Author Topic: Pseudopod 172: The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft  (Read 11457 times)

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Pseudopod 172: The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft
« on: December 11, 2009, 06:49:20 AM »
Pseudopod 172: The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft


By Nick Mamatas and Tim Pratt
Read by Jaron Cohen

I thought about the brittle old letters in my briefcase, which included (among genial advice on writing and cranky complaints about publishers) a few passages of deep loathing about “the niggers and immigrants who fester and shamble in the slums of our fallen cities.” Ah, Lovecraft. I always wondered how my great-grandfather’s letters back to him might have read. I doubted if old Cavanaugh Payne ever told his idol that he was a “miscegenator” himself. Three generations later, I was fresh out of white skin privilege myself, but I had enough of Cavanaugh’s legacy to clear all my debts, assuming I could ever find the isolated country house where this collector lived.

The hand-drawn map Fremgen had mailed me was crude, and obviously not to scale, so it was a little like following a treasure map made by a pirate with a spatial perception disorder.



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cdugger

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Re: Pseudopod 172: The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2009, 02:53:28 PM »
I love me a time travel story.

And, I loved this one. HPL plus time travel. Cool.

HOWEVER...

The character Fremjen (?) was just too funny. The accent was soooo over the top. It had about 7 different accents, which, oddly enough, turned it into a quite passable Cartman.

I kept expecting "You well rehspec mah athoratah!"

Too funny.

HPL's accent, though, was pretty good. At least, it sounded mostly New England. Not South Park.

The rest of the reading was very good.

All in all, a very good job, guys!
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Re: Pseudopod 172: The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2009, 03:06:20 PM »
Great story- the over the top accents got me giggling too. Otherwise, Lovecraft, time travel, and cynicisum in one story? YAY!

Also exellent outro.
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Re: Pseudopod 172: The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2009, 05:27:51 PM »
Not up to Pseudopod's typically high standards. Not in the least.

cdugger

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Re: Pseudopod 172: The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2009, 12:20:17 AM »
Not up to Pseudopod's typically high standards. Not in the least.

It's sooo up to their standards.

Personally, I wouldn't classify MOST of what PP runs as horror. They just don't have the components required to unsettle many people. Now, that being said, the stories ARE generally dark in nature. Just not anything near scary.

This one is just like all those others.

Except that I liked it.
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Re: Pseudopod 172: The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2009, 12:56:34 AM »
A loving tribute to...Robert Bloch's "The Man Who Collected Poe" (which I always thought was his twist on Evelyn Waugh's "The Man Who Liked Dickens").

Great fun, nice and timely considering some recent threads, and very enjoyable listen (I laughed out loud as "rugose" and "cyclopean" tumbled out of his mouth!)

I don't know what the components are that Pseudopod is lacking to do real horror, though.  Was this real horror?  Not really, probably Horror Comedy/Fantasy, which Pseudopod does do.  It wasn't really attempting to be scary.  But P-Pod (awwwww) does run attempts at being scary all the time.  Whether an individual *finds* them scary, well, that's why they race horses (or as the young'uns say, YMMV), but I would assume the definition would be in intent and not success (mine is, at least) as the world's a big, big place (with my standard bitter old man caveat that "willing suspension of disbelief" died the death sometime around when the internet was being born and everyone became unflappable super-geniuses overnight).

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Re: Pseudopod 172: The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2009, 03:39:41 AM »
Oh, also forget to mention how much I liked the little production touches, which I'm sure were extra effort to pull off.  A little of this goes a long way and can quickly get out of hand (these are readings and not dramatizations, after all) but I thought what we got was well considered - the backwards effect on the disembodied creep's voice and the mono-flattening filter on the letter recitations (I probably would have dropped the door knock, a bit jarring and made me say "what the hell" when it happened).  Good stuff! Keep up the good work!

