Showing posts from March, 2024

The Night Ocean

R.H. Barlow with H.P. Lovecraft, "The Night Ocean" in The Californian vol. 4, no. 3 (Winter 1936). Read the story here at the H.P. Lovecraft Archive This is a spectacular study of the weirdness evoked by the ocean, particularly the ocean at night. Barlow describes the effects of the sea on our conceptions of self as he recounts an extended stay at a lonely beach house just outside the town of Ellston. The language, the themes, and the way this story's elements work together make it one of the best Lovecraft collaborations ever published.   Human beings have a primal and deep psychological connection to the ocean. As a source of fear, awe, and beauty, the sea represents the unknown, the vast, and the source from which all life evolved. In this story, Barlow handles a well-worn theme of cosmic horror—that is, our insignificance—in a thought-provoking way that manages not to just repeat the same genre theme we've come to expect from cosmicism. Sure the night ocean has th