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Lovecraft foolishness

November 30th, 2009 (03:20 pm)
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current mood: confused

I've been reading Lovecraft, and I found a particularly odd bit in "The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath". The protagonist has been captured by some nasty flying things, and struggles to get away. Now, this is dumb enough (does he want to fall?), but what the nasties do next is dumber.

They tickle him.

What the hell was Lovecraft thinking? Did he neglect to mention that his protagonist was a member of a rare human subspecies, Homo sapiens titillandus, which struggles less when tickled?


Posted by: C. Virtue (cvirtue)
Posted at: November 30th, 2009 09:18 pm (UTC)


Posted by: Who, me? (metageek)
Posted at: November 30th, 2009 09:32 pm (UTC)

Sure, but it's still not going to make him stop struggling, because he can't. (This is what happened in the book: he struggled, he was tickled, he stopped struggling, the tickling stopped.)

Posted by: C. Virtue (cvirtue)
Posted at: November 30th, 2009 09:34 pm (UTC)

That is odd...

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: Hey You (martianfencer)
Posted at: December 4th, 2009 03:56 am (UTC)

I think people are often weaker when they're laughing...?

Posted by: Who, me? (metageek)
Posted at: December 4th, 2009 03:19 pm (UTC)
That could be it

That does make sense. I thought the story said he stopped struggling, but I was wrong; it doesn't say anything about how he reacted:

Then a sort of cold rubbery arm seized his neck and something else seized his feet, and he was lifted inconsiderately up and swung about in space. Another minute and the stars were gone, and Carter knew that the night-gaunts had got him.

They bore him breathless into that cliffside cavern and through monstrous labyrinths beyond. When he struggled, as at first he did by instinct, they tickled him with deliberation. They made no sound at all themselves, and even their membranous wings were silent. They were frightfully cold and damp and slippery, and their paws kneaded one detestably. Soon they were plunging hideously downward through inconceivable abysses in a whirling, giddying, sickening rush of dank, tomb-like air; and Carter felt they were shooting into the ultimate vortex of shrieking and daemonic madness. He screamed again and again, but whenever he did so the black paws tickled him with greater subtlety.

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