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« Last Edit: December 12, 2009, 03:44:51 AM by Sgarre1 »

Changwasteve

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Re: Pseudopod 172: The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2009, 05:00:32 AM »
Can we at least agree that the reading was terrible? Fremjen alternated between a cartoon version of vietnamese hooker and what sounded like eric cartman shouting into an electric fan.  And really, the message (apparently racism is bad and has no place in the modern world-- who knew?) could have been less subtle only if the writer had written it down on an index card, rolled it into a tight little ball and personally jammed it elbow-deep in my butt.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2009, 05:12:28 AM by Changwasteve »

Sgarre1

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Re: Pseudopod 172: The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2009, 06:11:05 AM »
Fremjen was all over the place, I'll give you that.  But since the tone was fairly comical, I didn't mind it in the least.

On the other hand, the "message" you got doesn't seem like it has anything to do with anything in the last 2/3 of the story I heard.  Did you finish it?

In fact, despite what Alasdair said in the outro, I thought the story did a nice a job updating but still reaffirming the Lovecraftian "there's no choice but to hide and act like you don't know the universe couldn't care less" standard - with that line about the lights of the city hiding the spaces in between the stars.  Nope, no heavy-handed anti-racism message anywhere in there.  Maybe I missed it or ducked before it hit me over the head or something.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2009, 06:15:48 AM by Sgarre1 »

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Re: Pseudopod 172: The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2009, 01:50:22 AM »
Great story and really well read.  I liked the voices. I got to imagining it being a dialogue between some bitter old dude with a mullet from south park, and Hank from King of the Hill. The backwardsish voice bit was a little hard to understand.

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Re: Pseudopod 172: The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2009, 02:22:33 AM »
Fremjen must have been been invaded with the spirit of Eric Cartman. Cartman is what I kept hearing, too. I totally agree about the "accent" being all over the place, was a nasty amalgam, and I also felt it detracted from the story, even if I did laugh at Fremjen sometimes "Get out of this body, it's my POT PIE!!!". Other than that good production with nice extra touches as someone else said. Good story though.

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Re: Pseudopod 172: The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft
« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2009, 09:54:43 AM »
Really enjoyed this, even though my expertise on the whole Cthulhu stuff on a scale of 0 to 666 is negative -2.  As for 'the Dude's' voice: at first it was funny, but as the story went odder and odder I have to say it slowly grew on me.  Like some wildly over the top, old time radio horror voice.  It fit.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2009, 09:56:15 AM by jay daze »

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Re: Pseudopod 172: The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft
« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2009, 12:33:37 AM »
I enjoyed this one, well done. And I liked the reading, though I found I had to concentrate HARD for the "shouting into a fan" bit. The accent I didn't mind at all -- was trying to place it but utterly failed.

The time travel stuff? Pretty heavily reminiscent of The Anubis Gates by Time Powers (one of my top-ten fave genre books)

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Re: Pseudopod 172: The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft
« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2009, 04:07:45 PM »
I mostly liked this one.  I could take away the "mostly" if the collector's accent just weren't so friggin hard to understand.  After most sentences, I had to stop and think about what the hell he actually said, and then that just kept throwing me out of the story.  I liked the end result, especially the fact that the beast from the past is now set loose in this guy's body.

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Re: Pseudopod 172: The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft
« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2009, 04:28:02 PM »
A great little jaunt of a story, almost comedic horror.  I love that the collector's accent was never the same twice, exactly like you'd expect from someone who's immersed their life in Lovecraft's and his works with far too little human contact.  The skeptical, cool-as-a-cucumber protagonist was a great contrast, and the sound effect touches were fantastic!  I literally jumped in my seat when I heard the door slam!
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Re: Pseudopod 172: The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft
« Reply #15 on: December 15, 2009, 11:15:36 PM »
I'm only 13 minutes into this, and...how do I put this kindly?

That is the most distractingly bad attempt at an accent I've ever heard.  I'm not from New England so maybe it's partially that, but it's actually embarrassing to me. I'm from the south, and when I hear a southern accent being mangled, it just hurts. This is similar to that, only...I keep feeling the need to giggle. And then I realize I'm paying so much attention to the actual reading, I've not heard what he's read.

I doubt I'll finish this one. It's too much work.
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Re: Pseudopod 172: The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft
« Reply #16 on: December 16, 2009, 01:35:36 AM »
The accent seemed appropriate to me, only complaint was trying to understand it when Fremgen was calling out as if from a vast distance when sharing the body of the Narrator's great-grandfather.  I enjoyed this story much more than any I have listened to in a long time.  I vote for more stories like this one.

