The SFFaudio Podcast #711 – The Shunned House by H.P. Lovecraft – read by Gregg Margarite. This is a complete and unabridged reading of story (1 hour 7 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants include Jesse, Evan Lampe, Connor Kaye, and Jason Thompson.
Talked about on today’s show:
a book in 1928, Weird Tales, October 1937, the S.T. Joshi, a posthumous story of immense power, The Black Stranger by Robert E. Howard, it’s been only 15 years since Robert E. Howard’s death, so fucked up, Evan’s podcast about it, Wayne June’s version for Audio Realms, he’s the best narrator for this, why is Poe in this?, he’s really into Poe, wooing, definitely probably didn’t notice this house, irony is seldom absent, what’s happening structurally, somebody buries somebody beneath the floorboards, a lady in a house down the street, two main characters who are bachelors obsessed with a house, what happens to the uncle, he’s killed, he’s homicided by his uncle, six carboys of acid, structurally its very much like The Tell-Tale Heart, ha ha ha I’m doing Poe, stronger or equal to anything Poe ever wrote, tops, weirdness and horror, one of his underrated stories, this isn’t in any of them, a little longer, the buildup, the backend, the release of the tension, very genealogical (hence kind of dull), now that Jason’s a parent, child deaths, everyone dies, everyone goes insane, tragic and emotional events in dry synopses, melodrama, some of his best deep dives into the history of a place and a character, He, using architecture to dig into the history of places, time travel, walking tours, Etienne Roulet, some of the best stuff in the story, the history and ownership of the house, windows, working class experience of horror, the way knowledge is communicated, the grapevine telegraph, so many echoes of other stories, which ones are not included, The Statement Of Randolph Of Carter, The Lurking Fear, the shadow on the mantelpiece, two guys sleeping in a house with disturbing nightmare dreams, The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward, The Colour Out Of Space, body horror, inverted, a material that goes into living things and pumps it up vs. removing something from living things and making it worse, a disgusting factor in the plants, vampirized vs. injected with tainted materials, vaguely traditional ghost stories, The Unnamable, crazy ghosts, extremely , vital force and attenuated matter, shapeless blobs, shapeless ghost monsters, we see an elbow, two feet in diameter, biceps, he seems to have been growing, they buried a titan, looking into the pit before pouring, Lovecraft knows what’s under there but we only get to see the elbow, a research story, the Indian graveyard, the town graveyard, Elihu Whipple, tricorn hats mad at him, cutting hearts out to kill vampires, a werewolf story from France, his uncle’s really into it, one of these goings back in time, he’s already tipped his hand, archaeological digging is really fun, atmosphere building, a very WWI exhumation of bodies buried, chronologically, nesting, Russian nesting dolls, Carrington brought something back, buried in the basement like a treasure, Jack Roulet, put on trial in France, half-werewolf half-vampire, 16th century people, more vampiric than it is werewolf, drawn to the land, a deeper history here, the entity, live in their own soil, a Dracula story as well, excavated their ancestor, their personal cemetery, we must destroy the memory, fainted suggestive sympathy for the monster, evil wizards, killed by a mob, hostile or seeking self-preservation, being buried alive, preserved himself in his last moments, the creature is alive, whatever it is, The Dweller by H.P. Lovecraft (Fungi From Yuggoth, #31), there’s something under the ground, a yellow day, the factory, pipes are croaking, alive down there but asleep, half-life, undead, growing in size, he’s not just pale he’s translucent, something softer than dirt, a folded stovepipe but rubbery-er, a hard turn materialistic science fiction, a gratuitous body count, we need a flamethrower, a crooke’s tube, like a cathode Ray tube, powerful batteries, positron emitters from Ghostbusters, backpack cyclotron, gas mask, a shovel and some acid, proton packs, so cool, ghost hunting shows, I’m getting em radiation, a great short film, two ghost hunters, 12 minutes long, pretty terrific, the possession, the way the possession works, the vampure thingy is stealing people, vital life essences, they are the haunters of the house, Slither (2006), an alien comes to Earth, a consciousness, monstrous body horror creature, James Gunn, a zombie aspect, sickly and dying get glassy eyed and try to bite, a completely different take, early vampire mythology, get really bloated in their coffins, a corpse being bloated from decomposing, absorbing some life force and getting bigger and bigger, feeding on life-force, a giant, if they hadn’t of stopped it, deleting it, it could have woken up and been a Clark Ashton Smith story,
Antarktos by H.P. Lovecraft
Deep in my dream the great bird whispered queerly
Of the black cone amid the polar waste;
Pushing above the ice-sheet lone and drearly,
By storm-crazed aeons battered and defaced.
Hither no living earth-shapes take their courses,
And only pale auroras and faint suns
Glow on that pitted rock, whose primal sources
Are guessed at dimly by the Elder Ones.
If men should glimpse it, they would merely wonder
What tricky mound of Nature’s build they spied;
But the bird told of vaster parts, that under
The mile-deep ice-shroud crouch and brood and bide.
