Episode 5 – Beyond the Wall of Sleep

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Special thanks to this week’s reader: Andrew Leman!

Next Week: The Transition of Juan Romero

Post Comment 29 comments on “Episode 5 – Beyond the Wall of Sleep

  • Genus Unknown on

    Holy crap, Lackey, is that true? I don’t even know you, and that story makes me smile. Good on ya, nerd-kin.

    As for the story, it’s just such a weak finish to a very interesting and creepy story. The scene of Joe Slader running out into the snow shouting and jumping, babbling about some seriously creepy things is really memorable and effective, and ranks above Lovecraft’s best. His description of a “mysterious blazing entity that shook and laughed and mocked at him” has disturbed me in a really nice way since I first read it when I was 14.
    But then he breaks out the magical deus ex machina brainwave machine, and goes into that Brokeback Mountain territory, and the whole thing just turns stupid. It’s 50/50.

  • chrislackey on

    Is what true? The robot creation story? Yeah… it’s true. It was a hard day for me. I remember being so excited and so very, very crushed.

    The Joe Slater insanity stuff is creepy, but the story really jumps the shark for me with the whole “Brain Machine” and it just never brings me back. There are plenty of Lovecraft stories that I’m CRAZY about, they just happen to be later in his career.

  • Fifer on

    I think he means you getting married. I wouldn’t believe it either. Who’d go for a guy who can’t even get his robot to work?

  • John D. Corrado on

    You guys should collaborate with Andrew Leman to make full audio adaptations of Lovecraft’s stories. Include all the scary movies and sound effects. Want to know how much of a Lovecraftian I am? http://anarkavre.slipgate.org/misc/pics/Cthulhu.jpg

  • chrislackey on

    Great Tatoo!

    In case if you haven’t heard about them, Andrew produces Lovecraft radio dramas called Dark Adventure Radio Theatre . They are great!

    But I have also told Andrew that he (or we) should do full readings of stories because he does such an awesome job. He brings even the most convoluted of HPL’s stuff to life. That guy has the goods.

  • Genus Unknown on

    Ditto on the Dark Adventure Radio Theatre suggestion. If you only get one, get “The Shadow Over Innsmouth.” The Zadok Allen portion alone is well worth the price of the CD or a download. I don’t know who plays Zadok, but whoever he is, he’s terrific.

  • John D. Corrado on

    Oops, that should have been music, not movies. :/

    Yes, I do know of them. I own The Dunwich Horror and At the Mountains of Madness. I need to buy the others still. I also have The Call of Cthulhu and The Testimony of Randolph Carter movies.

  • Reber Clark on

    I needed a narrator/reader for some Lovecraft material for a project I recently completed. It was very tough finding anyone adequate. After hearing Andrew Lehman in the various HPLHS projects and on this podcast I feel I can say that he is one of the VERY FEW people who can read Lovecraft out loud convincingly. He is, simply, the best. After hearing Rachel Ford last week I believe she is the only female reader of Lovecraft (that I am familiar with) who does it convincingly. You have a great talent pool working for you. More! More!

  • chrislackey on

    I gotta agree, Leman has the goods. And Rachel… well, I can’t be too objective about it, but she flippin’ rocks!

  • Reber Clark on

    Oh yeah, Chris – congratulations on the engagement / marriage!

  • chrislackey on

    thank you so much! I’m stoked. And it seems Rachel wants to have a 1920’s themed wedding! It was her idea! I’m so flippin’ lucky!

  • Genus Unknown on

    I just realized that the prediction from episode 1, made in jest though it may well have been, has come true. Lovecraft really does hold the secrets of love-craft.

  • Warden Hale on

    All I know is I want a complete set of detailed plans to build my own Fifer smile machine.

  • Thrashiko on

    I really liked this story, even though tonight was the first time I have read it. Part of me wonders if this tale had some inspiration on the film KPax.

    Great podcast fellas, keep it up.

