I’m typing this up with trembling fingers, knowing that the odds of anyone actually finding my notes and reading them are slim to none. Even if discovered, who in his right mind would believe the fantastical events that I’ve researched and to which I am only now able to add even rudimentary structure that will allow the sane mind to digest? It matters not. Do not our philosophers of old tell us that what is seen cannot be unseen? I fear the same must be true for the written word. Stop now, reader, or forever be marked by stories that will, indeed, leave one. It will not be physical affliction (unless you count the night sweats and ticks and tremors), only a psychological palsy. But I can already hear you laughing and mocking, considering the mental tortures to be nothing more than bad dreams… visions brought by a lack of sleep and loss of appetite.
But the scraping inside the walls that I hear this moment are as real as the strange creature sitting in the corner of the room, nibbling on my sandwich and trying to gain my attention with a handstand. I will not give it the good pleasure of a glance.
No, I will return to my original intent for this document even as it throws bits of gnawed turkey breast on my desktop. I was given a simple assignment — investigate the most recent Lovecraftian publications (some of them sequels) and report back to my editors on the entertainment value of each. But rather than provide recommendations, now I find that I must warn others away from the disturbing documents that I have collected… read… discerned. Of these documents, I have read them all. Some twice. One was read to me by what I believe to be my long-deceased great Uncle Hewey, but can one truly trust a disembodied voice to correctly identify itself?
The warnings. A simple cut-and-paste operation will have to suffice. I implore you to ignore… IGNORE… any pleasure or hint of approval to any of the documents that I have collected below. Yes, at the time of the writings, I may have been enjoying one or more of the records. But do not let my mistake be your own. Do not be enchanted by a beautiful cover. Do not let the handiwork of soul-possessed artists sway you from a true and steady course. And, of course, ignore the siren call of some of the most evil authors in existence as they attempt to corrupt your sanity.
It is too late for me, dear reader. I have, as they say, made my bed. (And speaking of beds, the tentacles that I currently see creeping out from under the covers have kept me from a restful slumber for three days.)
Please. If you must take notes, take only the titles of the documents and nothing more. Write them down and burn them into your memory as documents that must forever be resisted. Do not let your curiosity defeat your common sense! You know these books to be dangerous, so why do you even raise your eyebrows in interest? Yes, I can see you doing so, even before the list is revealed.
I wash my hands here. Do with the following list as you wish. I am tired. I am defeated.
A single Control-V separates me from surrender to the voices in my head and a handing off of the responsibilities that I have borne for the previous three weeks.
I realize my warnings are in vain. Take the list, you who believe you are stronger in mind and courage. It is yours.
The closet door just opened by itself. Time for a walk, I believe.
Here’s your list. See you soon.
James Floyd Kelly
Atlanta, Georgia, September 3, 2012
—– BEGIN BOOK RECORD HERE —–
August 8, 2012
I’ve been instructed to go slow in my research, and I believe that these two anthologies are the best fit. I consider myself properly versed in H.P. Lovecraft’s original tales to safely read these same stories in an illustrated format, but as with any story read twice or more, there’s always something new to discover. Reading a tale such as The Dunwich Horror is disturbing enough with my mind’s eye providing the details, but to have one of a number of artists fill my head with their own versions of the horrors of these tales? It’s simply too much.
Volume I with its seven tales and seven different illustrators served to stir the already disturbed stew that is my imagination, but did I really have to follow it up with reading the entirety of Volume II and its nine additional illustrated stories? I need to take a break, but I’ve set myself a deadline of three weeks to finish this stack of material. Still, although all of the stories were outstanding in layout and design, there is a macabre dread that lingers on each page.
I believe I’ll go back and re-read The Shadow over Innsmouth in Volume I. That one has always provided me with a good dose of strange yet alluring dreams. But Volume II’s interpretation of From Beyond answers so many questions, especially questions that I wasn’t supposed to have ever asked. Yes, I shall tackle that one as well. Sleep can wait.
