Sunday, June 22, 2014
Crossover of the Week
THE UNWRAPPING PARTY
Charles St. Cyprian, the Royal Occultist, lives at 472 Cheyne Walk. St. Cyprian had been an apprentice to Thomas Carnacki before the Great War, just as Carnacki had been to Edwin Drood. St. Cyprian owns lurid artwork by Goya, Blake, and Pickman. The Royal Occultists’ library once included books by Dee, Strange, and Subtle, as well as lost Pnakotic texts. St. Cyprian receives an invitation from the Esoteric Order of Thoth-Ra, which has poached members from the Mausoleum Club, the Bell Club, and the Drones. The self-proclaimed Grand Vizier of the Esoteric Order is Edward Bellingham. St. Cyprian remembers listening to Carnacki’s stories with Dodgson and Arkwright and others. St. Cyprian refers to the ancient Egyptians’ obsession with cats, including “whole temples devoted to Ulthar’s own, what?” Going up against the Sisterhood of the Rats or the Si-Fan is not something St. Cyprian looks forward to. St. Cyprian recognizes the scent of a mixture of certain strange unguents, having been shown how to mix them by Carnacki, from a recipe recorded in the Sigsand Manuscript. Bellingham intends to unwrap the mummy of Nephren-Ka, the Black Pharaoh. The cult leader says that Nephren-Ka was the equal to the sorcerer kings of the lost antediluvian kingdoms named in the Chaldean Fragments or the Cimmerian Scrolls. St. Cyprian learned how to open his spirit eye from a Tibetan lama of his acquaintance, who has what St. Cyprian considers an unhealthy fascination for the color green. St. Cyprian thinks that Nephren-Ka was already dead, “and what was dead could likely eternal lie, to misquote Alhazred.”
Short story by Josh Reynolds in Pro Se Presents, Lee Houston, Jr., ed., Pro Se Press, August 2012. Thomas Carnacki, “the Ghost-Finder,” appeared in a series of stories by William Hope Hodgson. Carnacki lived at 472 Cheyne Walk in Hodgson’s stories, and the house was passed to St. Cyprian after the War. The Carnacki stories were presented as tales being told by Carnacki to his friends, including Arkwright and Dodgson. The Sigsand Manuscript is also from the Carnacki tales. The Edwin Drood who served as Royal Occultist is probably a relative of the title character of Charles Dickens’ unfinished novel The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Pickman is painter Richard Upton Pickman is from H.P. Lovecraft’s story “Pickman’s Model.” Pnakotic texts are a reference to the Pnakotic Manuscripts, which appear in several stories of Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. Ulthar is from Lovecraft’s story “The Cats of Ulthar.” Nephren-Ka is from another Lovecraft story, “The Haunter of the Dark.” In the Cthulhu Mythos, Abdul Alhazred is the author of the Necronomicon, which includes the line “That is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strange aeons even death may die,” as quoted in “The Call of Cthulhu.” Strange is probably an ancestor of Dr. Stephen Strange, aka the Sorcerer Supreme, a character published by Marvel Comics. Subtle is from Ben Jonson’s play The Alchemist. The Mausoleum Club is from the British radio comedy show Tales from the Mausoleum Club. The Bell Club is from the anthology Tales from the Bell Club, edited by Paul Mannering. The Drones Club includes many of P.G. Wodehouse’s characters among its members. Some of the Drones Club stories were collected as Tales from the Drones Club. Edward Bellingham is from Arthur Conan Doyle’s short story “Lot No. 249.” The Si-Fan is the secret society run by Fu Manchu in Sax Rohmer’s novels. Cimmeria is the home of Conan. The Tibetan lama is Kendall Crossen’s pulp hero the Green Lama.