Saturday, 15 May 2010

Locus Focus - R'lyeh

Locus Focus is a new meme hosted every Saturday by Enbrethiliel at Shredded Cheddar. "We all know of books that make their settings come alive, and this meme is a chance to write about them and share them with others." Visit her blog and link up!

My first Locus Focus is about H.P. Lovecraft's R'lyeh, the sunken city where the Great Old One Cthulhu sleeps. I chose this location as it sounds so mysterious, creepy and cool in the story 'The Call of Cthulhu'. It's this weird, twisted, alien place, something from another world and it has the biggest baddie of them all sleeping there: Cthulhu. Just seeing this huge, scary, squidlike creature drives you insane. Now if that isn't a cool place!

Some bits about R'lyeh taken from the story 'The Call of Cthulhu':

The nightmare corpse-city of R'lyeh... was built in measureless eons behind history by the vast, loathsome shapes that seeped down from the dark stars. There lay great Cthulhu and his hordes, hidden in green slimy vaults.

Without knowing what futurism is like, Johansen achieved something very close to it when he spoke of the city; for instead of describing any definite structure or building, he dwells only on broad impressions of vast angles and stone surfaces - surfaces too great to belong to anything right or proper for this earth, and impious with horrible images and hieroglyphs.

Johansen and his men landed at a sloping mud-bank on this monstrous Acropolis, and clambered slipperily up over titan oozy blocks which could have been no mortal staircase. The very sun of heaven seemed distorted when viewed through the polarising miasma welling out from this sea-soaked perversion, and twisted menace and suspense lurked leeringly in those crazily elusive angles of carven rock where a second glance shewed concavity after the first shewed convexity.

As Wilcox would have said, the geometry of the place was all wrong. One could not be sure that the sea and the ground were horizontal, hence the relative position of everything else seemed phantasmally variable.


Both Cthulhu and R'lyeh have been used after Lovecraft created them by many other writers and cartoonists and I just had to show this comic made by Goomi. (Click the picture for a bigger view.)

And leaving you all with this picture of The Great Plush Cthulhu and his minions.

8 comments:

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Great choice! And I love the excerpt; it really helped me see the place, too.

My little brother says the first picture looks like a cross between God of War (a video game) and the latest Clash of the Titans. =P

Thanks for linking up, Sully!

Nina said...

OOOH I wouldn't want to go there.. creepy. :)

titania86 said...

Have you seen this video? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOHJUrcVdJk It's super cute.

I love the comic strip! And the art with the really big Cthulhu is beautiful...and scary.

Jen G. said...

I haven't read any of Lovecraft's work, but I think I really need to at some point because I do keep running into references to Cthulu. Most notably for me was in Stephen King's short story, "N." I read it in his collection, "Just After Sunset." Reading your descriptions, I have a better idea of where King was coming from. Here's a link to a video based on that story, if you're interested. I haven't worked up the nerve to watch it yet. :-)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXwZYc3fyLk

Paul Stilwell said...

"Without knowing what futurism is like, Johansen achieved something very close to it when he spoke of the city; for instead of describing any definite structure or building, he dwells only on broad impressions of vast angles and stone surfaces - surfaces too great to belong to anything right or proper for this earth, and impious with horrible images and hieroglyphs."

It's been a while since reading Lovecraft. Man, he could go on in the most wonderfully pulpy and lurid tangents of description. Obviously not as great as Poe, but he could really get across a vividness.

That picture freaks me out.

Sullivan McPig said...

Thanks everyone
@Enbrethiliel: google is my friend. Don't know God of War though.
@Titania: Oh, very cute movie
@Jen: wow, 25 episodes, I will try to check it out.
@Paul: I love Lovecrafts eleborate ways of describing things. He can create a scary atmosphere without actually telling you what it is that is so scary, much like they do in a good horror movie.

Jessica said...

I love that top picture of it, no wonder you choose that place.

The Book Mole said...

Wow, this place sounds interesting,and so does the book - I think I will enjoy this! Lovely pictures too!