The H.P. Lovecraft Reading Club

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Snowy
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Re: The H.P. Lovecraft Reading Club

Post by Snowy » Sat Oct 13, 2018 5:06 pm

OK I have some time now :)

So - this wasn't one of my favourites I must say. Too much of the story doesn't make sense to me - the croco-seals and their origins, the lack of any real menace other than a muttering wind etc. The mention of the mad arab whet my palate but the story ultimately failed to deliver.

Much of my thoughts have already been covered above, and nice one Doug for the Nile reference, I didn't know that this story was the inspiration.

As a precursor to the mythos tales - it is OK. Like I say, it builds a nice sense of gothic menace but ultimately the punch is not there.
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Re: The H.P. Lovecraft Reading Club

Post by Gibby » Sat Oct 13, 2018 9:19 pm

Without wanting to cop out, I have to say my thoughts echo what has been said. I find that I was lukewarm to this story as there's a lot of build up for little pay off. I find the narrator to be unbelievably stupid, but it comes across as less a facet of his character but more that HPL was trying to up the creepy factor as long as possible, when it was obvious to the reader what was going on. I think this is Lovecraft setting up a really creepy place as a pure writing exercise, because it's not really much as a story. It's interesting as well that the narrator speaks of those other places that predate mankind, yet remains utterly determined to believe that mankind MUST have built the Nameless City.

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Re: The H.P. Lovecraft Reading Club

Post by Snowy » Sun Oct 14, 2018 4:34 pm

I find several of the 'pre-Mythos' stories to be almost exercises by a developing author. When he hits his stride, while he can still be hit and miss (part of the charm of HPL is embarking on a tale not knowing if it will be a winner) I find the tales much more compelling.
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Re: The H.P. Lovecraft Reading Club

Post by Stormbringer » Sun Oct 14, 2018 4:49 pm

Excellent. Now everyone has contributed except for that Mantis guy.

Press 1 to find out more about Abdul Alhazred and the Necronomicon.

Press 2 to find out more about the cities of Sarnath the Doomed, that stood in the land of Mnar when mankind was young, and of Ib, that was carven of grey stone before mankind existed.

Press 3 to find out more about the possible fate of the narrator of The Nameless City...

Press 4 if you think the banks of the Nile sounds like a decent place for a creepy adventure.
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Re: The H.P. Lovecraft Reading Club

Post by Gibby » Sun Oct 14, 2018 8:07 pm

4!

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Re: The H.P. Lovecraft Reading Club

Post by Sly Boots » Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:29 am

I'll let others vote this time, I'm not sure I'll have the time to participate. We've got an insane amount of decorating still to do before carpets go in next Monday, and I've been ducking work while hoping no-one will notice as it is.

But once that's settled down I'll come back and take part in the one after. Or I might get some time, will have to see. In any case happy to go with what others decide.

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Re: The H.P. Lovecraft Reading Club

Post by Stormbringer » Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:24 am

Well, unless Snowy makes a vote today, I suggest we go with 4?
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Re: The H.P. Lovecraft Reading Club

Post by Snowy » Mon Oct 15, 2018 4:36 pm

I am happy to float with the flow :)
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Re: The H.P. Lovecraft Reading Club

Post by Stormbringer » Tue Oct 16, 2018 9:24 am

Like Afrasiab and the daemons that floated with him down the Oxus?


Well, this week we're moving west from the remote deserts of Araby to the banks of the Nile in Egypt, where we'll be exploring... Under the Pyramids!

In a slightly unusual and odd situation, this story's narrator is not some unknown English nobleman or scholar of esoteric lore, but an actual historical figure who was contemporary to H.P. Lovecraft -- master stage illusionist and escape artist Harry Houdini (a.k.a. Erik Weisz).

Image

Houdini with his wife, Bess, 1913, three years after their Pyramid adventure.



