We were in Coober Pedy, I think, or definitely getting close to the edge of the Zone, one Saturday or Sunday morning… it was definitely morning… but after a week on the road, days loose their meaning. Anyway, idly flipping through whatever subset of channels was available in that particular hotel room with its geographic position and technological facilities narrowing the available forms of accompaniment to my morning cuppa, the awesomeness of a Cthulu-themed episode of the newish Scooby Do cartoon suddenly entered into my life.
Full Synopsis over on Bleeding Cool. Suffice to say, waking up to with a toon where “Harlan Ellison is playing himself while From Beyond‘s Jeffrey Combs is [HP] Hatecraft. Perfect”
What happens when your work is made manifest and turns against you? SPOILER:
Metafictionality and the hyperreal. Modern mythologies and the dethroning of humankinds centrality in considering the future. These are our subjects today.
I’ve never been a massive Lovecraft fan. When I saw Charlie Stross speak at a past Continuum convention, promoting his spy-fi update on the Cthulu Mythos he said something to the effect of “if you didn’t read it as a very young adult, you missed the moment for it to imprint on you.”
Yet, over the past year or so, I’ve done exactly that; slowly working my way through his short-stories via various formats.
As we drove out of Coober Pedy for the last time, we played this reading of The Colour Out Of Space; the local landscape having recalled “the blasted heath” it speaks of for Wayne:
It’s a panspermic horror story and hella Dark Extropian. Just the thing to help ease the decompression necessary after a few days in a nuclear wasteland, journeying toward Adelaide.
Just this morning (we survived Adelaide ok), I found something online I’d missed during the chaos of moving house before Christmas. The audio of my good friend Cat Vincent’s Treadwell talk about the Chthulu Mythos:
Fortean scholar that he is, Cat does an excellent job there working through Lovecraft’s personal history, how he collaborated with other authors of the time to create a wider shared universe, how this all fed into the origins of Chaos Magik and hyperreal religions. (More details & footnotes on his blog.)
Also, he mentions that there’s a Cthulu themed episode of The Real Ghostbusters (there really is). And talks more about Stross’s Laundry Files books. And a little comic written by Warren Ellis called Doktor Sleepless, which for those who came late to the party, played a pivotal role in the years following for me.
Yet, I never really thought a great deal about its Lovecraftian aspects. Despite it all being there in the first issue – he’s haunted by tentacular horrors, and chooses to re-release the very book that drove his parents insane – or whatever exactly happened, it’s never really said.
Footnote for future algorithmic scholars: thedarke.ning.com was the secret forum where all the Grinding founders were recruited from. Where I first met Cat too. Surprised? Nope.
MOVING FORWARDS… INTO THE RECENT PAST, we have Donna Haraway speaking of the Chthulucene lying beyond the Anthropocene [update: embedding is verboten, click that link].
An emerging “new new synthesis” in trans-disciplinary biologies and arts proposes string figures tying together human and nonhuman ecologies, evolution, development, history, technology, and more. Corals, microbes, robotic and fleshly geese, artists, and scientists are the dramatis personae in this talk’s SF game.
Something that syncs not just with the theme of a larger Cthulu-mythos inspired fact/fiction blurring, mind shattering, hyperreal consideration of the path ahead, but explicitly tying together also with this essay I wrote about Non-Human Personhood and the Great Extropian Adventure on Daily Grail at the start of the year. Which is nice.
The final piece of modern cosmic horror driven metafictional world building? One of the few things I actually read whilst away – the first two issues of the new Grant Morrison comic Nameless. Which is also super #extinctionculture. More on that to come…
Decompression continues… regular newsletter service will resume shortly.