We’re back, and we’re looking at another of Lovecraft’s major stories. This time it’s the turn of The Colour Out of Space, an unsettling tale that Lovecraft considered the closest he came to capturing the essence of cosmic horror. It revolves around an alien entity that crashes in from deep space to suck the life out of an unsuspecting community, leaving the residents as shambling, empty husks.
This is the first of two episodes, covering the story itself and our thoughts about it. Next time we’ll look at various adaptations, as well as trying to work out what we can steal and rework for our games. This story is especially juicy, and we shall suck the ideas out of it until there is only an empty, grey mass of words.
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“Colour Out of Space” is my favorite of Lovecraft’s tales. Coincidentally, just last weekend I finally found an affordable copy of the Nov Sept 1927 copy of “Amazing Stories” in which it first ran. Can’t wait to receive it, thumb through it, then hang it on my office wall so my coworkers will wonder why I have a picture of a giant flower eating a dude over the door.
The ant-mind-controlling Cordyceps fungus was described by Alfred Russell Wallace in the mid-19th century, so it’s possible that HPL read about it and incorporated it into his story. I don’t know if he owned any books of natural history, but he might have come across a description in a newspaper or Scientific American.
Aha! I had assumed it was a much more recent discovery. Maybe it’s not a coincidence after all.
Thanks for letting us know!
Great episode. I can think of two CoC scenarios using the Color. The Cthulhu Now one called The Killer Out Of Space (spoilers) uses it to good effect, by coupling it with 90s paranoia about the military and cover-ups.
I can think of a few, but I didn’t know that one. We were debating whether to mention any by name in the next episode, as it’s usually a pretty big spoiler. We may err on the side of caution.
I think I’ve spotted all the Colour scenarios if you really want a list.
Thanks, Bret! I’d definitely be interested, even if we decide not to name them on the next episode.
I’d love to know. 🙂
Funnily enough, there’s just been another adaptation of the story released (through Steam, of all places) with the added bonus that it’s in German! http://store.steampowered.com/app/418380/
That’s Huan Vu’s rather wonderful adaptation, originally titled Die Farbe. I recommend it highly!
We talk about it a fair bit on the next episode. It’s certainly the most faithful version to date, even with the setting moving to wartime Germany.