A great review of Greenbelt ’14 can be found on the New Internationalist blog here: http://newint.org/blog/2014/08/27/faith-greenbelt/. Captures something of why I love this festival, although that is very hard to pin down; more something that just is than anything definable. My own review will follow at some point soon I hope!
Tags: Call of Cthulhu, Hastur, horror, Lovecraft, Robert W. Chambers, The King in Yellow
Having been introduced to the King in Yellow in a Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game scenario at the wonderful Continuum Con earlier this year I thought I should look up some of the source material behind this part of the Mythos and so when I saw the original book was available for free on the Kindle I downloaded it instantly.
It’s not quite what I expected. The book is a series of short stories, some related with shared characters and themes, others entirely independent. After the first few, most aren’t connected to the King in Yellow specifically (see here for an outline of the included stories and a little more information on the King in Yellow.) The rest are a strange collection of romance, adventure war and observation.
So what did I make of it? Some I adored. Some I’m not sure I got. Some felt clumsy whilst others really well scripted. In the end I’m left wondering whether to give it 1 star or 5 because whatever the quality of the writing, somehow the book has a haunting quality to it which has stayed with me since reading it, a mood, an mystery, something hinted at which is hard to pin down. The best horror in literature or on the screen is always that where little is revealed and detailed but much eluded to. While the King in Yellow didn’t describe what I hoped it might, it has spoken of lots more, just beyond the periphery of my vision, whispering on the edge of my consciousness…
Just read this by Joanne Harris in the Telegraph:
Stories – even fairy stories – are not just entertainment. Stories are important. They help us understand who we are. They teach us empathy, respect for other cultures, other ideas. They help us articulate concepts that cannot otherwise be expressed. Stories help us communicate; they bring us together; they teach us different ways to see the world. Their value may be intangible, but it is still real.
That’s why our politicians, far from closing libraries, should be opening new ones. That’s why our thinkers, instead of dismissing fairytales as fantasy, should celebrate creativity. That’s why our schools, instead of teaching literature in the way that gets the best grades, should be using it to fire pupils’ enthusiasm and imagination.
In the dark old days, the storyteller always had the best place by the campfire. Those days may be gone, but the power of story remains. It’s time we acknowledged that, and brought our authors out of the cold.
Couldn’t agree more!
As a lover of stories, both ‘recipient’ and ‘writer’ (apostrophes to recognise that a story is always a cooperative experience/event even if the author wrote the words in another continent and century to the reader) I see time and time again how stories have change our perceptions and thinking and consequently our lives. Stories have the power to shape our identity and outlook in a powerful way. As a Christian I also want to say yes, being the lover of what has sometimes been branded the greatest story ever told and a follower of the Word made flesh.