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Karlson

Colour Out of Space

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I am a fairly new player to this game and have been having an absolutely blast playing it solo.  In fact, it may be the best solo board game I have ever played!  I really enjoy the Choose Your Own Adventure narrative that is distinctly creates each game, but sometimes you can be brutally punished for choosing one option over another.  Anyways, I did have a quick topic I wanted to bring up that revolves around the Colour Out of Space monster.

 

I'm not sure how many of you guys also enjoy reading Lovecraft's novels and short stories in addition to playing these thematic games, but I know I do.  I have his complete fiction bound in one great volume that Barnes and Noble publishes; I can't recommend it enough.  However, I wasn't sure how the When Revealed effect that moves the Colour Out of Space monster to Tunguska related to the original source material from the short story of the same name.  In the story, the whole incident takes place in rural Vermont and parts of it in Arkham as well.  So, I was just wondering why Eldritch Horror decides to move this monster to Russia?

 

Any ideas or speculation on this?

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Well, I guess the thematic reasons was the meteor impacting Tunguska in 1908. It's a good place to move a Color to (it's true that Lovecraft set his story in the rural Vermont, but there's nothing sayin similar situations could have happened in different parts of the world). Additionally, the Tunguska event could probably (well, much more than probably, actually, considering the interest of HPL for astronomy) be something Lovecraft heard of, and that could have been an influence for that short story.

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Whoa, I didn't know about that 1908 meteorite event in Tunguska.  I guess just a little bit of research would have helped me put together the loose ends to my original question.  Now it seems very fitting, indeed!

 

Diverging off the original topic now, do you enjoy reading Lovecraft's work?  What are some of your favorite stories?  I think my favorite of all that I have read so far is The Shadow Over Innsmouth.  It's so suspenseful and atmospheric!  

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Julia,

 

     You're awesome ~ I would have thrown out here my cred as a Russian Foreign Affairs Officer, and certainly used this lille piece of history: The Tunguska event was a large explosion caused by the impact of a small asteroid or comet, which occurred near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in what is now Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia, on June 30 [O.S. June 17], 1908, but you beat me to it.

 

     Hahahahaha!

 

Cheers,

Joe

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Julia,

 

     You're awesome

 

Thanks :D Living with a crazy scientist sometimes helps :D But I somehow sensed you would have supplied a good answer as well :D

Edited by Julia
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Whoa, I didn't know about that 1908 meteorite event in Tunguska.  I guess just a little bit of research would have helped me put together the loose ends to my original question.  Now it seems very fitting, indeed!

 

Diverging off the original topic now, do you enjoy reading Lovecraft's work?  What are some of your favorite stories?  I think my favorite of all that I have read so far is The Shadow Over Innsmouth.  It's so suspenseful and atmospheric!  

 

My honest answer: I do enjoy reading Lovecraft because he had some really innovative and interesting ideas. Plus, it helps me improving greatly my knowledge of the English language. As for his stories, I'd say my favourite are The Quest of Iranon, The Silver Key, Nyarlathotep and the fragment The Azathoth. As you can see, no real classics cited. And uh, The Color out of Space is actually good. Probably (for me, at least) his best short story.

 

Still, even if I believe Lovecraft was able to see things no one had been before him, I don't believe he was a great writer. He was a racist, a misogynist, totally unable to give his characters any psycological trait different from fear or desperation; he was never confident on his ability as a writer, and really repetitive in his stories. Please, beware, I'm not saying he was not a genius or a visionaire; but as being a genius in math doesn't imply you're good at teaching it, having the greatest intuitions in literature doesn't necessarily mean you are good at writing them. Still, without any doubt his contribution to the supernatural literature is fundamental, and the influence of his works is widespread even today, so, his stories are worth being read and studied.

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He was a racist, a misogynist,

 

If he was a contemporary, I think you could clearly use this against him.  But the sad fact is that was the norms of the time he was writing his material.  The concepts of wiping out racism and misogyny were not strong during Lovecraft's time and its reflective in his work.  In a way, you have to look at it in a historical sense, because much has changed between the period of Lovecraft's writing and our present day. 

