Is Siana’s War Part of the Cthulhu Mythos?

My brief answer is no. There is, however, a good reason for asking the question. Lovecraft is my all time favorite writer. To analyze Lovecraft’s influence on my unpublished fantasy trilogy Siana’s War, I’ll first address the question of Lovecraft’s influence on me. My fascination with Lovecraft began when I was a tween, and it was an unlikely fascination for a kid steeped in a Christian mythos and worldview. Lovecraft’s stories reject a good-versus-evil context. They are also generally devoid of female characters, strong characterization (in general), humor and sometimes even plot. All things I preferred in other writers and which most other fantasy and science fiction can’t do without.

Lovecraft is almost pure atmosphere and cosmology. Why I believe Lovecraft has endured as my favorite writer–in fact he is the only writer I have read avidly as both a teen and a 40-something adult–is the powerful sense of vivid otherworldliness in his stories, and the close juxtaposition of both wonders and terrors. THAT is Lovecraft’s influence on the milieu of Siana’s War. The sense of elusive marvels and vistas beyond the knowledge of humankind and the great risk of delving where human beings are not supposed to delve. Closely related to this is his notion that regions beyond normal time and space are populated by alien beings who have no regard for human life or human values, an inspiration for my own mythology of the Aedolae.

I did not use any specifics from Lovecraft’s cosmology. In his lifetime Lovecraft traded cosmic deities with writers such as Clark Ashton Smith. Since Lovecraft’s death many writers have used Cthulhu and other Lovecraftian entities in their stories. But I only borrowed the FEELING I got from Lovecraft’s universe, in particular his Dream Cycle. In many other ways one could argue Siana’s War is very un-Lovecraft: female protagonist, several romantic story arcs, a sense of grace and redemption, a very detailed and progressive plot (there is a reason Lovecraft never wrote a 500 page book within his Mythos).  But I thoroughly enjoyed placing a modern heroine inside a Lovecraftian inimical universe and seeing what happened.

There is one small but more concrete nod to the Cthulhu Mythos in Siana’s War. Lovecraft and other writers would simultaneously reference esoteric and ancient works like the Necronomicon within their stories, building up the sense that these were real volumes, not inventions. Despite the evident lack of humor in Lovecraft’s stories, I fancy there is an element of subdued humor in this practice. So in that spirit, I have Siana discover the Pnakotic Manuscripts (first mentioned by Lovecraft in Polaris) in the Library of the Ancients at Ebon Port, and find the Testament of Carnamagos (first mentioned by Clark Ashton Smith in Xeethra) in Bierce’s house above Orse. So now you know the secret nods to his Mythos inside mine.

One Comments

  • Buck November 15, 2016 Reply

    I have read very little Lovecraft, not because he isn’t worthy, but because … I just haven’t.

    Your comments are very helpful to me in understanding more fully Sians’s War, and what you put into writing it.
    Fascinating stuff.

    Thank you!

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