Saturday, October 31, 2015



Happy Halloween.  I had intended to write a book filled with nightmares of a Cthulhu/HP Lovecraft variety.  I might still, but I have so much going on I decided to edit this one entry into a short piece of fiction, as a Halloween treat for my readers and friends.  Copyright Alex Ness 2015, enjoy.  All images are from the public domain.

"Slumber, watcher, till the spheres, 
Six and twenty thousand years 
Have revolv'd, and I return 
To the spot where now I burn. 
Other stars anon shall rise 
To the axis of the skies; 
Stars that soothe and stars that bless 
With a sweet forgetfulness: 
Only when my round is o'er 
Shall the past disturb thy door." 
H.P. Lovecraft
“We are weighed down, every moment, by the conception and the sensation of time. And there are but two means of escaping and forgetting this nightmare: pleasure and work. Pleasure consumes us. Work strengthens us. Let us choose.” 

Charles Baudelaire

The day for Louis Jardon was long, laborious and mindnumbing. He arrived home at a late hour, fed his cat, drank a brief bottle of beer, bit into a left over sausage, and decided that he’d feel better and deal with things with a relaxing bath, and then a night of sleep.  He was filled with dreams there.  Perhaps stirred by the sausage.  Perhaps the sausage had gone bad.

Dream 1

A beast approached me upon the street, where I had been walking.  It stood upright, as a man, but was covered in hair, had protruding tusks, and smelled of sweat, and the smell of fecund fur, never washed.  I was too stunned to move to avoid his approach.  My gaze, well, call it a stare, never stopped, however rude it might seem.  I didn’t fear for my safety, it was night, but I was not alone, surrounded upon the walk by dozens of pedestrians.  They didn’t seem to notice me, though.  And the beast walked past them, without alarm or regard. 

The beast returned my gaze.  And too, it stared, intently.  The moon was out, the city lights shone, and my heart beat rapidly.  The closer it came the more I dread.  I was unable to move at all now.  I stared, locked in place, expecting my death, sometime soon.  But my fear was worse than my thoughts of death.  I might die, but the fashion of which I might die was the worst thing to consider.

It continued until I could feel the beast’s breath upon my face.  It smelled of death, and it was hot.  I couldn’t move.  The beast’s eyes burned holes in my own.  And then I felt the beast’s claws clutch my throat.  I could no longer breathe, and I felt as if my heart stopped.  And my body fell to the cobblestone.  And while I imagine it was horribly painfully painful, I felt nothing.

And yet, the world I knew changed permanently at that moment.  I had no wounds that I could see, nor injuries that I might feel, but I was wide awake in a world that I did not recognize.

I heard a voice speaking to me. It spoke in a language I couldn’t understand by the sound, but, knew by my heart what it was saying…

“You are now alive for the first time.  Do not lose your opportunity.  The land you are in accepts everyone, but here you are lord.  You are awake here but you are asleep in your waking world.  This is the land of dreams so, tear off your cloak of flesh and become one with your nightmare. Here you are what you are not in life. The beast has freed you from your fears. You and your minutia and crisis filled years are over; there is no sorrow. Here there is only hunger, lust, joy, and the becoming fulfilled of them.  Your ego will reign here, you are your own hero, you are the master, do nothing less than be yourself.”

I began to shiver.  I could feel my body in the waking world being cold, but in the dream world I was poised to make a choice.  Might I be a lord of an amoral world of choices, or should I wake and return to a land of limited choices, morality, and physical aging and sorrows?

Dream 2

In the depths of the distant lands, there is a watcher.  Atop the tallest hill, there is a wall, from a fortress built many generations past.  From his vantage point the watcher gazes out, knowing which way to look.  The walls have only once been breached, when the unmen of the Death Cult poured over the land in numbers no one could stop.  Like ants in a group frenzy they accepted death, in order to let the others climb forward and get across the wall.  Some were stopped, but most continued on, in their primal thrust, flooding the land with violence, and death, that would only stop with the last unman dead.   But even with that, the watcher just watched.  Whether the people on the other side were ready, did not matter, his job was to make sure to raise the call, when these mindless beasts who formerly were men came, he would respond with the horn, and let his people know the final days were here.

Dream 3

I am sleep
Enter the light
Mind Eye’s open
But my throat
I bleed
I breathe
But for long?
Have I purpose?
Do I matter?
Behold my friends
Do I deserve life
Or am I dead
To this world
Am I alive
Can I be heard
Am I screaming?
I’ve been blinded
To the flaws
I have hoarded
Without a single
Seconds are my own
I refuse to share
This life is my own
I might as well be king
As I sit
Upon my bone cast throne

Dream 4

Coming back from the shores, we took our Model T and my small family and new member of the family on a direct track home.  We were excited.  The day was beautiful, the sun was shining, and with the news that our business sold for far more than we had ever hoped, it was a celebration.  The boardwalk was built up, and we enjoyed it.  1921 Atlantic City’s Boardwalk sold postcards that said "The World's Playground" and it surely was.  I enjoyed the weekend with my wife and my three year old boy, and we had a surprise at the end.

It was a rough looking mutt, but it followed along with us, and wanted all of our attention.  It was a lonely creature, and we took it into our heart.  With every step we saw that the new addition to our family was not what we thought.  A trail behind it was forming, and a dog that had seemed so attentive and loving to us, now had become a beast of indeterminate species.

