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Post Posted: Wed May 30, 2007 2:32 pm 
 

The Haunter of the Dark it is!
I see it - coming here - hell-wind - titan blue - black wing - Yog Sothoth save me - the three-lobed burning eye...


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Post Posted: Wed May 30, 2007 4:37 pm 
 

Who dies writing, "The three-lobed burning eye?"  
:scratch:

It's like dying while carving "Auuuugh!" on a stone. ("Perhaps he was dictating!")

I think that The Haunter of the Dark and The Whisperer in Darkness are both pretty good stories.  They seem like they could happen to real people.  And, the old church building and the remote house are places we can all identify with.

The same website that had pictures of the remains of Lovecraft's church tower also had pictures of the boarding house where he was staying at the time he wrote The Haunter of the Dark.  (I believe it was in Providence.)  The character who dies in that story was clearly based on Lovecraft himself.  His character lived in the same room as HPL.  Lovecraft made references to, and killed off, fantasy versions of Clark Ashton Smith and Robert Bloch in his stories (for instance, the wizard "Klarkash Ton").  They returned the favor.

I wonder what Lovecraft, who was interested in astronomy, would have said about Yuggoth/Pluto getting kicked out of the planet club.  Surely, some of the recent discoveries about space, planets, super-giant black holes, etc would have inspired him.  You can imagine what a term like "dark matter" would have done for Lovecraft!

HPL's influence is all over pop culture.  Some of the most interesting and ominous Star Trek episodes, for instance, were heavily Lovecraftian.   That's no surprise, seeing as some of the episodes were written by people like Robert Bloch.

It is interesting how far ahead of his time Lovecraft really was.  His work anticipates the atomic bomb, innumberable scientific advances and the distopic world of the second half of the 20th century (...although those of you born in the 1980's will have missed much of all that...it's hard to explain to those who missed it that the Cold War really happened).

In other ways, Lovecraft was such a part of his own era.  The terrorist threats and religous madmen of the early 21st century would have fit nicely with Lovecraft's racial ideas.  Osama Bin Laden and his compatriots exactly fit HPL's stereotypes of mongrel races infected with madness seeping up from R'lyeh.  World War II was the direct result of the racial theories embraced by so many people like Lovecraft.  I wonder what he would have thought or written about the Holocaust.  

(Again, it is hard to explain to someone born at the end of the 20th century that many people...perhaps even a majority...once held racial and evolutionary views that would be considered repugnant today.  We think we know better now.)


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Post Posted: Wed May 30, 2007 7:34 pm 
 

FormCritic wrote:Who dies writing, "The three-lobed burning eye?"  
:scratch:

It's like dying while carving "Auuuugh!" on a stone. ("Perhaps he was dictating!")

I think that The Haunter of the Dark and The Whisperer in Darkness are both pretty good stories.  They seem like they could happen to real people.  And, the old church building and the remote house are places we can all identify with.

)


The protagonist in Haunter of the Dark, Robert Blake, is based on Bloch.  Likewise, Bloch kills of a Lovecraft-like character in The Shambler From the Stars (by a Star Vampire, no less).  

The REH collection referenced above is Cthulhu: The Mythos and Kindred Horrors.  I have a copy in my Ebay bookstore if anyone is interested! Plus a lot of Lovecraft I haven't yet listed; let me know if you are interested and I can sell you a collection or two.

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Post Posted: Wed May 30, 2007 7:39 pm 
 

FormCritic wrote:Who dies writing, "The three-lobed burning eye?"  
:scratch:

It's like dying while carving "Auuuugh!" on a stone. ("Perhaps he was dictating!")



