The Dwarf that Cast a Long Shadow

polymorphikos

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#1
In approaching the topic I would like to say that I genuinely like Lovecraft, however it seems to me that in some ways his appeal worked on me more through the fact that popular culture had conjoured whispers of horror and such for so long, and I had been hunting for so long before the internet provided me with copies of his works, that it was less what was within his stories than what I believed them to be attached to that created the intense feeling of awe. I don't know if I'm explaining myself well, but basically the pop-culture icon that is the Cthulhu Mythos seems more entrancing and terrifying and wonder-filled than the stories themselves actually ever were, and it was only because of vague referrences on sites and in dubious horror novels that I had this vast conception towering over me.

So I guess what I'm saying is, I'd love to have a brain-wipe and then see what I thought about HPL from a fresh perspective, not coloured by decades of spooky allusion.
 

Brian G Turner

Fantasist & Futurist
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#2
Nothing worse than over-hyping for distorting a perspective...

Maybe you should read a couple of late 19th/early 20th century writers who influenced Lovecraft first - Arthur Machen, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Amrose Bierce, and of course Poe - then read the HP Lovecraft stories "The Haunter of the Dark" and "The Thing on the Doorstep". Might be of help?
 
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#3
I got to know the mythos in the same way, when I encountered it, it was so obscure, I thought it might be a real occult belief system(witness the several starry wisdom cults that have emerged)
Now, there's the Encyclopedia Cthulhuiana-a fine reference book, but, what happened to foreplay?, the mystery is goon!
Games and musical groups, novelty items, bumper stickers, mention Lovecraft in a room, and several fans will emerge.
There's even 'Cthulhu Sex', which is a little too outre for even your right villinous correspondant's Ghooric Zone tastes.
It's difficult to deliver on the dark secrets that the Mythos hints at, and if you don't have a deft hand, you can get something like 'The Rise and Fall of the People's Republic of Antarctica' where the references got so oblique, I got lost-might have been a great book, had the last third worked better.
Evil becomes banal, in the end, something that reassures me in the essential goodness of the universe.
Once and a while, though, someone comes along and makes the possibility of the hyper-real seem attainable.
Thank God it's fiction!
Say, seen the Cephalopod News?(there's something like it on the net, none of the links ever work, and the only way you can buy anything from most of the shopping sites is to fly there and use cash, but there's an online cephalopod journal!).
Seems the Giant Squid has been eclipsed by the Colossal Squid, an Antarctic horror a third longer, half again as heavy and armed with truly horrendous swiveling claws on the end of it's tentacles.
Thank God, HPL was spared this knowledge, he'd have soiled his breeches!
 
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#4
To add a note, the mythos exists because of the hype-Lovecraft wanted it to come at you from several angles, to make it seem real.
Howard, Leiber and others made references to Cthulhu in stories, making the Mythos a by word for utter evil.
Just as the New Testament agrees on very little, so the Mythos is contradictory and muddled.
That's the true genius of HPL-he made a world for others to use, a creation for creators.
It works!
 

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