I anticipated releasing the conclusion of Lurker at the Threshold today, but due to a WordPress blip, half of the essay was gone when I logged on this morning. So that essay will be coming to you next week while I re-write it, followed by an essay on some final thoughts of H.P. Lovecraft. What I want to spend the rest of this update doing is letting you know what’s coming after that!
Blind Read Series:
I’m going to transition directly from H.P. Lovecraft to J.R.R. Tolkien (I didn’t think there were enough initials in my titles!). I read The Hobbit as a child and loved it, but when I started to read The Lord of the Rings, I was stuck at Tom Bombadil. I eventually read that massive tome in three sections, but I’ve always been interested in Tolkien’s lost tales and histories. I know many people are, but the text itself is daunting, so I intent on continuing the Blind Read series and reading, analyzing, demystifying, and connecting all of Tolkien’s side tales and histories of Middle Earth. In three weeks from today I’ll release the first section of the Silmarillion!
The weather is cooling and the spooky season is coming. I intend to write a number of short shorts (somewhere in the ballpark of 1000 words) to release periodically in the fall months. These are going to be similar to the Universal Monster shorts I did last year, but Halloween will be the connecting factor this year. This is a call back to all those terribly awesome 80’s horror/schlock films such as The Monster Squad, Fright Night, and Hocus Pocus (I know, I know, that one is the 90’s). So come join me for some kinda, maybe not so scary fun!
Elsie Jones Adventures:
Get ready for a new look of Elsie Jones! I’ve been passively looking for a new Illustrator to take over the series, but this fall I’ll continue in earnest. Get ready for a new authors edition of Elsie Jones and the Book Pirates, and a cleaner Elsie Jones and the Captain’s Guard. Twelve of the 15 books are written, so I anticipate a good release schedule! If you’re curious you can purchase any of the first three books here!
Currently in it’s fourth edit. This is my adventure novel I finished last October. Think if Dan Brown partnered with Indiana Jones this is what you’d get! I’ve always loved the intrigue and the adventure of following the clues to discover and uncover a mystery! Inspired by the incredible Oak Island (research it if you don’t know about it). I’m hoping to have this published in some fashion in 2022.
The Monster in the Woods:
This is the first book in my Revolution Cycle. I’ve been stewing on this series for 20 years or so, and I’m finally getting it to where I want it. I’ve already written two novels that’s I’ve been unhappy with and consider exploratory novels into the world, but I’ve been spending quite a bit of time outlining everything that will go into this 10 book series. The first book is very heavily inspired by The Goonies (I’m catching a 80’s inspiration thread here), but the larger story is told with the backdrop of impending war, and how the group from the first book will deal with it. The Monster in the Woods is a Heist/Gooniesesque adventure, with a few twists along the way.
That’s all for now, with much more on the way!
August Derleth, Final thoughts
“There was something about him where he stood all by himself under the trees and the stars, on the edge of the streetlight’s glow in the darkness, that was symbolic of many men and women, not alone in this Sac Prairie, but in all the Sac Prairies of the world, something which spoke, out of that pathetic, ludicrous figure, of the spiritual isolation of so many people, something which made the thoughtful onlooker to wonder what thin line divided him from that other, knowing perhaps that the distance of chance or Providence was less great than the few steps separating one from the other in that darkness.”
Welcome back to another Blind Read! This week we’re switching gears with only one more week left in the Lovecraft series, I reflect back on the time we’ve spent talking about and analyzing August Derleth, the self imposed protégé of Howard Phillips Lovecraft.
To be brutally honest, I’ve not been a huge fan of August Derleth’s work. On the surface it seems like he hits all the bullet points, however his writing style is not conducive to the style of horror in which Lovecraft wrote. I’d actually be much more interested in reading some of his other works…in fact the quote from the introduction to this essay comes from a different story he wrote entitled, “Walden West.”