The funniest of all is the dying WRITTEN message of the poor guy that gets it at the end of Frank Belknap Long's "Hounds of Tindalos".  I don't have the story handy, but inside the guy's study is found a piece of paper with his last words, written as the Hounds appear to kill him, and it's something like "They are coming! The smoke clears!  I see ther horrible tongues! They are going to kill me!  Ahhhhhh..."  I don't know about you, but instead of writing the "ahhhh", I might have given RUNNING LIKE A MADMAN a try instead.... :)

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Post Posted: Wed May 30, 2007 7:45 pm 
 

Well, in his defence, he was inside a spherical room, because the hounds could appear from anything that contained an angle. :lol:

I might be interested in some of the HPL stuff, depending on what you have  (Don't happen to have The Loved Dead, do you?) and depending on how badly the USPS feels like raping me to get them posted internationally... :roll:

  

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Post Posted: Wed May 30, 2007 9:03 pm 
 

FormCritic wrote:It is interesting how far ahead of his time Lovecraft really was.  His work anticipates the atomic bomb, innumberable scientific advances and the distopic world of the second half of the 20th century (...although those of you born in the 1980's will have missed much of all that...it's hard to explain to those who missed it that the Cold War really happened).

In other ways, Lovecraft was such a part of his own era.  The terrorist threats and religous madmen of the early 21st century would have fit nicely with Lovecraft's racial ideas.  Osama Bin Laden and his compatriots exactly fit HPL's stereotypes of mongrel races infected with madness seeping up from R'lyeh.  World War II was the direct result of the racial theories embraced by so many people like Lovecraft.  I wonder what he would have thought or written about the Holocaust.  



He had a keen understanding of relativity theory and was obviously up-to-speed on the emerging field of quantum mechanics up until his death.  I always found this astonishing, given the fact that it wasn't exactly the information age.  But then again, Providence was (and is) a major university city, so I guess it's not surprising that he'd been exposed to these topics.

He was part of his era, but I also seem to remember a bio (either by Lovecraft himself, but more likely by someone like Joshi) that described HPL changing his political and societal beliefs late in his life.  

Am I correct in remembering that his positions on certain issues (like racial issues, big government, etc) changed considerably in the mid-1930s?

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Post Posted: Wed May 30, 2007 9:12 pm 
 

Badmike wrote:
The REH collection referenced above is Cthulhu: The Mythos and Kindred Horrors.  I have a copy in my Ebay bookstore if anyone is interested! Plus a lot of Lovecraft I haven't yet listed; let me know if you are interested and I can sell you a collection or two.

Badmike3Books (ebay name)

Mike B.


Mike,

Do you sell any Arkham House editions?  I've always been partial to that imprint.  

I already own the 4 primary collections by Lovecraft, plus 3 volumes of letters, plus the "The Watchers Out of Time" and "Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos".  

The trouble, of course, is that I'm not wealthy, so while I'd love a copy of "The Outsiders and Others", I doubt I'll be buying one in the near future.

However, there are some AH editions of other anthologies that are in my price range.

Thanks,
Keith


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Post Posted: Wed May 30, 2007 10:36 pm 
 

Badmike wrote:
The protagonist in Haunter of the Dark, Robert Blake, is based on Bloch.  Likewise, Bloch kills of a Lovecraft-like character in The Shambler From the Stars (by a Star Vampire, no less).  

The REH collection referenced above is Cthulhu: The Mythos and Kindred Horrors.  I have a copy in my Ebay bookstore if anyone is interested! Plus a lot of Lovecraft I haven't yet listed; let me know if you are interested and I can sell you a collection or two.

Badmike3Books (ebay name)

Mike B.


That's the one called Blake?  It's been a long time...maybe 20+ years.


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Post Posted: Wed May 30, 2007 10:39 pm 
 

Keith the Thief wrote:
Mike,

Do you sell any Arkham House editions?  I've always been partial to that imprint.  

I already own the 4 primary collections by Lovecraft, plus 3 volumes of letters, plus the "The Watchers Out of Time" and "Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos".  

The trouble, of course, is that I'm not wealthy, so while I'd love a copy of "The Outsiders and Others", I doubt I'll be buying one in the near future.

However, there are some AH editions of other anthologies that are in my price range.

Thanks,
Keith


Well, Keith.  I'm impressed that you own the volumes of letters.  Those are always out of my price range!