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Re: Pseudopod 172: The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft
« Reply #17 on: December 16, 2009, 02:28:16 AM »
Okay, I loved this story but likely for all the wrong reasons.  Yes, I am a mixed race guy who grew up in Amherst MA, scrounging around for Lovecraft in bookstores, yard sales, and the like... you know actual bookstores, back in the days before ebay and amazon, and even before all of those damned Barnes & Noble shops started springing up like mushrooms..  I have large tomes of Lovecraft letters, and I've even got a nice letter from April Derleth regarding a misprinted book.  So right of the bat, I was gonna love this.

I loved the blunt exploration of HPL's unabashed racism, sexism, fears, and only slightly off kilter life.  The voice work was great, and the story was really a great modern entry into a well travelled genre.

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Re: Pseudopod 172: The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft
« Reply #18 on: December 16, 2009, 11:26:59 PM »
I loved the blunt exploration of HPL's unabashed racism, sexism, fears, and only slightly off kilter life.  The voice work was great, and the story was really a great modern entry into a well travelled genre.
Funny, I was just going to say that I found the racism to be a weak point of the story.  The story seemed to set up the racism theme at the beginning but then let it drop, and at the end it didn't matter (let me know if I'm missing something).  I think it's kind of tiresome* that every time Lovecraft comes up people have to condemn his racist and anti-Semitic attitudes.  I'm not trying to excuse them, I just don't find it interesting, and you're not going to find many people who read Lovecraft because they like the racism.  Same thing happens with Orson Scott Card. 

*Heyes, I'm not saying your post was tiresome.  You were just responding to the story, and you have every right to find something interesting that I do not. 

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Re: Pseudopod 172: The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft
« Reply #19 on: December 17, 2009, 04:30:24 AM »
I'm almost positive I've read this story somewhere else, previously.  If not, it was one that was similar enough to be verging on plagiarism.

I do get a little tired of the fact that every story involving H.P. Lovecraft ends up going to the exact same place.  At least "Hometown Horrible" had some genuinely disturbing imagery in its not-Lovecraft author's stories.  I'd like to read a story about H.P. Lovecraft that, I dunno, cast him as the leader of an exploratory team of spacefaring scientists or something.  Like if H.P. Lovecraft had been the guy investigating the Marilyn Monroe deaths in "Hard Rain at the Fortean Cafe," that would have been really cool.  Instead, it always ends up being, "Lovecraft's stories were TWOO and someone's eating his brain (or he's trying to eat someone else's brain.)"

Anyway, I enjoyed this one more than disliked it, so a net win.  I will chime in on the chorus of people who found the randomly-roving accent to be appalling, distracting, and generally needing to be drug out into the street and shot.  It sounded like me when I try to do accents.  (Ask my Shadowrun players about the fearsome Russo-Mexican bandits they ran into that one time.)
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Re: Pseudopod 172: The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft
« Reply #20 on: December 17, 2009, 08:24:14 PM »
I'd like to read a story about H.P. Lovecraft that, I dunno, cast him as the leader of an exploratory team of spacefaring scientists or something.  Like if H.P. Lovecraft had been the guy investigating the Marilyn Monroe deaths in "Hard Rain at the Fortean Cafe," that would have been really cool. 

Sounds like you've got a story idea:  I'd like to read that one when it's finished.   ;D

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Re: Pseudopod 172: The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft
« Reply #21 on: December 17, 2009, 09:21:34 PM »
I'm going to weigh in with a solid not-liking. I didn't care about the characters, I didn't find the events evocative or frightening, and after years of putting up with it from Whedon, the geek self-hate really got on my nerves. The conclusion - I should feel shaken, but actually I'm just going to flee to the city - rendered the story a non-event in the narrator's life. I also didn't love the reading. The accents were ok, but often a little too difficult to understand. Especially when the evil-crazy-old dude (ECOD) was speaking from inside the narrator's head. I ended up entirely guessing what he was saying and I'm still not sure how much of the story I missed because of it.