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If he was a contemporary, I think you could clearly use this against him.  But the sad fact is that was the norms of the time he was writing his material.  The concepts of wiping out racism and misogyny were not strong during Lovecraft's time and its reflective in his work.  In a way, you have to look at it in a historical sense, because much has changed between the period of Lovecraft's writing and our present day. 

 

That's true; if he were a contemporary writer, this would be probably totally unacceptable. And I agree with you on the way to look up at his work. Still, this doesn't mean I should not find irritating certain passages in his tales or that his value as a writer is somehow bigger because of this. Just to have this clarified: I dislike some of his tales because of his view of the world; I believe he is not a good author because of the way he wrote and the repetitive structure of his tales. Honestly, if you compare the works of HPL to those written by Joyce, Hemingway or Orwell (just to cite some names of his time), the infinite distance between him and the other authors is evident.

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Well, I agree he doesn't stack up well against some of the writers of the period.  I was just pointing out he was a product the origins of his racism and misogynistic views were a product of his era.  Though I don't really get Joyce,  I read "A Portrait..."  because I thought I would get something academic out of it, but I loathe his writing style.  :lol:

 

Still, I think if you really want to rate Lovecraft in the literary world, you have to match him up against Science fiction authors of his time. 

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Well, I agree he doesn't stack up well against some of the writers of the period.  I was just pointing out he was a product the origins of his racism and misogynistic views were a product of his era.  Though I don't really get Joyce,  I read "A Portrait..."  because I thought I would get something academic out of it, but I loathe his writing style.  :lol:

 

Still, I think if you really want to rate Lovecraft in the literary world, you have to match him up against Science fiction authors of his time. 

 

Never wanted to rate him (Keating's lesson at the beginning of Dead Poets Society showing how you cannot rate poetry is a very good reflection on the meaning of art): just sayin' why I don't believe him to be a good writer. He got nice ideas, though :)

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I tried reading a couple of Lovecraft novels. The only one I remember is the Mountain Of Madness. And all I really remember from it:

 

1: I get the protagonist was a geologist, but sheesh. He just went on and on and on about his field of study  with little actual benefit for the story being told. Early on in the story it felt like I was reading a geology text book, not a short horror story.

 

2: At one point the character hears a sound and then Lovecraft spends half a page listing what the sound was NOT.

 

It just tasted of a student doing a writing assignment where he tries to reach the required word count by fluffing the piece with needless sentences and information. I find the concepts Lovecraft wrote about a lot more interesting than I do his actual writing. Although I might just have read the wrong ones.

Edited by Ralzar
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If anyone has not seen the production on HPL by, I believe Wyrd Films, I highly recommend it.  It's a great piece which recounts HPL's entire life with significant contributing interviews by Stuart Gordon, Neil Gaiman, and a host of other artistic and scholarly luminaries.

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While I agree that Lovecraft was extremely repetitive in his literary nature, I don't think he is a bad writer at all.  Similar to many actors who always portray the same kind of roles in every film that they're in, I believe Lovecraft has a distinctive style or flavor to his literature, and if you don't like it, you're probably not going to like most of his works.  

 

Now, I am by no means a dark, sinister, haunted person (like most of Lovecraft's protagonists,) however, I really enjoy reading the supernatural tales that Lovecraft devises nevertheless.  I think one of the main reasons I enjoy Lovecraft's stories is due to nostalgic adventure atmosphere (think Indiana Jones or the Mummy) mixed in fluidly with bizarre cosmic events that spell out certain doom for mankind.  I'll be honest in that I haven't really noticed too many racist or misogynist undertones to his stories, but those wouldn't bother me in the slightest even if I did; that was the way of the life in the time period that he lived in.  

 

For me, I never delve too deep into the "hidden meaning" of any of Lovecraft's works.  Yes, he was an atheist and probably a very troubled man himself, but I don't really consider that while I read his stories.  I simply treat them as light reading fare from the supernatural adventure genre.  Finally, reading his stories definitely allows me to enjoy board games like Eldritch Horror all the more as well.  

