WORMSKIN

3/03/2011

Lovecraftian Overload

I tend to be something of a purist when it comes to the Yog-Sothothery. If it tweren't written by Ech-Pi-El, then I tend to pass on it. Sure, there are a few exceptions. T. E. D. Klein's Dark Gods is about as fine-tuned a collection of horror (much of it Lovecraftian) that you're ever likely to find. And I dig Robert E. Howard's contributions to the Mythos. Hell, I just like to randomly throw the words Unaussprechlichen Kulten into otherwise innocuous conversations. While Clark Ashton Smith's Hyperborea stuff is a bit off-key to really jive with HPL's weird symphony, I appreciate its baroque bizarrerie. (I have yet to read Michael Shea's The Colour Out of Time, but it's on the to-do list.) 

The Cthulhu thing has really blown up in the last ten years. Mythos authors are crawling out of the woodwork, tentacle porn fanfic production is up, and there's enough Lovecraft-themed gew-gaws and dreck to choke a Black Goat of the Woods AND her Thousand Young. At nearly 700 pages, I thought S. T. Joshi's H. P. Lovecraft: A Life said pretty much everything there was to be said, biographically speaking, about old H. P. But then I came across this! Apparently Joshi has expanded on the original and stretched it out to two volumes totaling something like 1200 pages! Egad! IƤ! I just don't know how much more of this microscopic scrutiny reality can take. The very angles of non-Euclidean space may collapse at any time. 

Red will never run out of work.

7 comments:

  1. I know what your saying about Lovecraftian stuff. There are some other short-stories I consider good contributions--Thomas Ligotti has some (Festival of the Harlequin, I believe it's called, for one), and so does Karl Edward Wagner (Sticks), though admittedly his feel is a bit different from HPLs.

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  2. @Trey: Good call. Both those shorts are great. Ligotti also wrote "Sect of the Idiot" -- and I suppose it could be argued that the whole Ligottian milieu is tangential to the Lovecraftian.

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  3. i think you might be joyful in taking a look at this as well, if you are interested in his biography:

    http://bit.ly/gJ1Rvz

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  4. I might be a heathen, but I like CAS more than HPL. Don't get me wrong, I love Lovecraft. It's just that CAS's worlds are far more interesting to me, and therefore far more useful as game material.

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  5. @Vault keeper: I really dig Hippocampus Press (incidentally they also are publishing Joshi's new biography) and I'll add that one to the wishlist. Thanks!

    @Evan: Nah, you're not a heathen. Or at least no more heathen than this heathen. I tend to spread the love between the Big Weird Three (Lovecraft, Smith, Howard) pretty evenly. Smith's stuff is definitely very mine-able to the D&D player, maybe moreso than HPL's. He put so much into atmosphere and settings that his work reads like a style-guide for the DM who is interested in evoking weird/exotic locales.

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  6. I quote Evan here, i fell tremendously in love with CAS many years ago, and when i discovered the Bard of Auburn i just left HPL'books on the shelves taking dust. There is just no comparison in my opinion.

    The poetry and "verbal black magic" Clark is able to use and convey is "unexcelled by any other writer,dead or living " (quoting HPL here, and please note he WAS alive whilst saying that:))

    Smith knew the entire "Oxford english dictionary".. He was primarily a poet, not a writer- and this is so visible and clear in his wonderful tales..

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  7. Whatever you do, don't read The Colour Out Of Time. It is the worst thing Shea has written.

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