Re: [barsoom] re: Torakar of Mars
> The "thing in the pit" certainlyevokes those authors - it's an entertaining
I thought I should mention a little more. I was
fairly directly inspired by Lovecraft here, and this
section is a genuine tribute. Lovecraft was the
master of escalating horror. His characters
Thus in "Randolf Carter" his protagonist descends a
set of steps extending infinitely downwards into a
crypt, as things become more and more horrific. "Red
Hook" features a similar progression down into caverns
beneath New York. "At the Mountains of Madness" also
has a geographic progression down into lower and lower
levels and ever more evil and surreal scenes.
Lovecraft didn't always use actual descents as
metaphors, but in his best stories, his characters are
always in one way or another, on a journey into
horror, each step taking them a little further
downward into the abyss, each revelation building on
the next, until ultimate horror is revealed.
His characters often travel in pairs. There is the
explorer, unravelling the puzzle, exposing greater and
greater horrors, and the observer, who follows along,
recording it and surviving to tell the tale.
The final revelation, as in "The Mountains of Madness"
is of a super-evil that makes the abominations which
come before it seem ordinary, something so profoundly
awful that your entire landscape of good and bad is
forcibly rearranged, and the characters are forced to
flee, their minds all but shattered.
A couple of specific tropes that I borrowed directly
from Lovecraft - his notion of cosmic age. The Tower
of Korvas appears to be both unearthly, and impossibly
vastly older than the rock that surrounds it. It's as
if the cliff face formed around the tower.
Second, the things in the tower, the gibbering
obscenities that need no food or water but simply
endure. That's basically a direct borrow from "The
Case of Charles Dexter Ward"
I'm pretty sure that most of you have read Lovecraft.
But if you haven't, please feel free to acquaint
yourself with a guilty pleasure.
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