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Friday, February 8th, 2008 05:48 pm
Strictly looking for a gut-reaction, first-impression response, here: [Poll #1135453]
Tuesday, January 15th, 2008 11:22 pm
There's either a long short story or a short novella, set in the Mythos (at least, I was sure it was set in the mythos when I read it) that I read a while ago.

The title is something within spitting distance of "A Happening An Incident at Coldcreek Farm". It concerns a protagonist who has rented a room at the farm to get some work done far from meddling distractions. The couple who owns the farm seem perfectly normal at first, although I have an impression that the wife cooked notably good food. And then there are terrible huge pale moths, and dead bodies animated by some strange alien intelligence--fairly standard stuff, you know. It was okay, it's just that I've gotten a sudden craving to read it and if I own it then I *know* it's packed right now, and I can't exactly go looking for the anthology to get out of the library without having the story title.


EDIT: Found! "The Events at Poroth Farm".
Thursday, August 16th, 2007 03:32 pm
Just grabbed from [livejournal.com profile] necronomiphiles; it's one of those smart, throughly in-jokey pieces of work that stands on its own as a picture and leaves you grinning at all the references.

A snapshot of Lovecraft's Mythos inspiration, here.


On a completely unrelated note, I bought flowers. Two stalks of orchids, in a brown flat glazed vase, with a pair of Chinese coins dangling from around the vase-neck. I'll bring them home tomorrow, probably. I have too much stuff to carry today.
Monday, July 16th, 2007 04:51 pm
[livejournal.com profile] ersatzinsomnia reminds me of something I think I'd tended to forget, discussed in more detail in this post and excerpted here:
Thus we have the entire official record of Hastur… tangential, incomplete mentions in six stories passed along a chain of four authors.

All of which highlights the essential mystery and charm of what is commonly referred to as the “Cthulhu Mythos.” The beings of the mythos, the objects associated with them, and their essential nature is not only unexplained, they are un-detailed to such a fabulous extent that all that really exists about them is an atmosphere, a lingering malaise associated with the idea of the beings... a flavor of musty tomes, forgotten secrets, and madness incarnate, brought forth in a whisper. Contrary to the bumper-sticker humor most Lovecraftian fans banter about, Hastur is not an ancient god from beyond time and space who comes whence thrice spoken is his name... you’re thinking of Bloody Mary. Hastur is indefinable.
I'm especially prone to nailing down things. And it's good, sometimes, to be reminded of how vague they actually are; that between Chambers and Lovecraft, you can't even tell if Hastur is a person, place, or thing.

(Not, you know, that the King in Yellow doesn't still get me all starry-eyed, and that I don't have definite impressions of Carcosa. Just that they're not universal ones.)
Tuesday, June 19th, 2007 04:48 pm
Sometimes I just go to this page, and let it play quietly in the background.

I suspect I am almost going to be disappointed at midnight on July 30th, but perhaps they will leave the sound going.
Wednesday, May 16th, 2007 08:29 am
The remaindered bookstore in L'Esplanade Laurier is closing on the 26th. At the moment, you can fill a bag (of the type they have at the front desk--no bringing a laundry bag) with books for $20 ($21.20 with tax). I was careful to always hold the bag at the bottom, as it seemed flimsy, but not particularly small.

Loot! )

I had never heard of that last, but it's *William Golding*. So either I will be incredibly heartened by how much he improved before writing Lord of the Flies, or I will have the human condition stripped bare before me on the page with its nerve endings raw and writhing.

Also, I found chibi Whateley art. (Not at the booksale.) My *brain*.

On a semi-related note, Neil Gaiman has a Whateley transcribing Cthulhu's story, if you've not seen it yet.

EDIT: Xorph nearly made me spit coffee onto my keyboard this morning. Check it out.
Thursday, January 4th, 2007 06:27 pm
Being a love letter to the cover of Fatal Experiments, and a brief cross-section of my gaming history.

Covers. )

And so I come to the cover of Fatal Experiments, which is actually the subject and instigation of this ramble. It's a dark blue mottled background, with a pair of hands in the foreground. One hand is gloved in something thick and close-fitting, a yellowish tanned-flesh colour. It's pulling the same kind of glove over the second hand, and you can see runnelled and warty green skin on the forearm below the glove. One of the fingers--clearly inhuman, clearly clawed--is tearing through the glove, and on its bared claw there is such a gleam...

CoC )

I did find people who were willing to play RPGs a year or so later, but aside from (some quite brief) forays into Shadowrun and Amber, it was Vampire: the Masquerade. And Werewolf: the Apocalypse. And Vampire. And Vampire. And a little Mage. And Vampire.[2] All second edition, if I recall correctly. I sometimes wonder that I turned out as well as I did, though I still cringe when I remember some of what I came up with.

By this time it was getting to be in the mid/late 90s, and it was getting rather harder to lay hands upon gaming sourcebooks from Chaosium. And while you could still find a copy of Blood Brothers 2 in Ottawa up until a few years ago, Fatal Experiments was a bit harder to lay hands upon. And it drifted to the back of my mind as something I would have liked but was probably never going to lay hands upon, kind of like a pony except it would have fit on the bookshelf and ponies don't tear up flayed human skin.

Fastforward more years than I care to think about, during which the concept of gaming as "something you do with people" instead of "something you might kind of think about doing with people, while you are reading the book and playing what-if in your brain" took root.

And I was given a gift, and told "buy something you want for Christmas". And I was browsing Mythos stuff, and following links. And I found a copy of Fatal Experiments for sale in decent condition.

