The Nyarlathotep Event
So here’s the thing, if you read last week, you know I am doing some reading about Nyarlathotep. This week, I will jump into some thoughts about one of the stories so far.
We’re starting with a story from the Book of Cthulhu II: More tales Inspired by H. P. Lovecraft (Night Shade, September 2012). It’s a collection of stories written within the Cthulhu universe. The story in question today is The Nyarlathotep Event by Jonathan Wood.
I wasn’t quite prepared for how this one played out. As I dig through the various stories I am looking for horror and the style of Lovecraft. And yeah, this one doesn’t fit. It plays out more like an adventure story with some cosmic horror elements thrown in. Basically, we follow the exploits of agent Arthur Wallace of MI37 in his attempt to stop an attack from Nyarlathotep and the end of the world.
Taken for what it is, it’s actually a fun story. But like I mentioned I don’t feel like we capture the dread we could expect from an interaction with an elder god and what not. Quite a bit of that has to do with how Arthur is set up in the story. Sure he is semi capable but he has a partner meet up with him at just the right moment who is by far a more capable fighter. She serves the purpose of rescuing him from the myriad cultists running around in a world slowly sinking into madness.
Where it gets really crazy though is when they step into the dream world. In a world of nightmares, their roles reverse. But at that point, his companion becomes useless as madness has made her comatose. Arthur now travels through the dream world carrying his partner and using his imagination to come up with ways to traverse the many road blocks that get in their way. Yeah, he is doing what she had done in the real world, but better. He pretty much has a hand tied behind his back as he lugs her around with him.
The story is written in first person, which would normally pull the reader into the thick of it. But in this it puts up a wall that keeps the reader just to the outside. Instead of feeling like we are living the same horrors Arthur faces, it is more like everything is happening just out of reach.
Now for me, the part that really takes away from cosmic dread we should be feeling with this, our hero walks away after beating the elder god. You know, the creatures that mere mortals have no chance of beating. I feel we should have experienced the slip into madness along the way and there really wasn’t any thing there to drag us under.
So yeah, this one didn’t really take me where I wanted to go. But it did give an interesting glimpse into the dream realms. If you go into the story expecting some action and adventure, it comes out ok. But this isn’t the cosmic horror I was hoping for.
If you enjoy these stories, consider leaving some coffee money in the jar or you could buy a book or two. Either way helps keep the stories flowing.