Derleth is one of the earlier instances of what I would consider calling the “story smith,” or campfire story teller. What I mean by that, is a few things… the text is very general and basic. The plot is straightforward and direct. The story is a direct line. Think about authors such as Robert Bloch, Richard Matheson, and Stephen King. These are not authors who spend time worrying about their word selection. These are not authors you would consider to be necessarily literary. This is not a bad thing, it’s just a different style of writing.
Lovecraft was something all together different. He was incredibly perfidious, and every word was placed in just the right place. Looking back on his stories they were difficult and complicated and, sometimes, hard to process. But that’s what made him so perfect for this kind of horror. Lovecraft’s description is written in a such a way that at first glace (or first read as it were) it doesn’t seem particularly scary, but the more it sits with you, those little turns of phrase bloom like fungus in your brain and you begin to think about the stories when you least expect them.
Derleth isn’t like that. He tries to alter his writing style to match Lovecraft’s, but instead of being insidious, it just becomes more drawn out. He uses run-on sentences and labyrinthine verbiage, but instead of feeling more like Lovecraft he ends up just sounding pretentious.
It’s a bit unfortunate that Derleth decided to publish these stories as H.P. Lovecraft instead of himself, because, quite frankly, the stories would have been far greater had he just not tried to copy Howard’s style. A very specific story I can reference is “Witches Hollow” which was an utterly unique tale; told in an entirely different voice from the rest of his Lovecraft knock offs. In my opinion this was his best story because it wasn’t trying to clarify what Lovecraft had done before. It wasn’t trying to prove that it was a part of the Lovecraft ethos, it was just a great story that used elements created by Howard Phillips and moved out onto it’s own. This is what Lovecraft wanted his created world to be anyway. Other authors like Clark Ashton Smith and Robert Bloch, and later like Brian Lumley and Thomas Ligotti utilized the mythos as a unique genre rather than an homage to Lovecraft himself. Stories like this always turn out better because you can be yourself without being beholden to what the previous author wanted.
The other downfall with Derleth is his preference for quantity. He was known to have said that he could sit down and write a “quality story” every day. The issue is that he never checked his facts, nor did he care overly much about grammar and spelling errors (this is an assumption on my part because of all the syntax, grammar, and Lovecraft facts which were incorrect. He may be very happy with the outcomes here). You could say the same about Carroll and Graf (the publisher of the books I read by Derleth…which I probably wouldn’t recommend if you could find another version), and it’s possible that it’s their oversight here and not his. But the larger issue is Derleth changing facts of Lovecraft to fit his story.
Let me clarify here. If Derleth were writing these stories as he should have been, using his own name, then I’d have zero problem with him changing facts or bending the narrative, but the moment he uses the name Lovecraft and doesn’t use his own name, that sullys the name of Lovecraft. You’ll see people online saying they hate Derleth for what he did. They hate him for using Lovecraft’s name and producing the stories he did, and there is some validity to thier argument.
I’m a little torn, because I truly believe that Lovecraft would not be in the public consciousness like he is now had it not been for Derleth creating Arkham House Publishing and continuing to produce stories in Lovecraft’s name all the way into the 70’s. Even companies such as Chaosium who produced multiple board games and the role playing game Call of Cthulhu, utilized more elements of gameplay from Derleth (The Investigator trope, and the Elder Sign) than they did from Lovecraft. Derleth is forever entrenched into this sub-culture, whether you like it or not.
Which proves that his stories had something to show off. Derleth is basically Lovecraft lite. I’d highly recommend starting with Derleth if you’ve been having difficulty breaking through the language barrier Lovecraft presents. Derleth’s stories are simpler and considerably less nuanced, which makes them easier to digest. One can get a feel for the world Lovecraft created without taking a deep dive – then once you feel the hook, you can jump into Lovecraft proper and get the real experience.
