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Re: Discussion Thread for the stories of CAS - Chain of Aforgomon
Posted by: Cathbad (IP Logged)
Date: 6 September, 2020 03:45PM
I guess my interpretation is based on what what Calaspa says later on -

No movement of any cosmic body, no year or instant of the future, would be precisely as it should have been. The error and discrepancy I had wrought would bear fruit in ways innumerable. The suns would find themselves at fault; the worlds and atoms would go always a little astray from their appointed bourns.

But I wouldn't be dogmatic about it. We all agree that meddling with time had unforeseen (and negative) consequences, yeah?

I think it's in the story, maybe, but it would be good to know if the descendants of Calaspa *each* end their lives by being fried unexpectedly.

There's a bit at the end that seems to imply that Milwarp has been reincarnated multiple times, but that this is the final iteration of his spirit - the one that remembers its crime and pays the price etc, etc, -

At last, when the chasm has widened overmuch, thy soul shall fare no farther in the onward cycles of incarnation. At that time it shall be given thee to remember clearly thine ancient sin; and remembering, thou shalt perish out of time.


Then again, maybe not?

Re: Discussion Thread for the stories of CAS - Chain of Aforgomon
Posted by: Hespire (IP Logged)
Date: 6 September, 2020 04:45PM
Sawfish Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> What I'd like additional help in nailing down is
> what is the temporal mechanism that gets us from
> Calaspa, on Hestan, to John Milwarp, in 20th C
> Earth?


Oh, so that's what you were asking about. I thought you meant Calaspa's influence on the universe at large, which the story mostly explained. Pardon my confusion!

> I think it's in the story, maybe, but it would be
> good to know if the descendants of Calaspa *each*
> end their lives by being fried unexpectedly, as if
> having a giant filament from a colossal light bulb
> wrapped around them (cyclical, infinite) and the
> light turn ON, or if the souvara was needed, and
> hence Milwarp was the last of Calaspa's lineage
> (diminshing ripple ending with Milwarp. In that
> case, he'd actually be having a *second* hour to
> relieve (execution), just as Calaspa had with
> Belthoris.


In that case, the priest sentencing Calaspa to his doom seemed to imply a curse has been placed on all of his future avatars, but it seems Milwarp is the only one who will remember the primal sin and suffer the burning punishment, perhaps due to the souvara.

Quote:
"Thou shalt pass hereafter through other lives in Hestan, and shalt climb midway in the cycles of the world subsequent to Hestan in time and space. But through all thine incarnations the chaos thou hast invoked will attend thee widening ever like a rift. And always, in all thy lives, the rift will bar thee from reunion with the soul of Belthoris; and always, though merely by an hour, thou shalt miss the love that should otherwise have been oftentimes regained."
"At last, when the chasm has widened overmuch, thy soul shall fare no farther in the onward cycles of incarnation. At that time it shall be given thee to remember clearly thine ancient sin; and remembering, thou shalt perish out of time. Upon the body of that latter life shall be found the charred imprint of the chains, as the final token of thy bondage. But they that knew thee will soon forget, and thou shalt belong wholly to the cycles limited for thee by thy sin."

And at the end, Calaspa mentions only one nameless phantom (Milwarp) writing down his history.

Quote:
Somehow, in another world, an exile phantom has written these words... a phantom who must fade utterly from time and place, even as I, the doomed priest Calaspa. I cannot remember the name of the phantom.

> A side observation I'd like to raise to other
> reader: did it seem to anyone else that the
> narrator, the guy who had Milwarp's diary, when he
> described Milwarp at the beginning, it was very
> close to a description of how the rest of the
> world may have seen HPL, or CAS, himself?


This did not pass my attention, but I see CAS in it more than HPL. CAS enjoyed a moment of fame in his life, when he knew George Sterling, before disappearing altogether from public attention. And, in a wider view of life, Lovecraft is almost famous now, at least enough to inspire Cthulhu t-shirts and Mythos movies, whereas CAS is still obscure, even among Lovecraft's fans. A large number of Cthulhu Mythos fans assume Tsathoggua was created by Lovecraft, and a larger number know Tsathoggua was created by someone else but don't care to read the stories he came from.

Though I did wonder, in light of my Yog-Sothoth comment, if CAS might have been influenced to some extent by HPL's "Through the Gates of the Silver Key" when he was writing "Aforgomon." He liked HPL's story enough to want to illustrate it.



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 6 Sep 20 | 04:55PM by Hespire.

