Tag Archives: Robert M. Price

The Cthulhu Cycle

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Cthulhu Cycle: Thirteen Tentacles of Terror edited by Robert M Price.

Consistent with the general plan of the series of Lovecraftian “Cycle Books” in which this book occurs, sage editor Robert M. Price here collects precursors and successors together with “The Call of Cthulhu” itself, and offers some entertaining commentary.

The forerunners are an especially interesting set, including one reproduced in Price’s introduction that doesn’t get its own entry in the table of contents for the volume: Tennyson’s poem “The Kraken.” Dunsany’s “A Shop in Go-by Street” is included as the story mentioning sleeping gods that was probably a proximate inspiration for Lovecraft in writing “The Call of Cthulhu.” And I was very interested in the M.R. James story “Count Magnus,” less for it’s influence on HPL than on Thelemic adept Jack Parsons, who seems to have found in it the germ of his idea of the Black Pilgrimage.

“The Call of Cthulhu” itself needs no review from me. If you haven’t read it, you’re missing a story that helped to develop the genre as surely as Frankenstein or Dracula did. I am even tempted to credit it further, and suggest that it’s perspective is as symptomatic of the 20th century West as was Pico della Mirandola’s “Oration on the Dignity of Man” of Quattrocento Italy.

Predictably, the more recent materials are somewhat more varied in quality. Several of them were enjoyable reads flawed by weak endings. My two favorites were “Recrudescence,” in which Leonard Carpenter pits a paleontologist against petrochemical companies and eco-cultists, and Steven Paulsen’s “In the Light of the Lamp,” which brings a young stoner couple to no good end. [via]

Rehearsals for Oblivion

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews Rehearsals for Oblivion, Act I: Tales of the King in Yellow, edited by Peter A Worthy.

Peter Worthy Rehearsals for Oblivion, Act I: Tales of the King in Yellow

This collection consists of “Tales of the King in Yellow,” i.e. instances of the microgenre that I call the jauniste weird, dependent from The King in Yellow by Robert Chambers. The jauniste literary current is now most often regarded as an annex to the Yog-Sothothery (latterly-dubbed “mythos”) of H.P. Lovecraft, although it came first: the imaginary text The King in Yellow (a play) served as an inspiration and model for Lovecraft’s similarly dreaded and deranging Necronomicon.

Rehearsals for Oblivion is subtitled Act I, and the back cover boasts that it is “the first volume in a comprehensive set,” but none further have appeared since 2006, as far as I can determine. It does have company, however. In 2012, the collection A Season in Carcosa was issued under the editorship of Joseph S. Pulver Sr. Both have materially unimpressive softcovers for their first (and so far only) editions. To contrast the contents of the two, editor Peter A. Worthy’s earlier book Rehearsals for Oblivion is far more conservative in the way that the stories integrate the Carcosan tropes and themes. There are a handful of short poems as well.

Rehearsals successfully avoids the use of the so-called “Yellow Sign” graphic invented for games in the late 20th century. There is a sort of double-yod symbol at the foot of each selection which may be intended to suggest the “real” sign. Tim Wilson’s cover painting is quite beautiful, and the fonts chosen for the texts meet my full approval.

My favorite Rehearsals included the Wilde homage “In Memoriam” by Roger Johnson and Robert M. Price, and Carlos Orsi Martinho’s “Machine in Yellow,” both of which trace attempts to produce the banned play on stage, in very different contexts. Other notable stories include the noir “Broadalbin” by John Scott Tynes, and “The Adventure of the Yellow Sign,” in which G. Warlock Vance supplies a jauniste Sherlock Holmes tale.

Scroll of Thoth

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews Scroll of Thoth: Tales of Simon Magus & the Great Old Ones (Cthulhu Fiction Series) by Richard Tierney:

This book collected most of Tierney’s “Simon” stories, in which the protagonist is the Gnostic hierophant Simon Magus. They are adventure stories with a strong Weird Tales flavor, set in a well researched late antique context. They are really good, even if you’ve outgrown (or never particularly liked) pulp sword and sorcery stuff. The appropriation of the Lovecraft “mythos” and its integration with classical Gnostic theology is handled really artfully.

