Midnight Halloween reading of “The Call of Cthulhu” by H.P. Lovecraft

“The Call of Cthulhu”

H.P. Lovecraft

“The Plant-Thing” by R.G. Macready

Halloween:
Some juicy pulp fiction horror.
-The Voice before the Void

“The Plant-Thing”

R.G. Macready

“Pigeons from Hell” by Robert E. Howard, with Discussion

Walpurgisnacht:
A popular piece of pulp fiction with one hell of an ending.
-The Voice before the Void

“Pigeons from Hell”

Robert E. Howard

I. The Whistler in the Dark

Griswell awoke suddenly, every nerve tingling with a premonition of imminent peril. He stared about wildly, unable at first to remember where he was, or what he was doing there. Moonlight filtered in through the dusty windows, and the great empty room with its lofty ceiling and gaping black fireplace was spectral and unfamiliar. Then as he emerged from the clinging cobwebs of his recent sleep, he remembered where he was and how he came to be there. Continue reading

“The Gun” by Philip K. Dick

Some pointed pulp science fiction from Master Dick.
-The Voice before the Void

“The Gun”

Philip K. Dick

The Captain peered into the eyepiece of the telescope. He adjusted the focus quickly.

“It was an atomic fission we saw, all right,” he said presently. He sighed and pushed the eyepiece away. “Any of you who wants to look may do so. But it’s not a pretty sight.”

“Let me look,” Tance the archeologist said. He bent down to look, squinting. “Good Lord!” He leaped violently back, knocking against Dorle, the Chief Navigator.

“Why did we come all this way, then?” Dorle asked, looking around at the other men. “There’s no point even in landing. Let’s go back at once.”

“Perhaps he’s right,” the biologist murmured. “But I’d like to look for myself, if I may.” He pushed past Tance and peered into the sight. Continue reading

“Sex and sexuality in speculative fiction” from Wikipedia

Some of the most challenging of ideas.
-The Voice before the Void

“Sex and sexuality in speculative fiction”

Wikipedia

The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a worldwide view of the subject.

Sexual themes are frequently used in science fiction or related genres. Such elements may include depictions of realistic sexual interactions in a science fictional setting, a protagonist with an alternative sexuality, or exploration of the varieties of sexual experience that deviate from the conventional.

1872 illustration by David Henry Friston in lesbian vampire story Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu 0Science fiction and fantasy have sometimes been more constrained than non-genre narrative forms in their depictions of sexuality and gender. However, speculative fiction also offers the freedom to imagine societies different from real-life cultures, making it an incisive tool to examine sexual bias and forcing the reader to reconsider his or her cultural assumptions. Continue reading

“The Canal” by Everil Worrell

Vampire romance – vintage, and done properly… that is: with horror.
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“The Canal”

Everil Worrell

Past the sleeping city the river sweeps; along its left bank the old canal creeps.

I did not intend that to be poetry, although the scene is poetic—somberly, gruesomely poetic, like the poems of Poe. I know it too well—I have walked too often over the grass-grown path beside the reflections of black trees and tumble-down shacks and distant factory chimneys in the sluggish waters that moved so slowly, and ceased to move at all.

I have always had a taste for nocturnal prowling. Continue reading

“The Sorcery of Aphlar” by Duane W. Rimel with H.P. Lovecraft

The power of prayer… entreated upon odd things.
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“The Sorcery of Aphlar”

Duane W. Rimel with H.P. Lovecraft

The council of twelve seated on the jewelled celestial dais ordered that Aphlar be cast from the gates of Bel-haz-en. He sat too much alone, they decreed, and brooded when toil should have been his lot. And in his obscure and hidden delvings he read all too frequently those papyri of Elder æons which reposed in the Guothic shrine and were to be consulted only for rare and special purposes. Continue reading

“The Hoard of The Wizarrd-Beast” by H.P. Lovecraft and R.H. Barlow

H.P. Lovecraft’s Birthday Special:
A decidedly Dunsanian fantasy adventure.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“The Hoard of The Wizarrd-Beast”

H.P. Lovecraft and R.H. Barlow

There had happened in the teeming and many-towered city of Zeth one of those incidents which are prone to take place in all capitals of all worlds. Nor, simply because Zeth lies on a planet of strange beasts and stranger vegetation, did this incident differ greatly from what might have occurred in London or Paris or any of the great governing towns we know. Through the cleverly concealed dishonesty of an aged but shrewd official, the treasury was exhausted. No shining phrulder, as of old, lay stacked about the strong-room; and over empty coffers the sardonic spider wove webs of mocking design. When, at last, the giphath Yalden entered that obscure vault and discovered the thefts, there were left only some phlegmatic rats which peered sharply at him as at an alien intruder.