I always fantasize about finding a copy of The Dark Man and Others on a shelf at Goodwill or St. Vincent De Paul.  But...the rise of the internet and Ebay means that fewer and fewer sellers are unaware of the value of what they're selling.


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Post Posted: Thu May 31, 2007 8:30 am 
 

FormCritic wrote:
Well, Keith.  I'm impressed that you own the volumes of letters.  Those are always out of my price range!

I always fantasize about finding a copy of The Dark Man and Others on a shelf at Goodwill or St. Vincent De Paul.  But...the rise of the internet and Ebay means that fewer and fewer sellers are unaware of the value of what they're selling.


The copies of Selected Letters that I own I  found at a used/rare bookstore in Birmingham (AL) back in the early 90s.  At the time, the owner had a good feel for the going rates for classics, modernism and the like, but he didn't seem to bother with any kind of genre literature (he was a nice guy but a literary snob).  

So, what I do own came about as sheer luck that this guy had a lot of HPL for sale for what amounted to peanuts.

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Post Posted: Thu May 31, 2007 11:01 am 
 

One wonders, sometimes, how literary snobs manage to keep their day jobs.

I was a member of an online discussion group of people interested in the poetry of Spenser and Sir Philip Sidney....

When one of the Lord of the Rings movies came out, they were dissing on Tolkien.  I pissed them off by pointing out that they were a bunch of professors specializing in deservedly obscure and notoriously difficult poets...and they were having a laugh over one of the most successful and most influential writers of the century.  They got all huffy and stuff.

It always amazes me that people can sniff at the work of writers like HPL, REH and JRRT while admiring the silly (but...granted...entertaining) work of people like the Bronte sisters...or the dreadful work of writers like Herman Melville and Joseph Conrad.

A thought just struck me....

What would the books Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre (sp?) or Moby Dick be like if they had been written by Michael Moorcock?

OOOOO!  Must think more.......!   :twisted:

Mark  8)

PS:  I just thought the same thing about Joseph Conrad's book, Heart of Darkness.  If Moorcock had written it, Heart of Darkness would have looked exactly like the movie Apocalypse Now!  Sometimes the goodguys do win!


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Post Posted: Thu May 31, 2007 11:25 am 
 

FormCritic wrote:... while admiring the silly (but...granted...entertaining) work of people like the Bronte sisters...
Mark  8)


You're being awfully generous here.  In my opinion, Wuthering Heights even fails as a love story.

If I owned a bookstore, I'd put it with the Harlequin Romances.  Strike that.  I wouldn't stock the Bronte sisters at all.

I used to write fiction and attended a lot of writer's conferences.  It was fun cheesing off the literati by dropping tidbits like, "You know that Kafka wrote fantasy, don't you?"  Another one that always skewered them was when I'd talk about Vonnegut being a science fiction writer.

As you might imagine, I was often marginilized and wound up spending a lot of my time at the bar, talking sports with bartender.  8)

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Post Posted: Thu May 31, 2007 12:36 pm 
 


When one of the Lord of the Rings movies came out, they were dissing on Tolkien. I pissed them off by pointing out that they were a bunch of professors specializing in deservedly obscure and notoriously difficult poets...and they were having a laugh over one of the most successful and most influential writers of the century. They got all huffy and stuff.

It always amazes me that people can sniff at the work of writers like HPL, REH and JRRT while admiring the silly (but...granted...entertaining) work of people like the Bronte sisters...or the dreadful work of writers like Herman Melville and Joseph Conrad.


Perhaps the same way you mock Conrad and Melville while admiring REH and Tolkien. As an aside my undergrad U. a group of english professors formed a club for readings of  REH, Lovey, Tolkien, Hammett and a dozen other early 20th century writers. They felt as do I that many authors and particular genres aren't as appreciated as they should be. As for the Brontes' I'd guess they were fantastic for their day and greatly influenced many writers and academians who essentially designed most of the modern english cirriculae. I wouldn't read them even if threatened at gunpoint...Personally, I despite the seemingly formulaic nature of his writing I think Lovecraft is rivaled only by Poe.

