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The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath (1970)

por H. P. Lovecraft

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Stories depict the horrifying adventures of people who visit strange cities in their dreams.
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Mostrando 1-5 de 13 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
I got about a third of the way through the walls of text Lovecraft threw up at me, and I simply didn't have the heart to go on.

This is one of the unreadable Lovecraft stories, in my opinion. In it, there's no real discernable plot, just Randolph Carter moving from one location to the next, wildly observing things. Meanwhile, Lovecraft's imagination is in overdrive, and he's slinging names and locations and infernal beasts three, four, or five to a page. Unfortunately, while the imagination was firing on all cylinders, his storytelling/pacing/plotting abilities were nonexistent.

There is no dialogue to be found in this 40 K-word story, so, we are honestly treated to walls of text. And that text is dense. Like, for example, this single sentence gem:

And before the day was done Carter saw that the steersman could have no other goal than the Basalt Pillars of the West, beyond which simple folk say Cathuria lies, but which wise dreamers well know are the gates of a monstrous cataract wherein the oceans of earth's dreamland drop wholly to abysmal nothingness and shoot through the empty spaces toward other worlds and other stars and the awful voids outside the ordered universe where the daemon-sultan Azathoth gnaws hungrily in chaos amid pounding and piping and the hellish dancing of the Other Gods, blind, voiceless, tenebrous, and mindless, with their souls and messenger Nyarlathotep.

And no, I didn't skip any commas or anything. That's precisely how it's presented. Try reading that aloud. Like, Howard, dude, take a damn breath now and again, would ya?

So, yeah, three stars for the book's packaging and artwork, etc. 0 stars for the story, such as it is. ( )
  TobinElliott | Sep 3, 2021 |
Good. Freaking. Grief. For a while there, I actually thought this one was going to take me another year to read. On the one hand, I was delighted as Lovecraft suddenly took the opportunity to begin twining all this threads together around Randolph Carter, presenting a sort of world tour of the mythos, including the warrior cats. On the other hand, good freaking grief this is long and full of blatheration. Also, there's no excuse for that ending, really. ( )
  amyotheramy | May 11, 2021 |
Another entertaining "history lesson" from HPL, this novella an overview of his Dreamlands and their alien intrusions into our waking world. Like "At the Mountains of Madness", "Kadath" offers an adventure story; unlike that exploration of Antarctica, this story feels less menacing and tense in tone. But "Kadath" is like AtMoM in linking to other HPL tales, in this case borrowing characters from other HPL stories. "Kadath" is worth reading as much for plot as for the wealth of world-disclosive hints and references, documenting a Grand Tour of Dreamland geography and residents.

While Randolph Carter may well wake from his adventure, his journey is fundamentally different than Alice's. In a way the Red Queen does not, Nyarlathotep remains on the other side, waiting and perhaps following. ( )
2 vote elenchus | Apr 5, 2019 |
This collection of six bizarre fantasy tales share a common theme of protagonists who dream of strange journeys to exotic places far more desirable than anything found in our reality—or so they think.

In some cases, such dreams lead the hero back to the very home from which they departed, allowing them to regard the familiar in a new light. For others, however, the unbridled pursuit of fantasy leads to a grim fate.

For Massachusetts native Randolph Carter, his dreams of a city bathed in the golden glow of eternal sunset lead him on a fantastic and perilous journey through a world of loathsome creatures and ancient evils to find the onyx kingdom of unknown Kadath where the gods from outer space reside. Despite obstacles and warnings, Carter intends to beseech the gods to show him the way to this fabled city in "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath."

In "Celephais," a London native known only as Kurane experiences lucid dreams of an ancient and eternal city of eternal youth. So determined is he to return there each night—and ultimately forever—that he resorts to extreme measures.

Disenchanted with the world around him, Randolph Carter finds true solace and beauty only dreams. After finding "The Silver Key" passed down through generations of his family, Carter travels to the woods of his boyhood and into adventures of his own past.

Several years after the disappearance of Randolph Carter, four men meet in the home of a mystic to divide Carter's estate. One of the men, a lawyer, believes none of the fables and legends espoused by the other three, including a Swami named Chandraputra who imparts the fate of Carter in surprising detail and asserts that the man is still alive—in alien form—after passing "Through the Gates of the Silver Key."

When third generation lighthouse keeper Basil Eaton finally accepts the invitation from the captain of a ghostly sailing ship, he is given a tour of many legendary and tempting lands such as Thalarion, the City of a Thousands Wonders, and Xura, the Land of Pleasures Unattained. However, Basil soon learns that each place holds sinister fates for those who enter. He remains steadfast until reaching the heavenly Sona-Nyl where time and death wield no power. Basil eventually become restless there and yearns to find the fabled land of Cathuria farther to the north—ignoring the repeated warnings of the captain of "The White Ship."

