Sunday 21 March 2010

Triangulation: Blackwood, Lovecraft, Brackett, Burroughs, "Conan" and more

This was a crazy week. So many important dates to consider!

First off on Sunday was Algernon Blackwood's fourteenieth-first birthday, and I maintain that no author of weird literature could ever scare me quite as much as this chap. The man just knew how to push my fear buttons, somehow. I could write longer articles on his stories, "The Willows" and "The Wendigo" in particular, but because of the other dates I didn't want to expend all my energy on one author and neglect the others.

Monday was followed by H.P. Lovecraft's deathday. Plenty of people love HPL's Yog-Sothothery and Cthulhoids, but it's his Dreamland tales I cherish. So many great moments: the encounter with the Zoogs, the ascent of Ngranek, meeting Pickman and the Ghouls, the starborn voyage from Celephais, the cats leaping from the moon to the earth like a tidal wave. It would make a fantastic film in the vein of Stardust or Return to Oz. Tim Burton might be a good choice of director, but I'd go with Peter Weir or Terry Gilliam.

Also, I can't be the only one who saw "whither no man had gone before" and imagined a Lovecraft/Star Trek mashup. Watch the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Conspiracy" and tell me that wouldn't make a great basis for a Lovecraftian arc. The Star-Spawn of Cthulhu would be a bit too obvious: how about the Mi-Go? It'd be awesome to see how they'd evolved in the centuries since their first appearance in the '30s. Perhaps another established race like the Elder Things, Flying Polyps. I'd go for the Yekubians: a sequel to "The Challenge from Beyond" would be awesome, and very Trek.

On Thursday, I turn to Leigh Brackett's deathday. I really need to read more of her stuff, but I'm liking "The Sorcerer of Rhiannon" so far. I can't believe I mixed up Serena and Amy, what a gaffe on my part!

Friday sees
the last of the major milestones with Edgar Rice Burrough's birthday. Isn't it odd that we have Blackwood's birthday and Lovecraft's deathday in such close proximity, and then Brackett's deathday and Burrough's birthday later in the week? Two fantasy giants, and two of their influences, birth & death in the same week. Cosmic. And yes, I really need to do a proper look at The Land That Time Forgot.

Rounding out the week we go with the old Rumour Mill of Pain. I don't mind Rose McGowan, but internet: feck the hell off with your calls for a Conan/Red Sonja crossover. It isn't going to happen thanks to the two characters being owned by different companies, thank Crom, but the last thing we need in this production is Red Freaking Sonja. I'll go into more detail over why I hate Red Sonja in a future "Accept No Substitutes" post, but suffice to say, I say leave Sonja in her own hackneyed universe, where Hyrkanians are Stock Standard Medieval European Peasants, Fool's Doom usurps Thulsa Doom, Claw the Unconquered barges in, and Norse gods like Thor and Loki make personal appearances. And they have the gall to put REH's name on their comic.

It occurs to me that my last Almuric and "Barbarians of Middle-earth" posts were in January, with my last Gazetteer back in 2009. Better do something about that. I think it's time for an evil barbarian people (Dunlendings? Variags? Easterlings?), and with the impending approach of Age of Conan: Rise of the Godslayer, I think an Eastern nation might be good for a Gazetteer.

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