Monday, October 21, 2013

Black Beast of AAARGH!

One of my favorite authors is H.P. Lovecraft. In high school, a friend gave me a copy of The Lurking Fear and Other Stories and my life has never been the same.

HPL had a rather bleak view of we wee humans. Our infinitesimal place in an vast and uncaring cosmos, our inability to truly comprehend the unknowableness that exists, not only around us, but inside us. As far as he was concerned, within the realms of his fiction, to approach true understanding was to invite madness. I'm sure you can see my fascination with all things Lovecraft. What's not to like, right?

Despite the sleepless nights filled with disturbing imagery, as well as the dreamworlds I've awakened from in a cold sweat, it's nice, even therapeutic, to find the humor in some of Lovecraft's stylistic choices.

Robert M. Price wrote an article in 1982, recently reprinted by Mike Davis in the Lovecraft eZine, examining one of these recurring choices. In a number of Lovecraft's stories, the protagonist is found committing to paper, in the form of a letter, the very words being read. As if the reader has discovered or received the letter itself. First person accounts can often be guilty of jumping tense in order to record those final moments and bring resolution to a story. Lovecraft didn't always bother jumping tense to wrap up his work, though. No, he had his characters writing their final thoughts and guttural noises even as they were dragged away into oblivion.

Reminds me of the Black Beast of AAARGH! scene in Monty Python's Holy Grail.

MAYNARD: It reads, 'Here may be found the last words of Joseph of Aramathea. He who is valiant and pure of spirit may find the Holy Grail in the Castle of aaargh'. 

ARTHUR: What? 

MAYNARD: 'The Castle of aaargh'. 

BEDEMIR: What is that? 

MAYNARD: He must have died while carving it. 

LANCELOT: Oh, come on! 

MAYNARD: Well, that's what it says. 

ARTHUR: Look, if he was dying, he wouldn't bother to carve 'aaargh'.

We'd never get away with this sort of thing now, my friends, unless...

In the same spirit of fun, Mike Davis at the Lovecraft eZine put up a contest looking for very short Lovecraftian stories with just this sort of ending.

Check out the contest winners and honorable mentions, including a piece of my own here.

You'll find the comic cosmic offerings of:

No comments:

Post a Comment