Re: Discussion Thread for the stories of CAS - Chain of Aforgomon
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 6 September, 2020 05:08PM
Cathbad Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I guess my interpretation is based on what what
> Calaspa says later on -
>
> No movement of any cosmic body, no year or instant
> of the future, would be precisely as it should
> have been. The error and discrepancy I had wrought
> would bear fruit in ways innumerable. The suns
> would find themselves at fault; the worlds and
> atoms would go always a little astray from their
> appointed bourns.
>
> But I wouldn't be dogmatic about it. We all agree
> that meddling with time had unforeseen (and
> negative) consequences, yeah?

Yep, Our only variation is from what moment was time disrupted, moving forward, and this doesn't matter much.

>
> I think it's in the story, maybe, but it would be
> good to know if the descendants of Calaspa *each*
> end their lives by being fried unexpectedly.
>
> There's a bit at the end that seems to imply that
> Milwarp has been reincarnated multiple times, but
> that this is the final iteration of his spirit -
> the one that remembers its crime and pays the
> price etc, etc, -
>
> At last, when the chasm has widened overmuch, thy
> soul shall fare no farther in the onward cycles of
> incarnation. At that time it shall be given thee
> to remember clearly thine ancient sin; and
> remembering, thou shalt perish out of time.
>
> Then again, maybe not?

That seems about as clear as one could expect in fantastic fiction.

So it was the diminishing ripple effect, looks like.

Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Life is a tragedy to those who feel, a comedy to those who think."

Re: Discussion Thread for the stories of CAS - Chain of Aforgomon
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 6 September, 2020 05:26PM
Hespire Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Sawfish Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > What I'd like additional help in nailing down
> is
> > what is the temporal mechanism that gets us
> from
> > Calaspa, on Hestan, to John Milwarp, in 20th C
> > Earth?
>
>
> Oh, so that's what you were asking about. I
> thought you meant Calaspa's influence on the
> universe at large, which the story mostly
> explained. Pardon my confusion!

It's both: what was the nature of the disruption (when started, what happened, how was it perceived), and also what generally happened to each of Calaspa's descendants, up to Milwarp?

Milwarp we knew that by taking souvara, he found out what happened and in doing so got incincerated, although he had some sneaking suspicion that he'd had previous lives.

>
> > I think it's in the story, maybe, but it would
> be
> > good to know if the descendants of Calaspa
> *each*
> > end their lives by being fried unexpectedly, as
> if
> > having a giant filament from a colossal light
> bulb
> > wrapped around them (cyclical, infinite) and
> the
> > light turn ON, or if the souvara was needed,
> and
> > hence Milwarp was the last of Calaspa's lineage
> > (diminshing ripple ending with Milwarp. In that
> > case, he'd actually be having a *second* hour
> to
> > relieve (execution), just as Calaspa had with
> > Belthoris.
>
>
> In that case, the priest sentencing Calaspa to his
> doom seemed to imply a curse has been placed on
> all of his future avatars, but it seems Milwarp is
> the only one who will remember the primal sin and
> suffer the burning punishment, perhaps due to the
> souvara.

Yes. A sort of concrete reason to "Just Say 'No" to Drugs."

>
> "Thou shalt pass hereafter through other lives in
> Hestan, and shalt climb midway in the cycles of
> the world subsequent to Hestan in time and space.

OK, this is concrete. He will go halfway thru Time, then...

> But through all thine incarnations the chaos thou
> hast invoked will attend thee widening ever like a
> rift. And always, in all thy lives, the rift will
> bar thee from reunion with the soul of Belthoris;
> and always, though merely by an hour, thou shalt
> miss the love that should otherwise have been
> oftentimes regained."

He's going to miss Belthoris' subsequent reincarnations, with zero chance of reunion.

[Interesting to note that here CAS expands the idea of personal reincarnation to include Belthoris, and by implication, everyone else, most likely.]

>
> "At last, when the chasm has widened overmuch, thy
> soul shall fare no farther in the onward cycles of
> incarnation. At that time it shall be given thee
> to remember clearly thine ancient sin; and
> remembering, thou shalt perish out of time. Upon
> the body of that latter life shall be found the
> charred imprint of the chains, as the final token
> of thy bondage. But they that knew thee will soon
> forget, and thou shalt belong wholly to the cycles
> limited for thee by thy sin."
>

That seems clear enough...

> And at the end, Calaspa mentions only one nameless
> phantom (Milwarp) writing down his history.
>
> Somehow, in another world, an exile phantom has
> written these words... a phantom who must fade
> utterly from time and place, even as I, the doomed
> priest Calaspa. I cannot remember the name of the
> phantom.

Yep. The otherwise unaccountable speedy failure of the rest of humanity to recall the final incarnation, Milwarp, is a part of the curse, it seems.

>
> > A side observation I'd like to raise to other
> > reader: did it seem to anyone else that the
> > narrator, the guy who had Milwarp's diary, when
> he
> > described Milwarp at the beginning, it was very
> > close to a description of how the rest of the
> > world may have seen HPL, or CAS, himself?
>
>
> This did not pass my attention, but I see CAS in
> it more than HPL.

