Friday, May 06, 2016
Lovecraftian Thing a Day No.127: Dreams from R'lyeh by Lin Carter
Given the degree to which Lovecraft's prose has incited what is now effectively a global industry of pastiches and works otherwise influenced and inspired by the Old Gent, it was inevitable that later weird writers would also seek to imitate Lovecraft's poetry - especially his famed The Fungi from Yuggoth sonnet cycle. One of the first of these being Lin Carter's Dreams from R'lyeh, published by Arkham House in 1975 (and, incidentally, the only volume of Carter's work produced by AH). Whilst Carter's sonnet cycle follows a clearer narrative arc than does Lovecraft's, the central conceit - that of the poet discovering a crumbling tome in his family library, producing cosmic visions from which the inspiration for the sonnets arises - is virtually the same as Fungi.
The sonnets themselves are enjoyable in a workmanlike fashion, but lack the muted sensitivity of Lovecraft's efforts and thus fail to produce the sense of awe and wonder central to his cosmicism; and where HPL crafts subtle links to the elements of his mythos within the Fungi sonnets, Carter places the Cthulhu Mythos front and centre throughout, being sure to namecheck all the usual suspects - such that this feels more like Lovecraft channelled via Derleth. Even so, this is definitely worth a read, and has more recently been reprinted in Chaosium's The Xothic Legend Cycle: The Complete Mythos Fiction of Lin Carter.