Thursday, November 3, 2011

It Appears That the Stars Are Right (Part I)

For over a week I have been falling asleep to "The Call of Cthulhu." No cyclopean cities have haunted my dreams. Nor have I woken in a cold sweat with not-quite remembered dreams just beyond my mind's grasp.

Despite the lack of these obvious signs, I am still certain that the stars are right. Although I have been encountering H. P. Lovecraft's writing and influence at least since high school (possibly as far back as elementary school with The Real Ghostbusters episode "The Collect Call of Cathulhu," circa 1987), it hasn't been since the last few months that I've made an effort to immerse myself more in the Mythos.

The reason that I have held off so long is that I have a hard time reading Lovecraft's writing on the page. His writing is very verbose, and is at times hard to slog through. For the longest time Lovecraft's fiction was something I wanted to like, but I just couldn't get into it.

The solution, as it turned out, was simple enough. Listen to his stories. And in the last week or so, I have done so. The version of "The Call of Cthulhu" that I have been falling to sleep to recently is from the wonderful folks behind HPPodcraft. I also have recently listened to the H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society's Dark Adventure Radio Theatre presentations of "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" and "At the Mountains of Madness." These are the perfect mediums for this listener to consume these core tales of the Mythos.

Not that I have been ignoring the Mythos. I have played Fantasy Flight Games' Call of Cthulhu card game since its introduction, I own all of the new edition of Arkham Horror's expansions. And although I have yet to play it, the roleplaying game seems to be hitting a new peak. Pelgrane Press' Gumshoe System re-implementation of Call of Cthulhu, Trail of Cthulhu, has some of the best roleplaying material I've seen in ages. Cubicle 7, another UK company, is gradually releasing more and more Cthulhu: Britannica supplements which I am looking forward to diving into.

Furthermore, with the recent release of The Thing prequel, I have finally watched the 1982 John Carpenter film. It is a very Call of Cthulhu-esque film. From the investigation of strange happenings in the isolated Antarctic, to the temporary insanity that at least two of the characters fall to. It is a great study in the Mythos without explicitly being a Mythos film.

So, with that, I have to conclude that the stars are right. Ia! Ia! Cthulhu fhtagn!

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