Thee Most Aweful Livelyness

One of the most common descriptions applied to the works of H.P. Lovecraft—especially by those seeking to refute the claim he was recounting ancient secrets—is that the magic is advanced science, that the gods are only powerful aliens. However, Herbert West: Reanimator shows, something survives death so the Mythos has some species of afterlife. Ironically, … Continue reading Thee Most Aweful Livelyness

Lovingly Crafted Fictions?

H.P. Lovecraft at all times presented as a rationalist (albeit potentially drawing upon now-discredited science), and described his creations in terms of a universe with principles we could not understand populated with beings that are alien rather than divine. So—barring a deep and sustained deceit—he didn’t believe he was writing about occult truths in the … Continue reading Lovingly Crafted Fictions?

Cosmic Head Scratch

One of the common themes of Lovecraft's oeuvre and cosmic dread in general is that the threat comes not from some moral imperfection or defined antagonism but from mutual incomprehension, from a universe filled with intelligences so different from humans in outlook and scale that we are irrelevant. The analogy of humans seeming as ants … Continue reading Cosmic Head Scratch

Darkness of Heart

As any who have dared to throw aside even a corner of that blanket of comfortable illusion that men call sanity might know, Lovecraft tells us that Azathoth is "nuclear chaos". To the modern mind already laden with the dread echoes of science wrought scouring destroyer, this conjures—as some followers of Providence have stated—Azathoth as … Continue reading Darkness of Heart

Exquisite Corpse

As many of you will know, I incline strongly toward visions of Yog-Sothothery where humanity is doomed by incomprehensible forces rather than the visible, opposable monsters of Gordon/Yuzna et al. However, Maarten Verhoeven's interpretation of a dried out eldritch monstrosity somehow captures the cosmic in plain sight. If you enjoyed this, I heartily recommend an … Continue reading Exquisite Corpse

Beneath a Three-Lobed Eye

Events reminded me of a recent discussion I had on whether Nyarlathotep might really destroy humanity and how he might do it. Unsurprisingly, my thoughts drew upon nuances of meaning: specifically, what one means by “Nyarlathotep” and “destroy”. Of all the Old Ones and other vast beings of Lovecraft's stories, Nyarlathotep is one of the … Continue reading Beneath a Three-Lobed Eye

Black and Incoherent Allies

In "The Call of Cthulhu", Lovecraft paints the cultists captured in the swamps beyond New Orléans as crazed degenerates, people who have abandoned reason. So, it's possible to write off their claims that supernatural beings committed the murders of which they're accused as either shared delusion or self-aggrandising lie. However, if otherworldly entities did perform … Continue reading Black and Incoherent Allies