H. P. Lovecraft - At the Mountains of Madness | Lake

Please download to get full document.

View again

of 56
All materials on our website are shared by users. If you have any questions about copyright issues, please report us to resolve them. We are always happy to assist you.
Information Report
Category:

Documents

Published:

Views: 3 | Pages: 56

Extension: PDF | Download: 0

Share
Related documents
Description
At the Mountains of Madness by H. P. Lovecraft Written Feb-22 Mar 1931 Published February-April 1936 inAstounding Stories , Vol. 16, No. 6 (February 1936), p. 8-32; Vol. 17, No. 1 (March 1936), p. 125-55; Vol. 17, No. 2 (April 1936), p. 132-50. I I am forced into speech because men of science have refused to follow my advice without knowing why. It is altogether against my will that I tell my reasons for opposing this contemplated invasion of the antarctic - with its vast fossil hunt and its who
Transcript
  AttheMountainsofMadness by H. P. Lovecraft WrittenFeb-22Mar1931PublishedFebruary-April1936in     AstoundingStories ,Vol.16,No.6(February1936),p.8-32;Vol.17,No.1(March1936),p.125-55;Vol.17,No.2(April1936),p.132-50. I Iamforcedintospeechbecausemenofsciencehaverefusedtofollowmyadvicewithoutknowingwhy.ItisaltogetheragainstmywillthatItellmyreasonsforopposingthiscontemplatedinvasionoftheantarctic-withitsvastfossilhuntanditswholesaleboringandmeltingoftheancienticecaps.AndIamthemorereluctantbecausemywarningmaybeinvain.Doubtoftherealfacts,asImustrevealthem,isinevitable;yet,ifIsuppressedwhatwillseemextravagantandincredible,therewouldbenothingleft.Thehithertowithheldphotographs,bothordinaryandaerial,willcountinmyfavor,fortheyaredamnablyvividandgraphic.Still,theywillbedoubted becauseofthegreatlengthstowhichcleverfakerycanbecarried.Theinkdrawings,ofcourse,willbe       jeeredatasobviousimpostures,notwithstandingastrangenessoftechniquewhichartexpertsoughttoremarkandpuzzleover.IntheendImustrelyonthejudgmentandstandingofthefewscientificleaderswhohave,ontheonehand,sufficientindependenceofthoughttoweighmydataonitsownhideouslyconvincingmeritsorinthelightofcertainprimordialandhighlybafflingmythcycles;andontheotherhand,sufficientinfluencetodetertheexploringworldingeneralfromanyrashandover-ambitiousprogramintheregionofthosemountainsofmadness.Itisanunfortunatefactthatrelativelyobscuremenlikemyselfandmyassociates,connectedonlywithasmalluniversity,havelittlechanceofmakinganimpressionwheremattersofawildlybizarreorhighlycontroversialnatureareconcerned.Itisfurtheragainstusthatwearenot,inthestrictestsense,specialistsinthefieldswhichcameprimarilytobeconcerned.Asageologist,myobjectinleadingtheMiskatonicUniversityExpeditionwaswhollythatofsecuringdeep-levelspecimensofrockandsoilfromvariouspartsoftheantarcticcontinent,aided bytheremarkabledrilldevisedbyProfessorFrankH.Pabodieofourengineeringdepartment.Ihadnowishtobeapioneerinanyotherfieldthanthis,butIdidhopethattheuseofthisnewmechanicalapplianceatdifferentpointsalongpreviouslyexploredpathswouldbringtolightmaterialsofasorthithertounreachedbytheordinarymethodsofcollection.Pabodie’sdrillingapparatus,asthepublicalreadyknowsfromourreports,wasuniqueandradicalinitslightness,portability,andcapacitytocombinetheordinaryartesiandrillprinciplewiththeprincipleofthesmallcircularrockdrillinsuchawayastocopequicklywithstrataofvaryinghardness.Steelhead,       jointedrods,gasolinemotor,collapsiblewoodenderrick,dynamitingparaphernalia,cording,rubbish-removalauger,andsectionalpipingforboresfiveincheswideanduptoonethousandfeetdeepallformed,withneededaccessories,nogreaterloadthanthreeseven-dogsledgescouldcarry.Thiswasmadepossiblebythecleveraluminumalloyofwhichmostofthemetalobjectswerefashioned.Four largeDornieraeroplanes,designedespeciallyforthetremendousaltitudeflyingnecessaryontheantarctic