In this week’s episode I discuss “The Charnel God” by Clark Ashton Smith. This short story is set in Smith’s Zothique Cycle, as well as the larger Cthulhu Mythos.
“The Charnel God” deals with Phariom, a nobleman who visits the city of Zul-Bha-Sair. This is a strange city where the citizens give their dead over to their local deity, Mordiggian, to feed upon without hesitation. Phariom’s love, Elaith falls into a death-like state after suffering a seizure while in the city. She’s pronounced dead by the local physician and the priests of the Charnel God collect her body. The story follows Phariom as he attempts to rescue her from Mordiggian’s temple.
Chuck Loridans, Frank Schildiner, and Jason Scott Aiken discuss the horror fiction of Philip José Farmer, including his contribution to the Cthulhu Mythos, The Freshman, set at Miskatonic University.
In this week’s episode I’m going to be discussing “The Hounds of Tindalos” by Frank Belknap Long, credited here as Frank Belknap Long Jr. It first appeared in the March 1929 issue of Weird Tales. “The Hounds of Tindalos” stands on its own as a quality weird tale, but H.P. Lovecraft mentioned both The Hounds of Tindalos and the Doels in “The Whisperer in Darkness” two years later in the April 1931 issue of Weird Tales. The tale is now in the public domain and readily available online.
I want to thank Toren Atkinson for allowing me to use his illustration for the title card of this episode. I think Toren absolutely nailed what the creatures featured in the short story, the Hounds, look like.
“The Hounds of Tindalos” actually features Frank Belknap Long himself as the narrator of the story. The short story chronicles Long’s meeting with a friend of his who is an occult writer named, Halpin Chalmers. Chalmer’s is for lack of a better word attempting to time travel by tapping into the fourth dimension. He uses both mathematical and spiritual means (such as smoking an unknown drug) to attempt this. Chalmer’s asks Long to observe and record the experience for him. Although, Chalmer’s doesn’t physically leave the room, he is mentally able to access the fourth dimension and break the bonds of time. His presence is noted by the titular, Hounds of Tindalos who get his scent.
In this weeks episode I’m going to be discussing The Valley of the Worm by Robert E. Howard. The Valley of the Worm first appeared in the February 1934 issue of Weird Tales. I read it in The Best of Robert E. Howard Volume 1: Red Shadows published by Del Rey books.
The Best of Robert E. Howard Volume 1 Crimson Shadows is fully illustrated by Jim and Ruth Keegan. I first discovered their work in the Dark Horse Conan comics, they’re strip, The Adventures of Two-Gun Bob appears in every issue of the Robert E. Howard comics, usually at the bottom of the letters column.
Jim and Ruth were kind enough to allow me to use their unpublished painting of Niord and the Worm on the episode title card. As usual, I think the two completely nailed it. You can see more of their work on their Two-Gun Blog.
The Valley of the Worm is one of Howard’s James Allison reincarnation tales. I previously discussed “Marchers of Valhalla”, another James Allison story in a previous Pulp Crazy episode. The Valley of the Worm has a dying and depressed James Allison recalling his past life as a warrior. In this tale, he is Niorm, later referred to as Niorm Worm-bane, an Aesir warrior. It seems like The Valley of the Worm may take place during the Hyborian Age or possible following it.
The tale begins with Niord and his tribe traveling south into Africa. In Africa they come across a clan of Picts who have migrated there as well. The two groups do battle, with the Aesir being victorious. In a rare moment of mercy, Niord spares a Pict named Grom. Grom recuperates with the Aesir, but eventually leaves to return to his tribe.
The supernatural theme continues this week with The Tale of Satampra Zeiros by Clark Ashton Smith. It first appeared in the November 1931 issue of Weird Tales. It’s the first published entry of Smith’s Hyperborean Cycle.
This week’s story is The Picture In the House by H.P. Lovecraft. According to Wikipedia the story was written on December 12, 1920. The story was first published in the July 1919 issue of The National Amateur, this issue was actually published in the Summer of 1921. This is one of Lovecraft’s earlier stories from his amateur press days.
The story is narrated by a genealogist who is conducting research on the Miskatonic Valley. He’s traveling by bicycle and takes refuge in an old house in the woods as a storm is brewing. He finds the house is inhabited and the owner is a unique individual. To put it mildly.
According to Wikipedia, this story includes the first mention of the Miskatonic Valley and Arkham. This puts the story within Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos.
A Librivox audio recording of the story is included.
In this weeks episode I will be discussing The Shadow Over Innsmouth, it’s a crossover comic that puts The Shadow and Margo Lane in Innsmouth, from the story The Shadow Over Innsmouth by H.P. Lovecraft. The cleverly titled one-shot issue came out this week and is written by Ron Marz and illustrated by Ivan Rodriguez.
This is going to be a somewhat negative review, as far as the story goes. The artwork by Ivan Rodriguez is amazing and I hope to see him on future Shadow and pulp projects from Dynamite, but the choices made in regards to the storyline didn’t do it for me. This is most likely due to my own preconceived notions about what genre the story would actually be in, but I was disappointed non-the less being more of a Lovecraft fan than a Shadow fan. I like the Shadow a great deal, but I am more fond of Lovecraft’s mythos.