That said, there was one neat moment. When the narrator described the Thing that came for the time travelers - kind of a super badass Hound of Tindalos? The name and function of the thing is one of the things I missed thanks to ECOD's special effects voice - the dawning horror in his voice was well communicated by the writing and the reading. It was a good moment.

Unfortunately, a good moment in a story I really didn't like much. I give it a single brown dwarf.
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Re: Pseudopod 172: The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft
« Reply #22 on: December 17, 2009, 09:25:17 PM »
I'd like to read a story about H.P. Lovecraft that, I dunno, cast him as the leader of an exploratory team of spacefaring scientists or something.  Like if H.P. Lovecraft had been the guy investigating the Marilyn Monroe deaths in "Hard Rain at the Fortean Cafe," that would have been really cool.  Instead, it always ends up being, "Lovecraft's stories were TWOO and someone's eating his brain (or he's trying to eat someone else's brain.)"

Check out The Chinatown Deathcloud Peril. In that novel, Lovecraft is... Lovecraft. A weird tales hack who was never successful in his own lifetime and died young of stomach cancer. The fact that Lovecraft's bit - but essential - part in the book happens against a backdrop of a half-Chinese warlord with plans to murder New York via teratogenic poison gas and the pulp authors who have to stop him is sheer brilliance.
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Re: Pseudopod 172: The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft
« Reply #23 on: December 18, 2009, 02:52:20 PM »
I'm almost positive I've read this story somewhere else, previously.  If not, it was one that was similar enough to be verging on plagiarism.

I do get a little tired of the fact that every story involving H.P. Lovecraft ends up going to the exact same place.   ...it always ends up being, "Lovecraft's stories were TWOO and someone's eating his brain (or he's trying to eat someone else's brain.)"

Yeah, Robert Bloch already went there and did that with his novel Strange Eons, and it's hard to imagine anybody topping it.

This story?  Was okay; didn't hate it.
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Re: Pseudopod 172: The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft
« Reply #24 on: December 18, 2009, 04:08:32 PM »
The story is a good one, however I don't like the new england accent that the reader murders

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Re: Pseudopod 172: The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft
« Reply #25 on: December 18, 2009, 09:25:15 PM »
Check out The Chinatown Deathcloud Peril. In that novel, Lovecraft is... Lovecraft. A weird tales hack who was never successful in his own lifetime and died young of stomach cancer. The fact that Lovecraft's bit - but essential - part in the book happens against a backdrop of a half-Chinese warlord with plans to murder New York via teratogenic poison gas and the pulp authors who have to stop him is sheer brilliance.

Does it involve a zeppelin?
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Re: Pseudopod 172: The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft
« Reply #26 on: December 19, 2009, 01:36:17 AM »
Check out The Chinatown Deathcloud Peril. In that novel, Lovecraft is... Lovecraft. A weird tales hack who was never successful in his own lifetime and died young of stomach cancer. The fact that Lovecraft's bit - but essential - part in the book happens against a backdrop of a half-Chinese warlord with plans to murder New York via teratogenic poison gas and the pulp authors who have to stop him is sheer brilliance.

Does it involve a zeppelin?

I'm trying to remember. I don't think so. It's a shame - really, with a Zeppelin the book would have been perfect.
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Re: Pseudopod 172: The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft
« Reply #27 on: December 19, 2009, 03:50:43 AM »
Sounds pretty entertaining anyway.
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Re: Pseudopod 172: The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft
« Reply #28 on: December 22, 2009, 04:36:26 PM »
I'm almost positive I've read this story somewhere else, previously.  If not, it was one that was similar enough to be verging on plagiarism.

This particular story was first published in ChiZine. And, as Square1 mentioned above, is intentionally a riff on another story. So, it's possible you read it somewhere else :)

And now you all have that reminded me that Paul Malmont's book is one of those that has been languishing on bookshelf that I really, really need to read.

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Re: Pseudopod 172: The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft
« Reply #29 on: December 28, 2009, 05:47:25 PM »
Not up to Pseudopod's typically high standards. Not in the least.

It's sooo up to their standards.