God help the dreamer whose mad visions shew
Those dead eyes set in crystal gulfs below!
something frozen under the ice that’s going to come out,
By H.P. Lovecraft
’Tis a grove-circled dwelling
Set close to a hill,
Where the branches are telling
Strange legends of ill;
Over timbers so old
That they breathe of the dead,
Crawl the vines, green and cold,
By strange nourishment fed;
And no man knows the juices they suck from the depths of their dank slimy bed.
In the gardens are growing
Tall blossoms and fair,
Each pallid bloom throwing
Perfume on the air;
But the afternoon sun
With its shining red rays
Makes the picture loom dun
On the curious gaze,
And above the sween scent of the the blossoms rise odours of numberless days.
The rank grasses are waving
On terrace and lawn,
Dim memories sav’ring
Of things that have gone;
The stones of the walks
Are encrusted and wet,
And a strange spirit stalks
When the red sun has set,
And the soul of the watcher is fill’d with faint pictures he fain would forget.
It was in the hot Junetime
I stood by that scene,
When the gold rays of noontime
Beat bright on the green.
But I shiver’d with cold,
Groping feebly for light,
As a picture unroll’d—
And my age-spanning sight
Saw the time I had been there before flash like fulgury out of the night.
the accompanying illustration, what is feeding the plants is a coffin, thinking layers, spirals up and down the house, beneath the ground floor, five chapters?, the occupation, the kitchen is in the basement, where the servants are going crazy, neighbouring houses are never effected, the fungus are the reaching out, black mold fucking up people’s lungs, a fungus vampire, spores are bad for your lungs, bad dreams, a toxic house, toxic mold, a ghost story, titan in the basement, tightness of The Terrible Old Man, some really awesome action, fun research in the middle, a happy ending (other than the uncle being dead), gets away with murdering his uncle, his hat is lying there, slime stained underwear, Cool Air, The Thing On The Doorstep also has a hat involved, melting, The Facts In The Case Of M. Valdemar, Body Melt (1993), just as tasteful, The Velveteen Rabbit lady, keep shunning that house, something physical, Hill House is just an evil house, the Marsten House, the Overlook Hotel, into science, Stephen King is not a scientist at all, a psych figure, Poltergeist (1982), buried indians, a suburban house built upon them, the Narragansett Indians, reduced to one man’s research, creepy houses, designate them, made up, based on rumor, the rumors are always true in Lovecraft, the rumors are revelatory, always in the right, true in the game vs. true in the stories, red herrings are only there to improve the story, not to fuck up the story (in good writing), Lovecraft knows what he’s doing, why these guys are unmarried, it’s not their house, what are you doing?, a funny line, my nerves were so shattered I had to write some poems, made me feel better, not the standard dude, the uncle is the stand in for Lovecraft’s grandfather, Elihu Whipple, maternal grandfather, a mixture of a few different family members, one of his uncles, a memorial for his uncle, a dedication to Lovecraft’s own grandfather, a bachelor, shed some tears, he’d still be alive with me here today, another statement (to the police or his own lawyer), to explain the missing uncle, he and Carrington Harris, he can partially backup my story, give an alibi, here’s the keys, all the equipment, fought in the Civil War, lickety split, a doctor in the Civil War, a lot of nautical stuff, a history of the United States, a break with the past, the ship being burned in 1772, set in 1919, 1920, the Klinger anthology, marginal notes, decoded it, made the timeline then wrote the story, some even and now we’re going into the deep history of this, the history of the house (vs. the history of the man), the timeline is very similar, colonial America, maritime history, Georgian America, a Mercy Dexter in this story, the names, Pelleg Harris, Moby-Dick, this is Lovecraft’s take on The House Of The Seven Gables, drink blood, a nice old lady who likes baking cookies, set in a basement, a dusty old house, no monster in the sub-basement, what this has that that doesn’t is a payoff to the awesome setup, The Undying Thing by Barry Pain, born as a werewolf, underground stuff is awesome, crashing down like, the tell-tale elbow, the weirdest part, the vampire loins, it could be anything, planting the seeds early, the apple trees are giving out small sweet apples, enjoys thinking about the house, a vampire in the basement at one point, becoming degraded, Evan needs to do a series on Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hepzibah’s gingerbread cookies, more like this, The Fall Of The House Of Usher, get out of New England, escape this past and move on, go to the frontier, I’m going to fix up this nice old house, look at my ancient furniture matches the sideboard, the fanlights are amazing, he should’ve stopped at this house, unremarkable, sinister in his description, exuding a sinister aura, a nice house he appreciated, night black deeds, unnaturally steep roof, corpse fed, the septic tank, rank, a big shit, a physical force, lush, rheumy eyed grass, really gross, the roots of the tree still form the shape of elbows, fingers, still here, but the evil’s gone, a body horror story, a generation of horror, six-seven generations, still-births, on the face of the uncle, hosing down with the proton pack, going Tell-Tale