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AgentConradGray

Frank Belknap Long's "The Space Eaters"

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AgentConradGray

I've read from somewhere that the story is an attempt to "Christianize" the Mythos. Is that true? If so, can someone give me a synopsis about the story?

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Jannes

It is. The "point" of the story is that "the symbol" (the cross) wards aginst brain-eating monsters (and supposedly other mythos creatures as well).

 

Not one of the best mythos stories, in my opinion... :?

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Dark_Young

Well, it is a decent horror story at the least. In the beginning it shows some good atmosphere for a horror story. But its not exactly the best mythos story. I suggest reading it for yourself. If I remeber correctly the story is in 'Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos'

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cynick
can someone give me a synopsis about the story?
A thinly disguised HPL encounters the Mythos...

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resident_of_arkham

Actually, I love this story a whole lot. It has just the right mix of humour and Lovecraftian horror, in my opinion. It's not very Lovecraft-like in terms of prose, but if you like authors such as Robert Bloch, then you'll probably love this thing as well. And besides, Long is a pretty decent writer himself! I appreciate his trying to Christianize the Mythos, being a Christian myself, and I don't think it detracts from the horror anymore than the horror of "The Exorcist" is detracted when you learn that the devils can be defeated by Christ. In other words, it's just as effective.

 

As for a synopsis, let's see...it's been a while since I've read it, but roughly speaking, it's about a group of Old Ones deciding to come down on our planet and take over; fortunately they are warded off with the cross, but they come back when a a thinly-disguised HPL pastiche continues to write about them...

 

But like everyone else said, read it yourself. It's not bad!

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liebkraft

do you know where I can get his Mythos-stories? So far I've 'unearthed' The Hounds of Tindalos from the Web, but wasnt' really able to find the others

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tlynch999

A number of them are available in this fine tome from Hippocampus Press: The Tindalos Cycle. "The Space-Eaters" is in there as are several others.

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Paddurz
do you know where I can get his Mythos-stories? So far I've 'unearthed' The Hounds of Tindalos from the Web, but wasnt' really able to find the others

 

If you feel rich, then Centipede Press has a collection of his tales.

 

http://www.centipedepress.com/masters/fblongmwt.html

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Lambda
It is. The "point" of the story is that "the symbol" (the cross) wards aginst brain-eating monsters (and supposedly other mythos creatures as well).

 

That is exactly what happens. I do think that it was an attempt to establish the cross as being the Elder Sign. It's been a while since I've read it, and it does seem a bit cheezy, but it's definitely not a bad story.

 

do you know where I can get his Mythos-stories? So far I've 'unearthed' The Hounds of Tindalos from the Web, but wasnt' really able to find the others

 

I know that the Space Eaters is in the Del Rey "Tales of the Cthulhu mythos", together w/ the Hounds of Tindalos, but that is as far as I have come. There seems to be no "catch-them-all" collection of his mythos works. It's a shame, really - I like these two very much.

 

EDIT: ninja'd by Paddurz - yes, one would need a few moneys for that one, and it's limited to 200 copies. :( I might consider the Price collection though, seems like a good deal.

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liebkraft

thanks :)

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hopfrog

Lovecraft himself uses the cross as symbol in "The Dreams in the Witch House." I love "The Space Eaters," and it was probably the first Mythos tale written not by HPL.

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GRWelsh

This story is mostly interesting to me because it has dialogue that could very well be a recreation of conversations FBL and HPL actually had.  The two main characters in the story, Frank and Howard, are obviously fictional versions of FBL and HPL.  FBL shows that he understands HPL's ambition to take the horror genre out of the traditional tropes and expand it in ways never before dreamed of, including by incorporating into it the latest scientific theories and discoveries.  Yet FBL isn't quite capable of pulling it off himself.  

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TMS

I thought that the story was very effective for what it is. It's certainly the best of Long's stories that I've read (though I haven't read that many). I don't really see it as an attempt to Christianize anything. It says in the story itself that the symbol of the cross is "older than all religion" and "present in all mythologies," which is true enough. The cross was used as a symbol long before Jesus came along. Lovecraft himself used the swastika the same way in "Innsmouth."

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ElijahWhateley

I concur that the story doesn't really Christianize the Mythos. There's the hint that maybe Christians, like earlier religions, adopted the cross as their symbol because of it's protective properties. At the end of the day, it protects for geometrical reasons, not holy ones.

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yronimoswhateley

Same here - I don't think it necessarily "Christianizes" the "Mythos" - it could be read that way if you choose to, or it could, as TMS and Elijah said, be read as being a far older symbol adopted by human cultures around the world because of their belief in its power to ward off the "Mythos".  Frank Belknap Long, whatever the quality of his Mythos stories, did have the class to leave the explanation open-ended and let his readers fill in their own explanations for why the symbol had this power.

 

As for the quality of this story, I quite enjoyed it, and found it one of the better stories written by the Lovecraft Circle outside the "Big Three" (HPL, CAS, and REH).  I thought the cosmic horror was really quite effective (a nasty, weird, absurd, feverish thing that ran on nightmare logic), and the vulnerability of the monsters to be warded off with the sign of the cross did not, to me, diminish the creepiness of the things or their effects on their victims.  The thinly-veiled "Howard" and "Frank" characters and their conversations were, to me, a fun treat as well - like GRWelsh, I also could imagine them being the transcriptions of real conversations between the two authors.

 

A predictably bad and not particularly faithful TV adaptation of the story was made for the 1980s horror anthology series Monsters (formerly Tales from the Darkside) - given the series it was made for, expect phoned-in acting, indifferent direction, and cheesy production values along with the inevitable laughably bad special effects, but the "Space Eaters" episode was short, and kind of fun in a bad-Lovecraftian-horror kind of way.  You can find this episode on YouTube, but I'd really recommend reading the story first.

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