“Personally, I would not care for immortality in the least. There is nothing better than oblivion, since in oblivion there is no wish unfulfilled. We had it before we were born yet did not complain. Shall we whine because we know it will return? It is Elysium enough for me, at any rate.”
– H.P. Lovecraft
Most authors are lucky if they are well known and widely read in their own lifetime. Once they die their work usually fades into obscurity. Some very lucky authors manage to write works that are both popular during their lifetime and remain so once they pass on. It’s a strange kind of luck to be an author whose work is mostly obscure during ones lifetime yet that work becomes relatively popular and well read decades after that author’s death.
Hello Howard Phillips Lovecraft. A strangely lucky man.
“In the elder time chosen men had talked with the entombed Old Ones in dreams, but then something had happened. The great stone city R’lyeh, with its monoliths and sepulchres, had sunk beneath the waves; and the deep waters, full of the one primal mystery through which not even thought can pass, had cut off the spectral intercourse. But memory never died, and high-priests said that the city would rise again when the stars were right. Then came out of the earth the black spirits of earth, mouldy and shadowy, and full of dim rumours picked up in caverns beneath forgotten sea-bottoms. But of them old Castro dared not speak much. He cut himself off hurriedly, and no amount of persuasion or subtlety could elicit more in this direction. The size of the Old Ones, too, he curiously declined to mention. Of the cult, he said that he thought the centre lay amid the pathless deserts of Arabia, where Irem, the City of Pillars, dreams hidden and untouched. It was not allied to the European witch-cult, and was virtually unknown beyond its members. No book had ever really hinted of it, though the deathless Chinamen said that there were double meanings in the Necronomicon of the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred which the initiated might read as they chose, especially the much-discussed couplet:
‘That is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strange aeons even death may die.’ “
LIke Jesus, Cthulhu could return at any time. Unlike Jesus, He isn’t going to care what kind of life you’ve lived. He (and whether or not “he” is male is open to debate) will call out to His fellow Old Ones and they will be awakened and return to rule the world as they once did. So the cultists believe. But human beings have been twisting and misinterpreting the words of seers and prophets ever since there have been seers and prophets. Who knows what Cthulhu will want or what he will do when he arises? Will he be a morning person? Will he be hungry? What do beings who exist beyond space and time like to eat for breakfast?
The Tillinghast Resonator makes identifying and, to some extent, capturing the lifeforms that live in the Beyond relatively easy. In earlier ages interested parties had to rely on magic and alchemy – not the most reliable methods. Is it any wonder that most early harvesters of the Beyond got harvested instead themselves?
There are many roads to Carcosa. Some are paved with good intentions. Others with yellow brick. Some are familiar shortcuts. Many take a winding, even scenic route. Once you arrive you never really leave. Or perhaps Carcosa never leaves you.
When Lovecraft wrote his stories in the 1920s and 1930s the world still seemed to be full of hidden, unexplored places. Hidden cities and lands forgotten by time seemed possible. Now, in 2017? The world is mapped. Maybe not completely but with enough detail that any current Cthulhu Mythos authors have to work harder to explain how a place manages to stay undetected. “The government is covering it up” might work for something relatively small that exists within the borders of that country but how would “they” cover up the existence of an entire city (much less a range of mountains taller than the Himalayas) on a continent that is owned by no one? That would require a lot of cooperation between governments and a lot of people who are willing to be silent about that cooperation.
Some authors suggest that the Mythos entities hide from us. That seems unlikely. They can travel between the stars. Some of them can travel between the places between the places between the stars. We can’t be a threat. So if they’re hiding, perhaps they’re hiding from each other. Or from something even bigger and scarier.