The SFFaudio Podcast #791 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Through The Gates Of The Silver Key by H.P. Lovecraft and E. Hoffmann Price

The SFFaudio Podcast #791 – Through The Gates Of The Silver Key by by H.P. Lovecraft and E. Hoffmann Price, read by Ben Tucker (for LibriVox). This is a complete and unabridged reading of the story (1 hour 29 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Mr Jim Moon, and Jonathan Weichsel

Talked about on today’s show:
Weird Tales, July 1934, a lot of Lovecraft, The City, a nice little poem, kind of a Christmas story, a miracle happens in the winter garden, blooming flowers, holly and hollyberries, a little Christmas image, The Nameless City, one of his terrific stories, The Outsider, so sequelly, all the greatest hits, the pillars in Irem, The Statement Of Randolph Carter, The Festival, The Silver Key, a lot more, Hypnos, spheres of reality out in space, what happened here, hey I love you fiction, favourite Lovecraft story, a long correspondence, Clark Ashton Smith and Robert E. Howard, visit him in New Orleans, he had a car, give it a go, play with his ideas, supportive of that, Crypt Of Cthulhu, 6000 words, as he is wont to do, less than 50 words of mine left, keep the core concepts, the facets, the ultimate gates, very theosophical ideas of souls being reincarnated, scattered all through time, ran with them, the missing link between Dreams In The Witch House and The Shadow Out Of Time, everybody in the room in Carter, matrilineal related, a Sackville-Baggins sort of scene, not huge into Lovecraft, stupendous, they’re ok, the plastic and the dream world, weird cosmic, weird juxtaposition, more artificial in the sequel, you know what I love is character, the idea, a book about a guy who remisces too much about his childhood, does dreamwork, The Tomb, super-lonely and isolated, he is wrong, some aspect of him is trying to be another aspect of him and be him, The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward, am I not myself?, Harley Warren always dominated me and I feared him, trying to recapture golden youth, a startraveler and an immortality, is the guide he has a night gaunt?, what night gaunts do, maybe that’s even Carter, gone beyond the ultimate gate, he’s every character in the book, By His Bootstraps or All You Zombies, any females in this book at all?, yithians have no gender, a repeat of the scene with the camera in a different place, come with me, ok, ugly, at the very end, goes in a circle, Farnham’s Freehold, The Door Into Summer, he steals his own car, less time travel, about the frame, does it help the story?, okay but how does this Indian guy know this story, annoyed rather than made curious, disappointed in it, being a teenager, the lore, little glimpses and hints, it’s not a Call Of Cthulhu or a Pickman’s Model, very Dreamlandsy, Dreamlands 2.0, completely cosmic, drawing a lot of these ideas from, Philip K. Dick kind of cosmic encounter, Agatha Christie style denouement, Poirot, like Glass Onion, Randolph Carter behind the mask, mittens?, cheapens the other ones, The Festival, this friendly guy behind the mask, invites you into his house for Christmas, he’s not human, a King In Yellow situation, that’s not as good, mythos, some basic, R’lyeh gets a mention, nods to other stories, super-cosmic mystical context, awesome and terrible, not alien monsters, weird things in robes in cosmic hyperspace, a bit new age, alienation, cozy alienation, everybody is everybody else, a source of real horror stories, the new horror, the next horror, the greater horror, no evil here, the annihilation of ego and self, Ex Oblivione, a mini-version of The Silver Key, it’s great to be non-existent, thrust into a body once again, re-incarnation is the horror, writ large, everybody gets to be a king, more fanboy than it should, Lovecraft’s literary manifesto, a character based on him, we lose that in the sequel, it doesn’t feel like Lovecraft really, he’s made himself the chosen one by being such a prodigious dreamer, other people around the table, dividing the estate and getting the money, a more traditional narrative, The Wonderful Adventures Of Phra The Phoenician, 1890, reincarnation, The Star Rover by Jack London, experiencing life on earth, his own past, nostalgia, other worlds and living on other worlds, The DreamQuest Of Unknown Kadath, going to space, 100,000 years, a rocket ship and cloak yourself, through other dimensions, astral plane and the ethereal plane, Hell is not down it is out, another planet, that’s what this book is, having fun with this, Randolph Carter is his stand-in, Samuel