Thursday, April 21, 2011

DEPTHS OF DREAMS AND MADNESS


One of the Cthulhu Mythos weird tales with which I am obsess'd is Robert E. Howard's "The Black Stone" (illustrated above on ye jacket of ye Arkham House anthology there pictur'd).  I love that Stone so much that I had a replica of it rais'd in Sesqua Valley, in my book The Fungal Stain and Other Dreams (Hippocampus Press, 2006):


"Following Ash's directions, she drove along a narrow road through dark woodland, coming at last to an incline in the roadway that led to a wide expanse of meadow.  Parking, Aubrey leapt out and bent to pick up a couple of good-sized stones, then ran through the high grass, toward the Black Stone.  Panting, her companion caught up with her.

"'Wow, it must be ancient!' she exclaimed, admiring the tall monolith.

"'Not at all.  It was raised in the late 1920s, by some of the children of the valley.  It's a replica of another stone--and one that is indeed ancient--in the town of Stregoicavar.  Simon encountered the original on one of his journeys, and was so taken with it that he ordered this replica to be raised here in this meadow.'"

Now, when I wrote that it was clear in my mind that Justin Geoffrey, Robert E. Howard's mad poet who had encountered the Black Stone in the original story, had died five years previously, raving in an asylum.  But no . . . !  This morning I put the final polish on my newest tale, "Depths of Dreams and Madness" -- & in this story I not only have HPL's Richard Upton Pickman journey to Sesqua Valley so as to paint ye portrait of ye valley's first-born Beast . . . . I have REH's Justin Geoffrey visiting the valley as well, after his mysterious escape from the asylum, where the record of his death is one big lie.  Because this new story is the title piece for my first book from Dark Regions Press, I was hoping to make it a substantial novelette of 15,000 words; but it came to its conclusion at 9,500 words -- and thus it is still a tale of substance.  I have set the story in 1926, the year of Pickman's mysterious disappearance (as it is recorded in Lovecraft's "History of the Necronomicon") and also the year in which Justin Geoffrey  is said to have died raving mad in an asylum in Illinois. 

Now I have one more tale to pen for this new collection, and I am hoping to write a perverse wee thing set in Gershom, my city of exiles, concerning a purple-skinned hermaphrodite actress who portrays the Christ in some play of passion and poetry, a play written by Sebastian Melmoth, of whom some of ye may have read in ye title tale of my omnibus from Centipede Press, The Tangled Muse.

So, after a couple months of non-activity & angst, things are back on track.


3 comments:

  1. The Black Stone is one of my all time favorites-I look forward to your continuation within Sesqua.

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  2. Many thanks, David. I have since decided to have the new story, "A Shadow of Your Own Design," concern a performer who performs as a female Nyarlathotep figure, something I've been playing with in my other books, rather than a Christ figure. Ye Crawling Chaos continues to enthrall me -- and to have this creature of twin-genders tied to Nyarlathotep & his amorphous pipers gives me more Lovecraftian debauchery to play with as an author.

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  3. Nyarlathotep often makes me think of tricksters like Loki & Coyote. He, She, It? is certainly fascinated with humankind. Sexual ambiguity strikes me as a very Nyarlathotepian characteristic. Is anyone really sure whose side Nyarlathotep is on? Did he trick Carter @ the end of Dreamquest? What is to be made of the image of Nyarlathotep smacking Azathoth on the head? Such possibilities.

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