The Call of Cthulhu is a classic Lovecraftian story, but, even today, its horror and detail still manage to elicit chills, despite Cthulhu's wild popularity (and consequent bastardization) in popular culture.
Published in 1928, The Call of Cthulhu is among the many stories written on the Cthulhu mythos, a collection of writings set within the Lovecraftian universe by Lovecraft and his author friends. This story, in particular, gives plenty of detail on Cthulhu, a creature whose "pulpy, tentacled head surmounted a grotesque and scaly body with rudimentary wings."
The story is told through Francis Wayland Thurston, a man who discovers intriguing notes and a very curious bas-relief among the papers of his deceased granduncle, Professor George Gammell Angell. Out of curiosity (and in hopes of recognition), Thurston decides to pick up where his granduncle left off and piece together the mystery of the frightening image. What he first believed to be a simple quest into an unknown culture will soon become a voyage into madness, cult worshippers, and the nightmare corpse-city of R'lyeh.
Perhaps the image of Cthulhu has now become too familiar that its origin story may seem unimpressive and dull, but the words of Lovecraft are still haunting and utterly provocative despite the beast's omnipresence in popular media. So, while The Call of Cthulhu may be styled as a supernatural mystery story, you can't help but experience a tingling sense of dread as Thurston slowly stitches together the blood-tainted tale about the High Priest of the Great Old Ones.
The imagery in the story itself is troubling, as it is beset with out-of-this-world monstrosity, constant death, and horrible cult practices. It may be difficult for the human mind to comprehend the depth of the beast that is Cthulhu, but the fanaticism he incites, the sacrifices his worshippers offer, and the slither, stench, and sliminess that permeates his being give a taste of what horror The Great Dreamer may bring upon this world.
(But there is something disturbing about the men in The Call of Cthulhu that have founded secret societies to honor Cthulhu and protect his secrets. With odd carvings on otherworldly materials, ancient rites in unpronounceable words, and a probable hand in the timely demise of the people involved in Thurston's narrative, the cultists themselves are a force to be reckoned with, and a reminder that humans themselves may be the true monsters in this world of flesh.)
Overall, The Call of Cthulhu may be centered around a vile winged god, but, in its heart, it is about a man who wants to discover the facts behind a supposed myth. Lovecraft painstakingly takes his time here when giving out each progressing detail, but the slow walk towards the truth concerning Cthulhu may be akin to the trudge of a man towards his own noose, and with the same unavoidable and spine-tingling dread.
Read this story to invoke images of an eldritch monster that has lain asleep for many years (though there are those who whisper that it is soon to wake in a future to come). Beware, as many a man have gone mad in worship - and in his presence. So tread lightly now. C'thulhu fhtagn.
"The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents."...more
What Things Mean | noun 1. 2014 Asian Book Award winner 2. A young adult book written by Sophia N. Lee 3. A novel that uses special words to define the life of Olive, a fourteen-year-old who is, well, different 4. A story-within-stories that is set in the streets of Metro Manila, Philippines
Olive had always known that she's different from everyone else. However, she had long discovered how to cope with that with a few books, some clippings, and, of course, pickles. But one thing still troubles her. Who exactly is her father? Why won't anyone talk to her about him? Is he the reason why she is so different?
This book features a number of stories that have a similar thread: Olive's journey into discovering who she is in the little things that make up her life, like bristles, stamps, forks, and mirrors. In each story, there is a pronounced yearning not only of a reason for her oddness, but also a cry for a man she may call Dad. Sometimes a little funny, sometimes a little sad, each story takes us into the colorful life of a quiet soul who has never known what it feels like to have an ever-present father.
What Things Mean touched me in many ways, and honestly left me with a few tears. As someone who grew up in Manila (and has learned to love this old metropolis), I liked how real each scene was to me, from the long queues for transportation, to the friendliness of neighbors in my own neighborhood. The stories in themselves reminded me of my own concerns and worries when I was younger, especially since I myself was an introverted girl who found my solace in books.
Each word on each page also made me remember my own little anxieties and relish the kind of thinking I had while growing up. Moreover, the storyline pulled on my heartstrings, as I know how it felt like to lose a parental figure growing up, and how it felt like to have my heart patched, mended, and made somewhat complete again when I came to terms with my personal history.
I enjoyed this book, and I'd gladly recommend it to anyone searching for themselves and their own unknown stories, no matter what age they may be. After all, things mean different meanings to people, and even if we aren't perfect people, maybe we too will discover someday that we've done something right for ourselves....more
With Mythspace, I can imagine reaching for the stars, while digging into my own Filipino roots.
Mythspace is not your typical Filipino graphic anthologWith Mythspace, I can imagine reaching for the stars, while digging into my own Filipino roots.
Mythspace is not your typical Filipino graphic anthology. It presents 6 stories of a similarly connected vein, 6 stories that share the same kind of odd universe. This is a universe where kapres own starships, where manananggal can be among the most respected thieves, and where the dwende, tikbalang, and bakunawa have their own high places in the galaxy. Oh, and it mostly takes place in outer space, so there's that, too.