plateauandwithaddedfuel-warmingandquick-startingdevicesworkedoutbyPabodie,couldtransportourentireexpeditionfromabaseattheedgeofthegreaticebarriertovarioussuitableinlandpoints,andfromthesepointsasufficientquotaofdogswouldserveus.Weplannedtocoverasgreatanareaasoneantarcticseason-orlonger,ifabsolutelynecessary-would permit,operatingmostlyinthemountainrangesandontheplateausouthofRossSea;regionsexploredin  varyingdegreebyShackleton,Amundsen,Scott,andByrd.Withfrequentchangesofcamp,madebyaeroplaneandinvolvingdistancesgreatenoughtobeofgeologicalsignificance,weexpectedtounearthaquiteunprecedentedamountofmaterial-especiallyinthepre-Cambrianstrataofwhichsonarrowarangeofantarcticspecimenshadpreviouslybeensecured.Wewishedalsotoobtainasgreataspossibleavarietyoftheupperfossiliferousrocks,sincetheprimallifehistoryofthisbleakrealmoficeanddeathisofthehighestimportancetoourknowledgeoftheearth’spast.Thattheantarcticcontinentwasoncetemperateandeventropical,withateemingvegetableandanimallifeofwhichthelichens,marinefauna,arachnida,andpenguinsofthenorthernedgearetheonlysurvivals,isamatterofcommoninformation;andwehopedtoexpandthatinformationinvariety,accuracy,anddetail.Whenasimpleboringrevealedfossiliferoussigns,wewouldenlargetheaperturebyblasting,inordertogetspecimensofsuitablesizeandcondition.Ourborings,ofvaryingdepthaccordingtothepromiseheldoutbytheuppersoilorrock,weretobeconfinedtoexposed,ornearlyexposed,landsurfaces-theseinevitablybeingslopesandridgesbecauseofthemileortwo-milethicknessofsolidiceoverlyingthelowerlevels.Wecouldnotaffordtowastedrillingthedepthofanyconsiderableamountofmereglaciation,thoughPabodiehadworkedoutaplanforsinkingcopperelectrodesinthickclustersofboringsandmeltingofflimitedareasoficewithcurrentfromagasoline-drivendynamo.Itisthisplan-whichwecouldnotputintoeffectexceptexperimentallyonanexpeditionsuchasours-thatthecomingStarkweather-MooreExpeditionproposestofollow,despitethewarningsIhaveissuedsinceourreturnfromtheantarctic.ThepublicknowsoftheMiskatonicExpeditionthroughourfrequentwirelessreportstothe     Arkham    Advertiser    andAssociatedPress,andthroughthelaterarticlesofPabodieandmyself.Weconsistedof         fourmenfromtheUniversity-Pabodie,Lakeofthebiologydepartment,Atwoodofthephysicsdepartment-alsoameteorologist-andmyself,representinggeologyandhavingnominalcommand- besidessixteenassistants:sevengraduatestudentsfromMiskatonicandnineskilledmechanics.Ofthesesixteen,twelvewerequalifiedaeroplanepilots,allbuttwoofwhomwerecompetentwirelessoperators.Eightofthemunderstoodnavigationwithcompassandsextant,asdidPabodie,Atwood,andI.Inaddition,ofcourse,ourtwoships-woodenex-whalers,reinforcedforiceconditionsandhavingauxiliarysteam-werefullymanned.TheNathanielDerbyPickmanFoundation,aidedbyafewspecialcontributions,financedtheexpedition;henceourpreparationswereextremelythorough,despitetheabsenceofgreatpublicity.Thedogs,sledges,machines,campmaterials,andunassembledpartsofourfiveplanesweredeliveredinBoston,andthereourshipswereloaded.Weweremarvelouslywell-equippedforourspecificpurposes,andinallmatterspertainingtosupplies,regimen,transportation,andcampconstructionweprofitedbytheexcellentexampleofourmanyrecentandexceptionallybrilliantpredecessors.Itwastheunusualnumber andfameofthesepredecessorswhichmadeourownexpedition-amplethoughitwas-solittlenoticed bytheworldatlarge.Asthenewspaperstold,wesailedfromBostonHarboronSeptember2nd,1930,takingaleisurelycoursedownthecoastandthroughthePanamaCanal,andstoppingatSamoaandHobart,Tasmania,atwhichlatterplacewetookonfinalsupplies.Noneofourexploringpartyhadeverbeeninthepolar regionsbefore,henceweallreliedgreatlyonourshipcaptains-J.B.Douglas,commandingthebrig     Arkham  ,andservingascommanderoftheseaparty,andGeorgThorflnnssen,commandingthebarque    Miskatonic -bothveteranwhalersinantarcticwaters.Aswelefttheinhabitedworldbehind,thesunsanklowerandlowerinthenorth,andstayedlongerandlongerabovethehorizoneachday.Atabout62°SouthLatitudewesightedourfirsticebergs-tablelikeobjectswithverticalsides-andjustbeforereachingtheantarcticcircle,whichwecrossedonOctober 