Me,too.

> CAS enjoyed a moment of fame in
> his life, when he knew George Sterling, before
> disappearing altogether from public attention.
> And, in a wider view of life, Lovecraft is almost
> famous now, at least enough to inspire Cthulhu
> t-shirts and Mythos movies, whereas CAS is still
> obscure, even among Lovecraft's fans.


But written in 1935, CAS wouldn't know this at the time. So he was ironically prescient.

> A large
> number of Cthulhu Mythos fans assume Tsathoggua
> was created by Lovecraft, and a larger number know
> Tsathoggua was created by someone else but don't
> care to read the stories he came from.
>
> Though I did wonder, in light of my Yog-Sothoth
> comment, if CAS might have been influenced to some
> extent by HPL's "Through the Gates of the Silver
> Key" when he was writing "Aforgomon." He liked
> HPL's story enough to want to illustrate it.


To me, The Chain... was structured a lot like an HPL story, with a narrator relating what happened to an acquaintance.

Good story choice! I'm satisfied that I understand it much better than before we started the discussion.

Are we ready to move on yet? I'm prepared for either someone to raise othefr issues about Chain... or to suggest a new story.

Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Life is a tragedy to those who feel, a comedy to those who think."

Re: Discussion Thread for the stories of CAS - Chain of Aforgomon
Posted by: Cathbad (IP Logged)
Date: 6 September, 2020 05:31PM
"That seems about as clear as one could expect in fantastic fiction."

Pretty much! I'm not sure CAS knew himself. :)

Re: Discussion Thread for the stories of CAS
Posted by: Hespire (IP Logged)
Date: 6 September, 2020 05:35PM
Oh I wasn't suggesting CAS magically knew HPL's future fame or his future obscurity (though he accepted the idea of remaining obscure to the world). I was just looking at it from today's perspective. CAS has become much more like Milwarp than HPL, though I'm not sure how happy HPL would be with how his visions have been used today!

I think we should wait at least one more day to see if anyone else wants to comment on Aforgomon, tempting as it is to keep going! It's a lot of fun delving into these stories so few people discuss.

Cathbad, Knygatin, Kipling, anyone can suggest the next story. But if no one else does, the choice will go to Sawfish.

Re: Discussion Thread for the stories of CAS - Chain of Aforgomon
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 6 September, 2020 06:10PM
Cathbad Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> "That seems about as clear as one could expect in
> fantastic fiction."
>
> Pretty much! I'm not sure CAS knew himself. :)


Hah! Good one...

You've got to give these fantasy guys some room for aesthetic license...

Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Life is a tragedy to those who feel, a comedy to those who think."

Re: Discussion Thread for the stories of CAS
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 6 September, 2020 06:53PM
Hespire (or any other readers), do you see a similarity in the theme, if not mood, of Chain... and The Last Incantation, where Malygris gets the bright idea to see his idealized youthful love, his ophidian familiar sort of is less than enthusiastic, and when it bombs (basically), tells him that all positive remembrances take on an imagined golden hue?

His first love did not live up to his recollection, and in Chain..., when I mentioned what I take to be the lover's spat over a dead moth, the same outcome happens to Calaspa.

Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Life is a tragedy to those who feel, a comedy to those who think."

Re: Discussion Thread for the stories of CAS
Posted by: Hespire (IP Logged)
Date: 7 September, 2020 12:57AM
I do, but "Aforgomon" is much more grim about it! Whereas Malygris merely died alone, Calaspa received one of the severest punishments ever imagined in CAS' fiction, to the extent that even his future avatars will never behold their star-destined lover. I wonder where that darker element stemmed from... I must admit that although I've had a couple girlfriends and an ex-wife, I never had the urges or carnal needs most men seem to have, so the romantic aspect of CAS' fiction is something I can't always relate with, at least not deeply. I understand when a story or poem expresses a yearning for some past love, but I don't exactly share the feelings themselves, though I can relate with general feelings of loss, nostalgia, love, etc. So while I can see the definite similarities between the stories, I'm not sure how to comment on them! I never overestimated my previous relationships and therefore never had to go through the lessons Malygris and Calaspa did.

Perhaps I'd have to be a smooth tomcat like CAS to understand?



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 7 Sep 20 | 12:59AM by Hespire.

Re: Discussion Thread for the stories of CAS
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 7 September, 2020 09:58AM
Hah! That's a good way to describe CAS! A "smooth tomcat"...!