There had been no accountings since Kishan the old keeper had died many moon-turns before, and great was Yalden’s dismay to find this emptiness instead of the expected wealth. The indifference of the small creatures in the cracks between the flagstones could not spread itself to him. This was a very grave matter, and would have to be met in a very prompt and serious way. Clearly, there was nothing to do but consult Oorn, and Oorn was a highly portentous being. Continue reading

“The Call of Cthulhu” by H.P. Lovecraft

1934 May 11 sketch of statue icon of Old One Great God Cthulhu by HP Lovecraft author creator in short story The Call of CthulhuCosmic horror.
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However phantasmical his narratives may be, Lovecraft’s assertion that it is horrific to ponder what immensities in our universe must lie hidden from us oozes through as profoundly true.
/
(R’lyeh might be the capital of North Carolina.)
⁓The Voice before the Void

“The Call of Cthulhu”

H.P. Lovecraft

Of such great powers or beings there may be conceivably a survival… a survival of a hugely remote period when… consciousness was manifested, perhaps, in shapes and forms long since withdrawn before the tide of advancing humanity… forms of which poetry and legend alone have caught a flying memory and called them gods, monsters, mythical beings of all sorts and kinds…
–Algernon Blackwood

I. The Horror in Clay

The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. 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 light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.

Theosophists have guessed at the awesome grandeur of the cosmic cycle wherein our world and human race form transient incidents. They have hinted at strange survivals in terms which would freeze the blood if not masked by a bland optimism. But it is not from them that there came the single glimpse of forbidden eons which chills me when I think of it and maddens me when I dream of it. Continue reading

“Of Withered Apples” by Philip K. Dick

Walpurgis Night Special:
From autumn into spring, perfect weirdness from the regent of reality-challenging stories, Philip K. Dick.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Of Withered Apples”

Philip K. Dick

Something was tapping on the window. Blowing up against the pane, again and again. Carried by the wind. Tapping faintly, insistently.

Lori, sitting on the couch, pretended not to hear. She gripped her book tightly and turned a page. The tapping came again, louder and more imperative. It could not be ignored.

“Darn!” Lori said, throwing her book down on the coffee table and hurrying to the window. She grasped the heavy brass handles and lifted.

For a moment the window resisted. Then, with a protesting groan, it reluctantly rose. Cold autumn air, rushed into the room. The bit of leaf ceased tapping and swirled against the woman’s throat, dancing to the floor.

Lori picked the leaf up. It was old and brown. Her heart skipped a beat as she slipped the leaf into the pocket of her jeans. Against her loins the leaf cut and tingled, a little hard point piercing her smooth skin and sending exciting shudders up and down her spine. She stood at the open window a moment, sniffing the air. The air was full of the presence of trees and rocks, of great boulders and remote places. It was time—time to go again. She touched the leaf. She was wanted. Continue reading

“Bothon” by Henry S. Whitehead with H.P. Lovecraft, part 5

A view of the end.
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“Bothon”

Henry S. Whitehead with H.P. Lovecraft

part 5

“We depart straight this night, for the great mountains of A-Wah-Ii,” answered Bothon, “if so be the four great forces allow us possession of a war chariot. And, to that end, your ring, my beloved.”

The Lady Ledda nodded again, understandingly, and removed from the middle finger of her right hand the ring of the two suns and the eight-pointed star which, as a member of the Royal Family, she was entitled to wear. Bothon received it, and slipped it upon the little finger of his right hand.

The sentinel on guard before the barracks Continue reading

“Bothon” by Henry S. Whitehead with H.P. Lovecraft, part 4

Pulpy goodness.
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“Bothon”

Henry S. Whitehead with H.P. Lovecraft

part 4

In ten minutes the house nurse fetched in a small tray. On it was a tumbler, a mixing spoon, and a freshly put up eight-ounce bottle containing a reddish colored, pleasant tasting syrup.

