Nerdful Things – egomet ipse Lovecraft
The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.
– HP Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu
I found HP Lovecraft before I even knew who he was. It would be years before the realisation hit me. My older brother had a VHS in his bedroom called ‘Necronomicon‘. I remember watching it, I would have been about nine years old at the time, and I didn’t really get it. All I can remember is the name HP Lovecraft and David Warner, who was the epitome of an Englishman in my mind. At the time, I thought HP Lovecraft was a fictional character as part of this anthology. It wasn’t until my late teens that I crossed paths with the writer again and realised he was real. It was an article about Stephen King, an author with whom I was obsessed with. Again, thanks to my brother, I read books that he owned and his collection was predominantly King and so I owe a lot to him, I guess. He shaped my literary tastes as well as having an influence on my musical and movie tastes.
I’ve always had a fascination with the macabre. My mind has always deviated to the darkness. The desperation and sheer hopelessness of the human existence. An old school report of mine criticises my choice of colouring my pictures primarily in black. Creative writing consisted of dark humour, tragedy and disgusting scenes. A talent that I lost through the process of growing up and now my imagination is just a faint memory which causes a dull, yet piercing, ache within my brain when I think about it.
Now, decades later, I have become drawn to HP Lovecraft again. I picked up the Complete Collection a few months back and have read a few of the stories. I’ve written before about how difficult I find it to read these days, what with the lack of concentration and time plus my only real “down time” is at night and then I tend to play the PlayStation. I then, more recently, started playing The Call of Cthulhu and have fallen in love with the bleakness and the mystery. Cthulhu is something I know little about. I know that he is a giant squid-like creature but that was the sum of my knowledge.
Perhaps it’s down to the time of year and, related to my earlier blog post regarding the passing of my Mum, my mind has descended into the darkest pits in which I have been drawn to the allure of HP Lovecraft once more. I’ve been looking more and more into the man himself and, true to my fashion, have subscribed to some new podcasts. Comical, in a way, as I posted on Facebook the other week that I need to stop subscribing to new podcasts as I have thousands of episodes to listen to and continue to add more on top.
So, my new subscriptions consist of:
I played The Call of Cthulhu last night and made my way through three chapters. I will be doing a review of the game soon, albeit almost a year after its release. But the game is right up my alley. The voice acting and visuals really immersed me in the game. Playing with headphones certainly helps and I found myself under some distress as I played. I didn’t find it scary but it is certainly unnerving. The ambience and art design are goosebump-inducing and the moments where I have had to escape have been fraught and near panicked. Like Pierce, I found myself confused and unsettled at the events that unfolded yet I am somehwat addicted to finding out what happens next.
After playing the game until the wee hours of the morning, I found my sleep was consumed with events inspired by the game. Dreaming that I found myself restrained in a hospital bed with gas leaking in and fighting to escape the grasp of an unknown assailant. Quite fitting that sleep and dreams play a big part within Lovecraft‘s work, namely the stories I have read thus far.
In light of my previous post, this is my latest distraction to fill my time. It’s somewhat cathartic in that, no matter how flawed and powerless I feel, the protagonists within his tales are worse off than myself. Even the man himself, to a degree. Given that his work made him famous posthumously and his life was wrought with illness and mental hardship, I can consider myself rather lucky. Or unlucky, as the case may be.
What led you to the works of Howard Phillips Lovecraft? And, if you were to pick just one, what would be your favourite quote from his literature?
Then suddenly I saw it. With only a slight churning to mark its rise to the surface, the thing slid into view above the dark waters. Vast, Polyphemus-like, and loathsome, it darted like a stupendous monster of nightmares to the monolith, about which it flung its gigantic scaly arms, the while it bowed its hideous head and gave vent to certain measured sounds. I think I went mad then.
– HP Lovecraft, Dagon
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