Friday, July 15, 2011

FUNGUS HUMAN

FUNGUS HUMAN
"126- Castaways on island eat unknown vegetation and become strangely transformed."
H.P. Lovecraft, Commonplace Book

"Yet, as we drew near to it, I became gradually aware that here the vile fungus, which had driven us from the ship, was growing riot. In places it rose into horrible, fantastic mounds, which seemed almost to quiver, as with a quiet life, when the wind blew across them."

It was on the thumb of her right hand, that the growth first showed. It was only a small circular spot, much like a little grey mole. My god! how the fear leapt to my heart when she showed me the place. We cleansed it, between us, washing it with carbolic and water. In the morning of the following day she showed her hand to me again. The grey warty thing had returned."

"Abruptly, as I stared, the thought came to me that the thing had a grotesque resemblance to the figure of a distorted human creature. Even as the fancy flashed into my brain, there was a slight, sickening of noise of tearing, and I saw that one of the branch-like arms was detaching itself from the surrounding grey masses and coming towards me.
William Hope Hodgson, The Voice In the Night


9 comments:

  1. I took some liberties with this one. Mainly, because I think it's impossible that Lovecraft hadn't read Hodgson's short story The Voice In the Night which was published 14 years before the entry in HPL's Commonplace Book. It is a bit confusing, however, because Hodgson's work had been out of print for some time when Lovecraft started writing...still, I think the similarities are too apparent to be coincidence.

    Also, check out the Japanese film version of The Voice In the Night called Matango! It's a slow start but the payoff is great!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVyRYjJoZfc

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  2. Awesome work.

    Reminds me of a Lumley story whose title I can't recall. These ancient (Hyborian Age?) raiders land on R'lyeh before it sinks, and encounter a kind of fungus that infects and takes over the leader of the party. At the end, he makes his way back to the mainland and is thrown into quarantine / prison. The last image of the story is of a gray, mushroom-like growth that vaguely resembles a human being, still growing in the dank quarantine cell.

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  3. I was wondering if you knew about MATANGO. I think it's a great film too.

    BTW where did you find the William Hope Hodgson story 'The Voice In the Night'? I want to see if I can track it down.

    Great work as always... if they ever remake ATTACK OF THE MUSHROOM PEOPLE I saw they put you in charge.

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  4. Very cool and very reminiscent of the Hodgeson story. I'm probably way off, but was the Lumley story "Fruiting Bodies" or something like that? Not a big Lumley fan, but I do recall that being one of his.

    Any way you look at it, that's gotta be a rough way to go...

    - Aaron

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  5. Also it reminds me (in theme, if not imagery) of "Gray Matter" by Stephen King -- and I know King read Commonplace Book, if not The Voice in the Night...

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  6. I don't remember the Lumley story but I honestly hate his mythos fiction. However, two of my favorite short horror stories are in the collection called Fruiting Bodies..The Viaduct (reminiscent of old Stephen King) and The Thin People (pretty sure this is a proto Slenderman story).

    Al Bruno III-Cold Springs Press put out a compilation of WHH short stories called Adrift On Haunted Seas. I guess it's out of print because even the used paperback copies are $25..
    http://www.amazon.com/Adrift-Haunted-Seas-Stories-William/dp/1593600496/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1310751651&sr=8-1

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  7. Fruiting Bodies does involve malevolent fungus but it's not, so far as remember, a Mythos story.

    There's an etext version of Hodgson's story available here - http://gaslight.mtroyal.ca/voicenig.htm

    If Lovecraft hadn't read Voice in the Night, he'd certainly read The Boats of the Glen Carrig. Lovecraft sites that novel in his Supernatural Horror in Literature essay. In the story the castaways encounter a weird fungal island before they get mired in the Sargasso. An ebook version can be found here -
    http://www.manybooks.net/titles/hodgsonw10541054210542.html

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  8. DLI, it's "cites," not "sites."

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  9. Wyrm, thanks! I thought that looked wrong but my poor sleep deprived brain couldn't think of another spelling to replace it. I just knew it wasn't "sights".

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