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The Book of Power: Evaluating the Necronomicon

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.necronomicon,alt.horror.cthulhu
From: Abaddon 
Subject: Re: The Book of Power: Evaluating the Necronomicon (was ...)
Date: Fri, 10 Mar 2000 10:44:43 -0700 wrote:

> No review, per se, but its contents include a number of fictional
> stories, the texts of the Sussex Manuscript (the first fan
> Necronomicon) and the Carter version (the one which Mr. Prinn
> keeps bringing up), plus Price's "Critical Commentary on the
> Necronomicon".  The latter alone is worth the price of admission
> for such a task as you have outlined.
> --
> Yrs.,
> Daniel Harms

Just completed that volume.  There are a few okay short stories in which
the "Necronomicon" figures (though at times only tangentally), and one
excellent story by Fred Chappell "the Adder", which I have seen in other

As for Carter's "Necronomicon", well, don't bother reading it unless you
are either a hard-core Lovecraft scholar or masochist.  It is a mishmash
of lines lifted from HPL, Derleth and other rather poor Lovecraftian
authors.  It is too long, boring, full of references that sound like
Carter made them up as he went along.  To put it suscintly, it is one of
the worst pieces of pastiche I have ever read.

Fred Pelton's "the Sussex Manuscript" is much much better both as a
piece of fiction and as a "translation" of the Necronomicon.  It works
on many levels, provides a G vs E interpretation of the Mythos that is
much more plausible than Derleth or Carter, and at least attempts to
sound and look like a contemporary manuscript (supposed Medieval
English) in which Pelton actually does a half way decent job (my
specialization in my English BA is Middle English Literature).

Price's psuedo-scholarly "A Critical Commentary on . . ." is the jewel
of the collection and is worth the cover price alone.  Price has enough
skill and knowledge to pull of a critical paper on a non-existant book
and make it sound real.  His editorial and fiction skills shine and he's
not a half bad scholar either.

If you are going to buy this volume, do so for the fiction and Price's
essay.  Skip Carter's overlong travesty altogether, and get right to the
good stuff.



"We live on a placid island of ignorance
in the midst of black seas of infinity,
and it was not meant that we should voyage far. . ."
                                               --H.P. Lovecraft

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