Yep, mood differs between the two stories, and the narrow part I was focusing on is even in question--did the chance assignment of that one re-lived hour--that I read as simply by happenstance contains a sort of tiff over the moth (this is so funny that CAS would think to mention a small detail like this), but it could be, as Cathbad says, that it was indication of a distortion of events--serve as bittersweet reminder that our memory casts a golden light unrealistically on happier moments? This was the central message of Last Incantation, the wise-guy serpent/familiar even drives it home explicitly--rubbing it in--but it is a mere side observation in Chain....

And yes, it was a really grim curse and fate for the blaspheming priest. Probably the worst in all of CAS.

Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Life is a tragedy to those who feel, a comedy to those who think."

Re: Discussion Thread for the stories of CAS
Posted by: Hespire (IP Logged)
Date: 7 September, 2020 11:47AM
Nostalgia, lust, and wonder are common themes in his poetry and fiction, but what I find refreshing about CAS is how he explores those things under different shades of ambiguity. He recognized the endless beauty in the nostalgia for lost things, yet expressed a cynical perspective that recognized this as an illusion. Yet sometimes he shows the illusion is preferable to the reality, resulting in stories like "The Enchantress of Sylaire", or that scene in "The Hashish-Eater" about kings curing their "wounds of wisdom." That petty quarrel over the moth was just the sort of thing nostalgia might sweep under the rug, and that's something at least I can relate with. Lost love isn't something I've yearned for so deeply, but nostalgia itself is a feeling I know.

Also, I see there hasn't been much activity since yesterday, so I think it's time we move on to the next story! I'd like to see if anyone else, like Cathbad, Knygatin, etc. would like to suggest a story. But if a few hours pass and no one does, the choice is all yours, Sawfish! And if anyone wants to comment on "Aforgomon" before then that will be fine.

Re: Discussion Thread for the stories of CAS
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 9 September, 2020 02:41PM
Hespire, do you feel that we're ready to move on?

If so, and if no one objects, I'd recommend a story that someone here referred us to a while back: The Tale of Sir John Maundeville.

[www.eldritchdark.com]

Personally, I see this as a very straightforward story, unlike Chain...

But I *really* liked it! I hope others do, too. To me, the ending is a masterful use of ironic understatement that, as in HPL's "Picture in the House", made me laugh aloud.

But then, that's just *me*...

Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Life is a tragedy to those who feel, a comedy to those who think."

Re: Discussion Thread for the stories of CAS
Posted by: Cathbad (IP Logged)
Date: 10 September, 2020 11:23AM
I don't think I ever read this story before: it's is a very powerful and atmospheric piece, and I guess CAS was setting a precedent by having a giant worm as its ruler, as opposed to a cadaver, or whatever! Sure there are a couple of anomalies; if your diet is human flesh, scaring away any humans who trespass onto your domain seems a bit short-sighted. And whose corpse did Sir John share the crypt with if there were no people in Antchar? All the more so if this is a corpse capable of providing a tasty meal to any passing worms (ie, it must be of relatively recent vintage)?

Re: Discussion Thread for the stories of CAS - The Tale of Sir John Maundeville
Posted by: Hespire (IP Logged)
Date: 10 September, 2020 12:58PM
Ha, I was giving you full permission to post your story suggestion whenever you wanted, Sawfish!

I've been swamped with personal business, so it's convenient this story is so short and simple, and so rich with weirdness. To be honest, I keep forgetting it exists, a shame when it's the most dazzling morbid story I've ever read. Its straightforwardness allows it to focus on building this eerie, and eventually surreal, atmosphere. Almost all of CAS' stories impress me with their otherworldly suggestions, but this is among the few, along with "Aforgomon", that really unsettles me and pulls me out of my surroundings, making me feel as lost and disoriented as those fearful Armenians. I understand Sir John's desire to hide this from the world!

Sir John himself is a fun character, as a reckless adventurer and satirically devoted Christian. I wish CAS had written more of his undocumented adventures.

Has anyone else read the travels of Sir John, by the way? He claimed to discover things like a race of dog-headed men, a land where people dwell within the shells of giant snails, an ocean made of gravel, and a forbidden plain at the edge of the world where faerie trees rise from the ground by day and sink into the ground by night. Not only was CAS at home in this world, but he sure seemed to enjoy showing how inhumanly weird it can get.

Cathbad's questions are fun to consider. My guess, regarding the Worm at least, is that as a supernatural being in league with Death, it doesn't share the biological needs of mortal creatures.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 10 Sep 20 | 01:00PM by Hespire.

Re: Discussion Thread for the stories of CAS - The Tale of Sir John Maundeville
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 10 September, 2020 01:59PM
Great stuff, Hespire!

I'll come back to this and contribute.

We seems to have some decent, stimulating exchanges going!!!

Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Life is a tragedy to those who feel, a comedy to those who think."

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