Everybody's a snob about something. Me? I'm a tea snob.

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Post Posted: Thu May 31, 2007 4:33 pm 
 

Well, I'm just about ready for my annual summer exercise with A Game of Thrones, to wit:

1. Go into it full of optimsim;

2. Read X number of pages/chapters/whatever;

3. Fling book across room;

4. Donate book to our local Paperback Exchange.

Seriously, for fans of the series: what am I missing here? Shouldn't I love this series?

For non-fans: should I even bother this year? Maybe I could just drive the book straight over to the Paperback Exchange without even cracking the cover?

(BTW, my personal record is right around chapter 4 or 5, set in the summer of 2003).

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Post Posted: Thu May 31, 2007 5:54 pm 
 

Xaxaxe wrote:Well, I'm just about ready for my annual summer exercise with A Game of Thrones, to wit:

1. Go into it full of optimsim;

2. Read X number of pages/chapters/whatever;

3. Fling book across room;

4. Donate book to our local Paperback Exchange.

Seriously, for fans of the series: what am I missing here? Shouldn't I love this series?

For non-fans: should I even bother this year? Maybe I could just drive the book straight over to the Paperback Exchange without even cracking the cover?

(BTW, my personal record is right around chapter 4 or 5, set in the summer of 2003).


I've had the same problem.  It's a shame too, because I've really enjoyed George RR Martin's short fiction, especially that creepy damn story he published in Omni back in 1980 (can't remember the title).

All my friends who read swords & sorcery fiction swear by this series.  And every time I dive into it and have the same reaction you do, they'll say, well you should've chapter 5 (or 6 or 7 or 8 ... ad nauseum ... and I mean that literally).

Keith


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Post Posted: Fri Jun 01, 2007 12:46 am 
 

Xaxaxe wrote:Well, I'm just about ready for my annual summer exercise with A Game of Thrones, to wit:

1. Go into it full of optimsim;

2. Read X number of pages/chapters/whatever;

3. Fling book across room;

4. Donate book to our local Paperback Exchange.

Seriously, for fans of the series: what am I missing here? Shouldn't I love this series?

For non-fans: should I even bother this year? Maybe I could just drive the book straight over to the Paperback Exchange without even cracking the cover?

(BTW, my personal record is right around chapter 4 or 5, set in the summer of 2003).


X;

I will grant it starts slow. Sloooooooooow.  But man, when you get halfway through, you are hooked. Fight your way though the first few chapters; they are a set up, fluff, intro.  The good stuff doesn't get going until the regicide, incest, attempted murders, betrayals, wars, etc begin about halfway through.....!

Mike B.


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Post Posted: Fri Jun 01, 2007 2:03 am 
 

Cattledog wrote:

Perhaps the same way you mock Conrad and Melville while admiring REH and Tolkien.

Everybody's a snob about something. Me? I'm a tea snob.



I mock Conrad...and always shall...because he wrote Lord Jim.  Anyone who wrote Lord Jim deserves to be bonked on the nose with a newspaper...repeatedly.

I am being unfair to Melville, who wrote for a different era.

The difference between myself and a number of literary snobs is that I have read the works I am criticizing.

I like the work of the Bronte sisters.  I think Wuthering Heights is a good novel......

....but if Moorcock got ahold of the novel....and Heathcliff had returned from a parallel world where he and Katherine had fallen madly in love, married and then been tragically parted by the whims of Heathcliff's runesword...and Heathcliff had returnd to woo the original Katherine....after casting away his soul-destroying weapon....but then finds himself pursued by Chaos...and is forced to take up the sword once again to protect the Katherine he really loved....and to win he must somehow contort his mouth to pronounce the Unspeakable Oath....and Wuthering Heights itself turns out to be a transdimensional nexus which all the higher powers strive to control...meanwhile the tormented soul of Alternative Katherine (the ghost from the first chapter) is wandering about the estate trying to warn everyone that the Chaos Wars are destined to burn down all connected worlds unless Heathcliff returns to fight the cosmic battle which he abandoned millenia ago in the world of his true ancestry....a battle which he might win, only at the expense of his own existence...while mad gods laugh.....

