“Lovecraft” meets “Time travel”. Woo, I love bringing people together.
At the start of this master class world building, word building, eldritch, mind bending novella, I was seeing a twisted Luthor, way too eager for a grand conflict. Having said that, this might be my favorite Lovecraft work so far, at least till my next one.
There is no best way to describe this book other than in author’s very own words
“– a person of keen thoughtfulness seized a strange secondary life and leading for a greater and lesser period an utterly alien existance typified at first by vocal and bodily awkwardness, and later by a wholescale acquisition of scientific, historic, artistic and anthropologic knowledge; an acquisition carried on with feverish zest and with a wholly abnormal absorptive power. Then a sudden return of rightful consciousness, intermittently plagued ever after with vague unplacable dreams suggesting fragments of some hideous memory elaborately blotted out.”
Now, back to my puny writing. So this guy, Nathaniel Wingate Peaslee is a professor with a very usual normal calm life, married with kids. The strange secondary febrile life episode happens amidst a lecture, and it renders him unusual to the ways of men, with detritus amnesia. Here is the clever part, he gains back his self in due time and resumes a very normal life. And betwixt that, our smart protagonist research thoroughly on his strange visions n memories of a higher, vivid alien civilization with the help of his son. He even publish papers on the same and all during his letter he urges us readers not to take anything as absolute, but to judge on his mind conditions and our logic coz of dearth logic. I believe, I have hooked you up enough to read the book on your own now. Plus this character is somewhat autobiographic, since the timeline of professors amnesia goes along with the breakdown H P Lovecraft had during his teenage years. And dnt be disappointed If you dont get the chance to chant ‘“Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn‘. For the Yithians are far more rewarding.
For once you get the taste of hard sci fi off Lovecraft’s pen than usual chilling accords that looks so like some vertiginous furtive past. This one is more like a weird TARDIS ride to an era of Yithians, consider them as weird conical Oods, and now you are wiped off that memory n remnants are hunting your consciousness, leaving you strangled between hallucinations and reality. Book goes a tad, At the Mountain of Madness, and am pretty sure Alien Covenant is going to borrow bits and pieces off this novella. Hope it wont go all Prometheus.
Its really difficult to give a honest review without discussing the plot and in doing so I would be ruining the whole experience. Usual short stories and novellas are about the incessant fear of unknown, here in addition a thoughts of cosmic sojourn is addressed. And in doing so none of the elements are compensated, but the scale and ideas are higher, he even mentions Einstien at some point saying the reduction of time into a coordinate. Also dont expect anything conventional when it comes to Time travel, its more an Animus experience. I would pay to watch Yithians fight Elder things aboard humankind preceding Beetles. And like usual, those vivid vistas left me wondering, what if Lovecraft was a medium and those cosmic entities did exist. And we need to start a kickstart campaign to find Necronomicon by that mad Arab.
Btw, here is something to feast on. Cant beat the read though.