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So, what’s up with Cthulu?

So, I was chatting up the neighbor lady over to the Iron Bay by the Agency Headquarters, looking at the ruins of the Dagon Temple, and the question came up: why is Señior Lovecraft so popular amongst steampunks? It’s kewl and all, but, as clockwinder might say, it’s π/2 radians out of phase with the time period.

Thoughts?

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17 Comments

  1. Jimmy Branagh Jimmy Branagh August 28, 2012

    Lovecraft himself had quite an affection for the 19th Century, and his writing style is reminicent of the style of the times.

    He is a natural fit for the latter 19th Century, and the fact that his popularity in the Steamlands places him a bit out of his actual place in time is very apropos.

    • Pilipo Underwood Pilipo Underwood August 28, 2012

      Okay, that makes sense. I was kinda thinkin’ it fit in with the Secret Society stuff. Came up on this image on the Galvanic Aether Device:

      [img_assist|nid=5900|title=|desc=|link=popup|align=left|width=553|height=640]

  2. Edward Pearse Edward Pearse August 28, 2012

    It’s one of those things, like zeppelins, that have been co-opted into steampunk and seems to work quite well.

    Oddly enough for me, I find most of Lovecraft’s stories fit better with a 19th century setting than say something like Dieselpunk of the 20s and 30s that is their authentic setting.

    Cultist groups and fringe occult settings seem more a part of late 19th century stories. Despite Alan Moore’s briiliant pastiche I still have a hard time imagining Bertie Wooster involved in Byaki summoning. Even At the Mountains of Madness could be shifted to 19th century with very little effort.

    • Grendel Footman Grendel Footman August 28, 2012

      pretty much what I was going to say, I actually had to reread at the mountians of madness as I could of sworn it took place in the late 19th century

  3. Wallis Graves Wallis Graves August 28, 2012

    Because cultists are EVERYWHERE!

    Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!

  4. Jedburgh30 Dagger Jedburgh30 Dagger August 28, 2012

    I will concede to the fact that it seems HPL fits stylistically with the Victorian era. I will also concede that secret societies and ‘occult’ practices can fit in with a steampunk environment.

    The issues I have with the actual SL fascination and ‘usage & deployment’ of anything labeled ‘Lovecraft’ is that it always ends up losing the secret factor. It ends up being either more akin to tentacle anime, or so right out in the open and in your face that it loses the actual secret bits of it. It ends up being more like Cthulhu Witnesses giving out tracts…or some folks who claim to be all about it haven’t read it.

    I had a long chat with Mr U about this very topic one night at the Bucket.

    Plus, there are dedicated Lovecraft sims who would love to have folks who wanted to really get into it going a’begging for occupancy…

    • Pilipo Underwood Pilipo Underwood August 29, 2012

      So, y’know, if’n you read Mister Lovecraft’s early short story Dagon, you see that jist looking at an image of the beastie would drive you mad, wreck your dreams forever, and bring the nasty thing coming after you for the rest of your born days until you decide yore best course is to jump out of a high window.

      There’s a fella going around wants to put together a Lovecraftian circus like. I’m conflicted on the idee. If it’s cagy, like Bradury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes, it might work. But if Cthulu is walkin’ ’round in it handing out sweetmeats, I’m sour on the notion.

    • Jimmy Branagh Jimmy Branagh August 29, 2012

      Oh, I agree.  Too much “in yer face” Lovecraft diminishes the whole thing into a Gahan Wilson cartoon.

      But, one must balance “the secret factor” with the fact that SL RP is a narrative largely created on the fly, and things kept TOO secret in this environment tend to die very secret deaths by non-exposure after a short time.  You have to be a bit public for the narrative to expand.

      It’s a juggling act.

      • Jedburgh30 Dagger Jedburgh30 Dagger August 29, 2012

        You and I agree on this one for the most part. the secret but not too secret is like the old joke about the difference between erotic and perverted. Tickle her with a feather and it’s erotic, use the whole chicken and it’s perverted.

      • Grendel Footman Grendel Footman August 29, 2012

        it’s hard being completely secretive in RP in SL and keep a plot going, even more so in New Babbage most times.

         there’s always the possibility of not beleiving something even when it’s a regular occourance IC, like all the Tardises that pop in and out of the town, but timelord’s laregly considered nonexistant by the populous.  There can get a point where it’s facepalm inducing though, like when an eldrich horror appears in the CocoaJava and everyone just comments on the lovely shade of out of space color, informs it it doesn’t exist,  and goes back to their tea.

         

        You can have lovecraftian themes without nessicerily porting over Lovecraft though.  Some of Loki’s RPs in the past have a very Lovecraftian feel to them for example, maybe not giant unfathomable stargods, but some of his other stories like the dreams in the witchhouse, or the rats in the walls.  It’s not always cults bringing up a star god from beyond time and space.

        And yes, there’s some pretty good Lovecraftian sims out there, like Innsmouth and Miskatonic Valley, Last I knew, Miskatonic closed, but Innsmouth is still around and well worth checking out

         

        • Kristos Sonnerstein Kristos Sonnerstein August 30, 2012

          Actually, the last story Did have a rather star horror that Moriarty tried to pull through into Babbage.

          As for the carnival, it looks like it will be quite well done for the most part. And Arik is from one of the Lovecraft sim sets out there. I had a look around and it is quite well done for the most part. I have a bit of faith and confidence in what he can pull together with the right volunteers.

        • Gabriell Anatra Gabriell Anatra September 5, 2012

          Actually Arkham, Kingsport, and Dunwich are still up and have been rebuilt.

    • Gabriell Anatra Gabriell Anatra September 5, 2012

      I tend to agree.

      That’s one of the hardest parts in using anything Lovecraftian in an RP without going for humor. It’s rarely done well.

  5. Glaubrius Valeska Glaubrius Valeska September 1, 2012

    I am curious why I see so little evidence of Spiritualism…

    • Father Moonwall Father Moonwall September 1, 2012

      Then you must have missed that horrid Miss Dizelle’s alleged seance at the library a few years ago.  I positively had to thrash the curiosity out of the brothers and sisters for months after that ghastly spectacle. 

      • Glaubrius Valeska Glaubrius Valeska September 1, 2012

        That was, indeed, a bit before my time. Have there been no instances of necromantic inquiry since? I am aware of occult science going on in the City, but that is aside from this matter.

         

        • Grendel Footman Grendel Footman September 5, 2012

          I think Dayafter did a couple seances when he was stilla round, and Miss Darkstone, though that was mechanically aided.

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