Folks, we’ve finally made it! The final episode on H.P. Lovecraft and Zelia Bishop’s The Mound.
Thanks to reader Jimmy Akin for taking the ride with us!
Next Story: Medusa’s Coil
Podcast: Play in new window
Very good show! I read “The Mound” many years back after finding an omnibus, “The Horror in the Museum”. On retrospect, it was kind of dull. But it’s well noted that it serves as good fodder for RPG supplements
But Medusa? Read it recently. It’s.. not good, it’s also not terribly *written*. Just.. dull.
Welcome back and thanks much!
Can’t say I was a big fan of this one. But it was still fun to listen to you guys dissect it Always a fan and waiting patiently for next week!
John Byrne, the comics artist/author, was once asked which comics stories he considered ‘canon.’ He said, “None of them. These are COMICS.”
Ah, Zealia….leave Howard alone so that he can get back to writing what he wants to write.
Guys, Del Toro’s MOUNTAINS was very little like Lovecraft’s story. Imagine it combined with THE THING… and imagine more than one Thing, and imagine them mocking their victims with the terrible knowledge of their position in the universe, and then consuming them and taking on their form, and finally imagine the things trying to release Cthulhu. Cthulhu appears at the end of Del Toro’s script, too. Sound much like Lovecraft’s story? Not much.
Hastur, as an Old One, is completely Derleth’s creation(1939 “Return of Hastur”). Lovecraft HAD a Not-to-Be-Named, called the Magnum Innominandum (“Great Not To Be Named”), but he never did more with it than list its name, and it isn’t Yog-Sothoth (he’s in the “Whisperer in Darkness” roll call along with the MI.)
Notice how I haven’t commented at all on the current story. And next, MEDUSA’s COIL. Oh boy. Woo hoo, extra hoo.
Thanks, guys. I’d wiped “Manimal” from my brain, and now I’ll have to spend years doing so again.
And let’s get “Medusa” over with quickly, as we then hit a run of three of Howard’s best.
Medusa will be better. “Yig” quality, I would say.
[...] The Mound. Thanks to reader Jimmy Akin for taking the ride with us! Next Story: Medusa’s Coil HPPodcraft.com – The H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast Comments [...]
As much as you two hated The Mound, I hope that you’ll point out its similarities to The Shadow Out Of Time when you cover that story.
The story is insightful about the whole structure of the «Cthulhu Mythos» and the others related to it; how it’s showed by the present of the god «Tsathoggua», featured in the cycle of Hyperborea, the most cthulhunian of all those written by the divine Klarkash-Ton. And that guys is beyond of the «chewing gum» of an exciting plot.
I really can not understand why so much fuss about the lack of plot. For the «weltanschauung», so to speak, that lie like subtext in many of Lovecraft’s works, is a better contribution to the imagination than a plot full of happenings.
The concept of the story was taken, in part, from the theory of «The Hollow Earth»,in fashion in those times. The masterpiece dealing with it is, of course, «The Moon Pool» (1919), by Abraham Merritt. But even Merritt, drew the idea from the book «The Coming Race» (1871), the nineteenth century classic of occultism literature, by Edward Bulwer Lytton. Needless to say, that both of them are full of science and «slaves».
“The Mound” is well done, but it doesn’t get better upon re-reading as does something that was initially difficult for me, such as “At the Mountains of Madness.” Now, “Medusa’s Coil” is cool and weird and fun. I’m a big fan of it, and it has actually inspir’d one of my recent efforts. I like it when Lovecraft borders on decadence, as he does with “Medusa’s Coil.”
I feel that “The Mound” could have been a good story if it were either (1) much shorter and more cryptic, as Chad and Chris suggest — that first chapter does rule — or (2) not written by Lovecraft. The whole second part of the story, in which Zamacona describes his life with the inhabitants of the Mound, *could* have been interesting if it were written differently, either as a modern story with dialogue & human characters & such, or a literary-hoax ‘journal-entries’ type story which actually reproduced the contents of Zamacona’s notebook rather than merely the narrator’s summary of Zamacona’s notebook. Think of Robert Bloch’s “Notebook Found in a Deserted House”, a great story, and how lame that story would have been if it was told in summary by someone discovering the notebook and describing it. Too many levels of narrative=boring. But the *kernel* of the story, with Lovecraft describing some decadent super-scientific civilization underground, is actually not bad for 1930s pulpy sci-fi. There’s even a human interest — a religious Conquistador confronted by amoral superscientists, like “Brave New World” — and a sense of poetic justice in the ending when the jerk betrays his wife only to….! So I think this story could’ve been decent if only it hadn’t been written in such a boring fashion. Lovecraft’s tendency to distance the reader from the subject matter with literary devices and meta-layers (which, incidentally, is a reason I sometimes prefer his earlier works, because he didn’t do that as much) totally doesn’t work here.
What I really wonder about this story, though, is what Zealia Bishop thought when she gave Lovecraft a one-line suggestion for a Southwestern American ghost story and he gave her a zillion-page “Revolt of the Pedestrians”/”The Sleeper Wakes” style dystopian science fiction story.
I thought that the whole human-hybrid slave race deal tied back into Rats in the Walls a little better than expected.
But also, if these humanoids were deposited on Earth by Cthulhu and his crew, how should that factor with the humans created as a joke by the Elder Things? And yes, I know you said there was no real canon, and nothing about degraded subterranean societies says taht their history is 100% accurate.
Tell you the truth, this is one of my favorite stories by Lovecraft and you guys kind of bummed me out about it. But I guess that’s alright. I still love the show.
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