THE PECULIAR CATS OF THE SEA OF DREAMS
Ismeddin guides Madame Palmyre, Victoria Custer, Mademoiselle Kephra, and Renée to Atlänaat, where they seek a Dreamer. The ladies, after eating drugged fruit, awaken in a vault that has carvings in Arabic script from the writings of an Arab scholar of centuries past, which an American translated as, “That does not sleep, which doth eternal lie, and in strange aeons, even death may die.” Victoria wants to find her lover, Nu, son of Nu, who her brother says she only dreamed was alive. Madame Palmyre believes the Dreamer is her former lover, a god known variously as Azathoth, Cthulhu, Mana-Yood-Sushai, and Baal. The Dreamer sends them to Earth’s Dreamlands. The women meet Randolph Carter, formerly of Boston and currently of Celephaïs. Carter’s bookshelves hold titles such as Astral and Astarral Co-Ordination and Interference, the Black Tome of Alsophocus, the Seven Cryptical Books of Hsan, and the Necronomicon. Carter says his passions are reserved for his books, cats, and his quest to see the Great Ones in their unknown home of Kadath. A cat who gained the power to speak in the waking world after eating his master’s parrot guides the women and Carter past the turquoise temple of Nath-Horthath. Victoria is abducted by men who take her to the Black Galleys, which typically frequent the port of Dylath-Leen. Carter says a shantak-bird could fly his friends to Dylath-Leen, but he does not know how to summon them. Instead, they are transported inside a strange catlike creature. Our heroines confront the men from Leng, as well as creatures resembling bipedal frogs with pink tentacles where their faces should be.
Short story by Matthew Baugh in Tales of the Shadowmen Volume 16: Voir Dire, Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier, eds., Black Coat Press, 2019; reprinted in French in Les Compagnons de l’Ombre (Tome 27), Jean-Marc Lofficier, ed., Rivière Blanche, 2020. Ismeddin is the protagonist of a series of stories by E. Hoffmann Price. Atlänaat and the Dreamer are from Price’s stories “The Dreamer of Atlänaat” and “A Jest and a Vengeance.” Madame Palmyre and Baal are from Renée Dunan’s novel Baal. Victoria Custer and Nu are from Edgar Rice Burroughs’ The Eternal Lover. Victoria’s brother Barney is the protagonist of Burroughs’ The Mad King. Mademoiselle Kephra is Cleo Kefra from Jack Mann’s Gees novels Maker of Shadows and The Ninth Life. The Arab scholar is Abdul Alhazred, and the passage quoted is from his Necronomicon, one of the occult tomes of Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. Azathoth and Cthulhu are also from the Mythos. Mana-Yood-Sushai is from Lord Dunsany’s The Gods of Pegana. The Dreamlands are from Lovecraft and Price’s “Through the Gates of the Silver Key” and the other tales in Lovecraft’s Dream Cycle. Celephaïs is from Lovecraft’s story of the same name, as well as the Dream Cycle tale “The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath,” as is Nath-Horthath. Astral and Astarral Co-Ordination and Interference is from William Hope Hodgson’s “The Whistling Room,” a tale of Carnacki, the ghost-finder. The Black Tome of Alsophocus is from Lovecraft and Martin S. Warnes’ titular story. The Seven Cryptical Books of Hsan are from “The Other Gods” and “The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath.” Kadath is seen or mentioned in several of Lovecraft’s stories. The talking cat is from Joann Sfar’s comic book The Rabbi’s Cat. The Black Galleys, Dylath-Leen, the shantak-birds, the Men of Leng, and the froglike creatures (the Moon-beasts) are from “The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath.” The Catbus is from the animated film My Neighbor Totoro.
This crossover write-up is one of hundreds included in my book Crossovers Expanded: A Secret Chronology of the World Volume 3, to be published by Meteor House! Much like the first two volumes, this book is an AUTHORIZED companion to Win Scott Eckert's Crossovers: A Secret Chronology of the World Volumes 1 and 2!