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the meme in weird fiction

The Chapel of the Abyss

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May 6, 2012, 5:15pm Top

Hello All,

I'm trying to gather examples of horror which manifests as a "meme" in weird fiction. I'm thinking examples such as The King in Yellow by Robert Chambers or the concept of the Necronomicon in the work of Lovecraft, a book which transmits madness or is merely a foreboding presence in the tale. I also include The Hounds of Tindalos as these creatures only seem to infringe on the world of those who become aware of their existence. In more contemporary works I consider House of Leaves to be an example of this mechanism.

Can anyone suggest other books or stories I might seek out with a similar "horror as meme" theme? Think the forerunners of the J-horror tropes of Ringu (RING) and Grudge

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.


Edited: May 7, 2012, 11:32am Top

Edited: May 7, 2012, 5:44pm Top

Thanks kswolff, is there a memetic element to the story? I couldn't tell from the synopsis. Really interested in things like the King in Yellow play/presence, the Yellow Sign, or other "viral" agents of the uncanny.
Was not aware of this novel in any case so I must add it to my queue, thanks!

Edited: May 7, 2012, 8:58pm Top

Interesting subject.

The first novel that springs to mind is The Other Side by Alfred Kubin.

A quote from the book to tempt you.

The demiurge is a hybrid

May 8, 2012, 6:34pm Top

Oh my, now *that* is a line to remember. Thank you DavidX!
After reading a bit about the novel, I must track this one down.

I have added Borges to the list, as well. He also seems to tap into the idea of consensus reality being so flimsy that the introduction of a malicious meme can
unseat the mind and the experience of the rational.

May 8, 2012, 7:22pm Top

In Sarah's House; psycho-sexual horror.

May 13, 2012, 7:17pm Top

A short story by Claire Massey called "Marionettes", just published by Nicholas Royle's Nightjar Press as a chapbook (WARNING: SPOILERS)

character sees a marionette in a shop window which, in the end, captures her soul so she's left looking out from the puppet's eyes.

Same idea in a short animated film called "Alma" which I saw on YouTube last week. The user comments show that the idea has been around a long time.

I presume it's related to ideas of photographs stealing your soul, and folkloric ideas about mirrors and reflections as well.

May 13, 2012, 7:22pm Top

Puppets/marionettes rival clowns in the category of "Things We Are (Especially As Children) Supposed To Enjoy, But Which Really Just Give Us The Creeps".

May 17, 2012, 4:22am Top

And yet all, surely, are put in the shade by ventriloquist dummies.....


These seem perfect hosts for introducing a subtheme suggesting the uncanny and unsettling.

May 17, 2012, 8:48am Top

You might want to dig up a copy of Alfred Kreymborg's Puppet Plays (Plays for poem-mimes). An odd book.

Edited: May 17, 2012, 10:16am Top

from wiki:

Dead of Night (1945) is a British anthology horror film made by Ealing Studios, its various episodes directed by Alberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Basil Dearden and Robert Hamer. The film stars Mervyn Johns, Googie Withers and Michael Redgrave. The film is probably best-remembered for the ventriloquist's dummy episode starring Redgrave.


May 17, 2012, 4:42pm Top

11. "... a unique weeklong annual gathering, which celebrates and promotes the use of puppets in ministry ...."

Why can't we have more of this sort of thing?

May 17, 2012, 6:16pm Top

> 13 Why can't we have more of this sort of thing?

Because this guy won't stand for it!

May 22, 2012, 11:09pm Top

cool stuff, I dont think the puppet angle really counts as memetic though... unless Im missing something.

Edited: May 23, 2012, 8:58am Top

Here we are without clear guidance, in an occult light. We tend to deviate, pervert, to err and to stray, to go off laterally and wander strange and often silly paths: Puppets, midgets, soteriological aspects of cannibalism. Or here I am, talking about myself again....

May 24, 2012, 8:45pm Top

16: One's gustatory affections with one's midget is one's own business. At least until the meddling Congress passes some needless law, they are wont to do that between accepting lobbyist's bribes and tending to the trophy wife and/or Guatemalan houseboy.

May 27, 2012, 6:55am Top

well said! :)

May 27, 2012, 11:28am Top

Well, I wouldn't immediately agree with what you're apparently doing with midgets. There is such a thing as human rights you know ;-)

May 28, 2012, 10:28pm Top

19: If we are to believe the pious emanations of those like Henry Kissinger and Jean Kirkpatrick, "human rights" are a fetish of the Left. Then again, the Right has their own fetishes: a heterosexual amniotic sac of a barefoot housewife in some craptastical smalltown in the Midwest; the American flag (made in Communist China by slave labor); and a degraded middlebrow Christianity somewhere between Joel Osteen's sociopathic squint and Rick Warren's homophobic flopsweat. A City on a Hill: except that hill is a landfill downwind from the medical waste incinerator.

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