We’ve come a long way in the past four years. I started out not really knowing where to go with this project and it’s been so rewarding and fun to get the full experience of two different authors in one. I’ve also come to a brand new group of people and have met some great folks discussing the nuances of these authors. I really wasn’t sure if I was going to keep going, but the experience has been so great that I’m going to move onto a new author whom I’ve always wanted to dig deeper into but have been too scared to.
When I was a kid I read “The Hobbit” and I loved it. I tried to read “The Lord of the Rings,” but I had difficulty getting past the language. It wasn’t until about 10 years ago that I finally read those stories, but there were so many loose threads in that book that left me wanting more. There’s an entire history beyond the novels of those worlds and that’s what I intend on jumping into next. We have the last installment of “The Lurker at the Threshold” next week, then one final “last thoughts” on Lovecraft himself, before we switch genres and head straight into “The Silmarillion” by J.R.R. Tolkien. Join me and let me know your thoughts!
Blind Read Through: H.P. Lovecraft / August Derleth; The Lurker at the Threshold, pt. 4
“I saw my cousin far more clearly, as I later realized, than I should have seen him by all the laws of perspective and sight applied to the distance, the time, and the setting, but at the moment this did not occur to me as forcefully as it might otherwise have done for a very vivid reason – because I saw far more than these fundamentals of the setting, which seemed, as it were, little more than a frame for the utterly horrible and frightful visions which presented themselves to my view from the study window.
“For my cousin Ambrose was not alone.”
Welcome back to another Blind Read! This week we progress into a crescendo of information, solidify Derleth’s legacy in Cosmic horror, and bring Stephen Bates’ manuscript to a close.
We start this section with Stephen and Ambrose returning “‘home,’ where he (Ambrose) ‘belonged.‘” But we find that while the two men were in Boston there were two mysterious deaths which sound remarkable familiar. The “bodies of two victims…both appeared to have been dropped from a height, varying between them, both were badly mangled and torn, however recognizable...”
This strikes me as reminiscent to either “The Haunter in the Dark” or the flying Mi-Go from far reaching space (These may actually be the same creatures. The descriptions for both are vague enough that I truly think one of the Mi-Go was called out and was the titular Haunter.), called out of space and time by Ambrose’s calls and killed the two people as sacrifices necessary to complete the ritual and bring forth, whichever deity Ambrose (or Richard Billington taking over his body) is working to summon.
As soon as they get there, Ambrose “began to act in a manner completely antipodal to his conduct as my (Stephen’s) winter-guest in the city.” But one other thing went terribly wrong as soon as they arrived.
“The frogs – do you hear them? Listen to them sing!” Ambrose cries out to Stephen. It’s remarkable that Stephen doesn’t get it even after reading all the documents of correspondence, because the batrachian crying is the last line of defense…and we find out a few pages later, the Whippoorwills are crying out in song.
Derleth works on building the tension by reiterating the rules and even going so far as recalling a portion from the Necronomicon: “…that writer described only as the ‘mad Arab,’ because the amphibia were of the same primal relationship as the sect of followers of the Sea-Being known as the ‘Deep-Ones.'”
Derleth describes the noises for a few pages, ramping the unease, until he steps up his game by stating that “there was an old woman in Dunwich who had several times been awakened in the night by the voice of Jason Osborn…and decided finally that it came from somewhere ‘beside her, or out of the space or the sky overhead.“
Don’t know who Jason Osborn is? He’s one of those victims who “appeared to ‘have been dropped from a height.'”
Stephen thinks about this for a while and decides that he needs to go speak with Mrs. Bishop based upon the notes from his cousin.
Immediately she invites him inside because of his car. “‘Tis the same car the Master come in – yew come from the master!” It’s an odd reply because she thinks of Ambrose as her “Master” or rather she knows that Richard has taken back over Ambrose’s body, specifically because of the music of the frogs, “I been a-hearin’ ’em a-callin’ steady, an’ I know they’re a-callin’ fer Them from Outside.”