Twenty minutes later, Meredith, who had compromised on three teaspoons, was deeply asleep on his bed; and the General, Bothon, in the innermost dungeon chamber of the great citadel of Alu, was standing poised in the center of that dungeon’s smooth stone floor, tensed to leap in any direction; while all about him the rending crashes of thousands of tons of the riven and falling masonry of the citadel itself was deafening him against all other sounds except the incessant and indescribably thunderous fury of the now utterly maddened ocean. Continue reading

“Bothon” by Henry S. Whitehead with H.P. Lovecraft, part 3

Is “Recovered Ancient Memories” in the DSM-5?
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Bothon”

Henry S. Whitehead with H.P. Lovecraft

part 3

Not only not within the memory of living men, but, as the records indicated, during its entire history over thousands of years as the metropolis of the civilized world, had there been any previous hostile manifestations against the great city of Alu. That anything like this terrible campaign which the renowned General Bothon of Ludekta set in motion against her might come to pass, had never even remotely occurred to anyone in Alu. So promptly did Bothon launch his attack that the tortured bodies of the members of his delegation to the Emperor had not yet ceased writhing on their row of crosses before he had penetrated, at the head of his trained legionaries, to a point within two squares of the Imperial Palace which stood at the center of the great city. Continue reading

“Bothon” by Henry S. Whitehead with H.P. Lovecraft, part 2

Into ancient Atlantis, with love and war.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Bothon”

Henry S. Whitehead with H.P. Lovecraft

part 2

These dreams had been continuous and consecutive since their beginning several nights before, but on this night after the rather elaborate investigation of the words and syllables, Meredith began in earnest to get the affair of his environment in the strange city of the flames and conflicts and confusion and of a roaring ocean, cleared up with a startling abruptness. His dream impression that night was so utterly vivid–so acutely identical with the terms of the waking state–that he couldn’t tell the difference between his dream slumber and wakeful consciousness! Continue reading

“Bothon” by Henry S. Whitehead with H.P. Lovecraft, part 1

A weird pulp fiction fantasy adventure story of lost worlds and the Cthulhu Mythos.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Bothon”

Henry S. Whitehead with H.P. Lovecraft

part 1

Powers Meredith, at his shower-bath before dinner in the bathroom adjoining his room in his New York City club, allowed the cake of soap to drop on the tiled floor. Stooping to recover it he rapped the side of his head against the marble sidewall. The resulting bruise was painful, and almost at once puffed up into a noticeable lump….

Meredith dined in the grill that evening. Having no after-dinner engagement he went into the quiet library of the club, empty at this hour, and settled himself with a new book beside a softly-shaded reading lamp.

From time to time a slight, inadvertent pressure of his head against the chair’s leather upholstered back would remind him unpleasantly of his accident in the shower-bath. This, after it happened several times, became an annoyance, and Meredith shifted himself into a preventive attitude with his legs draped over one of the chair’s rounded arms.

No one else came into the library. Faint, clicking noises came in from the nearby billiard-room where a couple of men were playing, but, absorbed in his book, he did not notice these. The only perceptible sound was that of the gentle, steady rain outside. This, in the form of a soothing, continuous murmur, came through the partly-opened, high windows. He read on.

Precisely as he turned over the ninety-sixth page of his book, he heard a dull sound, like a very large explosion coming from a vast distance. Continue reading

The Lost Continent of Mu from Wikipedia

Make up an extravagant, mysterious, elaborate idea, and it just might live for generations.
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The Lost Continent of Mu

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mu is the name of a fictional continent that was once believed to have existed in one of Earth’s oceans, but disappeared at the dawn of human history.

map from The Lost Continent of Mu by James Churchward 1927The concept and the name were proposed by 19th-century traveler and writer Augustus Le Plongeon, who claimed that several ancient civilizations, such as those of Egypt and Mesoamerica, were created by refugees from Mu—which he located in the Atlantic Ocean. This concept was popularized and expanded by James Churchward, who asserted that Mu was once located in the Pacific. Continue reading

The Shunned House by H.P. Lovecraft, part 5

Witness incomprehensible horror, go home, order up a gas mask and some acid, write some poetry — then bring the thunder.
⁓The Voice before the Void