Personally, I wouldn't classify MOST of what PP runs as horror. They just don't have the components required to unsettle many people. Now, that being said, the stories ARE generally dark in nature. Just not anything near scary.

This one is just like all those others.

Except that I liked it.

Wow. I couldn't disagree more.
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Re: Pseudopod 172: The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft
« Reply #30 on: January 04, 2010, 05:08:07 AM »
Alright, I know everyone's already piled it on about the accent, but... seriously?  Are you kidding me?

I'm FROM Vermont.  And while, admittedly, I'm not from the parts of Vermont (more east and into farming and rural communities) where they tend to have strong New England-style accents, that was nowhere near ANYTHING you'd hear here.  At best, it occasionally strayed, I think, to something sounding like Massachusetts as done by one of the Kennedy family, but... it was painful.  A previous poster mentioned being embarrassed by bad southern accents, as he (or she) was from the South, but I've never actually been embarrassed myself about people pretending to be from my area of the USA.  Until today.


THAT being said, I enjoyed the story - it was occasionally difficult to understand the collector, but I didn't have any trouble understanding him when he was yelling from inside the brain in the past.  An interesting little tale, and the collector's motivation is so strange as to be fascinating.
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Re: Pseudopod 172: The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft
« Reply #31 on: January 05, 2010, 05:39:03 PM »
I hope it's not too cruel to say that this story should have been on escape pod. It was very well written, but rather than scary it was funny. Funny in a good way though.
Of course a lot of the humour came from the accent (I thought it sounded Swedish at some points, and sort of Texas-meets-Germany at others) but there were other images involved. I got the giggles (appropriately) at the "sex thing" part but the funniest part of the story by far which I thought was meant to be the scary bit was when the Lovecraftian monster ends up in the old bloke's body and starts flopping around and screeching.
So yeah, I really enjoyed the story. The only thing that really detracted from it was the extended passages of the letters; I appreciate they served to set the scene but they seemed out of place and I felt my attention wane.

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Re: Pseudopod 172: The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft
« Reply #32 on: January 18, 2010, 12:18:17 AM »
Not up to Pseudopod's typically high standards. Not in the least.

It's sooo up to their standards.

Personally, I wouldn't classify MOST of what PP runs as horror. They just don't have the components required to unsettle many people. Now, that being said, the stories ARE generally dark in nature. Just not anything near scary.

This one is just like all those others.

Except that I liked it.

Wow. I couldn't disagree more.

and i agree with Macbean. i thought the story was the hope for any fan fiction homage story. time traveling, forces of evil, life and death, magic. all within a contained few minutes and not a lot of turning into a long drawn out series. loved the story
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Re: Pseudopod 172: The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft
« Reply #33 on: February 02, 2010, 10:37:57 AM »
Just listened to this one as well, it is what happens when you bank up 20 podcasts.
I have liked the reader in many other tales, this time i almost jumped over board. Some voices are good for some settings, some are good for others.

I wanted to like this story, in fact i think once i think about it without the reading i do.  I have been listening to a HP lovecraft literary podcast, and they have been talking quite a lot about the man personally. This story was another neat little perspective, i think it could have had a more sutiable reader.

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Re: Pseudopod 172: The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft
« Reply #34 on: February 03, 2010, 09:59:27 PM »
Listened to this one while working yesterday. Sure the one accent was wobbly, but I found the remainder of the production and voice work quite nice. The story did a good job of paying homage to HPL and HPL's style and form all in the same story.

Thumbs up from here.
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Re: Pseudopod 172: The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft
« Reply #35 on: February 09, 2010, 09:43:13 PM »
I'd like to read a story about H.P. Lovecraft that, I dunno, cast him as the leader of an exploratory team of spacefaring scientists or something.
You are in luck!  A guy named P.H. Cannon wrote a few short stories featuring Old Grampa himself:
The Lovecraft Papers
It appears to be out of print, and it's set in a New York slum, rather than space, but, yeah, pretty much what you said.  He also did some very funny parodies of P.G. Wodehouse with a Lovecraftian twist, which some have labled H.P.G. Wodecraft.  It's not high art, but fun, especially for fans of turn of the 20th century weird fiction.