  Well, then you might have something!

  See what I mean?


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Post Posted: Fri Jun 01, 2007 8:03 am 
 

The difference between myself and a number of literary snobs is that I have read the works I am criticizing.


I actually like Nostromo but didn't really care for Heart of Darkness.

If these snobs you've dealt with haven't actually read anything they criticize then isn't pretty easy to deal with them? I mean don't you just say "Have you read anything by REH ?!? No? Pick up a story then get back to me."

As for Wuthering Heights, perhaps you could work something out with the estate of the Brontes' and HPL. Of course I'm sure that's exactly what the Great Old Ones want....

OT: Azathoth must have written the leatherstocking tales.


Hmm, no, I don't have a gambling problem, I'm winning, and winning is not a problem. That's like saying Michael Jordan has a basketball problem, or Def Leppard has an awesomeness problem. So why don't y'all pour some sugar on that?

  

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Post Posted: Fri Jun 01, 2007 8:42 am 
 

Cattledog wrote:
I actually like Nostromo but didn't really care for Heart of Darkness.

If these snobs you've dealt with haven't actually read anything they criticize then isn't pretty easy to deal with them? I mean don't you just say "Have you read anything by REH ?!? No? Pick up a story then get back to me."

As for Wuthering Heights, perhaps you could work something out with the estate of the Brontes' and HPL. Of course I'm sure that's exactly what the Great Old Ones want....

OT: Azathoth must have written the leatherstocking tales.


I've actually read nearly everything by William Faulkner.  Talk about the antithesis of "easy reading".  He's one of the few great writers I never recommend to anyone.....unless they are willing to tough it out.
   Saw an interesting study many years ago when I was researching Faulkner.....a throw away line comparing him to Lovecraft in terms of the monstrosities of his novels.  His novels were pretty hard core southern gothic....it would have been interesting if it could ever be proven he picked up a Lovecraft story, but no one will ever know.  Faulkner was a huge fraud in terms of literary influences, saying in interviews he only read the "classics" and foreign writers, but secretly enjoying pulp and hardboiled fiction (of his friend Hammett, for example).  It's entirely possible he may have picked up a pulp containing "The Shunned House" or "Mountains of Madness" and never told anyone.  

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Post Posted: Fri Jun 01, 2007 11:14 am 
 

Cattledog wrote:

If these snobs you've dealt with haven't actually read anything they criticize then isn't pretty easy to deal with them? I mean don't you just say "Have you read anything by REH ?!? No? Pick up a story then get back to me."



I try not to debate with them.  Debating with a foolish person only makes me look like one of them.

I don't really object to a critic who points out a writer's flaws or the flaws in a piece of writing.  What I object to is the critic who puts down a genre or a given writer without having read his work.

Of course, I am guilty of that myself...women's romance novels come to mind.  

I guess all of us are foolish sometimes.

I have a friend who used to criticize country music...comparing it unfavorably with rock.  His strongest objection was to the affected country western accents and twangy voices.  OK...but rock and roll is full of affectation...including accents, fashion and singing styles specific to various industry niches.

We choose our own biases.

Recently, I read a number of comments online about REH's poem, Recompense.  The critics knew little about REH.  They mostly cut into his poem for resorting to "cliche" sword and sorcery imagry.  

In another case, an acquaintance of mine criticized the movie, Fellowship of the Ring for all of its fantasy "cliches."

In both cases, the critic was discussing a genre about which he/they had relatively small knowledge.  In both of the above cases, it was impossible for REH and JRRT to resort to "cliches" since their works are the sources for those cliches.  (Also, Recompense is about REH's inner fantasy life as opposed to the point of view of a fictional heroic warrior.)

I guess I am droning on.  The topic interests me.

Mark  8)


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