The Shunned House

H.P. Lovecraft

part 5

I had been lying with my face away from my uncle’s chair, so that in this sudden flash of awakening I saw only the door to the street, the more northerly window, and the wall and floor and ceiling toward the north of the room, all photographed with morbid vividness on my brain in a light brighter than the glow of the fungi or the rays from the street outside. It was not a strong or even a fairly strong light; certainly not nearly strong enough to read an average book by. But it cast a shadow of myself and the cot on the floor, and had a yellowish, penetrating force that hinted at things more potent than luminosity. This I perceived with unhealthy sharpness despite the fact that two of my other senses were violently assailed. For on my ears rang the reverberations of that shocking scream, while my nostrils revolted at the stench which filled the place. My mind, as alert as my senses, recognised the gravely unusual; and almost automatically I leaped up and turned about to grasp the destructive instruments which we had left trained on the mouldy spot before the fireplace. As I turned, I dreaded what I was to see; for the scream had been in my uncle’s voice, and I knew not against what menace I should have to defend him and myself.

Yet after all, the sight was worse than I had dreaded. There are horrors beyond horrors, and this was one of those nuclei of all dreamable hideousness which the cosmos saves to blast an accursed and unhappy few. Out of the fungous-ridden earth Continue reading

The Shunned House by H.P. Lovecraft, part 4

Real ghosthunters pack flamethrowers.
⁓The Voice before the Void

The Shunned House

H.P. Lovecraft

part 4

On Wednesday, June 25, 1919, after a proper notification of Carrington Harris which did not include surmises as to what we expected to find, my uncle and I conveyed to the shunned house two camp chairs and a folding camp cot, together with some scientific mechanism of greater weight and intricacy. These we placed in the cellar during the day, screening the windows with paper and planning to return in the evening for our first vigil. We had locked the door from the cellar to the ground floor; and having a key to the outside cellar door, we were prepared to leave our expensive and delicate apparatus – which we had obtained secretly and at great cost – as many days as our vigil might need to be protracted. It was our design to sit up together till very late, and then watch singly till dawn in two-hour stretches, myself first and then my companion; the inactive member resting on the cot.

The natural leadership with which my uncle procured the instruments from the laboratories of Brown University and the Cranston Street Armory, and instinctively assumed direction of our venture, was a marvellous commentary on the potential vitality and resilience of a man of eighty-one. Elihu Whipple had lived according to the hygienic laws he had preached as a physician, and but for what happened later would be here in full vigour today. Only two persons suspect what did happen – Carrington Harris and myself. I had to tell Harris because he owned the house and deserved to know Continue reading

The Shunned House by H.P. Lovecraft, part 3

Nothing matches Lovecraft’s delight in macabre and mysterious historiography, piecing hints together into a horror better left unperceived.
⁓The Voice before the Void

The Shunned House

H.P. Lovecraft

part 3

It may well be imagined how powerfully I was affected by the annals of the Harrises. In this continuous record there seemed to me to brood a persistent evil beyond anything in nature as I had known it; an evil clearly connected with the house and not with the family. This impression was confirmed by my uncle’s less systematic array of miscellaneous data – legends transcribed from servant gossip, cuttings from the papers, copies of death certificates by fellow physicians, and the like. All of this material I cannot hope to give, for my uncle was a tireless antiquarian and very deeply interested in the shunned house; but I may refer to several dominant points which earn notice by their recurrence through many reports from diverse sources. For example, the servant gossip was practically unanimous in attributing to the fungous and malodorous cellar of the house a vast supremacy in evil influence. There had been servants – Ann White especially – who would not use the cellar kitchen, and at least three well-defined legends bore upon the queer quasi-human or diabolic outlines assumed by tree-roots and patches of mould in that region. These latter narratives interested me profoundly, Continue reading

The Shunned House by H.P. Lovecraft, part 2

Family history is all portent…
⁓The Voice before the Void

The Shunned House

H.P. Lovecraft

part 2

Not till my adult years did my uncle set before me the notes and data which he had collected concerning the shunned house. Dr. Whipple was a sane, conservative physician of the old school, and for all his interest in the place was not eager to encourage young thoughts toward the abnormal. His own view, postulating simply a building and location of markedly unsanitary qualities, had nothing to do with abnormality; but he realized that the very picturesqueness which aroused his own interest would in a boy’s fanciful mind take on all manner of gruesome imaginative associations. Continue reading

The Shunned House by H.P. Lovecraft, part 1

Lovecraft begins his particular version of a haunted house story with description of architecture; the description is precise, and real, and lulls us for what is to come…
⁓The Voice before the Void