20thwithappropriatelyquaintceremonies,wewereconsiderablytroubledwithfieldice.Thefalling  temperaturebotheredmeconsiderablyafterourlongvoyagethroughthetropics,butItriedtobraceupfortheworserigorstocome.Onmanyoccasionsthecuriousatmosphericeffectsenchantedmevastly;theseincludingastrikinglyvividmirage-thefirstIhadeverseen-inwhichdistantbergsbecamethe battlementsofunimaginablecosmiccastles.Pushingthroughtheice,whichwasfortunatelyneitherextensivenorthicklypacked,weregainedopenwateratSouthLatitude67°,EastLongitude175°OnthemorningofOctober26thastronglandblink appearedonthesouth,andbeforenoonweallfeltathrillofexcitementatbeholdingavast,lofty,andsnow-cladmountainchainwhichopenedoutandcoveredthewholevistaahead.Atlastwehadencounteredanoutpostofthegreatunknowncontinentanditscrypticworldoffrozendeath.These peakswereobviouslytheAdmiraltyRangediscoveredbyRoss,anditwouldnowbeourtasktoroundCapeAdareandsaildowntheeastcoastofVictoriaLandtoourcontemplatedbaseontheshoreof         McMurdoSound,atthefootofthevolcanoErebusinSouthLatitude77°9'.Thelastlapofthevoyagewasvividandfancy-stirring.Greatbarrenpeaksofmysteryloomedupconstantlyagainstthewestasthelownorthernsunofnoonorthestilllowerhorizon-grazingsouthernsunofmidnightpoureditshazyreddishraysoverthewhitesnow,bluishiceandwaterlanes,andblackbitsofexposedgraniteslope.Throughthedesolatesummitssweptranging,intermittentgustsoftheterribleantarcticwind;whosecadencessometimesheldvaguesuggestionsofawildandhalf-sentientmusical piping,withnotesextendingoverawiderange,andwhichforsomesubconsciousmnemonicreasonseemedtomedisquietingandevendimlyterrible.SomethingaboutthesceneremindedmeofthestrangeanddisturbingAsianpaintingsofNicholasRoerich,andofthestillstrangerandmoredisturbingdescriptionsoftheevillyfabledplateauofLengwhichoccurinthedreaded    Necronomicon ofthemadArabAbdulAlhazred.Iwasrathersorry,lateron,thatIhadeverlookedintothatmonstrousbookatthecollegelibrary.Onthe7thofNovember,sightofthewestwardrangehavingbeentemporarilylost,wepassedFranklinIsland;andthenextdaydescriedtheconesofMts.ErebusandTerroronRossIslandahead,withthelonglineoftheParryMountainsbeyond.Therenowstretchedofftotheeastthelow,whitelineofthegreaticebarrier,risingperpendicularlytoaheightoftwohundredfeetliketherockycliffsofQuebec,andmarkingtheendofsouthwardnavigation.IntheafternoonweenteredMcMurdoSoundandstoodoffthecoastintheleeofsmokingMt.Erebus.Thescoriacpeaktoweredupsometwelvethousand,sevenhundredfeetagainsttheeasternsky,likeaJapaneseprintofthesacredFujiyama,whilebeyonditrosethewhite,ghostlikeheightofMt.Terror,tenthousand,ninehundredfeetinaltitude,andnowextinctasavolcano.PuffsofsmokefromErebuscameintermittently,andoneofthegraduateassistants-abrilliantyoungfellownamedDanforth-pointedoutwhatlookedlikelavaonthesnowyslope,remarkingthatthismountain,discoveredin1840,hadundoubtedlybeenthesourceofPoe’simagewhenhewrotesevenyearslater: -thelavasthatrestlesslyroll  TheirsulphurouscurrentsdownYaanek       Intheultimateclimesofthepole-ThatgroanastheyrolldownMountYaanek       Intherealmsoftheborealpole. Danforthwasagreatreaderofbizarrematerial,andhadtalkedagooddealofPoe.IwasinterestedmyselfbecauseoftheantarcticsceneofPoe’sonlylongstory-thedisturbingandenigmatical     Arthur  Gordon Pym.  