Post Comment 19 comments on “Episode 4 – Polaris

  • Genus Unknown on

    Please, please don’t do any Derleth/Lovecraft stories. I beg you not for my sake, but for your own. They’re just absolutely, cousin-touchin’ terrible.

  • Chad Fifer on

    Ha! Yeah, I don’t think we’ll be digging into that stuff anytime soon. Although cousin-touchin’ is the best KIND of terrible…

  • St. Mark of the desert on

    Just recently found this podcast/blog. I love it. Keep up the good work. I have been obsessed with Lovecraft’s fiction since high school. I play the board game “Arkham Horror” with a few of my friends several times a month. Have you heard of it?

  • chrislackey on

    Heard of it? I love it! It takes a bit of time to set up, but it’s great. I have a few of the expansions too!

    Great game from Fantasy Flight Games

  • Roger on

    TBH, HPL wasn’t THAT bad a racist for the time in which he lived. As far as can be ascertained, he didn’t change his opinions much from the Dixie Democrat’s view, but there are place in Boston that still have covenants that *could* be used Red Line certain ethnic/religio-ethnic groups… plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose

  • chrislackey on

    It’s true. For his time, he wasn’t really that racist. But for a modern audience, some of the writing can be a little jarring, if not repugnant.


  • J.B.Lee on

    POLARIS is a pretty minor entry in the HPL canon; your podcast was a lot more entertaining than the STORY. “Those dreadful Eskimos LIVVVVE!” When I originally read it, at the age of 14 or so, I never realized that Inutos and Esquimaux were “Eskimos” — or even human beings! Took all that “Fiends” stuff a bit too literally. The racism that saturates POLARIS is gone by the time of SHADOW OUT OF TIME, which you briefly mentioned: there is no repugnance, but only astonishment, at the different people the narrator meets under the influence of the Great Race, and even the Great Race is much more civilized and “human” than Cthulhu and his multi-consonanted mob. (It is my opinion that HPL was outgrowing Cthulhu and Co. and the “invisible polyps” are all that is left of the Great Old Ones of the earlier tales. HPL consigns those entities to entropy and death in that tale, too. But all this can wait for another podcast, when I will bore you to death with infinite chronicles on the matter.)

    “Things that we got wrong:” aurorae are NOT the “atmosphere BURNING,” guys. They are the atmosphere IONIZED, which is quite a horse of a different colour out of space. I don’t know their usual range; I DO know that one appeared in the sky over West Virginia back in the 1940s, resulting in hillbilly panic, widespread swooning and people fleeing into churches, sure that the Second Coming had taken them unawares. (Joe Slater would understand, though we’ll save that for next week.) So your listeners can safely postpone the Disneyland trips, spelunking expeditions, and lobster dinners; the aurora is not going to burn up the air tomorrow or a billion tomorrows hence. Just FYI.

    Impressed that — somehow — Ray Bradbury, Edgar Allan Poe and F.Scott Fitzgerald also made it into this week’s entry. That North Star, it doesn’t care who it troubles!

  • Genus Unknown on

    To put as charitable a spin on this thing as possible, the big horror isn’t so much that the dreadful Eskimos live, but that the narrator’s own noble and thriving civilization has been wiped out completely.

    It’s an early example of one of his trademark moves, the whole “our vaunted civilization is temporary, and sooner or later all will crumble into dust” angle.

  • Phil on

    You guys cracked me up – “their dreadful kisses!”

    Also really enjoyed “Sweet Ermengarde” thanks for pointing it out.

    I felt the best part of “Polaris” was actually the lulling poem.

    Great podcast. Thanks again for your work.


  • Wowser on

    So are you and Rachel, the reader, really engaged, or was that a joke? She sounded local to me.

  • chrislackey on

    Yes. Rachel and I are engaged. She’s originally from Yorkshire, England but lives in Santa Monica. We are planning on getting married next year and moving to London soon after.

    The Podcast will continue, no matter where I live!

  • Al Bruno III on

    I am working my way through your podcasts and enjoying them all. Your enthusiasm for Lovecraft’s work has rekindled my interest in his work.

    BUT ‘Polaris’ was my first Lovecraft story and one of my favorites. I’m not sure why but the juxtaposition of dream and reality in that story really appeals to me. Oddly enough I never took it as a time travel story- I just saw it as a high fantasy world that existed before our ‘normal’ world.

    I even named one of my stories after it…

  • Barbara on

    I never listened to a podcast before! I’m listening ‘cos your biggest fan Rachel, is reading Polaris and she thought I’d enjoy your podcast.. I am..Well done Chris and Chad…. and of course Rachel and her melifulous voice

  • chrislackey on

    Holy smokes! I wasn’t sure it would be your cup of tea, so I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  • spookyparadigm on

    Concerning the swamp vs. the aurora. I think he’s communicating the vast time depth. That 26,000 years ago, the polar region in question is actually tropical. It’s like the beginning of the X-Files film, when they shift from Ice Age Texas (overly glaciered) to modern Texas, with the striking shift from tundra to desert.

  • Josh on

    I just finished reading Polaris and to me read more as a Lovecraftian version of “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” than as a racist slight towards the Inuit people.

    The narrator believed himself to be of another, now extinct, race of humanoids. He even called the humans who were caring for him in the asylum creatures and daemons, which seemed like a disconnect between how he perceived both himself and the humans of his current place in time.

    When he talked about the past he said his fellow “man” was tall and had grey eyes, and had built libraries and great halls. Which gives way to the thought that they were an advanced civilization. The Eskimos being shorter than they were and most likely covered in furs as has been their custom would make then brutish by comparison. Like Barbarians or Dwarves among tall refined elves or civilized men if this were Tolken or Howard.

    When reading it I thought of how a race of giants, or a race of exceedingly tall lizardmen or fishmen might see us. Even our most beautiful would be nothing more than short ugly bags of flesh, and poor “middle America” would be squat fat bags of uglier flesh.

    Cthulhu would probably look at humans as nothing more than ugly little bugs. However, when his awful gaze turns upon an unnameable, unspeakable, indescribable horror he could see something of insurmountable beauty. Little Elder Gods have to come from somewhere right?

  • clark on

    I know he corrected himself in the next episode but I love Lackey’s astronomy fail here. He sounds so proud of his bad information.

  • Mike on

    Sigh. You’re reading a story about gods and monsters! How the heck can you take his beliefs from fictional characters that battle demon aliens.

  • Charlene on

    Sorry I am soooooo late to the party. Don’t even know if anybody will be reading this but when I read the part about the squat yellow creatures I was assuming it was from the narrators perspective in describing a civilization that is in competition with their own and the anger and resentment that would follow such an interaction. Of course I am new to Lovecraft and do not doubt that he may have been racist at this point but I didn’t really see it as so offensive and in your face here since it is from a first person point of view of the main character.

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