Misc (-atonic) Blog 05 – Lovecraft
I’m keeping this post short and sweet as I’m writing this off the back of an important meeting which seems to have sapped a good amount of my daily brainpower – and writing time. Also my subject notes for this week’s blog literally read: “paper prototype” which any regular readers may recognize as a subject Grant decided to cover in depth in his last entry.
So instead of something Maize related I’ve decided to do a quick run down of my three favourite H.P. Lovecraft tales.
Who is H.P.? Just one of the most prolific horror writers ever, with everyone from Steven King to Neil Gaiman acknowledging his influence on their own works. Best of all his stories are short and are all public domain. Really, if you are in anyway a fan of horror you have no excuse not to give at least one of them a read. The only thing you could lose is a little time, it’s not like his tales ever drove anyone mad.
Although if you do buy be aware that even the cover will be bloody incredible.
The Music of Erich Zann Possibly my fondness for this story stems from the fact that while reading through Lovecraft’s tales for the first time I had recently left home to move into university halls. Similarly the tales protagonist, a poor student, has been forced to take up the only accommodation he can afford in a building who’s only other tenant is the elderly German violist Erich Zann. Over his time in the building the student hears otherworldly music emanating from Zann’s room after dark and eventually discovers that this is part of a battle between him and the inconceivable other-dimensional beings that attempt to invade his room every night. So yeah, quite like student halls.
The Colour out of Space Widely considered one of Lovecraft’s best stories the colour out of space is the best example of H.P.’s truly ‘other’ antagonist. A local surveyor investigates the ‘blasted heath’ an area of farmland where vegetation disintegrates, livestock become physically deformed and humans are driven mad or disappear. The only noticeable feature of the landscape is the sense that the land has taken on a slight ‘tinge’ as if a colour has been subtly changed. The story is simultaneously fascinating and terrifying due to the inexplicable nature of the enemy – if it can even be called that. Even four years after my first reading the only way I can really imagine it is sort of like the colour correction used in Breaking Bad during the Mexico scenes.
At the Mountains of Madness The longest tale Lovecraft ever wrote is one of his best. To list the stories main elements is basically to write the ideal recipe for horror: Isolated Antarctic environment. Scientists out of their depth. Uncharted “supposedly” abandoned ruins. Forces beyond human control. A frantic chase sequence. A final maddening twist. If love “The Thing”, “Prometheus” or … penguins, then this is almost definitely the Lovecraft tale for you. Also the fantastic Lovecraft inspired rogue-like Eldritch is releasing a Mountains level as a Christmas expansion. Check it out here. So those are my favourites. If you have your own already feel free to disagree if you don’t get reading some Lovecraft.