Still catching up on recent Deep Ones discussions over at LibraryThing.
This one is in H.P. Lovecraft’s Favorite Weird Tales. Now, you might think that a tale of a menace lurking under the vast realms of the Pacific Ocean may have influenced Lovecraft’s “The Call of Cthulhu”. However, the latter story was written in the summer of 1926 according to S. T. Joshi’s Nightmare Countries: The Master of Cosmic Horror, and Burke’s story appeared in the December 1927 issue of Weird Tales.
Review: “Bells of Oceana”, Arthur J. Burks, 1927.
This is an engaging weird fiction sea story. (I wonder, on reading this the second time, if David Hambling might have read it and been inspired to write his “The Devils in the Deep Blue Sea”.)
Our narrator is Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps and is on a troop ship bound for China. (Presumably, though this is unstated, this was for service in the American naval forces in China in the interwar period. Burks, incidentally, served in the Corps in both world wars.) The ship is taking an unusual route west, traveling between the usual sea lanes.
One night, around midnight, after making the inspection of the onboard sentries, he retires to his stateroom. He’s gripped by a sense of unease. He thinks someone has been in his stateroom.
He knows he has the only key to the room. He even opens the porthole window and looks, but he sees nothing. But he still is uneasy and keeps an eye on the porthole.
Then, after undressing, he sees a strange, “dead-white” face with a “thin and ironic smile”, for a moment, at the porthole. Continue reading ““Bells of Oceana””