August 12, 2012
I’ve always suspected that the evils introduced to this world by what H.P. believed to be nothing but his imagination would sooner or later reach out their tentacled grasps in the direction of our youth. Take, for example, the events at Lovecraft Middle School. A new school, millions of dollars spent on the latest technologies such as a completely digital library, and no one thought to check out the contractor’s credentials? I mean, seriously… using refurbished building materials from a known occultist’s burned down mansion? Was no one thinking about the students?
Take Robert Arthur, for example. First, a re-zoning removes him from his friends and sends him to this new bastion of education where the only other student he knows is the bully who tormented him at his previous school? And what’s up with his new science teacher, Professor Goyle. The man can actually smell the two-headed rodent hidden in Robert’s backpack! This poor kid is doing his best to make a fresh start, but fellow students are disappearing! There are tentacles coming out of lockers! And what’s up with the strange attic-like room above the new library with its boarded up door that just begs to be opened?
This isn’t any school I’d want to attend! You’d think the powers-that-be would be satisfied with releasing one book to test the minds of our youth for ease of corruption, but no! They’ve got an entire series planned, with Book #2, The Slither Sisters due out early in 2013. I had hopes that our youth might be able to resist, but then the publishers go and use a bit of arcane knowledge to create a series of covers that are irresistible to human eyes! Turn the books in your hands and you get a morphing image that should give unspeakable nightmares to our children for months on end! The publisher is obviously in cahoots with an Elder intelligence. (And the author and publisher must indeed have strong arcane powers to be so confident that a third book, Teacher’s Pest, is in the works!)
August 13, 2012
A bit of a change of pace is needed, I believe. Maybe some shorter tales, taken with suitable breaks between, will allow me to catch my breath and calm my mind. The editor referring to the twenty-one tales in this book states:
It is to be noted how many stories in this anthology do not mention a single such name from the Lovecraft corpus; and yet they remain intimately Lovecraftian on a far deeper level.
Oh, excellent. Possibly that interlude for which I’ve been looking, I immediately thought to myself. I was so wrong. I guess I should have taken the far deeper level more seriously. These stories tell me just how far our civilization has moved on H.P.’s roadmap towards madness. While we once had only H.P. to provide us with the instructions, now it appears that dozens of writers have been corrupted and seek to provide further tales to prepare our world for the inevitable. Favorites? How can you even ask that question? I guess opening the book with the excellent short Pickman’s Other Model (1929) was the proper choice, but I find all the tales equally disturbing and corruptive. An Eldritch Matter did manage to entertain, but how I suffered later with self-loathing when the smile on my face remained!
Ultimately, I should have been more careful taking in twenty-one stories in such a short time. I’m already beginning to feel a slight pressure between my eyes and a tickle beneath the top of the skull.
August 15, 2012
How best to sneak in further corruption of the population? That is the question I believe Wood was asked by the Elders… I mean, his publisher. The answer? Hide the mind-dissolving recipe in nothing less than a simple action-hero novel. Then, use a simple, innocent-sounding recommendation by fellow GeekMom contributor (and, in my opinion, brain-washed minion), Natania Barron, to start the infection.
I mean, who wouldn’t watch this movie? Oxford detective Arthur Wallace always asks himself What would Kurt Russell do? Well, if Kurt Russell saw what Arthur saw that dark night out on the construction site he was investigating, he’d probably wet his pants. Sorry, Kurt. And Arthur wasn’t even really given a choice to walk away, was he? No, Felicity Shaw, head of MI37 just pulled him into her own little private war between Earth and the Things Best Left Unimagined. The first book, No Hero, should have been enough to convince us that there will always be heroes to help fight back the darkness. At first, I thought author Wood was on our side, giving us only a glimpse (early into the story) and keeping the true horror to himself. But no, the last fourth of the book was so shocking, its imagery of corrupted bodies so disturbing that upon finishing the story I was unable to rest until I knew… absolutely knew… that MI37 was worth betting our futures on.
But Wood isn’t on our side. His follow-up, Yesterday’s Hero, doesn’t even let you catch your breath. Picking up immediately after No Hero ends, I think I’ve discovered Wood’s malicious secret — keep the infection going by preventing the reader any rest between books. Like a good action movie, don’t give the reader any long periods of rest, keep the darkness always front-and-center, and give readers hope… while all the while ripping it away with constant worry about losing favorite characters.
