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Bsides 11 - Nyarlothotep

Posted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 2:17 am
by eggyolk
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Bsides 11- Nyarlathotep by H.P. Lovecraft
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Nyarlathotep... the crawling chaos... I am the last... I will tell the audient void...

Art by Liz Pennies

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I really love Lovecraft, but have gotten sick of Lovecraft being the "filler" in podcast fiction from time to time.
Imagine my surprise when Norm busted out this B-sides episode.
Norm you read this one with authority, I was listening to on the couch after getting home from church. I gotta say, this one got to me more than the sermon, and we had a pretty good sermon. Strangely I kept hearing in that context, that churchy context. I try to keep my crazy evangelical side locked up in a very very small box, but man one of these days you have do some production on Isaiah. Seriously, full creepy music and everything.


Re: Episode #11 (I think) Nyarlothotep

Posted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:26 am
by ejbman
I had this B-Side auto-loaded via the SmartList on my iPod, back-to-back with episode #175, so it was a nice, continuous Lovecraft morning for me. (Listened before I even got out of bed, then didn't really want to anymore).

I appreciated the historical note about Tesla. Very interesting. Made me consider whether the Tesla inspiration made it all the way through to the "Bubba Ho-tep" derivation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bubba_Ho-tep

Re: Episode #11 (I think) Nyarlothotep

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:32 pm
by Mister Gester Ghost
I'm not normally a Lovecraft fan, a sign of my youth, but he uses too much abstract imagery for my liking. He'd write something like, "And it was the most terrifying thing he had even seen." and "His horrifying form was beyond human explanation." Nyarlothotep, however, I enjoyed. I don't know exactly what it was about the story, but I liked it.

Re: Episode #11 (I think) Nyarlothotep

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 6:54 pm
by normsherman
Yah, this complaint is raised against HP a lot. It may help to know that Lovecraft addressed this himself-- in the opening paragraph of the story "The Unnamable" Lovecraft’s friend chides: “Your constant talk about “unnamable” and “unmentionable” things was a very puerile device, quite in keeping with your lowly standing as an author.” But after encountering a real monster, he claims:

“No – it wasn’t that way at all. It was everywhere – a gelatin – a slime yet it had shapes, a thousand shapes of horror beyond all memory. There were eyes – and a blemish. It was the pit – the maelstrom – the ultimate abomination. Carter, it was the unnamable!”

A truly unnamable unknowable monster has no words by which to define it, which sucks for writers because they only have words to convey the horror and describe the monstrous. I stopped viewing this as a writing cop-out once I actually thought about how similes/metaphors work and how, in most instances of "cosmic horror," there really wouldn't be-- or shouldn't be-- anything adequate to draw comparisons to. Just a series of stammering unsuccessful attempts, followed by an empty phrase like "beyond explanation" which makes you want to violently shake the stuttering lunatic witness/speaker and scream at him "Gah! Get a hold of yourself man, what in the blazes did it look like!?"
Alas, we get "a color that was not a color" and "a shape that was not a shape," and
"I don't know, I can't describe it, stop shaking me!"

Re: Episode #11 (I think) Nyarlothotep

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 8:11 pm
by dreamrock
I like the way H.P. Lovecraft's prose drips. He's not much on imagery, but he's great on describing its effects on the beholders. It's a different kind of showing ("show, don't tell"), so to speak.

It's also easy to overdo. He's like the logical conclusion to Poe (see Mask of the Red Death, Fall of the House of Usher, and The Black Cat in particular) ... there's a lot to be said for his style, and some of it is good.

Despite the silly bits and the hard-to-ignore racism, there's something compelling about his stories and the cosmicism plays a big role in what compels. The idea that human beings aren't simply inferior, but irrelevant on a cosmic scale lends extreme weight. Cthulhu isn't driving men mad by invading their dreams ... his dreams are simply floating in the void and humanity just happens to pick them up (example, not necessarily specifically accurate).

Lovecraft tells the stories in a way that makes me feel like his characters aren't writers or storytellers. They are driven and shocked normal(ish) human beings who have come face to face with unspeakable horrors (uber dramatic voice).

Hm, I can see I'm waxing long. And I haven't even heard the episode yet. More thoughts on this later, perhaps. :lol:

Re: Episode #11 (I think) Nyarlothotep

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 8:56 pm
by normsherman
Oh and welcome to the forums Mister Gester Goat!