Onthebarrenshore,andontheloftyicebarrierinthebackground,myriadsofgrotesque penguinssquawkedandflappedtheirfins,whilemanyfatsealswerevisibleonthewater,swimmingor   sprawlingacrosslargecakesofslowlydriftingice.Usingsmallboats,weeffectedadifficultlandingonRossIslandshortlyaftermidnightonthemorningof         the9th,carryingalineofcablefromeachoftheshipsandpreparingtounloadsuppliesbymeansofa breeches-buoyarrangement.OursensationsonfirsttreadingAntarcticsoilwerepoiguantandcomplex,eventhoughatthisparticularpointtheScottandShackletonexpeditionshadprecededus.Ourcamponthefrozenshorebelowthevolcano’sslopewasonlyaprovisionalone,headquartersbeingkeptaboardtheArkham.Welandedallourdrillingapparatus,dogs,sledges,tents,provisions,gasolinetanks,experimentalice-meltingoutfit,cameras,bothordinaryandaerial,aeroplaneparts,andotheraccessories,includingthreesmallportablewirelessoutfits-besidesthoseintheplanes-capableofcommunicatingwiththe     Arkham’s  largeoutfitfromanypartoftheantarcticcontinentthatwewouldbelikelytovisit.Theship’soutfit,communicatingwiththeoutsideworld,wastoconveypressreportstothe     Arkham    Advertiser'      spowerfulwirelessstationonKingsportHead,Massachusetts.Wehopedtocompleteour workduringasingleantarcticsummer;butifthisprovedimpossible,wewouldwinteronthe     Arkham, sendingthe    Miskatonic northbeforethefreezingoftheiceforanothersummer’ssupplies.Ineednotrepeatwhatthenewspapershavealreadypublishedaboutourearlywork:ofourascentof         Mt.Erebus;oursuccessfulmineralboringsatseveralpointsonRossIslandandthesingularspeedwithwhichPabodie’sapparatusaccomplishedthem,eventhroughsolidrocklayers;ourprovisionaltestofthesmallice-meltingequipment;ourperilousascentofthegreatbarrierwithsledgesandsupplies;andour finalassemblingoffivehugeaeroplanesatthecampatopthebarrier.Thehealthofourlandparty-twentymenandfifty-fiveAlaskansledgedogs-wasremarkable,thoughofcoursewehadsofar encounterednoreallydestructivetemperaturesorwindstorms.Forthemostpart,thethermometervaried betweenzeroand20°or25°above,andourexperiencewithNewEnglandwintershadaccustomedustorigorsofthissort.Thebarriercampwassemi-permanent,anddestinedtobeastoragecachefor gasoline,provisions,dynamite,andothersupplies.Onlyfourofourplaneswereneededtocarrytheactualexploringmaterial,thefifthbeingleftwithapilotandtwomenfromtheshipsatthestoragecachetoformameansofreachingusfromthe     Arkham  incaseallourexploringplaneswerelost.Later,whennotusingalltheotherplanesformovingapparatus,wewouldemployoneortwoinashuttletransportationservicebetweenthiscacheandanotherpermanent baseonthegreatplateaufromsixhundredtosevenhundredmilessouthward,beyondBeardmoreGlacier.Despitethealmostunanimousaccountsofappallingwindsandtempeststhatpourdownfromthe plateau,wedeterminedtodispensewithintermediatebases,takingourchancesintheinterestof         economyandprobableefficiency.Wirelessreportshavespokenofthebreathtaking,four-hour,nonstopflightofoursquadronon  November21stovertheloftyshelfice,withvastpeaksrisingonthewest,andtheunfathomedsilencesechoingtothesoundofourengines.Windtroubledusonlymoderately,andourradiocompasseshelpedusthroughtheoneopaquefogweencountered.Whenthevastriseloomedahead,betweenLatitudes83°and84°,weknewwehadreachedBeardmoreGlacier,thelargestvalleyglacierintheworld,andthatthefrozenseawasnowgivingplacetoafrowningandmountainouscoastline.Atlastweweretrulyenteringthewhite,aeon-deadworldoftheultimatesouth.EvenaswerealizeditwesawthepeakofMt.  Nansenintheeasterndistance,toweringuptoitsheightofalmostfifteenthousandfeet.ThesuccessfulestablishmentofthesouthernbaseabovetheglacierinLatitude86°7’,EastLongitude174°23’,andthephenomenallyrapidandeffectiveboringsandblastingsmadeatvariouspointsreached byoursledgetripsandshortaeroplaneflights,aremattersofhistory;asisthearduousandtriumphantascentofMt.NansenbyPabodieandtwoofthegraduatestudents-GedneyandCarroll-onDecember13-15.Weweresomeeightthousand,fivehundredfeetabovesea-level,andwhenexperimentaldrillingsrevealedsolidgroundonlytwelvefeetdownthroughthesnowandiceatcertain
Recommended
View more...
We Need Your Support
Thank you for visiting our website and your interest in our free products and services. We are nonprofit website to share and download documents. To the running of this website, we need your help to support us.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support.

No, Thanks