Gibson

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