Stephen asks her what actually happened before. Why did Alijah leave? What is actually going down here?
“It never got Alijah. Alijah shut It up an’ got away. Alijah shut It up – an’ he shut up the Master, too, out there, Outside, when the Master was ready tew come back again after thet long a time. Ain’t many as knows it, but Misquamicus fer one.” But who is the Master? “He wore a Whateley face an’ he wore a Doten face an’ he wore a Giles face an’ he wore a Corey face...”
She never gives a clear understanding of who the Master really is, although obviously he’s either a priest of one of the Great Old Ones, or he’s one of the Great Race of Yith (In Lovecraft they were observers, in Derleth they are interferers with a nefarious bent). The Master is not one of these individual humans she speaks about, but rather some sort of Outsider who has the ability to jump into others bodies and control them. So when she calls Ambrose “Master” she ain’t speaking about Ambrose, she’s speaking about this Outsider who has invaded and taken over his personality and body.
As Mrs. Bishop and Stephen are speaking, he remembers the correspondence between Alijah and someone named Jonathan Bishop, who in those letters speaks of Alijah as Master as well. We find out that he was Mrs. Bishop’s grandfather who “come on tew some uv the secrets an’ he thought he knew it all.” He brought his own unfortunate end by trying to call “It” down.
She tells Stephen he should have a “sign uv perteckshun” which will stop them from being able to hear what’s happening on this side of the multiverse. We also know from previous Derleth that this sign of protection, otherwise known as the Elder Sign, can also be used to imprison outsiders. In fact that’s what Ambrose carved out of the stone tower at the beginning of this novel which was holding a Outer God in prison, but it’s also what keep Cthulhu imprisoned and sleeping in R’lyeh.
Mrs. Bishop continues to speak of the sign and how it will protect him and what the outsiders can do, using Jason Osborn as an example, and ends with this: “An’ the wust uv it is, yew doan’t see Them a-tall – but yew can tell when They’re near by the smell, the wust smell ever – like suthin’ straight aout uv Hell!”
I bring this up, not only because it’s notable that you can tell the Outsiders by their smell, but also because of what the smell means for each author. In Lovecraft the smell was a fruiting fungous smell. Earthy and putrid and nauseating. It was supposed to indicate something odd, something not of this world all the while eliciting disgust about what the fungus of space would do. Fugus it self can grow on anything, and generally overruns it’s host body which is the feeling Lovecraft wanted his readers to feel as they read his works. That slow insidious crawl.
Derleth took all that Lovecraft did and layered on his religious tendency over top of it. Thus the smell was out of Hell, it became a sulfurous smell rather than a fungoid smell, still eliciting innate fears, but, to me, Lovecraft’s is far more powerful, because a sulfur smell just brings about images of demons, which are in the image of man, whereas the outsiders are something we cant even fathom. Something that can break your mind just by looking at them. Something beyond comprehension.
Eventually Stephen goes back to the house and he finds that he’s alone. He passes the strange leaden window and decides to take a look through it, only to find that it’s become a sort of magnifying glass which shows the tower and circle of stones in perfect clarity. We get the opening quote of this essay, and find out whom is with Ambrose:
“On the roof, as it were one on each side of him, were two toad-like creatures which seemed constantly to be changing shape and appearance…And in the air about him were great viperine creatures, which had curiously distorted heads, and grotesquely great clawed appendages, supporting themselves with ease by the aid of black rubbery wings of singularly monsterous dimensions…the things I saw had an existence quite apart from my imagination.”
