The Lovecraft series continues.
Raw Feed (2005, 2014): “Hypnos”, H. P. Lovecraft, 1922.
This is an odd Poe-like story.
Specifically, it reminded me of Edgar Allan Poe’s deranged narrator from “The Tell-Tale Heart”. At story’s end, the deranged sculptor hero claims his great statute is of his mysterious friend, a man whose name or age he does not know, a man he befriended after finding him faint at a railway station, a man who initiates him into various mystical knowledge but then, after a horrible experience while dreaming, warns the narrator they must never sleep, a man who disappeared in “horrible red-gold light”.
His friends tell the narrator the sculpture is a self-portrait.
On my second reading, in 2014, what most leaped out at me was that this is the Lovecraft I love with something missing.
Occult dabblings with the promise of immense power at their end? Check.
The vague references to things we are better off not knowing? Check.
Cosmic horror in the astronomical references to the Coronal Borealis? Check.
But, while I appreciated the Poe-like aspects, the stage seemed too empty. In later, longer Lovecraft he chose to anchor his horror more to our world, ensnare the reader into his vision, with concrete details. Here it’s just a reference to a couple of places in England and a one astronomical feature.
In later stories, we’d get a barrage of historical and scientific details — some real, some made up. This is literally and figuratively dreamy Lovecraft.
Its got a tone, ambiguity, absurdity (the uncurious acceptance of the narrator for his friend), controlled language, but it seems less effective and more ethereal than his later stuff, a skeleton to be muscled later with more than just classical allusions. Later Lovecraft efforts would be powered by science.
More reviews of Lovecraft material are indexed on the Lovecraft page.