It sounds crazy, but the story-craters of this volume have delivered quite an experience. Not only did I look at alien tech and different planets through their eyes, but I was also brought back to the stories of old that my own generation has now forgotten. They were able to mesh well old mythological creatures with their possible intergalactic personas, highlighting their old strengths while giving them powers that suit their personalities.
Moreover, the stories themselves are rich with detail and thoughtfulness. These are stories not just of glorified heroes and weird plots, but also of poverty, of longing, of strength, and of character. Their mythological/sci-fi backdrop is merely a vehicle for them to portray complex stories that can be funny, sad, or even surprisingly real, but they all do have heart.
So read Mythspace to find out about daring adventures and curious tales. They may touch you, interest you, and surprise you in the most unexpected ways. After all, this is space opera, Pinoy style....more
**spoiler alert** Crazy, erotic, loving. Also: 60s sexual revolution meets Freud/Laing. Fun, but some people might get offended, since a lot of unconv**spoiler alert** Crazy, erotic, loving. Also: 60s sexual revolution meets Freud/Laing. Fun, but some people might get offended, since a lot of unconventional ideas (about genders, relationships, and sex) are brought about here.
I also forgive (and understand) Adrian, nevertheless.
While this book may seem to be about the (mis)adventures of Yossarian, a soldier who lives with a dead man in his tent, this actually is a snarky lookWhile this book may seem to be about the (mis)adventures of Yossarian, a soldier who lives with a dead man in his tent, this actually is a snarky look into the ugly, enterprising world behind glorified military lines, with the one main catch that rules over it: Catch-22.
(That catch is, in itself, a curious and contradictory one, but it's one that makes sure that Yossarian, just when he thinks he's about to go home, finds out that he has to go back to flying his jets once more. This may seem the major focal point in this novel.)
It deals with soldiers who go to the hospital as frequently as they can to avoid going to battle. It tells us of commercial exploits happening with government funds in the hands of war-made entrepreneurs. It introduces us to the women (read: whores) the men flirt and fall in love with. It describes to us, in anecdote after anecdote, of the people who supposedly fight for the country, but actually end up tinkering with stoves, writing the same letters of grief, and applying fake signatures to official documents out of sheer boredom.
While all of these glimpses may have been magnified to make the characters here seem like mere caricatures, it seems obvious that the outlandish stories each have a grain of truth in them. This is especially seen in other small aspects of military life, such as with how it also deals with the difficulties in flying fighter planes, the men who get wounded and die in duty, and the wishes for freedom and patriotism.
All in all, this book actually appears to be an almost day-by-day look into the life of a soldier in the battlefield. It may be difficult to keep reading this for some (it was for me), as its story is peppered with, and sometimes segued heavily by, black humor and social commentary. However, this story is meant to be read for more than its plot. Read it for the comedy, and be prepared for snapshots of the political horror in military life. Remember, just when you're sure you've won, you lose....more
A reread, but a good one. The pain is still fresh, and the ending is still such a great one. The blood, the tears, the passion - all amazingly brutal,A reread, but a good one. The pain is still fresh, and the ending is still such a great one. The blood, the tears, the passion - all amazingly brutal, but the self-sacrifice? Oh, sublime....more
This audio collection is very nostalgic for me. I remember the times when my mother would play these for me (in glorious cassette form, no less!), andThis audio collection is very nostalgic for me. I remember the times when my mother would play these for me (in glorious cassette form, no less!), and I would listen to these memorable stories, told with only the most soothing of voices, until I fell asleep. When I got older, my mother had the cassettes recorded and burnt into CDs, and I, in turn, got the MP3s and listen to them on my portable media player from time to time.
The stories come from far and wide, featuring the mighty Genghis Khan to the poor little match girl to the tenacious Susan B. Anthony. Narrated by none other than William Bennett himself, along with other amazing voice talents, this collection shares in stories the virtues that most men find admirable: Responsibility, Honesty, Compassion, Courage, Faith, Friendship, Persistence.
The stories are simple ones, and yet they ring true for every person of every age. There are those that are sad, those that are dark, those that are fantastical, and, of course, those that are incredibly moral. While not all of the virtues might not be valued by everyone, I believe that there is always a story here that would nudge the spirit and tear at the soul. I like particularly the little intros that Bennett adds to each, because they aren't too overbearing, and yet very personal.
This is also where I find solace when I feel that the world is so hopeless. The familiarity and solidness of the characters in these different worlds brings me comfort, knowing that there are people who lived like that in the world, and that these people are those who I can strive to be.
To end, I will leave one of the poems featured here, one that I adore and think back in every so often.
If— by Rudyard Kipling
If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies, Or being hated, don’t give way to hating, And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master; If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same; If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breathe a word about your loss; If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch, If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, If all men count with you, but none too much; If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run, Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!...more
You hear the gentle notes making their way past the strings of the old guitar. They seem to be oh so light, playing wiThe music plays, and it beckons.
