Hastur

Hastur (The Unspeakable One, The King in Yellow, Him Who Is Not to be Named, Assatur, Xastur, H'aaztre, or Kaiwan) is an entity of the Cthulhu Mythos. Hastur first appeared in Ambrose Bierce's short story "Haïta the Shepherd" (1893) as a benign god of shepherds. Hastur is briefly mentioned in H.P. Lovecraft's The Whisperer in Darkness; previously, Robert W. Chambers had used the name in his own stories to represent both a person and a place associated with the names of several stars, including Aldebaran.[1]

Hastur-the-Unspeakable-Robert-M-Price
Hastur the Unspeakable as he appears in August Derleth's short story "The Gable Window". Illustration by Robert M. Price published in Crypt of Cthulhu #6 "August Derleth Issue", St. John's Eve 1982.

Hastur in the mythos

In Bierce's "Haïta the Shepherd", which appeared in the collection Can Such Things Be?, Hastur is more benevolent than he would later appear in August Derleth's mythos stories. Another story in the same collection ("An Inhabitant of Carcosa") referred to the place "Carcosa" and a person "Hali", names which later authors were to associate with Hastur.

In Chambers' The King in Yellow (1895), a collection some of which are horror stories, Hastur is the name of a potentially supernatural character (in "The Demoiselle D'Ys"), a place (in "The Repairer of Reputations"), and mentioned without explanation in "The Yellow Sign". The latter two stories also mention Carcosa, Hali, Aldebaran, and the Hyades, along with a "Yellow Sign" and a play called The King in Yellow.

H. P. Lovecraft read Chambers' book in early 1927[2] and was so enchanted by it that he added elements of it to his own creations.[3] There are two places in Lovecraft's own writings in which Hastur is mentioned:

I found myself faced by names and terms that I had heard elsewhere in the most hideous of connections—Yuggoth, Great Cthulhu, Tsathoggua, Yog-Sothoth, R'lyeh, Nyarlathotep, Azathoth, Hastur, Yian, Leng, the Lake of Hali, Bethmoora, the Yellow Sign, L’mur-Kathulos, Bran and the Magnum Innominandum—and was drawn back through nameless aeons and inconceivable dimensions to worlds of elder, outer entity at which the crazed author of the Necronomicon had only guessed in the vaguest way. —H. P. Lovecraft, "The Whisperer in Darkness"

It is unclear from this quote if Lovecraft's Hastur is a person, a place, an object (such as the Yellow Sign), or a deity. This ambiguity is recurrent in Lovecraft's descriptions of mythic entities.

Later in the same story, it is described that the Mi-Go have been attacked by followers of Hastur, and that Hastur is an enemy of the Outer Ones that the Mi-Go serve:

Actually, they have never knowingly harmed men, but have often been cruelly wronged and spied upon by our species. There is a whole secret cult of evil men (a man of your mystical erudition will understand me when I link them with Hastur and the Yellow Sign) devoted to the purpose of tracking them down and injuring them on behalf of monstrous powers from other dimensions. It is against these aggressors—not against normal humanity—that the drastic precautions of the Outer Ones are directed. —H. P. Lovecraft, "The Whisperer in Darkness"

  • In "Supernatural Horror In Literature" (written 1926–27, revised 1933, published in The Recluse in 1927), when telling about "The Yellow Sign" by Chambers, H. P. Lovecraft wrote:

"... after stumbling queerly upon the hellish and forbidden book of horrors the two learn, among other hideous things which no sane mortal should know, that this talisman is indeed the nameless Yellow Sign handed down from the accursed cult of Hastur—from primordial Carcosa, whereof the volume treats..."

  • In Chambers' "The Yellow Sign" the only mentioning of Hastur is:

"...We spoke of Hastur and of Cassilda..."

So, judging from these two quotes, it is quite possible that H. P. Lovecraft not only recognized Hastur as one of the mythos gods, but even made him so recalling Chambers' book.

Derleth also developed Hastur into a Great Old One,[4] spawn of Yog-Sothoth, the half-brother of Cthulhu, and possibly the Magnum Innominandum. In this incarnation, Hastur has several Avatars:

  • The Feaster from Afar, a black, shriveled, flying monstrosity with tentacles tipped with razor-sharp talons that can pierce a victim's skull and siphon out the brain[5]
  • The King in Yellow.