Loveman, bits added, The Unnameable, some milksops complained, The Loved Dead is so funny, mad recluse who was incredibly uptight, he seems like just a regular writer, good at selling stories, his interests are in here as well, loving time, a phrase that only repeats twice, the unknown outer sky, in the context of the story, about self-revelation, losing the amnesia that you had, an astonishing achievement, a lot of repetition, to make it more clear?, saying the same thing twice, a very similar form of repetition, when he went long, saga mode, it doesn’t quite work, less the sum of their parts, the structure of the story gets a bit too loose, a lot of action, not orchestrated, run to the end now, a torrent of images, when Jesse co-writes with somebody, not trying to steal the show, to help someone else, a fan boy, the Lovecraft legacy, Stephen King’s It, told through the mode of Stephen King, collaborations, The Mound, Zealia Bishop, bombarded with all these images, what it would be like to float disembodied through the cosmos, layers of reality, to what effect?, the same effect by having a montage, you don’t actually have to show it, flip between them, he does do this at points, I spent 10,000 years on this planet, pick one idea to develop, oh that’s a story I’ve read, an annotated one, this is a reference to some other story, I love you work, I wrote this thing, oh my dear boy, out of control, writing for me, writing for someone else, they have a hand in it, a failure on Lovecraft’s part, shorter, comic book adaptations, you’re better off sticking to the team, The Nameless City is so solid, it turns into The Silver Key, this is really good, an inherited view, that terrible biography by L. Sprague De Camp, the proper Lovecraft, not right at all, it could be Cthulhu if you want it to be, not a word misplaced, it’s building, where is this going, he’s gonna crawl out of here, at the end how is he even telling this story, some cop comes up in the park in the middle of the night and pokes a bum with a nightstick, sleep it off, fun things in it, cozy, not the Lovecraft that Jesse really really loves, a masterful self-analysis, an adventure with some of the ideas, the math stuff that’s in here, more successful in some ways, Magic Carpet Magazine, Spicy Detective Stories, Spicy Western, published in the 1970s, a renaissance in the 60s and the 1970s, I’ve got some new stuff, The Devil Wives Of Lee Fong, his lovely wives were really serpent demons, 1979, alive til 1988, either in Weird Tales or Oriental Stories, a much more felxible and salability, co-writing, Adolphe De Castro, a sudden scene where it’s actually good, back to the crap writing, since you don’t pay me, fix the punctuation and the grammar, cthulhu monster, competent, with great taste, more to be said, disappointed, don’t read sequels, maybe there’s something great in it, gonna forget it, missing that x-factor, that one is beautiful, true beauty in it, how much nostalgia is poured into it, that aspect, somebody from the past is trying to dominate you, that isn’t in here, Randolph Carter’s back because they don’t want Bag End to be sold, bodiless, using it like a magic wand, a lot in here, you don’t think of Lovecraft this way, such a different portait of the time, the 1920s and the 1880s, Steinbeck, The Grapes Of Wrath, the Dustbowl, makes you look at history different, one of the great benefits of reading Lovecraft, the reality that was his, the racism is what most people latch on to, some of that in them too, where is his power coming from, way more horrific, says the occasional word we don’t like, didn’t hurt anybody, very kindly, [Lovecraft Country] a way to get angry about stuff, this is beautiful picture, how cozy his youth was, for us to time and space travel, Providence, Boston, Randolph Carter was richer, a dilettante who can go on adventures, he had a car, there’s King Carter, Kuranes, to reign as a king, 11 beings from earth, 7 of them humans, half of those guys are carter (if not more), there is a gold piece in here, a cool idea, so filled out and so decorated and so checkboxy, collaborative works that are good, more responsible, just the premise, picked up and ran with it, more out of it, just doesn’t pull everything together, a structural pacing problem, heavy metal, heavy rock, ding ding ding ding ding ding ding, once it gets up to speed, gone to 11, no where else fore the story to go, after the cosmic voyage sequence, an invasive demon, great wizards, getting notes, a precis of the story, feeling it sentence by sentence, the descent, blind and then he see, revelation, all being