Any Lovecraft Fans?

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Postby Hydebound » Mon Apr 27, 2009 3:41 am

Mbwun, you can read Lovecraft online at:

http://www.dagonbytes.com/thelibrary/lovecraft/

Read The Rats in the Walls and The Colour out of Space if nothing else.
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Postby Mbwun » Mon Apr 27, 2009 6:12 pm

Thanks Hydebound - I have a bit of trouble reading large amounts of text off the computer screen, but I give it a try.

Glad to see you back here - I was wondering where you gotten to.
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Postby Hydebound » Tue Apr 28, 2009 3:21 am

Thanks M.- just a touch of burnout and post-Steely ennui, I guess. I'll be around.
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Postby Mbwun » Tue Apr 28, 2009 7:07 pm

I think there's a lot of post-Steely ennui going on around here.

I know I'm just going through the motions lately.
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Lovecraft fan

Postby bloodyhands » Thu Sep 03, 2009 3:55 am

I have the Neconomicon best weird tales myself. Lovecraft is awesome!
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Postby Tautriadelta » Fri Sep 04, 2009 3:25 pm

wow cool, many other Lovecraft fans, I,ve got most of all his stories and am an avid fan (play every week-end) of Call of Cthulhu (original from 74 not the Wizards D20 version). Any other people out there besides me that play in the world of Lovecraft ?
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Postby WaywardSoul » Tue Sep 22, 2009 11:41 am

I came acroos this on another site and thought it might be of interest to the casual Lovecraft fan.

&p from HowStuffWorks --

How the Necronomicon Works

by Jonathan Strickland

Weird fiction author H.P. Lovecraft created a mythology that includes bizarre monsters, troubled communities, insane scholars and a library of books filled with forbidden lore. Of all the books detailing this mythology that Lovecraft mentions in his fiction, one in particular captures the imagination more than any other: the "Necronomicon." According to Lovecraft, it's a tome filled with secrets and rituals that can drive a reader to the brink of insanity.

In reality, the "Necronomicon" doesn't exist, though more than a half dozen books with the title "Necronomicon" are available at bookstores. The book is yet another aspect of Lovecraft's fiction, invented as a mere plot device.

The "Necronomicon" plays an important role in the Cthulhu mythos -- the mythology behind much of Lovecraft's work involving extraterrestrial beings of immense power. Lovecraft mentions the book in 18 of his stories, more than any other mystical book (real or otherwise) that he references. Many fans of the mythos think of the "Necronomicon" as the Bible of Lovecraft's pantheon. This might be why people refer to the book in the same fashion: the "Necronomicon."

Lovecraft tells us that the author of the book was the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred, who perished in A.D. 738 after being eaten by one or more invisible monsters.

So what's in this book? From what Lovecraft tells us in his stories, it seems that Alhazred mostly wrote about a race of extraterrestrial creatures with cosmic powers. He calls them the Old Ones, a term that Lovecraft used for more than one group of strange creatures. In "The Dunwich Horror," Lovecraft inserts a lengthy excerpt from the "Necronomicon" about the Old One known as Yog-Sothoth. Cthulhu, a monster who lies sleeping at the bottom of the ocean, also gains a mention in this passage. The reader discovers that Cthulhu is only distantly related to the other Old Ones and that he can "spy Them only dimly."

In other words, the book is a fictional history about our world and the creatures that eons ago ruled the Earth and other realms. Lovecraft said the title meant "the book of the customs (or laws) of the dead," but a more literal translation is "the book of dead names." Later on, other authors would give the "Necronomicon" its reputation as a book of spells, but apart from some very vague descriptions of summoning rituals, that doesn't seem to have been Lovecraft's original intent.


Quote:
An Eternal Couplet
The m ost well-known passage from the book is this couplet:
That is not dead which can eternal lie,
And with strange aeons even death may die.

Nevertheless, this history of the youngest days of our world and the otherworldly beings who controlled it is so horrifying that, according to Lovecraft, reading the book could drive you insane. Many of Lovecraft's stories end with one or more characters descending into madness, and quite a few of them did so after perusing the "Necronomicon." Lovecraft stressed that these beings were so beyond human comprehension that even considering them for more than a moment could warp your mind.

In this article, we'll explore the fictional author of the "Necronomicon," the various translations Lovecraft mentions in his fiction, the real and fictional locations where you would be able to find a copy -- if it really existed -- and the hoaxes and homages inspired by Lovecraft's clever creation.

It's a Mad, Mad, Arab Abdul Alhazred World

So what's the deal with this Alhazred guy, anyway? Well, within the context of the fictional Cthulhu mythos, Abdul Alhazred was a poet who was born in Yemen and lived in Damascus during the 8th century. He was a world traveler, exploring much of the Middle East and Europe. He was remarkably intelligent and adept at learning and translating languages. Perhaps most importantly, as far as the "Necronomicon" is concerned, he was an avid drug user.

Alhazred's source of information for his history appears to have been the cosmos itself. He would meditate while inhaling fumes from incense that included exotic ingredients -- like opium -- and wait for knowledge to fill him. It's probably this unorthodox research methodology that inspired others to give him the nickname the "mad Arab."

