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Paperback The Hastur Cycle: 13 Tales That Created and Define Dread Hastur, of the King in Yellow, Nighted Yuggoth, and Dire Carcosa (Call of Cthulhu Books) Book

ISBN: 1568820097

ISBN13: 9781568820095

The Hastur Cycle: 13 Tales That Created and Define Dread Hastur, of the King in Yellow, Nighted Yuggoth, and Dire Carcosa (Call of Cthulhu Books)

(Part of the Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu books Series)

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Book Overview

The stories in this book evoke an evil rarely rivaled in horror writing, representing the whole evolving trajectory of such notions as Hastur, the King in Yellow, Carcosa, the Yellow Sign, the Black... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

the King in Yellow unmasked

Another of Chaosium's attempts to create order from the chaotic allusional stew that forms the so-called Cthulhu Mythos. This volume takes a look at the roots and branches of Robert W Chambers' story-cycle The King in Yellow, wherein the eponymous play brings madness and doom to those who read it. Like with any analogy the stoires vary in quality, but there are some good ones here. "Repairer of Reputations" is Chambers' ambigous and unsettling tale of a futuristic 1920 (it was written in 1895) and is either about a plot to restore America's monarch, or of a man's descent into madness--or both. "River of Night's Dreaming" by Karl Edward Wagner's is a psychosexual story of mental breakdown reminiscent of some of the work of David Lynch. Other highlights are Machen's "The Novel of the Black Seal" and Lovecraft's "Whisperer in the Dark." Robert M. Price's insights and digressions bridge the stories and serve to suggest interpretations or to highlight points of connection.

Have You Found the Yellow Sign?

After playing the D20 adventure, "Death in Freeport," my interest was piqued in the Unspeakable One and the Brotherhood of the Yellow Sign. As it turns out, both were inspired by Hastur and the Yellow Sign. So I decided to go to the source and read the original stories that helped craft the mythology of the Great Old One known as Hastur and his crazy book, "The King in Yellow." Briefly, Hastur is both a place and a being. He/it is loosely connected to the cities of Carcosa, Yhtill, and Alar. Hastur and Alar are divided in a battle of succession. Yhtill is a city of the past, while Carcosa is a haunted city of the future. All of the cities are near Lake Hali. The cities are on a planet near the star Aldebaran in the Hyades, a planet with two moons and two suns. The inhabitants may be black or white (sources disagree). What they all agree on is that the Phantom of Truth appears during the siege between the two cities. The Phantom wears a mask and tells everyone else to wear a mask to avoid the appearance of the King in Yellow, who will ultimately usurp all royal successors thereafter. So everyone wears a mask, including the jaded and bitter Queen Camilla, her clueless daughter Cassilda, and her two sons Thale and Uoht. The plan is that by wearing masks, everyone will be saved from the King in Yellow's inevitable appearance. But the King in Yellow easily thwarts the Phantom of Truth, and he thereafter declares that everyone must wear a mask as well as the yellow sign, a squiggly three-armed symbol. Sometimes Hastur is described as the King in Yellow, sometimes he's described as the Phantom of Truth, and sometimes he looks an awful lot like Cthulhu. Oh yeah, someone transcribed all of this down into a play. If you read it or watch it, you go mad. Or you slowly get drawn into the play. Or the characters from the play come after you. It's complicated. The Second Edition of the Hastur Cycle contains 14 different stories, all of them collected by Robert M. Price into one volume. They are loosely connected by the mythology of Hastur. I'll try to elaborate on each story and make sense of it all...without going mad. "Haita the Shepherd" and "An Inhabitant of Carcosa" are both by Ambrose Bierce, he of the "Devil's Dictionary." In "Haita the Shepherd", a shepherd struggles in a relentless pursuit of a beautiful woman, who turns out to be an ideal. It's a bittersweet commentary on life. In "Inhabitant," we discover that Bierce invented the Sixth Sense plot twist before M. Night Shyamalan. They're both short and neither are particularly riveting to a modern audience. HASTUR: In "Haita," Hastur is a benevolent deity of shepherds that Haita prays to. Occasionally, Hastur does nice things for Haita. But he doesn't have much of a role. In "Inhabitant," we have...well, an inhabitant of the city of Carcosa. He refers to Hali as a person, not a lake. Robert W. Chambers wrote the next two stories, "The Repairer of Reputations

Fun with the Cthulhoids

Chaosium starts an attempt to make the works of HP Lovecraft and his followers accessible to fans who haven't subscribed to the esoteric fanzines. The series ranges between general anthologies of mythos stories, works by a single author and studies of certain aspects of the mythos. This book is of the 3rd variety and gives us the history of Hastur. We get works by Lovecraft, Derleth, Chambers and others while tracing the concept of Hastur in the stories. This is an excellent way to get introduced to the classic horror of Chambers King in Yellow. These eerie works are best in short doses as given here. Couple that with a Lovecraft classic and a story by Will Murray (the hardest working man in pulp these days) and you've got yourself a feast of great horror stories. This book is also a good intro to horror fans who haven't discovered Lovecraft yet. Yes, it's like a private eye fan who doesn't know Hammett, but they both exist.

My first Cthulhu Mythos Fiction book, but not my last...

THE HASTUR CYCLE was a very entertaining book of frightening short stories. Some of the stories didn't make sense to me(this may be because I'm just a teenager), but most of them were good. I enjoyed this book immensely, especially Lovecraft's short story "THE WHISPERER IN DARKNESS." The book was pretty good.

Excellent contribution to the Cthulhu Mythos

This is Chaosium's first volume of Cthulhu Mythos fiction. The Cthulhu Mythos was created by H.P. Lovecraft in a series of short stories published in the 1920's and 30's. In this mythology, the earth was previously inhabited by alien, "godlike" entities who will return "when the stars are right". This volume tracks the history of writing about one of those entities, Hastur. The book covers early sources of Lovecraft's including Bierce, Robert Chambers, and Arthur Machen, Lovecraft's work, and newer stories. I found the quality of these stories to be outstanding, through and through. My only (minor) gripe is that book isn't really a book all about Hastur. The first half does concentrate on Hastur. The second half focusses on a alien race called the Mi-Go. The connection between halves is weak. However, the stories are still excellent.
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