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Graham

Non-Mythos Novels that could be used as the basis for a scenario

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JMG

Agreed - that's a fantastic find, JMG!

 

I'd gotten interested in that sort of thing lately while working out a "Lovecraftian" Mars and Martian Dreamland based on the sort of Percival Lowell-inspired dying Mars that seems to run through the work of H.G. Wells, Edgard Rice Burroughs, Clark Ashton Smith, Ray Bradbury, and so many other writers, and I've been planning to look into the Jungle Venus and other worlds as well, so this is the perfect resource at exactly the right time for me!

 

I know the feeling. I was trying to chase down some details out of Clark Ashton Smith via search engine divination, stumbled across the site, and started cackling with glee.

 

A Martian Dreamland? Oh my. That sounds very very fun.

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yronimoswhateley

I had a lot of fun with the Martian Dreamlands. 

 

 

 

They started out loosely inspired by Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom novels.  And then, after watching "The Martian Chronicles", I had dream where these dust-covered, undead, mutant cowboys walked into a Martian ghost-town to tell suspicious townsfolk their disturbing stories of alien lands.  I realized that Burroughs' Barsoom novels weren't too far off in tone from westerns, so I began to envision the Martian Dreamlands more as a sort of vast, desolate, vaguely Spaghetti-Western* themed desert realm, far more ancient than Earth's Dreamlands, haunted by the fading ghosts of Martians who had fled the horrors of dying Mars for the gentler climates of Dream, and the rusted or sleeping wreckage of the technology left over from more youthful epochs of Martian history, with human Dreamers setting up dusty little frontier towns on the banks of immense canals full of cool, clear water beneath the crumbling pyramids raised up by mighty Dreamers of ancient Martian civilizations, proud and enigmatic and terrible against the dim and dying sunlight, where caravans of silent and solemn native Martians lead their pack-animals laden with treasures from colder and more distant worlds to trade with the raucous strangers who have dreamed their way there from bleak and grim Earth colonies in the Martian Daylands....

 

* Of course, those strange, cynical, and pessimistic European Westerns were filmed in places like Spain, Italy, North Africa, and the Middle East, with deserts that looked distinctly and unsettlingly unlike American deserts... so it is with the Martian deserts, which in turn look distinctly and unsettlingly unlike Earthly deserts:  where the original American Westerns told fairly optimistic stories of action and adventure in a lawless place, and European westerns told far darker and more cynical stories, I think that Martian Westerns are also a different thing:  tales of aeons of decay, of doomed town, of dying peoples, of lands and worlds which have ultimately betrayed and broken the peoples who have taken them for granted, and failed to realize all the changes that time might make.

 

I think that all the inhabited planets of the solar system have their own unique Dreamlands - I'm pretty excited to see where things go with the eerie and cold jelly civilizations of Neptune and Uranus, and whatever wonders and horrors wait on Jupiter and Saturn and their moons where the vain, horrible and psychedelic fire-and-gemstone Cats of Saturn laze and play, and of course far-off Yuggoth with its dark and oily rivers, black cyclopean towers and bridges, and sinister fields and ranked forests and gardens of fungi, with whatever peculiar and ghastly Dreamlands the Fungi of Yuggoth have dreamed for themselves....

 

 

 

 

Anyway, with Mars in mind, some additional suggestions for Non-Mythos Novels that Lovecraft fans and Call of Cthulhu gamers might enjoy:

  • Edgar Rice Burroughs' "A Princess of Mars", "The Gods of Mars", "Warlord of Mars", "Thuvia, Maid of Mars", "Chessmen of Mars", etc.
  • Percival Lowell's "Mars", "Mars and its Canals", and "Mars as the Abode of Life" (all three are technically non-fiction speculations on what life on Mars might be like, but they are perhaps more imaginative and evocative reading than most science fiction!)

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JMG

Yronimoswhateley, one of the points made by "Zendexor," the pseudonymous webmaster of the Old Solar System site, is that most of the worlds of the pulp-era solar system have their own distinctive character. Mars is the poster child here: a pulp-era Mars by definition is -- well, pretty much what you've described in your spoiler. So you're in good company.