Unfortunately, the very best Simon story is not included in The Scroll of Thoth. “The Throne of Achamoth” was co-written by Scroll editor (religious scholar and fringe ecclesiastic) Robert M. Price, and it appears in the Azathoth Cycle collection, also published by Chaosium, and also out of print. [via]

 

 

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The Gnostic

You may be interested in Voices of Gnosticism and The Gnostic: A Magazine of Gnosticism, Western Esotericism and Spirituality put out by Bardic Press. I saw several issues of The Gnostic at the Esoteric Book Conference and thought they were well done. I regret not picking them up at the time, but they are available still.

 

Voices of Gnosticism

“For several years, Miguel Conner has engaged the most prominent writers and scholars on Gnosticism and early Christianity on Aeon Byte Gnostic Radio. These interviews with 13 leading scholars represent one of the best ways to get to know ancient Gnosticism, the movement that has inspired Dan Brown, Philip Pullman, Philip K. Dick and The Matrix movies. Read what the best minds have to say about the Gnostic sects, the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Judas, Mary Magdalene, heresy, the origins of Gnosticism, and the original teachings of Jesus.

Elaine Pagels · Marvin Meyer · Bart Ehrman · Bruce Chilton · Stevan Davies · David Fideler · Birger Pearson · John Turner · Einar Thomassen · Jason BeDuhn · Karen King · Jane Schaberg · April DeConick”

 

The Gnostic 1

“The first issue of a tri-annual journal on Gnosticism in all its forms. Featuring interviews with Alan Moore and Sethian Gnostic expert John Turner; a complete translation of the Gospel of Judas; Tim Freke on The Gospel of the Second Coming; articles on William Burroughs, Philip K.Dick, the Alternative Judas, Gnosticism and Magic; columns, book reviews and more.”

 

The Gnostic 2

“The second issue of The Gnostic: A Journal of Gnosticism, Western Esotericism and Spirituality. Featuring an interview with Colin Wilson and an indepth examination of his ideas on the occult. An interview with Tessa Dick, widow of Philip K Dick, plus an excerpt from her memoir and Anthony Peake’s analysis of Dick’s precognitive abilities. An interview with noted scholar April DeConick on the Gospel of John. The Gnosticism of the TV series The Prisoner. Kimetikos, Jeremy Puma’s Gnostic practice. Tony Blake’s meetings with remarkable people including J.G. Bennett, David Bohm and Idries Shah. Articles on asceticism, the symbolism of the Bible, resurrection, Schrodinger’s Gun, a short story by Andrew Phillip Smith. Extensive book reviews, original art and more.”

 

The Gnostic 3

“The third issue of The Gnostic: A Journal of Gnosticism, Western Esotericism and Spirituality. Featuring a cover by C.G. Jung, Lance Owens on Jung’s Red Book. Interviews with David Tibet of Current 93, Jacob Needleman and Zohar expert Daniel C. Matt. Articles on Gnostic anime, Robert Graves, Gnostic texts, the Gospel of Luke, William Blake, deja vu, coincidence, a ten page comic, reviews and much more.”

 

The Gnostic 4

“The fourth issue of The Gnostic: A Journal of Gnosticism, Western Esotericism and Spirituality. Alan Moore’s Fossil Angels, an investigation into the contemporary occult scene. Interviews with Stephan Hoeller and Miguel Conner. Anthony Peake on the Quantum Pleroma. Sean Martin tells a Gnostic sci-fi tale. Robert M.Price on the Gnostic Gospel of John. Bill Darlison on the zodiac in the Gospel of Mark. Gnostic influences on Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian. The plight of the Mandaeans. The gematria of Marcus the Magician. The Gospel of Thomas, a translation and Fourth Way interpretation. Gnostic politics. John Cowper Powys. The complete text of the Gnosis of the Light–a book within a magazine! Egyptian cat mummies and more. And we review enough books to fill a whole shelf. Cover and interior illustrations by Laurence Caruana.”