The space around Ambrose becomes “In Flux” popping into existence and vanishing, as if another dimension were trying to enter into our world and something even more insane happens:
“…the Thing, which first appeared before me as an angular extension into space, with its focal point before my cousin Ambrose at the tower, became in succession a great amorphous mass of changing flesh, squamous as certain snakes, and putting forth and drawing back constantly and without cessation innumerable tentacular appendages of all lengths and shapes; a horrible, blackly furred thing with great red eyes that opened from all portions of its body; a hellish monstrosity which was octopoid in seeming to have become a small, shrivelled mass of torso with tentacles hundreds of times its size and weight which whipped backward in a fanning motion into space, and the ends of which were literally sloughed or melted away into distance, while the empurpled body opened a great eye to look upon my cousin, and disclosed beneath it a great pit of mouth from which issued a terrible, if muted, screaming...”
This visage only lasts a few moments before suddenly Ambrose is alone on the tower, but it’s a significant moment in literature. This is truly the first time one of the Great Old Ones is described in such detail. This is undoubtedly Yog-Sothoth, whom I believe Derleth has decided to make his big bad for this novel (Poor Nyarlathotep…maybe next time). Lovecraft has previously given short descriptions, but nothing definitive, this is the first time we get such detail and it’s this description, I believe, which fuels the fire for all the future art to come out which visualize the Great Old Ones.
Stephen says he doesn’t sleep that night, but promises himself the next morning he’ll leave. So when he wakes he sees Ambrose who “seemed very cheerful” and he mentions that he has acquired help. “In fact, he is an Indian…his name is Quamis.”
I think I was previously incorrect about who and what Quamis really was. If you remember in part 2, I spoke of him being innocent and fighting against the evils. I think that maybe our shaman just might have something to do with the whole craziness to begin with!
What do you think? Let’s find out next week in the conclusion as we begin the last chapter entitled “Narrative of Winfield Phillips.”
Blind Read Through: H.P. Lovecraft / August Derleth; The Lurker at the Threshold, pt. 3
“If Richard Billington did indeed call some ‘Thing’ out of the sky at night, what was it? No such ‘Thing’ was known to science, unless it might conceivably be accepted tentatively that something related to the now extinct pterodactyl had still existed two centuries ago.”
Welcome back to another Blind Read! This week we delve deeper into the mythos than any time previous in an effort to shine a light on Derleth’s effort to secure the legacy of Howard Phillips.
This week we head into the second portion of the Novel with the chapter, “Manuscript by Stephen Bates.” Immediately the tone and writing style change to a more intimate first person narrative which is a wonderful fresh look from the denser, vague prose of section one.
We begin this portion with Stephen arriving at Arkham and meeting Dewart, “but the man who met me in Arkham in response to my wire announcing my arrival was cool, cautious, and very much self-contained, making light of his need, and seeking from the very start of my visit to impose a limit of no more than a fortnight upon it…”
Dewart seems possessed compared to the last time we saw him. He’s a model of duality; both apprehensive and expectant, almost like there’s a portion of his subconscious, or a hidden personality, who’s beginning to peak out (Richard Billington?). While Stephen fills us in by drenching us in atmosphere thus both reminding us of what to expect in this creepy county, and to solidify the danger of what he’s getting himself into.
Derleth spends his time at the beginning of this chapter and it’s something to behold. In all of his previous stories (with the exception of the unfinished “The Watchers Out of Time“) Derleth’s writing felt rushed and bored, but any reader can feel the care and attention to bring the story to life here. It’s possible that’s only because this is a novel and the longer form lends to more description, but I feel as though the longer Derleth wrote these stories the more bored he became, because in this section we get descriptions of the house and environs from Stephen’s perspective instead of Dewart, and you can feel the slow degradation into madness Dewart is facing. His behavior is all over the place, so much so that Stephen “Found in my cousin some evidence of primary schizophrenia.“
They go to bed for the night, Dewart intimating that he’d prefer Stephen to just leave, but in the middle of the night Stephen woke “at the sound of a shout.” When he went to investigate he “saw a white-robed figure descending the stairs, and hastened after it.” OK, we’re getting into it already!
