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Sex and the Cthulhu Mythos
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message 1: by Vincent (last edited Jan 21, 2015 05:02PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Vincent Darlage | 633 comments I read the REH section of Sex and the Cthulhu Mythos. It was pretty good, but I think the author missed something when discussing "Xuthal of the Dusk." Thalis the Stygian's end in Xuthal of the Dusk always seemed particularly chilling to me. Her end is described in terms that could mean she was not devoured by Thog the Ancient. REH wrote, 'She heard Thalis' voice pleading frenziedly, but no voice answered. There was no sound except the Stygian's panting voice, which suddenly rose to screams of agony, and then broke into hysterical laughter, mingled with sobs. This dwindled to a convulsive panting, and presently this too ceased, and a silence more horrible hovered over the secret corridor.' When I read this, I thought Thalis had not been devoured by Thog, but forced to mate with it. That thought always sent a chill through me because it made me wonder what if the mating worked and what unholy thing might be such a child birthed from that unhallowed mating?

Thalis spends a bit of time explaining how the lusts of the men of Xuthal would be too much for Natala, but just fine for her - describing her own sexual training in Stygia. When Thalis captures Natala, she says Natala will be the "bride" of the monster, hinting at a sexual relationship. Anyway, the description of Thog dealing with Thalis sounds more like an off-screen rape than a meal (or, perhaps, a rape followed by a meal).

I should point out that, despite this omission, I thought this was a well-developed article with a strong analysis of sexuality in some of REH's tales.

message 2: by Bobby (new) - added it

Bobby Dee | 75 comments I could have said more, but I did not, and I'll tell you why (aside from editorial limits on wordcount - the first draft was over 400 pages). Someone could write an entire book on sex and Robert E. Howard, from his life to his spicy fiction to his weird fiction - but in this book, I was looking very specifically at his Mythos fiction, and so I had to draw the line at what stories I was going to address and which I would not. In the first draft, I actually had more in-depth look at several stories, but like I said, I had to cut some stuff for space.

Vincent Darlage | 633 comments Given the focus, that makes sense (although potential sex with a Lovecraftian monster might have just fit in...). You might consider sharing some of the more in-depth Howard stuff you had to cut here. Would love to see it. What was there was a pretty darn good analysis. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the book.

I've not read a lot of Cthulhu material outside of Lovecraft, Howard, Smith, and Lumley, and your book has me interested in checking some of it out - particularly this Brian McNaughton you discussed starting on page 198.

message 4: by Bobby (new) - added it

Bobby Dee | 75 comments I'll see what I have in my earlier drafts and notes, a lot of it was summaries of stories and some extended quotations. I tried very hard to find the source of the "Certain Congo Queen" letter, but didn't locate it...yet...although I think I know the identity of said queen.

And yes, Brian McNaughton is a favorite of mine, sadly neglected today.

message 5: by Vincent (last edited Jan 21, 2015 07:12PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Vincent Darlage | 633 comments I immediately went to Amazon and found some of the McNaughton stuff for my Kindle, but couldn't find some of the stuff under his aliases. Thanks again for turning me onto this book - I love this kind of analysis. So what inspired you to research and write this?

message 6: by Bobby (new) - added it

Bobby Dee | 75 comments Because it hadn't been done, pretty much. If you're going to do a nonfiction book, you either need to break new ground or contribute something useful. While plenty of critics had written a little bit here or there about Lovecraft and sex, nobody had ever done a comprehensive work on the subject - much less try to look at sex in the Mythos itself. So, there you go.

Re: McNaughton - Most of the stuff he wrote under aliases is extremely scarce (it's porn novels from the 1970s and '80s, not the media of choice for collectors), expensive, and t'be honest not terribly good - they really are just potboiler erotic novels for the most part. But his best collections like "The Throne of Bones" and "Nasty Stories" are available, and I'd recommend starting with those.

Vincent Darlage | 633 comments Thanks! Those are what I'll start with, then.

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