It came in the mail today.

It's beautiful.
Footnotes. )
Thursday, September 21st, 2006 12:15 pm
In "The Colour Out Of Space", there's a mutating effect on local plants and wildlife before they die; they're oddly deformed, and their tracks (and presumably their scent) frighten those who know what they *ought* to be like, even if it's never quite nailed down how they're different.

There's a similar effect in "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde", where it's noted that Hyde's appearance practically screams deformity and yet no-one could put a finger on *how*, despite the fact that people loathe him on sight.[1]

Outside of Lovecraft, I can't at the moment think of similar situations in fiction--where being exposed to a unnatural substance (preferably indirectly, in a kind of background radiation sort of way)--causes a physical change that results in something indefinably unnatural.

[1] How very Promethean.
Thursday, August 31st, 2006 02:49 pm
Robert E. Howard (yes, yes, he did the Conan stuff; that is not the bit that interests me) wrote a rather good short story, involving a poor traveller and a degenerate family and a spooky abandoned house and a not-properly-dead thing that lurked within. I really kind of liked it; at a point when I was feeling depressingly bogged down in by-the-numbers monsters, the zuvembie and especially its presentation were a welcome change.[1] However, even liking the story as I do, and liking the image from which the title is derived very much, I cannot deny that the title "Pigeons from Hell" makes me... well, "snicker" is too harsh a word, but it's hard to be entirely serious.

Lovecraft's leg. )

Anyway. I have found something that goes beyond pigeons from hell.
In that instant, she completely understood the concept of a chicken that was not a chicken. This looked like a chicken, like most of the Mud People's chickens. But this was no chicken. This was evil manifest.
More evil chicken quotes. Funny. IMHO. )

Evil chickens.

I don't think even Kay could've pulled that one off.[3]
[1] Somewhere I'm sure someone has statted that poor monster in a way that uses a variation of the phrase "can animate the corpse of a PC or NPC killed within X range as per Y spell for 1 round per level of the PC or NPC at time of death". That person can go straight to hell and let those poor corpses cool into rigor mortis at their own damn pace.
EDIT: Grit, Drama Dice, or Inspiration, OTOH, is a perfectly fine way of handling it.
[2] For those not familiar with "Houseplants of Gor", it's here. For those not familiar with Gor, I will just say I honestly do think Norman wrote them as an exercise in sarcasm, and you can probably find adequate explanations via Google.
[3] You. Yes, you. *Do not mention that bird Kay describes*.
Tuesday, August 15th, 2006 04:25 pm
At any rate, they make *me* happy.

I shall plan my cousin’s escape from that Canton madhouse, and together we shall go to marvel–shadowed Innsmouth. We shall swim out to that brooding reef in the sea and dive down through black abysses to Cyclopean and many–columned Y’ha–nthlei, and in that lair of the Deep Ones we shall dwell amidst wonder and glory forever.
- H.P. Lovecraft, "The Shadow Over Innsmouth"

There were faces at the window and words written in blood; deep in the crypt a lonely ghoul crunched on something that might once have been alive; forked lightning slashed the ebony night; the faceless were walking; all was right with the world.
- Neil Gaiman, "Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Nameless House of the Night of Dread Desire"

For now, they had simpler concerns. Keeping the children from the roofs at night; the bereaved from crying out too loud; the young in summer from falling in love with the human.
It was a life.
- Clive Barker, Cabal

I needed that.
Friday, May 12th, 2006 02:05 pm
Browsing through Websnark.

There are moments when someone else has managed to articulate *exactly* what you'd say if you were going to say it, and there's a weird shock that's more like recognition than revelation. Eric Burns has a great long post mostly about pulp heroes, and stuffed into the middle of a paragraph where he's explaining what's so cool about the Shadow is the line
I need horror turned against evil instead of for evil.
Oh, damn, *yes*. That's it exactly.


Miskatonic University seems like it's turning out okay. It starts out with the author addressing a few considerations about running games in the Mythos universe; how strictly you'll adhere to canon, how to handle players who've read the stories, things you want to keep players from doing, how to handle the sacred cows--

--and this is about when it hit me.

This is fanfic. Fanfic in a slightly stretched and weird way, that isn't telling stories in the traditional sense, but is certainly telling stories.

*Anything* with the Mythos is fanfic, or fanfic piled on fanfic. "The Watchers Out of Time." "Cold Print." "A Colder War". "'The King', in Yellow". "A Study in Emerald." Some of Lovecraft's stuff was fanfic to begin with--he didn't invent Carcosa, or The King in Yellow, or Nodens.

Hell, outside of Lovecraft's work, the *Necronomicon* is fanfic.

I must think on this.
Friday, May 12th, 2006 06:04 am
It's being one of those mornings. You know. The ones where you wander around very slowly pulling breakfast together, responding to your cats' pleas for attention by saying "Lost Carcosa! Does kitty know what they do in lost Carcosa?"

...what, you mean everybody doesn't have those?
Strange is the night where black stars rise
And strange moons circle through the skies
But stranger still is
      Lost Carcosa.
Apparently I'm on a Lovecraft kick.
Tuesday, April 4th, 2006 07:52 am
Currently, it is hard to grab a handful of horror fiction without meeting at least one zombie in the mix.

Between the Innsmouth movie (and convergent evolution with the new Pirates movie), and the video game, and the magazines I keep tripping over, I am hoping for the Mythos to be the next darling trope.

*touches wood*