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No call of Cthulhu on Gramayre

PostedCOLON Thu Aug 19, 2010 12:07 am
by aeneas
It struck me lately after reading some Gene Wolfe, who like Mr. Stasheff is a Catholic science fiction/fantasy author, that the Warlock universe is void of Lovecraftian horror. To be sure, it is all over Wolfe’s work, and he even acknowledges it in one of his newer novels, An Evil Guest. I’m not criticizing Mr. Stasheff for not going the Lovecraft route. I simply find it curious that these two authors, Wolfe and Stasheff, both Catholics, both writing works that combine fantasy with sci-fi, are so different in this regard.
In the universe of the Warlock, with all its telepathy, dimensional warps, time traveling, and illusionary creatures, there is never present the sinking dread of the Great Old Ones. No demonic entity pokes its head unlooked-for out of one of those time traveling gizmos of GRIPE or SPITE/VETO; there’s no tentacle monstrosity raising its head from the bottom of Gramarye’s ocean or creeping in from the black inkiness of space. There’s no secret, arcane knowledge that shatters the sanity of an individual who learns about it.
In the world of Gramarye, we do have priests and people professing their faith in God, and occasionally there is a mention of the angels and demons, heaven and hell. However, the Warlock universe seems to be one closed off from the paranormal, at least in the Lovecraftian sense. Whatever exists in the great beyond remains hidden behind a veil in the Warlock stories. Just wondered if any other fans ever notice this too?

Re: No call of Cthulhu on Gramayre

PostedCOLON Thu Aug 19, 2010 1:21 am
by kf6eml
I hadn't noticed it, but now that I think about it, I rather like it that Dr. Stasheff kept it "real."

As far as sci-fi goes, it's not much of a stretch to think of space travel as possible, in the distant future. In fact, we must believe it is inevitable, a thousand years hence.

Add in the psi powers, and we skirt the realm of fantasy. (And sometimes our Dear Author goes from a skirt to an outright dress with a veil and a train!)

As the story stands, it's enough to give our minds a comfortable stretch, and allow us to enjoy a good story of good people trying to do good things in a universe that is big enough and with enough scary people as it is. The characters are complex, with intricate interactions that are realistically portrayed, (umm... pay no attention to that telepath behind the curtain!) and the Gallowglass clan is a family into whose lives we have been invited to participate, at least vicariously. Why mess this up with monsters out of legend? We don't want a Hercules; We want a Rod Gallowglass. (Et al.)

Besides, monsters are so cut-and-dried. Guy with the horns: Bad. Guy with no horns: Good.
The politics that humans can spin are far more complicated and devious than anything with scales and horns. Much more potential for suspense and intrigue there, and Dr. S. takes advantage of that potential pretty well, I think.

Re: No call of Cthulhu on Gramayre

PostedCOLON Fri Aug 20, 2010 5:54 pm
by cstasheff
Thank you both for notiicing. I have read some of Lovecraft, but I stalled out at THE CURIOUS CASE OF CHARLES DEXTER WARD -- it was just too scary. Ditto for the Cthulu books. Odd, since I use Celtic spirits and enjoy monster-laden novels such as RUNNING WITH THE DEMONS and all the Harry
Dresden novels -- but there it is. I don't dare try to write such stuff -- either my monsters would keep me awake all night, or they'd be wimps. I enjoy Gene Wolfe's books and admire his writing, but I can only say he's made of sterner stuff than I. Besides, I meet enough monsters in the newspapers.
Thanx, CS

Re: No call of Cthulhu on Gramayre

PostedCOLON Fri Aug 20, 2010 9:06 pm
by kf6eml
It seems to me that playwrights tend toward smaller scales when writing about supernatural beings, simply because it's so much easier to do in live theater. Only in the novels, and later in movies where huge monsters could be added in with photographic tricks, editing, and lately, computer generated action can a storyteller truly create the larger-than-life beings for superheroes to fight, and thus, create the larger-than-life superheroes.

It's pretty obvious to any of your readers that your work is heavily influenced by playwrights - Shakespeare, most notably - so it isn't surprising that your Celtic spirits tend to be tiny but powerful elves, Puck, and other things that would translate well to live theater... Although the special effects of such a play would probably break the bank.

I don't know if you could play Tolkien so well... Your sense of humor just doesn't seem to lend itself to that kind of work. Could you imagine "Lord of The Rings" a la Stasheff? Three whole books full of Hobbit puns and one-liners? Literary critics would march on your home with torches and pitchforks.