Heart, melted his uncle, yellow gas, he passes out, his gas-mask fails him, the crookes tube has no effect, an old wooden house, a wet house, using flamethrowers inside a house, military flamethrowers, no cameras to document, 12 minutes, an adaptation, good music, this shunned story, the Taiwan lockdown continues, 50 people are moderately sick, people are less crazy [in British Columbia] here now, antibodies test, PCR tests, working from home, people are over it, the first big outbreak, 23-24 million people in Taiwan, there are more people in Taiwan than Australia, crammed in there, size of Australia vs. size of Taiwan, 215 times bigger, so sparse, easier to quarantine, China’s density, hardcore lockdowns in China, Australia: “once we’re vaccinated we’ll just open up”, political, the end of a career, stories from Shanghai, Tasmania is almost twice as big as Taiwan, shipping the vaccinated to Tasmania, Australia shipping refugees to Christmas Island, on the opposite side of the planet, Paul is getting shutout, Like A Thief In Broad Daylight by Slavoj Žižek, spit-all over, so excited, amped up, touching his nose, his brain is redlining, so prolific and fun, Living In The End Times, film criticism, a public intellectual, The Goddess Of Atvatabar, The Screwfly Solution, tripping over her name, The Mystery Of Sylmare, Strawberry Spring, Marissa VU is editing a magazine, lots of time for Jesse’s nonsense, Babbitt up next, The Thing In The Woods, both good and bad news, bad news is bad, good news is German, podcast Cora time, time zone, double good news, disarray, a working holiday, au pair, a tutor for babies, GCHQ doing more evil analysis, the secret cover, Alex from Pulpcovers, NLAWs, 33 billions for Ukraine is 33 billion for the industry, extend a proxy war, 1963-75?, leftover NAZIs with NLAWs, all that money goes to the militias, the alternative, two shitty options, who do you want to be your master?, literally occupied, the Donbas and Crimea, there’s been a war there since 2014, active troops, special operations (not rolling tanks), this is how we make our money, turning off the spigot of Afghanistan, tic tok, $1 for Ukraine added toy your bill, would you like to donate this money to Children’s Hospital, a parasite business, universal healthcare, don’t you have any charity?, automated tips, for the wait staff, a shifting, public goods, care for children who are ill, from government responsibilities, floods, another bloody wave of floods, the charity drops off, Peter Dutton set up go fund me, trained that way, the World Economic Forum, Justin Trudeau, his deputy prime minster, Klaus Schwab, instant disqualification, Bill Gates’ bad press, Elon Musk, fan or stan?, in the guillotine line, Joe Rogan, a mansion, the largest landholder of croplands in the U.S.A., an attack vector, fancy cars, he’s the billionaire who hasn’t gone to space, Bezos Beelzebub, asmodeus, he’s like Tiamat, ok?, Tiamat is female and not a they them, pre-biblical, prioritize, No-Man’s Land by John Buchan, finger bandaid, a baby on each knee screaming in German, a walled city, uberroads, autobahns, ultraroads, Mr Jim Moon, Darlington, a small town in central England, a saga on YouTube and Twitter, political, PayPal cancelling people’s access to their accounts, Russian affiliated media, NFTs, the NFT weirdos, purchasing using crypto, Elon Musk was an early investor in PayPal, Charles Ardai, Hard Case Crime, awesome covers of pulp-style paperbacks, a mix of new and old, Fifty To One by Charles Ardai, the correct vision, why Elon is good too, he has passion for things, he wants to go to Mars, he likes fast cars, interested in everything, who else is making satellite internet?, a lot of change in the world, wanting power, I don’t want nice, I want rockets, anti-union, unions limit power, Toyota, responsibility, not just extracting value, we want workers to be self-actualized, the money compensation is there because the job isn’t fun, given Jesse’s awesomeness, we start with the worst not the richest, Bill Gates, locked-down, this guy with no medical degree has vast control, he stole a computer program, ruthlessness, tiger-eye, hiring a lot of engineers, who has changed cars more?, my Bill foundation, you still shorting Tesla stock?, how to lose a boner fast, he’s trolling the right people, Trump has the right enemies, Julius Caesar had the right enemies, I can see the vast appeal, lying to our faces without a sense of humour, his worst tweet: we will coup whoever we want, reins of power vs. power players, what has Microsoft done for you lately?, they got Skype, did they improve it, still free, an inertia, Discord has been cancelling people, the healthiest ecosystem is still Microsoft, sail across the pacific ocean with a granola bar, Mac’s walled garden, organize, dos a dos Ace Double style, Strange Embrace, Robert McGinnis, leg lengths, long necks, Michael Whalen, fucking fantastic covers, the name of the author, an amazing cover, where in the culture it sits, 2012, 361 by Donald E. Westlake, The Girl Who Electrified Tesla, Gun Honey, modern day pulp adventure, the Gabriel Hunt series, Robert E. Howard style, dangerous book for boys, Glen Orbik, very El Borak, he has the right taste and is enthusiastic about getting things done, The Colorado Kid by Stephen King, Joyland, Later, all the Donald E. Westlake, nice length, The Gods Of Bal-Sagoth by Robert E. Howard, The Black Stranger, he’s like Skeletor except cool, Max Allan Collins, the Quarry series,