I just can’t take it anymore. The ups… the downs. All those years of action-hero movies made it so easy for Woods to sneak in his agenda. Well, fine. I can at least take refuge in knowing that MI37 is (hopefully) still out there, watching our backs.But, should MI37 ever fail, I know of one other organization in the UK upon which we can pin our hopes.
August 20, 2012
The release of a new Laundry series book from Charles Stross is always greeted with excitement. How foolish we humans truly are! First, Stross introduced us to the Laundry, a British organization (secret) that is on the frontline in the war between humans and the occult threats to our very survival. My first encounter with Bob Howard was in The Atrocity Archives (the first of two stories in the book, with the second one being a Hugo Award-winning short story titled The Concrete Jungle).
Stross, I believe is on our side. He uses humor (or is it humour?) to try and take the sting of the darkness away, but is there any amount of laughter that can make us forget that our hold on reality is failing faster than our our hold on our sanity? Sure, Bob saves the world. A lot. Stross even manages to slip one by the censors in The Jennifer Morgue by mixing the true tale of an attempt to raise a sunk Russian sub with a most obvious warning about the dangers of the ocean bottom. Will we ever learn!?
Stross once again tries to warn us with The Fuller Memorandum, feeding us a bit more information on the Laundry as well as glimpses into its motives and agenda. Bob’s still our hero, but is he really? Can we trust this mid-level paper-pusher to always do what’s in the best interest of not just his country, but the world?
I have to admit that I had to go back and re-read all three books, and I fear that this act has caused additional damage to my questionable sanity. And why would I do this? Why would I subject myself to information that already was churning and doing its work in my gray matter? I blame it on The Apocalypse Codex. Stross throws out a new Laundry title like that, and expects me to not go back and re-read the previous files looking for clues? I had no choice! Plus, the United States of America has such a large investment in this tale — one of the most prominent and powerful TV evangelists we have is involved, and I just have to know how deep this goes!
After finishing The Apocalypse Codex, I must now painfully admit to myself that the entire publishing industry may very well be involved in the slow yet inevitable corruption of our population. I’ve not yet completed my review of the documents on my desk, but if Stross, with his tongue-in-cheek descriptions of the daily grind of fighting evil, cannot leave us with a sense of security, what possible chance do we have? Suffice to say, I struggled with sharing a key plot point from this most recent title, but I absolutely will not be part of spreading this evil.
August 27, 2012
Time to seal the deal. I’ve left two monstrous (maybe the wrong word here) tomes for last. What better way to end my three-week-long investigation than with 900+ pages of sanity-breaking short stories? Why fight it any longer? My brain itches, my eyes refuse to blink, and sleep will not come. If there is any doubt left as to the involvement of the publishing world in making the invitation to The Darkness, it is this collection of over 50 tales from familiar authors who have already sold their souls, so to speak, to The Infinite.
I was comfortable with just the first book, Book of Cthulhu I — 500 pages of of material about a subject matter that the publisher makes not attempt to hide with that cover and title! But dark powers obviously never rest, as the publisher felt the need to provide me with an advanced copy of Book of Cthulhu II that’s due out in October. Do they know something I do not? Is there some reason the book needs to be reviewed now versus when it’s released to the rest of the population? My emails remain unanswered.
Needless to say, the decision to read the book was completely out of my hands. Hands, by the way, that are no longer under my control. As the pages turned, story after story after story, the smile on my face not my own, I realized the obvious truth. I am no longer in command of my own faculties. How long has this been the case? Are the above words for this collection of books my own? Has my curiosity with these numerous books moved from a light-hearted need for entertainment to a more base need for explanation and understanding of the universe.
August 31, 2012
And what of my readers? Am I recommending books because I believe they will enjoy them… or because I wish them to share my fate?
Yes, the books were all enjoyable. But what does that say about my state of mind?
What is my state of mind?
What is that scratching at the window that will not cease?
I need to take a break. No more books for tonight.
[Transcript ends here — no further text was provided to the editors. Please make a note that multiple emails and calls have been made to the Kelly home with no response.]