Edited by Karlson
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Karlson, I respect your position, and I'm happy you enjoy the games more even because you know the works of the author who inspired them :) It's also a sign that the designers did a great job while creating the narrative parts of this game, so, kudos to the FFG guys (and all those who helped with this) for the good quality final product.

 

About good and bad... allow me to make an example. Let's consider The Call of Cthulhu, part 3. We read that:

 

Johansen had returned with yellow hair turned white after a perfunctory and inconclusive questioning at Sydney, and had thereafter sold his cottage in West Street and sailed with his wife to his old home in Oslo.

 

From this sentence we learn two things:

a) the mariner and his wife had a house in Sidney. Not a rental house, but an actual house they bought to live there together. This implies some sort of stability, the intention of staying there for a long time.

b) they left to return to their "old home" in Oslo. Old implies in this case "a place they don't return to from quite a long time", and not "an old building". Hope we agree on this point.

 

Still, only two paragraphs later in the story, we read:

 

A sad-faced woman in black answered my summons, and I was stung th disappointment when she told me in halting English that Gustaf Johansen was no more.

 

How is it possible that the wife had a halting English after living in Sidney? It's an internal contraddiction. My English is still rather good, and I lived in the US only for ten months, and more than 10 years ago. This lady, who lived in Sidney and only recently returned to the "old home" in Norway has a halting English. How can her knowledge of English be so bad?

 

And this is just an example. Another way to see whether an author is good or not is the way adverbs / adjectives are used. Authors who are uncertain of their real skills tend to abuse of adverbs and adjectives (Stephen King once said, talking about JK Rowling: "there's no adverb she doesn't like!"), so that the extra written words help transmitting an emotion that the narrative should transmit alone. And so on.

 

Just talking about possible ways to look at things. As said, I enjoy some of the stories myself, and I respect all points of view. See my comment just as a reflection, and nothing more :)

Edited by Julia

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Julia,

 

     To your linguistic question...remember, that we're talking about the turn of the century when transmissions other than face-to-face interactions were extremely limited (the first transatlantic radio transmission was conducted by Marconi in 1901).  We benefit today from having all manner of linguistic stimuli from the television, radio, and the internet.  As an example, my girlfriend's mother has lived all of her life in either Hong Kong or Vancouver (both controlled, ruled, or heavily influenced by England).  To call her English "halting" would be a compliment.  The woman is very sweet, but can utter no more than a few words and not stringed together in a coherent form.  So, in the case of the sad woman in Oslo...it might not be that strange afterall. 

 

Ciao,

Joe

Edited by The Professor

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Joe,

thanks for the insighful reflection on the beginning of last century linguistic problems. Interesting point, you've widened my view on the topic :)

 

JULIA

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To return a bit to the original topic :-)
The ingame narrative seems to suggest the way Azatoth arrives on earth is via various meteor strikes and other debris from space. Of which Tunguska is suggested to be a major event. I dont have the game in front of me, but I seem to recall at least one mystery taking place there. And the description on the back of his card describes him rising out of the ground, instead of descending from space, as per "usual":
http://www.jarling-arts.com/coppermine/albums/userpics/10001/Azathoth.jpg

 

What all this seems to suggest is, that colours out of space are some lesser spawn of Azathoth :-)

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To return a bit to the original topic :-)

The ingame narrative seems to suggest the way Azatoth arrives on earth is via various meteor strikes and other debris from space. Of which Tunguska is suggested to be a major event. I dont have the game in front of me, but I seem to recall at least one mystery taking place there. And the description on the back of his card describes him rising out of the ground, instead of descending from space, as per "usual":

http://www.jarling-arts.com/coppermine/albums/userpics/10001/Azathoth.jpg

 

What all this seems to suggest is, that colours out of space are some lesser spawn of Azathoth :-)

 

Azathoth never actually arrives on Earth.  Those are his minions riding those meteors.  Azathoth has them destroy the world, and then he brings the Earth into his fold. 

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