Showing posts from April, 2023

True Detective, S1E2, "Seeing Things"

SEEING THINGS "I closed my eyes and saw the King in Yellow moving through the forest."                                                     -  from the diary of Dora Lange In fact, there is much to see in this second episode, and plenty of yellow references to keep your juices flowing. Aside from the imagery that we’ll come to below, we get our first direct references to Carcosa and the King in Yellow, most notable in the discovery of Dora Lange’s diary. In the glimpse of the diary shown on screen, we see that Dora has handwritten excerpts of Cassilda’s Song. Readers of Chambers will recognize the verse that opens the book The King in Yellow :                Along the shore the cloud waves break,                The twin suns sink behind the lake,                The shadows lengthen                           In Carcosa.                Strange is the night where black stars rise,                  And strange moons circle through the skies                But stranger still is   

An Inhabitant of Carcosa

  Ambrose Bierce, "An Inhabitant of Carcosa," in Tales of Soldiers and Civilians  (E. L. G. Steele: 1891). Read the story here on Gutenburg There is a common view that when writing The King in Yellow , Robert W. Chambers simply borrowed a few names that he liked from Ambrose Bierce, and that is where the influence stops. For example, Chambers uses the names "Carcosa", "Hali," and "Hastur," all of which were first in the Bierce. The consensus is that the use of those names doesn't signal any deeper connection to Beirce's work. That view is worth reconsidering, particularly in light of the story "An Inhabitant of Carcosa." I hope that interpretations of The King in Yellow  benefit by recognizing a deeper connection and the influence that Bierce's work had on Chambers and the King in Yellow mythos.      I'll mention two general ways that these story connect. First, Chambers adopts some of Bierce's eerie visual descripti

True Detective, S1E1, "The Long Bright Dark"

INTRODUCTION It has been several years for me since first watching season one of HBO’s True Detective , and it's time to revisit the series with an eye toward bringing out some of the themes and issues prevalent in much of the weird fiction considered here on Weird Murmur. I’ll take each of the episodes in turn, drawing out ties to the series’ inspirational roots found in Thomas Ligotti, Karl Edward Wagner, H.P. Lovecraft, Robert W. Chambers, and others. These murmurs will assume familiarity with the episode under discussion and so I won’t provide much in the way of summary. Diving right in, the name of the series, “ True Detective ,” sounds like a title fit for a newsstand pulp sitting alongside magazines like Amazing Stories, Dime Detective, Doc Savage , and Weird Tales . As it turns out, there was just such a true crime pulp using that title, and it had quite a long run. It will be interesting to see whether the story shares much in common with the style popular in the heyday