Anders Fager's "Collected Swedish Cults" features a Stockholm-based coterie known as "The Carcosa Foundation" that worships Hastur.[6]

Hastur is amorphous, but he is said to appear as a vast, vaguely octopoid being, similar to his half-niece Cthylla.

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ Harms, The Encyclopedia Cthulhiana, p. 136.
  2. ^ Joshi & Schultz, "Chambers, Robert William", An H. P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia, p. 38
  3. ^ Pearsall, "Yellow Sign", The Lovecraft Lexicon, p. 436.
  4. ^ Derleth once entertained the notion of calling Lovecraft's mythos the Mythology of Hastur—an idea that Lovecraft summarily rejected when he heard it. (Robert M. Price, "The Mythology of Hastur", The Hastur Cycle, p. i.)
  5. ^ Joseph Payne Brennan (1976), "The Feaster from Afar", The Hastur Cycle (2nd ed.), pp. 272–82.
  6. ^ Fager, Anders, "Samlade Svenska Kulter"

References

  • Gaiman, Neil; Terry Pratchett (1996). Good Omens. p. 213. ISBN 978-0-441-00325-9.
  • Harms, Daniel (1998). "Hastur". The Encyclopedia Cthulhiana (2nd ed.). Oakland, CA: Chaosium. pp. 136–7. ISBN 1-56882-119-0.
  • Joshi, S. T.; David E. Schultz (2001). An H. P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-31578-7.
  • Pearsall, Anthony B. (2005). The Lovecraft Lexicon (1st ed.). Tempe, AZ: New Falcon. ISBN 1-56184-129-3.
  • Price, Robert M. (ed.) (1997). The Hastur Cycle (2nd ed.). Oakland, CA: Chaosium. ISBN 1-56882-094-1.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)

External links

Exile's Song

Exile’s Song is a science fantasy novel by American writers Marion Zimmer Bradley and Adrienne Martine-Barnes, part of the Darkover series. It was first published in hardcover by DAW Books in 1996. The book takes place during the era of Darkover's history known as the second age post-Comyn and after the coming of the Terrans.

The book is part of a trilogy within the series comprising Exile's Song, The Shadow Matrix and Traitor's Sun. It takes place fifteen years before Traitor's Sun.

Exile's Song represents a dramatic alteration of Bradley's view of the masculine/feminine, technological/ecological, Terran/Darkover dichotomies that she has explored throughout the Darkover series. In her earliest Darkover writing (1960s), she portrayed the planet's semi-feudal culture as played-out and in need of saving by the technologically superior Terrans. In the middle period (1970s-1980s), the books display a growing ambivalence to both views In Exile's Song, Bradley reverses direction exclusively in favor of the feminine/ecological/Darkover view, describing the Terran Federation as played-out. This makes Exile's Song a pivotal book in the development of the series.

Hastur Lord

Hastur Lord is a science fantasy novel by American writers Marion Zimmer Bradley and Deborah J. Ross in the Darkover series. It was first published by in hardcover by DAW Books in 1996. The book falls in the part of the Darkover timeline that the author called "Against the Terrans: The Second Age (after the Comyn)".

Hastur Lord is an allegory, illustrating the consequences to a religiously pluralistic planet, when a small group of monotheistic fundamentalists tries to impose their will on a larger society that doesn't share their views.

In terms of Darkover's timeline, the book takes place ten years after The World Wreckers.

Hawkmistress!

Hawkmistress! is a science fantasy novel by American writer Marion Zimmer Bradley, part of the Darkover series at the end of Ages of Chaos, in the period of Darkover's history known as the Hundred Kingdoms. Chapters 35 and 46–50 of Zandru's Forge overlap with the story in Hawkmistress!.

In Hawkmistress!, Bradley explores issues regarding the right to self-determination of minors, the place of women in a traditional society, and the conflicts between Darkover's two major religious belief systems. She also continues the theme of Darkover society's developing acceptance of homosexuality, through the character of Orain.

Leviathan (2000 AD)

Leviathan is a horror comic series created by Ian Edginton and D'Israeli and, which appeared in the British magazine 2000 AD starting in 2003.

