DREAM LANDS REVISITED
Updated: Oct 22, 2017
2017 SEP 15 - I am a fan of Lovecraft's Dreamlands and, like that old odd prophet of Providence, was been first introduced the the lands "beyond the fields we know" by the esteemed Lord Dunsany. Kudos to the late Lin Carter for shepherding the works of both back into print in the late-lamented Ballantine Books' Adult Fantasy series of the late 1960's and early 1970's.
Dunsany was Lovecraft's inspiration and Lovecraft in turn inspired other authors to foray deep into the Dreamlands of his own invention with its "sleeping cities of bronze and stone, and of shadowy companies of heroes that ride caparisoned white horses along the edges of thick forests" [Celephais].
These authors include Gary Myers (The Country of the Worm) whose tales are darker and depict a Dreamlands more of nightmare; and Brian Lumley (Hero of Dreams, Ship of Dreams, Mad Moon of Dreams, Iced on Iran) whose tales are classic Leiber-esque Sword and Sorcery adventures. Lovecraft's Dreamland tales have inspired a graphic novelization by Jason Thompson who also crafted a Dreamland map (incorporating Lovecraft, Dunsany, and Myers), role playing games [Chaosium] and cards; and even inspired a crowd-funded film adaption, now in production.
And now: "One of NPR's Best Books of 2016 and a Hugo, Nebula, John W. Campbell, and Locus Award finalist for Best Novella": Kij Johnson's The Dream-Quest of Vellit Boe [Tor, 2016] uniquely provides a female protagonist from H. P. Lovecraft's Dreamlands. The tale provides modern and appropriately feminist insights on HPL's world (both dream and reality), the men of his time (and too often currently) in regard to male self-absorption, as well as insights on Capriciousness (which I purposefully capitalize here) - of men, gods/religion, existence -- which is the essential nature of the Dreamlands and makes, by comparison, our own world seem paradisiacally dreamy.
And more authors are finding their way down the the seventy steps to the cavern of flame to the bearded priests Nasht and Kaman-Thah and from there descend the seven hundred steps to the Gate of Deeper Slumber and out through the Enchanted Wood "whose low prodigious oaks twine groping boughs and shine dim with the phosphorescence of strange fungi."
Next jaunts to the land of Dunsany-Lovecraftian Dream? There is Jonathan L Howard's novel "Johannes Cabal: The Fear Institute" [St Martins, 2014] and David Barber and W H Pugmire's "In The Gulf of Dreams" [Dark Renaissance Books, 2015].
Ironically, I suppose I need share, what else is a gentleman with chronic insomnia to do at night but read tales of Dreamland.