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yock's Lovecraftathon: The Book



Moving on to another unfinished fragment, this is a simultaneously frustrating and intriguing read. Frustrating because at the start it doesn't get on with the plot quickly enough, albeit in a typical Lovecraftian way, and I know while reading that it's going to be very short. But then when it does start properly it's a real page turner, and belies its short length.


I really like the idea of the narrator finding a strange book, whose title he can't see, in a curious bookshop. Then taking it home, all the while feeling as though he's being followed. Rather worryingly that's exactly the start of an interactive fiction game I'm writing on and off! The game was inspired by a number of entries in Lovecraft's Commonplace Book, so it's hardly surprising to see one of them reflected in a story here.


The bibliophile theme then shifts towards a more sci-fi approach, as a ritual in the mysterious book allows the narrator to warp time, to somehow step out of it. This bit is really exciting. And then it stops. And I want to know more!


So, yes, I think thumbs up. Even if I'm going to be looking at my IF game in progress in a fresh light now!

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Apparently S.T. Joshi believed this was Lovecraft's short-lived attempt to adapt his collection of sonnets The Fungi From Yuggoth into prose when faced with writer's block, with most of the results destroyed when Lovecraft wasn't happy with them -  something Lovecraft might have been alluding to in a 1933 letter to Robert E. Howard:  "I am at a sort of standstill in writing - disgusted at much of my older work, and uncertain as to avenues of improvement. In recent weeks I have done a tremendous amount of experimenting with different styles and perspectives, but have destroyed most of the results."  I wonder what it might have looked like, had Lovecraft finished such a thing?

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