The story is set on a mile-long ocean liner (the Leviathan of the title) which has been transported to some sort of parallel world with no land or landmarks. The story appeared in ten parts followed by three stand alone "Tales of the Leviathan" which expanded on the history of the ship as well as featuring new characters.

Ian Edginton has described it as "Agatha Christie meets Silent Hill."

List of Darkover books

The following books are set in the fictional world of Darkover and were written, co-authored, edited or started by Marion Zimmer Bradley.

Rediscovery

Rediscovery is a science fantasy novel by American writers Marion Zimmer Bradley and Mercedes Lackey, part of the Darkover series of novels and short stories published in the United States since 1958. It was first published by DAW Books in 1993.

Rediscovery deals with Earth's reestablishment of contact with the lost human colony on the planet Darkover after centuries of societal development on the colony world. It presents the backstory necessary for understanding The Sword of Aldones, Sharra's Exile, and The Heritage of Hastur. The story take place between 2,000 and 5,000 years after human colonization of the planet in Darkover Landfall.

Sharra's Exile

Sharra's Exile is a science fantasy novel by American writer Marion Zimmer Bradley. Part of the Darkover series, it is a sequel to The Heritage of Hastur. This novel is a complete rewrite of The Sword of Aldones published by Ace in 1962. The second chapter of book one (pages 39 to 57) of Sharra's Exile was previously published in a slightly different form as a short story entitled "Blood Will Tell" in The Keeper's Price.

Sharra's Exile falls in the part of the Darkover timeline that the author called "Against the Terrans: The Second Age (after the Comyn)".

Small snub icosicosidodecahedron

In geometry, the small snub icosicosidodecahedron or snub disicosidodecahedron is a uniform star polyhedron, indexed as U32. It has 112 faces (100 triangles and 12 pentagrams), 180 edges, and 60 vertices. Its stellation core is a truncated pentakis dodecahedron. It also called a holosnub icosahedron, ß{3,5}.

The 40 non-snub triangular faces form 20 coplanar pairs, forming star hexagons that are not quite regular. Unlike most snub polyhedra, it has reflection symmetries.

Star of Danger

Star of Danger is a science fantasy novel by American writer Marion Zimmer Bradley, part of her Darkover series. It was first published by Ace Books in 1965.

Bradley states in "Author's Notes on Chronology" that in her view, Star of Danger occurs about thirty years after the events in The Spell Sword.

Stormqueen!

Stormqueen! is a science fantasy novel by American writer Marion Zimmer Bradley, part of the Darkover series. Originally published in 1978, it was republished in 2002 as part of the Ages of Chaos omnibus.Stormqueen! occurs two hundred years prior to Two To Conquer, in the period of Darkover's history known as the Ages of Chaos. The underlying theme of Stormqueen! is a breeding program, undertaken over centuries, to produce stronger laran gifts, resulting in individuals like Dorilys and Allart, whose gifts are potentially lethal.

Though it is mentioned as an aside, this book contains the moment in the Darkovan timeline when the Ridenow of the Dry Towns overtake the Serrais domain, merging into Ridenow of Serrais.

The Alton Gift

The Alton Gift is a science fiction novel by American writers Marion Zimmer Bradley and Deborah J. Ross in the Darkover series. It was first published by in hardcover by DAW Books in 2007. The book is the first in the "Children of Kings" trilogy.

In terms of Darkover's timeline, the book starts three years after the death of Regis Hastur in Traitor's Sun, and is a continuation of that story. The book falls in the Darkover time period that the publisher has labeled "Modern Darkover", which succeeds the departure of the Terran Federation.

The Fall of Neskaya

The Fall of Neskaya is a science fantasy novel by American writers Marion Zimmer Bradley and Deborah J. Ross, part of the Darkover series. Set in The Hundred Kingdoms time period, the book is the first in a three-novel series subtitled The Clingfire Trilogy. The Fall of Neskaya is followed by Zandru's Forge, which take place about 25 years later.The books in The Clingfire Trilogy explore, by analogy, the concept of mutually assured destruction and the use of chemical weapons whose consequences are beyond the control of the user. Bradley's "Compact" gives the Darkovans a way out of this trap through a moral agreement to abjure any weapons that do not place the users within arms' reach of each other (i.e. swords and knives). This development in Darkover's social order and its author, Varzil the Good, is referenced in most of the earlier and later books, but had not been fully explored before this trilogy.