Atop the lofty, unscalable cliffs of Kingsport, there lies "The Strange High House in the Mist" that for generations has become a source of rumor and myth among the coastal town's citizens. Shortly after moving to Kingsport with his family, Thomas Olney's curiosity impels him to undertake the arduous climb to uncover the truth about the strange cottage, with its front door flush with the edge of the cliff. Shortly after his return, both Olney and the cottage are noticeably changed...

As always, Lovecraft's writing is lush in opulent detail, but can become repetitive and tiresome. This was especially true in the novellas "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath" and "Through the Gates of the Silver Key," both of which became a laborious read in the middle and could easily have been trimmed in half. My two favorites from this collection are "Celephais" and "The White Ship," the shortest of the six. ( )
  pgiunta | Aug 17, 2018 |
I read this H. P. Lovecraft novella to prepare to read [The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe], one of this year's Hugo Award-nominated novellas. The new book is a sequel of sorts to the old story.

Lovecraft's "dreamlands" can be reached by sufficiently strong dreamers, and are populated by humans, and all manner of monsters and gods. A dreamer can awaken back into our world - but the dreamlands are nonetheless a real place, where a dreamer can die. The protagonist wishes to enter a city he has discovered there:

Three times Randolph Carter dreamed of the marvellous city, and three times was he snatched away while still he paused on the high terrace above it. All golden and lovely it blazed in the sunset, with walls, temples, colonnades, and arched bridges of veined marble, silver-basined fountains of prismatic spray in broad squares and perfumed gardens, and wide streets marching between delicate trees and blossom-laden urns and ivory statues in gleaming rows; while on steep northward slopes climbed tiers of red roofs and old peaked gables harbouring little lanes of grassy cobbles. It was a fever of the gods; a fanfare of supernal trumpets and a clash of immortal cymbals. Mystery hung about it as clouds about a fabulous unvisited mountain; and as Carter stood breathless and expectant on that balustraded parapet there swept up to him the poignancy and suspense of almost-vanished memory, the pain of lost things, and the maddening need to place again what once had an awesome and momentous place.

The gods learn of his interest and forbid future ventures to this wondrous place. Carter decides to journey in dream to the great moutain Kadath, to plead with the gods dwelling there to allow him to enter the city.

This is the first Lovecraft story I've read that showcases him as a writer of weird fiction, not just horror. The quest leads though endless horrors, but where the narrator of, say, [At the Mountains of Madness] would curl into a whimpering ball, Carter is equal for the most part to what he encounters. We get a travelogue of eerie, fearsome, and strange places.

A travelogue written in vivid, baroque prose. Reading this story is like eating a meal made up entirely of rich desserts; the experience cloys quickly, and the story felt much longer than its 43,000 words. And the imagery is often much less convincing than the opening passage quoted above. For example:

The gugs, hairy and gigantic, once reared stone circles in that wood and made strange sacrifices to the Other Gods and the crawling chaos Nyarlathotep, until one night an abomination of theirs reached the ears of earth’s gods and they were banished to caverns below. Only a great trap-door of stone with an iron ring connects the abyss of the earth-ghouls with the enchanted wood, and this the gugs are afraid to open because of a curse. That a mortal dreamer could traverse their cavern realm and leave by that door is inconceivable; for mortal dreamers were their former food, and they have legends of the toothsomeness of such dreamers even though banishment has restricted their diet to the ghasts, those repulsive beings which die in the light, and which live in the vaults of Zin and leap on long hind legs like kangaroos.

I started giggling at "the vaults of Zin," but can certainly see laughing right at the beginning of the paragraph. The ear is paramount for this sort of prose.

Lovecraft's stories are foundational for modern weird fiction, but foundations are often best kept out of sight.

The story can be read free online. ( )
1 vote dukedom_enough | May 28, 2017 |
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Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Lovecraft, H. P.autor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Carter, LinIntroduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Gallardo, GervasioArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Whelan, MichaelArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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Three times Randolph Carter dreamed of the marvelous city, and three times was he snatched away while still he paused on the high terrace above it.
- The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath
Informação do Conhecimento Comum em inglês. Edite para a localizar na sua língua.
All life is only a set of pictures in the brain, among which there is no difference betwixt those born of real things and those born of inward dreamings, and no cause to value the one above the other.
- The Silver Key
No death, no doom, no anguish can arouse the surpassing despair which flows from a loss of identity.
- Through the Gates of the Silver Key
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