And then, when he ate our child, we knew he wasn’t what we thought, but, we still could not release him.  We watched him, even despised him, yet, became strangely attached to him.


How could Louis Jardon have known, his dreams became alive in the world known as the Dreamlands.  And there, all that he dreamed existed, and he and his living world were myths and memories.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

I didn't think so before, but, I found that I dig Bram Stoker

"I heard a heavy step approaching behind the great door, and saw through the chinks the gleam of a coming light. Then there was the sound of rattling chains and the clanking of massive bolts drawn back. A key was turned with the loud grating noise of long disuse, and the great door swung back.  Within, stood a tall old man, clean shaven save for a long white moustache, and clad in black from head to foot, without a single speck of colour about him anywhere. He held in his hand an antique silver lamp, in which the flame burned without a chimney or globe of any kind, throwing long quivering shadows as it flickered in the draught of the open door. The old man motioned me in with his right hand with a courtly gesture, saying in excellent English, but with a strange intonation.
"Welcome to my house! Enter freely and of your own free will!""  Bram Stoker from Dracula

An Irishman, Bram Stoker was a talented fellow.  He had begun his adult career as a office worker for a local government.  But finding that mind numbing, he strove for more creative freedom.  So, his creative fire burned in the fashion of a writer.  His many tales came out and were perhaps less beloved as mostly respected.  Movies have been made of his works, and deservedly.

Born in Clontarf, Ireland
Died in London, England

Dracula his most famous tale is perhaps one of the most excitingly dark tales he wrote.  The movies made from his literary creations never quite arrived at his achievement, until Bram Stoker's Dracula, which is a shade off of perfect.  In book, comic and movie form you can pursue this work.

“Friend John, forgive me if I pain. I showed not my feeling to others when it would wound, but only to you, my old friend, whom I can trust. If you could have looked into my very heart then when I want to laugh; if you could have done so when the laugh arrived; if you could do so now, when King Laugh have pack up his crown, and all that is to him — for he go far, far away from me, and for a long, long time — maybe you would perhaps pity me the most of all.”   I was touched by the tenderness of his tone, and asked why.
“Because I know!”  Bram Stoker



Of course Bram Stoker wrote more than Dracula, so search for all of his works.  Some have more quality than others.  I've really found a deep affection for the narrative voice in his works, so that even when I am not moved, I still find worth and entertainment.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Cthulhu UK and odds and ends

Cthulhu began as a work by HP Lovecraft, but it spread somewhat quickly for the era, especially considering the means of communication were long distance letter writing and travel which would have been: Car, Train, or Ship.  As such, the collective nature of the mythos grew as much for the joy of writing in a joint work as for the desire to create a cohesive, dark, wonderfully well thought out world for all of the writers to write within.  And eventually, a number of those writers joined the circle of Lovecraftians who were from the United Kingdom and Ireland.

"Verily, the star of Azrael hovers over the birth of a beautiful woman, the King of the Dead laughs aloud, and ravens whet their black beaks."  Robert E. Howard

I cannot even begin to list my favorite works of the Cthulhu Mythos except that the Lovecraft was the best of the Lovecraft circle.  And then, Robert E. Howard and Lord Dunsany would fight for the next best. 

“Bow down, I am the emperor of dreams.” Clark Ashton Smith

In dreams and visions lie the greatest creations of man, for on them rests no yoke of line or hue.
Read more at:
The books below are magnificent and are my favorites as far as choices of stories, book covers, edits, and sturdy constructions.  Tim White the artist, native of Kent, England, UK did the 7 covers.  

Man and the Cosmos
By August W. Derleth

"Death lies athwart the frozen dark
Where never the song of a lark
Has echoed; here breeds the unknown spawn
Of evil, here where there is no dawn.
None but man deserts the light
For probing in this endless night;
None but he dares the icy breath
Of the lurking cosmic death.
Only a tiny atom of flesh
Webbed in an unanswerable mesh
Of questions and burning doubt,
Wanting to known what Life’s about"

Panther books was the book publisher in the UK during the late fifties and sixties who published the books of HP Lovecraft and the assembled writers and creators of the Cthulhu Mythos.

"Chan’s heart knew only greed, but there was within him enough intelligence to wonder before a man who could see all the uselessness of life, and still exult in the possessing of it." Lin Carter

"I am disillusioned enough to know that no man's opinion on any subject is worth a damn unless backed up with enough genuine information to make him really know what he's talking about."  H. P. Lovecraft

I collect the different editions of HP Lovecraft authored books.  The books below have covers illustrated by British artist John Holmes who is no longer with us.  His works are notable for showing horror in ways that visceral, however, they do not necessarily show the content to be found within the books.  Still, they are good.

“Then I perceived, what I had never thought, that all these staring houses were not alike, but different one from another, because they held different dreams." Lord Dunsany

"In dreams and visions lie the greatest creations of man, for on them rests no yoke of line or hue." R.H. Barlow

"What do we know … of the world and the universe about us? Our means of receiving impressions are absurdly few, and our notions of surrounding objects infinitely narrow. We see things only as we are constructed to see them, and can gain no idea of their absolute nature. With five feeble senses we pretend to comprehend the boundlessly complex cosmos, yet other beings with wider, stronger, or different range of senses might not only see very differently the things we see, but might see and study whole worlds of matter, energy, and life which lie close at hand yet can never be detected with the senses we have." HP Lovecraft