Damian Deslucido and his brother, Rumail, exhibit a Macbeth-Lady Macbeth relationship: Rumail's raw ambition drives his rather hollow brother to excesses of power that he would not have sought on his own, and ultimately destroys both of them.

The story of the Deslucido brothers is told as an old legend in Dorothy J. Heydt's "The Wind Man" in the 1993 Darkover anthology Towers of Darkover, though the surname is not explicitly mentioned.

The Heirs of Hammerfell

The Heirs of Hammerfell is a science fantasy novel by American writer Marion Zimmer Bradley, part of her Darkover series. It was first published by in hardcover by DAW Books in 1989. The book takes place during the era of Darkover's history known as the Hundred Kingdoms. This is the last book in the Darkover series written entirely by Bradley without the assistance of a co-author.

The Heritage of Hastur

The Heritage of Hastur is a science fantasy novel by American writer Marion Zimmer Bradley, part of the Darkover series. It was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1975. It explores sexual themes, particularly the view that homosexuality is a normal variant of human sexuality.The Heritage of Hastur is set in what Bradley called Darkover's Second Age Against the Terrans (after the Comyn). In The Bloody Sun, Lew Alton is described as age 11, which suggests that this book takes place 10–15 years later.

The King in Yellow

The King in Yellow is a book of short stories by American writer Robert W. Chambers, first published by F. Tennyson Neely in 1895. The book is named after a play with the same title which recurs as a motif through some of the stories. The first half of the book features highly esteemed weird stories, and the book has been described by critics such as E. F. Bleiler, S. T. Joshi and T. E. D. Klein as a classic in the field of the supernatural. There are ten stories, the first four of which ("The Repairer of Reputations", "The Mask", "In the Court of the Dragon", and "The Yellow Sign") mention The King in Yellow, a forbidden play which induces despair or madness in those who read it. "The Yellow Sign" inspired a film of the same name released in 2001.

The British first edition was published by Chatto & Windus in 1895 (316 pages).

The Planet Savers

The Planet Savers is a science fantasy novel by American writer Marion Zimmer Bradley, part of her Darkover series. It was first published in book form in English by Ace Books in 1962, dos-à-dos with Bradley's novel The Sword of Aldones. The story first appeared in the November 1958 issue of the magazine Amazing Stories. It subsequently appeared in a German translation in 1960 with additional chapters added that were not by the author.The Planet Savers takes place at least 152 years after the events described in Rediscovery.

Traitor's Sun

Traitor’s Sun is a science fiction novel by American writers Marion Zimmer Bradley and Adrienne Martine-Barnes in the Darkover series. It was first published by in hardcover by DAW Books in 1998. The book falls in the Darkover time periods that the author called "Against the Terrans: The Second Age (after the Comyn)".

In terms of Darkover's timeline, the book starts fifteen years after The Shadow Matrix, and is a continuation of that story.

Two to Conquer

Two To Conquer is a science fantasy novel by American writer Marion Zimmer Bradley; it is part of the Darkover series, set at the end of Ages of Chaos, in the period of Darkover's history known as the Hundred Kingdoms. The book's introduction places it two hundred years after the events in the book entitled Stormqueen!. at the end of the Ages of Chaos, and the start of the Hundred Kingdoms.The book includes several key events in the Darkover chronology, including the creation of The Compact by Varzil the Good, the destruction of Hali Tower, and the beginnings of merger between the priestesses of Avarra and the warriors of the Sisterhood of the Sword. The events of this book overlap with Book VI of Zandru's Forge.

Zandru's Forge

Zandru's Forge is a science fantasy novel by American writers Marion Zimmer Bradley and Deborah J. Ross, part of the Darkover series; it is set in The Hundred Kingdoms era, at the end of the Ages of Chaos. This book is also part two of the Clingfire Trilogy.

The events in this book start about 20 years after the end of The Fall of Neskaya. Chapters 35 and 46–50 overlap with Hawkmistress!. The end of the book describes Varzil Ridenow being appointed Keeper of Neskaya, so the book takes place before Two To Conquer.

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