Tags: lovecraft

cass, can you not

Alan Moore's Providence

Probably the best purely Lovecraftian putting-the-pieces-together story I've read (as opposed to Stross' brilliant explanation and putting-the-pieces-together of Lovecraft). And, Elder Gods I'm hope never notice I exist, so very damn(ed, we're all damned) bleak.

But then, how can you set a story in Lovecraft's universe and not have it be devastatingly, ontologically bleak? I've come to think that, for all of the ugly weirdness and people losing their mind every other page, most of Lovecraft's stories have cop-out ends (the only exception that comes to mind is Nyarlathotep, although there might be others).
cass, can you not

Speaking of things beyond human description...

I'm reading Alan Moore's Providence (a twelve-issues mini of which I think nine have been published so far). Some random observations:

  • You could say it's something like "Planetary meets Lovecraft and the Gang."

  • You have to assume trigger warnings for graphical depictions of pretty much everything you could imagine.

  • The way it plays with time, dreams, and symbols is fascinating, and leverages the medium very well. It's Alan Moore, of course; that's kind of what he does.

  • The humor... I don't know if humor is the right word, YMMV, but another way of describing this would be Mr. Magoo Goes to Hell. This is bleakly funny sometimes, and other times almost intolerable. Every issue ends with a few pages of the protagonist's Commonplace Book (more of a journal, actually), which you definitely shouldn't skip over.

  • The story is its own meta, unashamedly and deliberately so.

cass, can you not

Spent two days mostly going through The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft

(Save for a short trip, errands, and quite a few naps. )

I feel somewhat guilty, as work has been keeping me from real (read unpaid and purely for my own amusement) work for the last few weeks, and this weekend was probably one of my few chances of dedicating some hours to it before things go back to normal tomorrow.

On the other hand, I was suffering from that compulsion that grabs you now and then to not stop reading until you've finished a certain book. It doesn't always reflect the quality of the book of your curiosity about its contents (I had certainly read everything in this one before), but it's no less powerful because of that. As compulsions go, it's one of the relatively harmless, I guess.

Anyway. H. P. Lovecraft: an ugly bigoted racist bastard even for his day and age, and more than sufficiently sociable for a biographically unsupported seclusion not to be an excuse, but he got *one* idea and *one* mood and ran with both of them further than most others had done before, and that's two things more than most writers ever get to do.
cass, can you not

I think Lovecraftian jokes have by now become too much of a pop cliche

That said, do indulge me:

Tribrachidium lived during a period of time called the Ediacaran, which ranged from 635 million to 541 million years ago. This period was characterized by a variety of large, complex organisms, most of which are difficult to link to any modern species. It was previously thought that these organisms formed simple ecosystems characterized by only a few feeding modes, but the new study suggests they were capable of more types of feeding than previously appreciated.

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Link to the article on EurekAlert!, which has been for years one of my favorite RSS feeds in the world.

Anyway, increasingly tired references aside, the first complex organisms fascinate me, their sheer diversity and possibility. Sure, the present biosphere is weird and ridiculous and fabulous, but it's one possible outcome among many, and the strangeness and beauty of those possible presents is haunting. Like those 3 AM thoughts about who we could have been had we made different choices (some worse, some better — hard to say which ones are more painful to imagine — and some too strange to allow for a comparison); this is like that, except for the whole of us, of this.

Some worlds worse, some worlds better; hard to say which ones would be more painful if we could imagine them.