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From: Peter Stephenson <pws@ifh.de>
Subject: Re: (urth) Saltus Mine Deep One
Date: Tue, 16 Jun 1998 11:28:43 +0200

Peter Westlake wrote:
(pedantically, GW wrote and PW typed in and added quotes)
> "From far below I heard a step that might have been the walking of
> a tower on the Final Day, when it is said all the cities of Urth
> will stride forth to meet the dawn of the New Sun."
> "I opened my mouth to cry for help, then closed it again,
> thinking I might call upon myself something more terrible
> than that I had once waked in the mine of the man-apes."

Just wanted to agree (belatedly --- fast list!) with the Lovecraft
overtones.  (The Baba Yaga joke was good, btw.) All we need is the
word `eldritch' and a reference to the forbidden Necronomicon of the
mad Arab Abdul Alhazred.  The ancientness and otherworldliness of
Lovecraft's creatures translates well to Wolfe, although we don't
usually get the horror element as clearly as here.

As for created beings: I left the first quote in as a contrast ---
what's missing in Lovecraft is the sense of something having been
`engineered', as a tower is but a shuggoth (have I got that right?)
isn't.  There are parallels: the are lots of cases in Lovecraft of
inventors or people who are making something nameless in their
basements which tend to remind me of the things you find in the back
of the fridge (or refrigerator for you lot over there) a few months
too late.  It somehow seems more chemical than physical, though.
Strange that Wolfe picked the name `chems' for his whorl creatures ---
maybe that was a deliberate way of making them seem more organic, in
comparison with taluses etc.

By the way, Lovecraft has some of my favourite `how not to do it' pieces
of prose, I'm glad GW wasn't too heavily influenced: "Dark the caverns
where no man has trod and evil the mind that is held by no head" [who
was it said `backward ran the sentences until reeled the mind'?], and
my all-time favourite: "What we heard was not the fabulous note of any
buried blasphemey of elder earth from whose supernal toughness an
age-denied polar sun had evoked a monstrous response" which says it all,
really (it's from `At the Mountains of Madness' and I think what they
heard was something like `tekelili' --- come to think of it, the
Antartic remains in this story, one of Lovecraft's longest, are
rather Wolfean, too).

If you need a Vironese name for me (though last time I came near the
place His Cognizance made the sign of addition at me and vanished) you
can call me `Corncrake', if it hasn't been taken.  No associations, I
just like the word.  I will continue to respond to Peter S or pws.


*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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