  • J.B. Lee on

    Another home run this week! Of course, it would be nice if Lovecraft would at least try to hold up his end of the show, and he will, in time. But BEYOND THE WALL OF SLEEP’s brainwave machine, goofy and mood-shattering as it is, begins the fusion of the nascent science fiction genre with the well-established supernatural story, and that gives the tale quite an importance in retrospect. The genesis of Gothic SF — Lovecraft’s brand of Weird Science will go on from here to drag down demons from the STARS, summon gods from OTHER DIMENSIONS and call up phantoms from AEONS PAST. And if it begins with a tinfoil hat precariously balanced on the sloped head of a renegade rube, well, even Einstein had to start somewhere.

  • Sam on

    Hey guys, these podcasts are really great; this was one of the best ones yet. I just re-read this story for the first time in a long time, and I think it’s really hilarious that I imagined the dream-world being like “What Dreams May Come,” and then I listened to the podcast, and what do ya know, so did Chad!

    Also, great catch on the “Nightmare on Elm Street” parallel. In retrospect the story really does play out like an episode of “Freddy’s Nightmares” or some such show.

    Can’t wait till the next one!

  • Phil on

    My childhood card board box worked fine – were you using corrugated or non?

  • Dennis on

    HURRY up with the next one, for gods sake!!! GAH!!!

  • chrislackey on

    For the record, we drop on thursdays. You might get lucky and get it late wednesday night, but I make no promises.

    It’s so cool people actually look forward to these things.


  • Danial Carroll on

    Loving the podcasts guys! I’m from Australia, so the only Lovecraftianess I get is from the good ol’ Internet, so please keep it coming.

    Chronologically, my first “favourite” Lovecraft story is The Cats of Ulthar, so I’m interested to see what you both have to say about that one.

  • JulieH on

    It’s more of a “Bromance” isn’t it?

    Now THERE’s a word, possibly more than any other word in the current vernacular of the pseudo-English language, that I would NEVER ever expect to use in the same sentence with Lovecraft.

    [In fact, I didn’t….]

  • rodonn on

    I’d always read the story that it wasn’t the star, just that the ‘opressor’ lived near there…
    As to snob – no more than Deliverance.

  • karl on

    Hey, what about the Black Sabbath song, from their first album, third song. Cannot understand that you guys forgot to mention it !


    Just love your podcasts, keep `em coming

    Greeting from Norway !

  • Chad Fifer on

    How COULD we have missed that? Good call. The song ROCKS, too!

  • Matt bean on

    I’ve only just discovered your podcast, hence the comment on an old one. Before I say anything else I’d just like to say that I love it, it’s intelligent, thoughtful and very, very funny. I read all the commonly published Lovecraft when I was a teenager and had then largely forgotten about him until recently. Thanks for renewing an old passion.

    I had a thought about your suggestion that the ending of “Beyond the wall of sleep” meant that the hunter had failed. Algol is about 93 light years away, so the nova & dimming actually happened around 1826, long before the events of the story. Lovecraft was fascinated/obsessed with astronomy, I’m sure he would have realized this. Wouldn’t make sense for this to be the event our hunter was seeking vengeance for? A nice touch about this is that if we go forwards 93 years from the publication date of 1919 we get, wait for it, 2012! The date beloved on the current round of apocalyptic conspiracy theorists. Personally I’m planning a big party for 23rd Dec that year, that’s when the X-files said the invasion was due
    Once again, really enjoying these so you’ll probably get more thoughts popping up on long forgotten episodes.

  • Adrian on

    The similarly-titled song by The Smithereens is ‘Behind the Wall of Sleep’ and otherwise doesn’t seem to have much to do with Lovecraft. The lyrics tell a story about a guy who has developed an obsessive crush on a cute girl who plays bass guitar. She’s out of his league, but he can still see her in his dreams, hence the title. Great song, nonetheless.

  • Sutter Cane on

    The smithereens song is BEHIND the wall of sleep. just sayin’

  • Timothy Dean on

    Yes, the Aurora did happen In West Virginia back in the 40’s and some of the older folks still talk about it like it was a message from God.

  • Rob Crocker on

    I just found your podcast and am starting at the beginning. I’ve got to know, what is that “love” song that plays!?!? It’s so bad-good! Great podcast so far. I can’t stop listening!

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