 

As I recall, it's canon that each world has its own Dreamland -- just a sec, let me reach down my copy of the Del Rey "Dream Cycle" anthology from the nearest shelf. Yep -- the patriarch Atal, who should know, mentions to Randolph Carter that other planets have their own dream worlds, and so do the bearded priests Nasht and Kaman-Tha. So filling in the blanks -- why, so long as you're willing to risk the black impious gulfs, go for it. ;-)

 

One of the tragedies of Lovecraft's early death is that he never got the chance to write more SF; he was quite good at it (cf. "From Beyond" and "In the Walls of Eryx"), and the thought of a series of HPL stories set in the blasted and blasphemous deserts and sinister, oily canals of Mars is tantalizing. Lacking that, to your list, I'd add Clark Ashton Smith's Mars stories "Vulthoom," "The Vaults of Yoh-Vombis," and "The Dweller in the Gulf," and the Martian fiction of Leigh Brackett -- you can tell that Brackett also wrote hardboiled private eye stories; her Mars is gloriously gritty , seedy, and treacherous.

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yronimoswhateley

Thank you!  I've woefully neglected poor Clark Ashton Smith - I managed to track down his collected stories in hardback last year, but haven't had a chance to read them yet.  I did read "The Vaults of Yoh-Vombis", though, and it's powerful and beautiful and horrific stuff!  I'm totally new to Leigh Brackett, but some of the references to Brackett's work on that site are intriguing, and your endorsement has sold me on checking that author's work out as well.  I completely agree that it's a shame Lovecraft was never able to write more science fiction before he passed away - the few hints we do get of what Lovecraft's vision of a science fiction universe full of strange and far-flung corners of time and space might look like are tantalizing.

 

For more "non-Mythos" stuff, JeffErwin in another post referred to Borges "Library of Babel", a highly-recommended and short four-page story which makes for some great "Weird Fiction" reading from an author that I don't believe is usually associated with the genre:

 

I've had this dream. Borges did too: https://libraryofbabel.info/Borges/libraryofbabel.pdf

 

But I am a librarian.

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Wembley

Beau Geste. Written in 1924 by PC Wren and so bang on time (though it is set a decade or two earlier) -- "the adventures of three English brothers who enlist separately in the French Foreign Legion following the theft of a valuable jewel from the country house of a relative."  It's bang-on Boy's Own stuff.

 

It's a classic and you should read it anyway, but there is one section where our heroes discover a 'lost city' which could so easily have turned Lovecraftian, or H Rider Haggard-ish.  The author is well aware of this and is at pains to point out the ordinariness of the inhabitants and the fact that they are not descended from Atlanteans -- but the setup would certainly allow them to be the survivors of some dark and deadly ancient tribe.

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Graham

The Curse of Loch Ness. Published in 1979 (Available as an ebook). Authors name is Peter Ellis (Writing as Peter Tremayne):

 

 

London-raised Jeannie Millbuie has received news that she has unexpected inherited a Scottish castle after the death of her previously unknown relative.

As the only heir of Donald Millbuie, Jeannie travels up to Scotland to take a look at Balmacaan Castle to determine its future.

The castle, which stood on the banks of Loch Ness, along with its odd housekeeper, Mrs. Murdo, and tales of the oddly reclusive previous owner, is a bit in bad shape, but Jeannie is determined to not make a rash decision about its future.

The weird wailing that echoed through the castle and the general eerie atmosphere led to Jeannie asking questions which Mrs. Murdo brushes off, but after exploration of her relatives old quarters reveals a journal, she learns of a horrible truth the Balmacaan Castle and lake is hiding.

Millbuie and the being hiding in Loch Ness have tied fates - and the terrifying and hideous truth will threaten safety and sanity in a race to the end.

 

Blurb from Amazon

 

A nicely pulpy tale, that will be easy to rework.  And it will be noted that the 'being' in question is not a Pleisiosaur...

It appears to be an non-degenerate serpent person.

 

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