The Shunned House

H.P. Lovecraft

part 1

From even the greatest of horrors irony is seldom absent. Some times it enters directly into the composition of the events, while sometimes it relates only to their fortuitous position among persons and places. The latter sort is splendidly exemplified by a case in the ancient city of Providence, where in the late forties Edgar Allan Poe used to sojourn often during his unsuccessful wooing of the gifted poetess, Mrs. Whitman. Poe generally stopped at the Mansion House in Benefit Street – the renamed Golden Ball Inn whose roof has sheltered Washington, Jefferson, and Lafayette – and his favourite walk led northward along the same street to Mrs. Whitman’s home and the neighbouring hillside churchyard of St. John’s whose hidden expanse of eighteenth-century gravestones had for him a peculiar fascination.

Now the irony is this. In this walk, so many times repeated, the world’s greatest master of the terrible and the bizarre was obliged to pass a particular house on the eastern side of the street; a dingy, antiquated structure perched on the abruptly rising side hill, Continue reading

“From Beyond” by H.P. Lovecraft

Our five senses are paltry; whole universes can and must exist beyond our ability to perceive them. Perhaps we should be grateful for our ignorance.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“From Beyond”

H.P. Lovecraft

Horrible beyond conception was the change which had taken place in my best friend, Crawford Tillinghast. I had not seen him since that day, two months and a half before, when he told me toward what goal his physical and metaphysical researches were leading; when he had answered my awed and almost frightened remonstrances by driving me from his laboratory and his house in a burst of fanatical rage. I had known that he now remained mostly shut in the attic laboratory with that accursed electrical machine, eating little and excluding even the servants, but I had not thought that a brief period of ten weeks could so alter and disfigure Continue reading

“The Horror at Martin’s Beach” by H.P. Lovecraft and Sonia Greene

Summer Vacation Special:
Genuinely creepy, here is a story in which cosmic horror intrudes upon the leisure of the wealthy, and exploitation of the weak by the strong receives its poetic, horrific reward.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“The Horror at Martin’s Beach”

H.P. Lovecraft and Sonia Greene

I have never heard an even approximately adequate explanation of the horror at Martin’s Beach. Despite the large number of witnesses, no two accounts agree; and the testimony taken by local authorities contains the most amazing discrepancies.

Perhaps this haziness is natural in view of the unheard-of character of the horror itself, the almost paralytic terror of all who saw it, and the efforts made by the fashionable Wavecrest Inn to hush it up Continue reading

The Shadow over Innsmouth by H.P. Lovecraft, part 5

One of the great pulp fiction endings; one of the great literary endings.
⁓The Voice before the Void

The Shadow over Innsmouth

H.P. Lovecraft

edited by The Voice before the Void

part 5

It was a gentle daylight rain that awakened me from my stupor on the brush-grown railway bank, and when I staggered out to the roadway, I saw no trace of any prints in the fresh mud. The fishy odor, too, was gone. Innsmouth’s ruined roofs and toppling steeples loomed up toward the southeast, but not a living creature did I spy in all the desolate salt marshes around. My watch was still going, and told me that the hour was past noon.

The actual reality of what I had been through was uncertain in my mind, but I knew that something hideous lay in the background. I must get away from evil-shadowed Innsmouth, and I began to walk along the muddy road to Rowley. Before evening I was in the village, getting a meal and clean clothing. I caught the next train to Arkham. I didn’t bother going to the authorities — who would believe me?

I wish there were nothing more to tell. Perhaps it is madness that is overtaking me, or perhaps something else. Continue reading

The Shadow over Innsmouth by H.P. Lovecraft, part 4

Attempt to escape — across rooftops, along railbeds — from the horror of Innsmouth.
⁓The Voice before the Void

The Shadow over Innsmouth

H.P. Lovecraft

edited by The Voice before the Void

part 4

The old man screamed horribly.

Before I could recover my scattered wits, he had let go of my shoulder and ran inland.

I glanced back at the sea… but there was nothing there. And when I reached the street and looked along it, there was no remaining trace of Zadok Allen.

I can hardly describe the mood in which I was left by this harrowing episode. Old Zadok’s insane earnestness and horror had communicated to me a mounting unrest that joined with my earlier sense of loathing for the town and its blight of intangible shadow. Continue reading