Blind Read Through; H.P. Lovecraft, Polaris
This story plays off the classic unreliable narrator that Lovecraft is so famous for. More of a vignette than an actual story, our narrator tells of a city he sees only from the light of the “Pole Star”, shortly after the green mist of the Northern Lights shone on the ground. The narrator tells of how there are creatures who have come into the land, “Nightmares” as he calls them, and they threaten the existence of the Lomarians (the narrator never says that he is a Lomarian, but he lives among them and his best of friends “Alos” is the captain of the guard). Till one night the narrator is in a tower and the Pole Star speaks to him and lulls him to sleep while the danger of these creatures looms near.
This seems to me (though I have not read any of them yet) that this is the introduction to the Dreamlands, though it is toted as a normal “Horror” story. You have the Cosmic horror elements that were in previous stories (The Green mist of the Northern Lights as was present in The Doom that came to Sarnath), and you have the dreamlike state where the narrator doesn’t know the difference between reality and dream.
What is provocative about this story is that it seems to me as though it is a modern day narrator who is dreaming that he is part of this Lomarian society in ancient times (We know this because the Lomarian’s live in the frozen north, and the narrator speaks of the swamps outside his window in the gloom of the north star). He gets so sucked into the world, that it seems real to him and he even becomes friends with a personage from the time.
Elements of The Tomb are also present because the narrator is reading an ancient tome called the “Pnakotic manuscripts”, which probably means that there is some possession happening. The Narrator reads the manuscripts and gets his consciousness transposed into the real Lomarian who fell asleep at the watch as the gods’ minions destroyed the society. This is why the creatures mock him by telling him that it is not a dream.
Another interesting item of this story is that it takes place in the frozen north. I always thought Lovecraft took place in Mayan temples of the jungles, but it is turning out to be mainly in the north. The eponymous “Polar Star” is the North Star, and in the first paragraph the narrator talks about the strange green glow of the Northern Lights.