It turns out this is Dewart sleep walking (for some reason wearing a white robe?) and he yells out “Iä Shub-Niggurath! Iä Nyarlathotep!” I was really excited because these gods we have not seen since Lovecraft, as Derleth prefers to focus on Dagon and Cthulhu…but it turns out to just be another of Derleth’s redirections. Stephen wakes Dewart, who is startled, but then lets himself be led back to bed. That night, in his sleep, Dewart reiterates all the old Lovecraft hits, “In his house at R’lyeh – in his great house at R’lyeh – he lies not dead, but sleeping...” and “That is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strange aeons even death my die.” and others. It feels as though this novel is supposed to be the set up for Derleth’s examination and expansion of Lovecraft’s Mythos. The trouble I’m having with it thus far is he’s bringing in all the different deities, and each one of those Great Old Ones had different styles of followers, so why is Dewart mentioning them all? We’ll get into that.
Stephen is determined to find the answers as well. He wanders the house and finds, “everywhere in this old house brooded a malign and terrible evil, and it was this, surely, which affected my cousin.”
Stephen notices that Dewart sneaks wayward glances at the strange leaden window, so he decides to get a closer look at what fascinates Dewart so completely: “This was an occasional impression of a view or a portrait which appeared without any indication or warning in the window – not as if it were superimposed on it so much as if it grew out of it.” And just like that, Stephen is introduced to the visage of Cthulhu.
He speaks with Dewart about what’s been going on, knowing there’ve been strange happenings and determined to get to the bottom of it and help his cousin out. We get a recap of the genealogy, from Richard to Alijah to Laban, and a recap of the strange happenings in the woods and how Alijah fled with Laban to England to get away from whatever strangeness Richard “Called down.”
The two men head out to the stone circle and tower and find the dried river bed, to which Dewart calls “Misquamicus,” but when Stephen, shocked, presses him as to his meaning, Dewart, “looked at me in return, and his eyes seemed to visibly refocus.” He had no idea what he was doing or saying, seeming possessed by, more than likely, the spirit of Richard Billington.
The issue here is the letter of rules which Alijah laid down. There was a portion which said to not revert or dry up the water, and now they are in a dry river bed. This must seem fairly obvious, but it seems as though the doorway is already opened. Richard, or some entity we assume is Richard has entered into Dewart’s body, and the signal of the Whippoorwill and Frogs are the last sign for the Lurker at the Threshold to appear.
But the reason I highlighted that passage was the fact that Dewart mentioned that they were at the Misquamicus, which seems to indicate that he’s talking about the river that once flowed thorough that region, but he could also be indicating that this is the final resting place for Laban’s friend, the mystic Shaman Wampanaug, Quamis. It was already mentioned that he played a major part in Alijah sealing off the entrance for the Lurker, and that part he plays may indeed be eternal. Given the ability of the Great Old Ones and the Great Race of Yith to control other’s bodies and travel through a multi-verse, I can almost see Quamis being an eternal guardian for our world. Both a horrible damnation and honorable end.
Stephen also makes an interesting assessment while they take a look at the tower. “It was immediately apparent that the design carved along the stairs was in miniature the precise design of the leaded window in the study of my cousin’s house.” We already intimated the connection, but now this solidifies it.
Stephen decides he must head to Miskatonic University to get more information, because he doesn’t believe that researching with Dewart is going to resolve anything. He knows a Dr. Armitage Harper, a bastardization of multiple Lovecraft characters but obviously modeled after Dr. Henry Armitage who was a professor at Miskatonic during the “Dunwich Horror” and helped resolve the Whateley reign of terror, and he goes to Dr. Harper for assistance at the Miskatonic University Library.
Stephen speaks to Dr. Harper for a while trying to figure out what texts he should study to get a better understanding for what is going on, and Harper gives him a number of papers which, “it seemed very probable that the greater portions of the scripts antedated Alijah Billington.”
