Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A => B


And, for me, new version of Ubuntu => time to change desktop background. I don't know why I've got into the habit of doing this, but it keeps life interesting. Last time I nicked a picture of Mars off the NASA website, but this time I want something a bit more fun.

I just so happen to notice that the new version of Ubuntu has a new built-in theme: Dark. Cue a frantic search for Lovecraftesque backgrounds. Something black and murky, with slimy tentacles just visible at the edges of the light.

And I can't find a damn thing.

There are lots of pictures that use Lovecraftian monsters - shuggoths, Cthulhu of course, even a rather good one of the colour out of space. But these are all Lovecraft backgrounds, not Lovecraftesque backgrounds.

The difference is subtle, but real. Lovecraft backgrounds include his characters. Lovecraftesque backgrounds convey his flavour of cold-sweat, hair-raising uncertainty about one's place in the world*. It's the "Signs" principle: that film was a lot scarier when you couldn't actually see the damn aliens.

On the bright side, I did find a rather nice collection of steampunkania. But I want tentacles, dammit. I don't suppose anyone has any suggestions?

* Of course, in Lovecraft's stories, our place in the world is actually very clearly-defined: Cthulhu's small intestine.


Dunc said...

You might be able to grab something appropriate from the trailer for the Call of Cthulhu movie from the HPLHS... (Which I still need to order...)

As an aside, I'm curious as to where the notion that Cthulhu wants to eat people comes from... It's a rather prosaic threat, more suited to Stephen King. Cthulhu is not so crude.

[CAPTCHA: cones. A Shadow Out Of Time reference? ;)]

Lifewish said...

Well, I got it from Cambridge University Worshippers of Cthulhu Society, an authoritative source if there ever was one. Nice people. I do recommend checking out their poster collection.

More generally, I think eating people is easier for our fragile human minds to comprehend than most of the more... complex alternatives. That's why I tend not to bring them up in casual conversation. Cthulhu is perfectly capable of sending people insane en masse without my help.

[Captcha: unsili. Unholy indeed.]

Dunc said...

Oh, it's certainly a widely-spread idea... Me, I've always thought the mythos started going off the rails when August Derleth decided the Great Old Ones were elementals. If Cthulhu's a water elemental, then why does the ocean block his power?

There's certainly no mention of anyone being eaten in The Call of Cthulhu, which is about as authoritative as sources get... I suspect it was introduced in the RPG.

Lifewish said...

I always thought Derleth kinda missed the point. The whole idea of the Mythos is that it can't be fitted into any sort of logical framework. Cthulhu the water elemental is a lot less scary than Cthulhu the whatthehellisthatHANDattheWINDOW.

I regret to say I have never played the RPG, or the video game for that matter. I realise that this may lose me my place as one of Cthulhu's chosen (e.g. those he's saving for dessert) when he rises. Are they worth investigating?

Dunc said...

There's a video game now?

As for the RPG, I have technically played it, but it was towards the closing stages of a 48-hour marathon, so I can't remember anything about it...

As for Derleth, there's always the possibility that he was deliberately missing the point, after HPL realised he had given too much away... ;)

Lifewish said...

Hey, if you can't attribute conspiracies to a gigantic tentacular alien monstrosity with mind-control powers and a dislike of early mornings and/or millennia, what can you attribute conspiracies to?

All hail our new Great Old One overlords! May their reign be long, and their hunger satiated far away from our homes and families...