So I'm writing a sequel to HPL's At the Mountains of Madness
that I have, at present, VERY tentatively titled "Under the Moons of Madness"--since I wanted to clearly indicate its connection to the original novella and
identify it as something different, since it's set on Mars, and both Phobos and Deimos are going to play some kind of role in my novella.
Here's the basic idea:
Everything is, first and foremost, extrapolated ONLY from events as detailed in Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness
and, to some degree, a few related stories ("The Call of Cthulhu", "The Whisperer in Darkness", and "The Shadow Out of Time"). In Lovecraft's novella, a geological/paleontological expedition to the Antarctic in 1931 discovers a gigantic stone city that was once inhabited by an alien species they identify as "The Elder Things" or Old Ones (names taken from the Necronomicon
, of course). The Elders may or may not have created all life on earth, but they certainly came here during the Permian Age and prettymuch just remained until their civilization decayed and was eventually destroyed by an uprising of their bioneered "slaves" the shoggoths (which were, in essence, nanobiotech construction tools). They witnessed Great Cthulhu's coming to earth and may have had some contact with the Fungi from Yuggoth, a.k.a. the Mi-Go. Well...what happened afterwards?
Naturally, more expeditions to the Antarctic launched by other universities and governments eventually found the Elders' city and the world was turned on its head. The existence of alien life--alien life not only far older than humanity but, perhaps, responsible
for humanity's existence--sent shockwaves around the world. But here's the deal: a lot of what the narrator of At the Mountains of Madness
described having "learned" just from studying the bas-reliefs and carvings in the Elders' city is not exactly right. A LOT of uncertainty remains--after all, the carvings and illustrations in the cities are in some cases very vague, and no one to this day is 100% sure what they indicate (history? myth? sci-fi paintings? who knows!). Also, the Elders' writing is virtually impossible to translate. Humanity is not even sure if the Old Ones and the Great
Old Ones are the same creatures, if the Yuggothians (whom no one has ever contacted, though it's clear they are
around, in some capacity) and the Old Ones are two forms of the same species, or...really, no one can tell. A few preserved Old Ones have been removed from Antarctic ice but even though they seem
to be biologically sound, no one can "wake them up." Also, of the three or four shoggoths discovered active in the Antarctic city, only one currently remains alive--in U.S. hands...possibly to be used as a biological weapon, if anyone can ever figure out how to control the goddamned thing.
Oh, yes...and there's the matter of R'Lyeh. It's there, under the South Pacific Ocean. And it's huge. And something in it does
reach out and cause strange things to happen to human minds. But is it really
Great Cthulhu? Or some allied species related to the Old Ones? The only "reliable" evidence comes from Elder "documents" and illustrations that no one can really read, and various hints, guesses, and outright fabrications found in the Necronomicon
and various other old sources of mythology. One thing's for damn sure...the Japanese sure wanted to keep the location of R'Lyeh secret during WWII, but now that it's in American hands, we ain't letting anyone
get too close, just in case Something Wakes Up.
One thing's for sure, though....The Old Ones had something going on at Mars in the early days of the Solar System, something that for billions
of years they warned about. Or seemed to. This information led to the first landers and whatnot sent to Mars in the '70s--but all they found was rusty deserts and some ruins of possible Elder construction at Cydonia. Whatever the Old Ones were doing there, they'd abandoned it ages ago (literally), and seemed to shun the planet. So much so, that after numerous probes and orbiters were lost en route to Mars, it was discovered that they'd left a defense system in place to keep everyone away. Of course, said defense system has all but failed after billions of years, and it's easy to avoid. It's clear
that the Elders did something on Mars that might be pretty fascinating: perhaps they'd tried to seed it with life and failed, or had originally settled there and moved to earth only after a war or something. The only real way to tell is to go there and find out.
Especially now that whatever lives in R'Lyeh looks like it might
Misktonic University in Arkham, Mass., had enjoyed its heyday in the earlier half of the 20th Century, what with the credit due the Pabodie Expedition for discovering the Old Ones--but, by the 2020s, the University is now regarded as long past its prime. It fell from grace in the 1940s, when many of its older professors came out strongly against exploration of the Antarctic, R'Lyeh, and like ruins, citing "crazy old texts" like the Necronomicon
and The Book of Eibon
as warnings against "meddling with things we don't understand." However, Pabodie's great-grandson, Roger Pabodie Lukasik, is generally known as the
foremost scholar on the Old Ones' ideographic images (which means he can understand about ten out of three million separate ideograms). This is good enough to earn him a seat on the International Mars Mission that is being sent to Mars to finally scour around the Old Ones' relics out there. Going with him are the usual areologists, climatologists, paleontologists, and whatnot picked from around the world...including one man, Dr. Averet Karnstein, who is an expert in the biology of the Elders and may quite possibly be utterly insane, as he was "touched" while working near R'Lyeh.
Perhaps he's become the eyes and ears of Great Cthulhu?
And why do people on board the Mars ship keep reporting sightings of a "tall, thin black man" who is clearly not a member of the crew?
Furthermore...Earth has apparently just made contact with the Yuggothians, finally. It's clear they are leaving the Solar System in droves, abandoning their base of Pluto (Yuggoth).
OK, and finally...in the ruins of the Old Ones' city at Cydonia and on Olympus Mons, it becomes apparent that the Old Ones attempted something
on Mars that not only damnear wiped them out, but apparently also drew Great Cthulhu to the Solar System. Whatever it was that they were doing, they destroyed the entire biosphere they'd created just to kill it--or put it to sleep. And there's indications that whatever it was, Great Cthulhu came to earth and took refuge there to avoid
What the fuck can be so monstrous that a Great Old Ones
wants no truck with it?
Humanity is about to find out...and find out just how small and meaningless our species truly is when confronted with the billions upon billions of years of Galactic history behind it.
Simply put, I want to carry on what HPL himself started. In his latter stories, he turned away from all things supernatural or mythological and began to explain his Mythos in completely science-fictional terms--"demythologizing" it, as Joshi puts it. Great Cthulhu was no longer an evil god, but an incredibly old and powerful extraterrestrial entity. The Old Ones were an alien species with vast lifespans and vast knowledge of biotech. The Fungi from Yuggoth were likewise aliens. HPL's followers, unfortunately, wrecked all of his own plans by taking his ideas and running with them willy-nilly all over the fictional map and producing what is today wrongly called "the Cthulhu Mythos." I think it's time I did my boy HPL the favor of continuing where he left off, and showing a little of what the world he envisioned in his later, best-developed stories would be like in our
But you'd better damnwell believe that, aliens or not, the Other Gods--specifically Azathoth and Nyarlathotep--are going to show up in this bitch.
Imagine a melange of Dark City
, Event Horizon
, One Million Miles to Earth
, Caitlin Kiernan's Threshold
, and John Carpenter's The Thing
, and you're only about half way to what I'm doing here. Don't expect action, though: this is a "scientific romance" of the old stripe--it's all about ideas, atmosphere, and unimaginable confusion, dread, and hopelessness. Trust me, this project is going to be BIG. And it's going to take a while to do it. But I think I've finally found my "in" to the world of publishing. But I can't do it alone, so if any of you freaks have any ideas or comments, suggestions, etc., shout 'em my way. greygirlbeast
, you know
I'm going to be mining you for information concerning geology and paleontology, too, so be ready. :)
I'm going to go read At the Mountains of Madness
again now so I can get this beast on the roll.
Ohyeah, and Forma Tadre's Navigator
album is most definitely going to be the soundtrack to this piece. Until, of course, Nyarlathotep writes one of our own!