told in past tense, one guy at the meeting, if you insist on proof I’ll give it, Clark Asthon Smith does this a lot, Sadastor, an incubus makes a succubus have a baby, everybody’s evil, they like evil, a flight of imagination, as a decorous thing, what August Derleth is doing, all connected into one big thing, the easy instinct, the Cthulhu Mythos section of Deities And Demigods, takes the mystery and delight away, take the dreamlike quality and make it plastic, one big pantheon, Abdul Alhazred, the more constrained, who tore Abul Alhazred apart?, the alligator cat bulldog people, it’s symbolic, his yogsothery, happy to contradict himself, built that in as a feature not a bug, the real bad boy was Lin Carter, couldn’t leave a reference alone, dim visions through the window, size, weight, eye colour and phone number, editorial introduction, an utterly amazing novelette, so far transcendence human experiences, titanic!, for sheer imaginative daring, the joint product, rejected originally?, some sort of fight going with Farnsworth Wright, a beef against Lovecraft since the beginning, not been able to produce a magazine, most of them are dross but you have to fill pages, competent but not memorable, everybody has their thing, if he could just bring himself to move to Chicago, editing a magazine of weird fiction, no, can’t do it, editing a magazine, the problem is he’s kind of broken, broken is a way that is beautiful, able to do some great work even when he has nothing to say, seeing greatness in other people’s writing, other than taking Lovecraft, in the early issues of Weird Tales, occasional gems from unknowns, fanboys and girls of Lovecraft, Seabury Quinn on the cover?, not commercial at all, wary of taking on the role of editor, rejecting stories by people he liked, not the same guy, he’s so fuckin weird guys, he can’t do some things, his first fictions to weird tales, take em or leave em, these are pieces of art, live on beans rather than compromise his artistic vision, the City Of Singing Flame, not a real sequel, a semi-sequel, Jungle Jitters, the Action Girls, a movie within the world of the book, rethinking a lot, this scene goes here, tedious busy work, that first revision is where the magic happens, Mr Jim Moon as a podcaster, more than the regular, the monster movies, 17 weeks homework, that one sounds great, wish there was a checklist, audio of Jim Moon stories into the feed, dabbled with writing, took stock, about 20 now, a new ghost story for Christmas, releasing them on your podcast, no spelling for these things, pioneering a lot of stuff, podcasts that come and go, the best of the 2020s, doing your own thing, an interesting phenomenon, don’t know what everyone else is doing, research, writing the music, coding and design work, coding and designing for your own podcast, chasing trends, a true crime podcast, BBC is producing another Lovecraft story that’s not Lovecraft at all, comedians get their shows announce their dates and interview each other, releasing your fiction through your podcasts, 3 shows released today, the audio advent calendar, The Signalman, a Commentary Club episode, most of December off, a lot of catch-up to do, transcribe podcasts, so much work already done, ghost stories, general weird fiction, a novel in 31 parts, huge narrative chunks, a cozy zombie story, Beating The Bounds, a Christmas sequel, Cirsova magazine, an anthology called Mighty Suns Of Hercules, write a few short stories, magazine credits, a fun way to get your stories out, Anvil Magazine, it feels good to get published in a good magazine, doing it very differently, Hypnobobs, 15 years now, scrolling back 17 years on a weekly show, The Adventures Of F. Bolger, the hobbit who stays behind, waves goodbye to the other hobbits, he goes shopping sees farmer maggot, gets some pipe weed, runs into some ringwraiths, they have a smoke, don’t know nothing about Mr. Frodo, huddling like it’s COVID, the other Hobbits come back and completely ignore him, Pippin and Merry are a foot taller each, a cozy story, a cozy fantasy, Thomas Burnett Swann, centaurs, fauns, nymphs, panisci, satyrs, and they all have sex, a professor in Florida, studied ancient stuff, most of his books were not published until the last few years of his life, 1967, archive.org, published in the U.K., compared to J.R.R. Tolkien, a connection there, too risque for swan, Henry Treece, The Viking Trilogy, viking kid joins crew of vikings to viking, a quasi-fantasist, The Green Man, 1968, sword and sorcery and savagery in King Arthur’s time, Piers Anthony, how can I make this popular?, a good amount of