Saturday, 28 December 2013

The Strange High House in the Mist

Driving up and down the country for the festive season has once again allowed me time to listen to audio readings of HP Lovecraft's work. I really do like his The Strange High House in the Mist - one of his more weird tales and rather less connected to the mythos that is Lovecraft's most famous creation. After (re)discovering a story I like to listen to the excellent banter-laden discussions of it on Alas, it seems I am rather alone in thinking Mist is a good story - most tend to find it rather turgid and badly written.

In brief, the tale is about the conversion of a skeptic - a philosopher in this case. Thomas Olney ignores the warngings of his neighbours in his new home of Kingsport and decided to visit a strange house perched precariously on a clifftop. He encounters the denizen of the decrepit abode and lots more besides. The story is replete with visions of the old sea gods, their strange aquatic minions and hints at the eon-spanning history of the ocean. I love the descriptions of the weird, old house and the hints of how magical Kingsport is, with inhabitants like the Terrible Old Man and Granny Orne.

The HP Podcraft show linked to a web comic for Mist by artist Jason Thompson. I really like Thompson's vision of Kingsport. He's managed to imbue the town with a lot of well-observed little touches, like the odd statues in the Terrible Old Man's garden, and the plethora of flora which coats many of the town's buildings. The house on the cliff is great too, with an amazing panel showing Olney entering a weird, nautical-themed Elizabethan interior. I do like his panel layout as well, with the constant raking angles hinting at the pitching of a ship, or perhaps the skewing of reality.

You can read the full text of Mist here, listen to the HP Podcraft discussion here, and see Jason Thompson's excellent web comic here.

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