Read it here.
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Re: The H.P. Lovecraft Reading Club

Post by Snowy » Thu Oct 18, 2018 3:37 pm

OK, I have started this but not yet finished (I have read it before but am going at it afresh in preparation for the exam questions).

Firstly, I will be amazed if anything in the book tickles me anywhere near as much as the reference to a "saucily cocked tarbush" on the head of one swarthy Egyptian. I simply cannot envisage how a fez can be 'saucily cocked' :lol:

Secondly, to return the favour to Doug, I wonder if you were aware that Queen Nitokris referenced in the story inspired the mighty Celtic Frost epic Morbid Tales? That the song's lyrics also reference Yog Sothoth only gives it more reason to be linked here:



Anyhow, I shall return, fez saucily cocked, as soon as I am done.
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Re: The H.P. Lovecraft Reading Club

Post by Snowy » Mon Oct 22, 2018 11:18 am

So then...

This is more of the HPL that I love than has gone before in this thread.

One of the things I always liked the most is his massive over-use of adjectives, which I always found conveyed the sense of the mind-tearing reality of the Mythos. There are a number of examples here, albeit quite tame by his standards.

"The suddenness of it was apocalyptic and daemoniac—one moment I was plunging agonisingly down that narrow well of million-toothed torture, yet the next moment I was soaring on bat-wings in the gulfs of hell; swinging free and swoopingly through illimitable miles of boundless, musty space; rising dizzily to measureless pinnacles of chilling ether, then diving gaspingly to sucking nadirs of ravenous, nauseous lower vacua."

"And behind it all I saw the ineffable malignity of primordial necromancy, black and amorphous, and fumbling greedily after me in the darkness to choke out the spirit that had dared to mock it by emulation."

This is the first of the HPL stories I have really enjoyed, as it has a feel close to the Mythos tales that chilled me so much when I discovered HPL as a teenager.

"In their rhythmic piping, droning, rattling, and beating I felt an element of terror beyond all the known terrors of earth—a terror peculiarly dissociated from personal fear, and taking the form of a sort of objective pity for our planet, that it should hold within its depths such horrors as must lie beyond these aegipanic cacophonies." - this is so similar to the descriptions of the elder gods, lurking formless in the void while mindless piping amuses them.

Also the fact that it is about ancient Egypt is a draw for me - I have always found the culture and history fascinating, the complete obsession of the supposed link between death and fertility. I was lucky enough to visit on my honeymoon, and of all the places in the world I have been it is the only one that surpassed my expectations, although I must say that the pyramids while spectacular are nothing compared with some of the temples, the colossi of Memnon and the Valley of the Kings.

So yes - bring on the exam questions!
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Re: The H.P. Lovecraft Reading Club

Post by Snowy » Wed Oct 24, 2018 7:52 pm

Was it something I said...?
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Re: The H.P. Lovecraft Reading Club

Post by Sly Boots » Wed Oct 24, 2018 8:25 pm

Doug hasn't been around for a little while that I've seen, maybe busy with work?

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Re: The H.P. Lovecraft Reading Club

Post by Snowy » Thu Oct 25, 2018 4:19 pm

And what's your excuse Mr Boots? ¬_¬
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Re: The H.P. Lovecraft Reading Club

Post by Sly Boots » Thu Oct 25, 2018 6:03 pm

For not reading this one?

After having our loft conversion finished we had two weeks to decorate two floors of the house before carpets got fitted on Monday this week. I've been painting, glossing, sanding, filling, caulking, stripping paint, waxing wood and more besides. I spent nine hours on Tuesday assembling Ikea flat-pack furniture, during which time my wife would occasionally wander in and offer sympathy, but not actual help. Flat-out doesn't do it justice! And now having spent two weeks doing that rather than working, I'm two weeks behind work and shitting myself about deadlines (am probably going to have to spend the entire weekend trying to catch up somewhat), so while it would be lovely to have had the time to sit down with a coffee and read some Lovecraft, it hasn't really been the right time :lol:

Depending on when Doug gets back though I may still have time... ¬_¬

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