Re: Episode #11 (I think) Nyarlothotep

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:12 pm
by ejbman
Fans of Charles Stross may be interested to know that "N'yar lath-Hotep" makes an appearance in his latest Laundry Files title, The Fuller Memorandum (http://www.amazon.com/Fuller-Memorandum ... 211&sr=8-1).

Re: Episode #11 (I think) Nyarlothotep

Posted: Sat Aug 21, 2010 10:39 pm
by tbaker2500
Not as good as #175, but short and sweet.

Re: Episode #11 (I think) Nyarlothotep

Posted: Sat Aug 28, 2010 5:11 pm
by moonowl
oooh, this really came alive for me. Plus the Tesla connection? No idea. Makes a lot of sense though!

Re: Episode #11 (I think) Nyarlothotep

Posted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 3:10 am
by Mikes
normsherman wrote:A truly unnamable unknowable monster has no words by which to define it, which sucks for writers because they only have words to convey the horror and describe the monstrous.
One of my favourite Lovecraft monster was the Dunwhich Horror (I believe, I'm not too hot on names), and I think it shows that this monster is described through the description given by one of his slack-jawed yokels, with their usual limited vocabulary. Who also happens to be going mad.

Re: Episode #11 (I think) Nyarlothotep

Posted: Sat Oct 02, 2010 1:13 am
by tamarbucks
Wow. Thanks for turning me onto this story.

I was sucked in. The production was thoughtful and well-executed and greatly enhanced the story, making it easier to enjoy the savory bits of wordplay ("pale pitying moon" ,"corpses of dead worlds with sores that were cities", "the terrible city of unnumbered crimes" etc). The production was indeed so powerful, that I remained swept up in spite of one brief diversion, where the reference to ancient Egypt and space aliens indicated Nyarlathotep was actually a G'ould from Stargate SG1.

The imagery and tone of this production gave me the same feeling I experienced watching Apocalypse Now. Kurtz' horrific village is in the midst of the decaying Buddhist monastery of "false gods" - we are taken "up the endless stairs into the choking room" - and everywhere are shadows and hints of Kurtz's followers' "yellow, evil faces peering from behind fallen monuments".


Anyone -- why was the second tower ragged at the top? Converted to a landing G'ould pad? A post-war WWI image, quietly crumbling with a whimper not a bang?

Re: Bsides 11 - Nyarlothotep

Posted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 4:31 pm
by nevermore_66
One of my favorite Lovecraft pieces. I took a re-listen at the start of October and (inspired by H.P. and Norm) changed my choice in costume...

Image

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Re: Bsides 11 - Nyarlothotep

Posted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 5:17 pm
by ejbman
Rock ON!!! Awesome costume.
nevermore_66 wrote:One of my favorite Lovecraft pieces. I took a re-listen at the start of October and (inspired by H.P. and Norm) changed my choice in costume...

Image

Image

Re: Bsides 11 - Nyarlothotep

Posted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 5:23 pm
by nevermore_66
Thanks!

This was the playbill I was passing out while in costume:

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hp ... 8536_n.jpg

Re: Bsides 11 - Nyarlothotep

Posted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 6:07 pm
by ejbman
Ha! Excellent.
nevermore_66 wrote:Thanks!

This was the playbill I was passing out while in costume:

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hp ... 8536_n.jpg

Re: Bsides 11 - Nyarlothotep

Posted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 6:14 pm
by StalinSays
Sick stuff man, love it.

Re: Bsides 11 - Nyarlothotep

Posted: Tue Nov 01, 2011 12:06 am
by normsherman
Yah, kickass!

Re: Bsides 11 - Nyarlothotep

Posted: Tue Nov 01, 2011 12:50 am
by nevermore_66
"A sickened, sensitive shadow writhing in hands that are not hands..."

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hp ... 3468_n.jpg

And finally...

They do their mad, piping dance in chambers that are not chambers, lit by light that is not light, beneath space that is not space, eating peanuts which are neither peas nor nuts -- the Outer Gods: Shub-Niggurath, Yog-Sothoth, Nyarlathotep, Magnum P.I., Azathoth...

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hp ... 6096_n.jpg

Magnum P.I. was.
Magnum P.I. is.
Magnum P.I. shall be.

Re: Bsides 11 - Nyarlothotep

Posted: Tue Nov 01, 2011 1:27 am
by tbaker2500
Sweeeet.

Re: Bsides 11 - Nyarlothotep

Posted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 5:35 pm
by Unblinking
Lovecraft tends to be hit-and-miss for me. This one was a miss, unfortunately, I just had trouble paying attention. Give me the Music of Erich Zann anyday!