The original title for Alhazred's book was "Al Azif," a reference to the noise made by insects at night, though some scholars (both real people in our world and fictional characters within the mythology itself) say it's also the sound of the demons howling. Sadly for prospective insane scholars across the globe, you can't get your hands on a copy of the original Arabic text, as all copies have disappeared.

That's the Cthulhu mythos version of the story -- here's the real deal. Abdul Alhazred was a name Lovecraft invented when imagining himself adventuring through the stories from Andrew Lang's "Arabian Nights." He was 5 years old at the time.

That's right, the most famous mystical book of spells was, in fact, initially just a fantasy from the mind of a 5-year-old boy living in New England. Later, Lovecraft was careful to create a sense of plausibility in his mythology, referencing the "Necronomicon" several times, often in the same paragraph that included references to authentic books on the occult, including "The Book of Dyzan" and "Poligraphia." In correspondence with his friends, however, he readily admitted the origin of his dread Arab's name.

Lovecraft expressed a desire to eventually write the "Necronomicon" himself. He thought it would be great fun to create out of whole cloth an ancient text that would lend credence to his mythology [source: The H.P. Lovecraft Archive]. However, he considered it too great a challenge, and for many years he thought about writing an abridged version of the book, which thankfully would only contain the bits that wouldn't drive the reader nuts.

Shortly after he first mentioned the "Necronomicon," it began to pop up in other authors' stories. Lovecraft took great pleasure in seeing his book referenced in his friends' stories and felt that widespread references helped make the book seem more real.

The Language of the 'Necronomicon'

According to a letter Lovecraft wrote to fellow author Clark Ashton Smith, Theodorus Philetas translated the original Arabic text into Greek in A.D. 950, whereupon "Al Azif" became known as the "Necronomicon." Most copies were burned after a few nasty incidents involving people experimenting with the text with the intent of harnessing the power of the Old Ones.

In 1228, Olaus Wormius, a priest, translated the Arabic text into Latin. Pope Gregory IX banned both the Latin and Greek translations, and Church officials seized and burned as many copies as they could find (in reality, Olaus Wormius was a 17th-century Dutch physician with no connection to mystical books).

Additional lore claims that in 1586, Dr. John Dee, an Englishman and magician, discovered a long lost copy of Wormius' Latin translation. Dee and his assistant, Edward Kelly, attempted to translate the work into English. No publisher ever printed the full text, and the original translation sits in the Bodleian Library in Oxford, England, (the real John Dee was an advisor to Queen Elizabeth I and was known as both a mathematician and an alchemist).

Other authors mention more translations, including a copy written in Hebrew, but not all Lovecraft fans accept those copies as canon in the Cthulhu Mythos. Lovecraft said that copies of the "Necronomicon" exist at the following libraries:

Bibliotheque Nationale at Paris (Latin text)
British Museum (Latin text, safely locked away from the public)
Miskatonic University in Arkham, Mass. (Spanish reprint of the Latin text)
University of Buenos Aires (Spanish reprint)
Widener Library at Harvard (Spanish reprint)

In Lovecraft's fiction, most religious and political organizations ban the book outright, as madness and calamity follow copies wherever they go. Of course, all of these copies are completely fictitious. In fact, Miskatonic University and Arkham are both Lovecraft inventions and don't exist.

Your Local Friendly Necronomicon

You might be sitting there at your computer saying, "Hey, how about all those copies of the "Necronomicon" I've seen on Amazon.com or at my local bookstore?" These books are all hoaxes of varying degrees of quality. Some authors wrote hoax versions in order to further Lovecraft's vision, while others sought a way to make some money off of the credulous.
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Postby TBLightning492 » Sun Dec 13, 2009 12:07 am

Tautriadelta wrote:Any other people out there besides me that play in the world of Lovecraft ?


The best thing about role-playing in that universe is the imaginative things you can come up with. Sadly, trapped in a corner and out of ammo, I took off my belt and proceeded to strike as many Deep Ones as I could with the buckle.

The other players still remind me of that whenever they get a chance.

:oops:
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Postby Tautriadelta » Mon Jan 04, 2010 3:39 pm

ROFL TB, that's definately classic my friend..worthy of any Lovecraft stories..I can just picture you flailing with the belt...
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Postby AndyC » Tue May 11, 2010 6:47 pm

I love Lovecraft. A coworker got me interested in him about 15 years ago. This guy was a huge fan of Lovecraft stories, Geiger art and Bugs Bunny cartoons. He was interesting.

Anyway, I picked up a bunch of used Del Rey paperbacks and read pretty well everything in them. The guy had a gift, that's for sure. The only bad thing I can say is that sometimes Lovecraft gets too caught up in the descriptions and details when he should be moving the story along. I have the same problem with Asimov. In moderation, it's a good thing, part of their style, but it can easily bog the story down.

Funny how once you've read an author like Lovecraft, you start to notice his influence on fiction, both in the horror genre and in general. Things as far from horror literature as G.I. Joe: The Movie (1987) owe a lot to Lovecraft.
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