You hear the gentle notes making their way past the strings of the old guitar. They seem to be oh so light, playing with the rays of sunlight that stream from the windows. You are taken away by the silence between notes, and the feeling of flying.
Suddenly, the beast comes pouring in. Angry, raging, staccato. The melody changes, it is intense. Your former state is nowhere to be found. You rage, rage, rage. There is nothing but a building passion - angry, dark, taunting. You strike through the beat like a madman.
... That is, until the tempo slows, and you remember what you're here for. Tame the beast. Play the music. Soothe the soul.
This is a book with rhythm and rhyme, flow and fugue, melody and music. It talks about prodigies and musical talent, while remaining rather reminiscent of Manila's glories. It's not perfect, being independently published, but it is an interesting page-turner, and something I thought that was unique, especially among the local Filipiniana books.
This is the kind of book wherein you rather need to be familiar with the songs to get the context. It's fine without that knowledge, but with Leyenda or Por Una Cabeza in the background, the text gains a different light, a different flow. With my headphones on and the music making its way through, I somehow believe that I can better feel the characters, that I can better see the sights, and that I can better hear the cadence. (So yes, do yourself a favor and listen to the music as it plays in the book. The author has links to the music he used on his website.)
The story is centered on a prodigy with a gift for the guitar. Note, however, that this isn't the typical singer-songwriter or guitarist we can find in bands, but the classical guitarist, the gitarista of old. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that such pieces and talents still exist today, especially in this world of pop, rock, jazz, techno, and what-have-you. I was swayed by Alejandro's dizzying journey into the homes of maestros, into the gigs and smoky bars, and into the competitions for success. I can only hope that this kind of genius is still cultivated, even if it's just in the darkened soundproof rooms of a crumbling university.
It was also a journey into the city of Manila, the capital of the Philippines, and the home of many cultural and historic icons. I rode the jeepney past the Cultural Center of the Philippines, I strode the night grass in Fort Santiago, and I braved the busy streets of Quiapo. There is also talk of Dumaguete, Spain, and the campus of the University of the Philippines in Diliman, but its heart seems to have been left in that old, beautiful city.
This book may still use some work with little details, but I believe that this is already quite the masterpiece. The journey is unforgettable, the cameos are fun, the story is interesting, and the music is sublime. Come, take a chance, and do a tango amidst these pages. There's still music to be played on the old guitar....more
Note: If you believe in Jesus as the Christ, this book will revolt you. It will also challenge your beliefs in the Christian church, in the Bible, andNote: If you believe in Jesus as the Christ, this book will revolt you. It will also challenge your beliefs in the Christian church, in the Bible, and in Jesus Christ himself. Take this book with a grain truckload of salt.
Among the best (non)religious books I have ever read. I love how Saramago portrayed Jesus as a man living in his time, not just a demi-god living amongst morals. I love the notes about women not allowed to have an opinion, about the bloody battle at the temple, about the temptation of Jesus, about the long list of martyrs, and, well, just about everything else. Great stuff.
In case you were wondering about me: Agnostic. Although with Pascal's Wager around......more
It is morning. You breathe in the scent of the sea.
The sun's rays pour into your being, touching the deepest depths of your soul. There is soft musicIt is morning. You breathe in the scent of the sea.
The sun's rays pour into your being, touching the deepest depths of your soul. There is soft music playing in the background. You feel the warm breeze kissing your face with the faintest of whispers.
And then you open your eyes. You are on the ground, smelling damp earth, while your shirt has a butterfly-shaped stain right in the middle of your chest, next to your heart. You don't remember what happened before you fainted, but at least you know your name, or what you think your name is. At the very least, you remember the boy named Crow.
There is a kind of mystery that not all of us can fathom. We seek answers to questions we cannot phrase, or maybe look for persons we know are strangers. We run from what angers us, pretending we know best; we pretend to not know because it is uncomfortable to know. It is mystical and dreadful at the same time.
After all, who really knows what's real?
This book seeks to understand, and yet confuses with its theories. Elements of magic and disbelief lie in these pages, these pages that hold the stories of different peoples of seemingly different times. There are quotes, books, and records; there is war, afterlife, and sand. It is linear while being nonlinear; it is allegorical while remaining realistic yet superstitious. It challenges your perception, while confirming your reality.
It has a number of dark overtones, while it basks in the warm sunshine. The line that delineates what is true from what is not is not ever present, but you know it happened even if you can't believe it.
The book is relatively easy to read, but also not so. It can be difficult to accept the characters here, all splayed out with their dirt sullying the pages. Still, they can be pristine, and enjoyable.
Pick up this book to read between its lines. There is a story behind the story, and words behind the words. It is ok to be confused, because even the cat is confused. Accept that what will happen will happen, and don't forget the hue of blue of that beautiful shoreline. The drowning girl's fingers Search for the entrance stone, and more. Lifting the hem of her azure dress, She gazes -- at Kafka on the shore....more