sex, cuter, funnier, a classical feel, more conventional, too weird for a lot of people, weirded out, uptight, A Spell For Chameleon, bawdy humour, grotesquery, ribald jokes, a coming of age story, you say people…, mythological creatures, everybody has a magic power, gonna be banished, exiled from the land, a classical setup for a myth, Joseph Campbell, The Weirwoods, laughed out loud many many times, there’s no way to read this without thinking its supposed to be funny, pure treasure, very subtle, an irony there, almost all Eddy, other people are allowed to write terrific stories too, Pity Me! by Bertha Russell, sex with the dead bodies, a Spanish lady had died, get the goop in, she fell on me and she was alive, I finished the job for you, let me tell you about how depraved I am, a tombstone for his writing desk, nothing funnier, got Weird Tales in trouble, pulled from the newsstands, Eleonora, The Canal, Everil Worrell, angry a long time ago, what Evan said, the tightness, more free flowing, it must exist, a PDF of The Green Man, unjustly forgotten, a lot of historical fiction, considered juvenile, caveman boy story, C.S. Lewis gets all the rest, no champion, the estate is defunct, get neglected, it’s not fair, treasure that’s hidden, in a limbo, we need more Henry Treeces, more Swanns, you do need a champion, Edgar Rice Burroughs has Moorcock, Nevil Shute doesn’t need a champion like Henry Treece does, little dog for a last walk, big snow, a good book, had a lot of fun with that one too, guy goes for a hike in California, discovers a weird spot, ends up in another dimension, a moth to the flame thing, more coffee and more sandwiches, discovering a whole other moth people and aliens, throwing themselves into the fire, The Bright Illusion by C.L. Moore, Logan’s Run, more Howard than any of them, that kind of fantasy, Lord Dunsany, so weird cosmic and trippy, an emotional core, goes to that cursed thread, Cultural Critic, 25 books that should be on every school curriculum but isn’t, The Gulag Archipelago, I think I can dismiss this list, 75 hours long, twitter accounts fishing for attention, not making serious suggestions, exercise account, makes fun of these things, getting his account banned, a way to have fun, 25 more books, is this a list this person has read?, Think And Grow Rich, Guns, Germs And Steel, a list of books, how to do 17 crunches, post a wrong answer to get a right answer, playing for engagement, why would you retweet that Jesse?, part of conversation we’re already having, this isn’t nonsense, more like hyperbole, every school child should read the history of The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire, a really good way to send links, things to scan, people to be on a podcast, Alex P., interesting tweets, manga mindset, good to be in touch, a cynicism that isn’t depressing, skepticism, Robert Ingersoll, that’ll make you cynical, a fellow who you can really see is not lying, Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary, Ingersoll quotes, a Christmas Sermon, totally depraved, tormented in eternal fire, against organized religion, as an adult, how to deal with bad ideas, you literally have to learn that, why kids learn to lie, just like the sun being in the sky, child abuse, harmful and hurtful, when people don’t have full access to the facts, learn intellectual self-defense, people who are miserable, things imposed on them that they have no defense against, how gender affects climate and climate affects gender, everybody’s good at the table, falsities, Sylvester Stallone is frozen, goes into the future, Demolition Man (1993), people don’t know how to deal with violence, they predicted, the plot is stupid but the world is quite interesting, form a cult and takeover the world, create a lot of weird beleifs that make absolutely no sense, cut people off from everyone else, very insular, dietary restrictions on them, bottom up, these ideas come from the internet, from the media, magazines and articles and tv shows and movies, I’m gonna be a vegan, comes out of vegetarianism, being closer to god, deprecating the body, animals are nice and cute, why should we eat them, you’re a meat eating animal, how do you reconcile this?, they might not know it comes from an animal, nobody says, meat that I slaughter myself, a slaughter house is really depressing environment to work-in, scream and die, somebody will lose a finger, that’s not the end of the story, just one thin that’s happening.

Through The Gates Of The Silver Key by H.P. Lovecraft and E. Hoffman Price

Posted by Jesse Willis

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