The manuscript which catches his eye first is like diving into a kiddie pool from a high dive:
“It bore no title on its cover, which was of a particularly smooth leather, and of a texture which suggested human skin; but on the inner sheets, preceding some script which began immediately thereafter, without preamble, appeared the legend: Al Azif – Ye Booke of Ye Arab.”
This is the first mention of the Necronomicon being bound in human flesh, but this Novel (meaning “Lurker”) was obviously much more popular than the majority of Derleth’s other works, because in nearly every iteration since, this is exactly what the Necronomicon is: The book of the dead, a necromantic book with summoning spells to bring outsiders and madness to the world, bound in the flesh of man.
We spend the majority of this section with Stephen in the Library at Miskatonic University reviewing all of these forbidden manuscripts. Obviously this whole portion of the novel is Derleth trying to establish a cohesive narrative for what he wants the mythos to be. Lovecraft never really wanted anything specific, no out and out narrative as to whom the Outer Gods were. It was Derleth who (rightly so) thought it would withstand the terrors of time if there was an organization, or a hierarchy as it were, for readers to follow. He tells us:
“The Old Ones were, the Old Ones are, the Old Ones shall be. Not in the spaces known to us, but between them…” Then he begins to break it down. “Yog-Sothoth knows the gate, for Yog-Sothoth is the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the key and the guardian of the gate.”
Then, “Great Cthulhu is Their cousin, yet can he spy Them only dimly.” because he was, “thrust into ye Neth’rmost Deeps und’r ye Sea, and placed within ye barnacled Tower that is said to rise amidst ye great ruin that is ye Sunken City (R’lyeh), and is seal’d within by ye Elder Sign...”
There is mention of a time when they will return and we learn a small bit about each Great Old One. “Great Cthulhu be fre’d from R’lyeh beneath ye Sea & Him Who Is Not To Be Named (Hastur) shal come from His City which is Carcosa near ye Lake of Hali, & Shub-Niggurath (The Black Goat with a Thousand Young) shal come forth & multiply in his (hers) Hideousness, & Nyarlathotep (The Messenger of the Great Old Ones) shal carry ye word to all the Gr. Old Ones & their Minions, & Cthugha (a Derleth creation…don’t know anything about him!) shal lay His Hand upon all that oppose Him & Destroy, & ye blind idiot, ye noxious Azathoth (Father of the Great Old Ones) shal arise from ye middle of ye World…Ithaqua (the Wendigo, or wind walker) shal walk again, & from ye black-litt’n caverns with ye Earth shal come Tsathoggua (I don’t know much about him because he was created by Clark Ashton Smith).”
Stephen takes a break from his reading and tries to digest everything, but when he gets to the house and walks in front of the window the waning light hits it just right and he sees the Cthulhu head again. He climbs up to the window to get a better look , “But, to my unutterable horror, I looked instead upon a landscape completely alien to me, completely foreign to anything within my experience.” with “amorphous beings which came rapidly towards me with manifestly evil intent, grotesque octopoid representations, and aweful things that flew on great black rubbery wings and dragged repellant claw-like feet.”
Stephen falls away and then decides to go to the tower. Heading out there, winter has already hit and snow has covered the ground. When he gets to the tower he notices something disturbing. “There was first a large indentation in the snow, approximately twelve feet in length by some twenty-five feet across, which had the appearance of some elephantine creature’s pausing there...”
This is remarkable similar to the description of the mark the Shoggoth make in Lovecraft’s novel “At The Mountains of Madness.“
Derleth is pulling out all the tricks and stopping at nothing to get under our skin. We still don’t really know who (which Great Old One) is behind any of this, and I’ve since given up on my hope that Nyarlathotep is going to be the primary antagonist. It seems more likely at this point that the gate is open, and there’s a chance we’re going to meet any and all of the Great Old Ones as they wake from their fitful sleep and resume their reign of terror on humankind.
Whom do you think we’ll see first? Join me next week as we cover the penultimate section and finish off Stephen Bates Manuscript!
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