The Hastur Cycle

Following on from my recent book acquisitions of The King In Yellow related stories, I dug out my coy of The Hastur Cycle. This book is a collection of stories on Hastur, The King In Yellow and Carcosa. it’s part of a series of books Chaosium produce in support of their Call of Cthulhu RPG, mostly edited by Robert M Price.

Entitled as: Tales that Created and Defined Dread Hastur, the King in Yellow, Nighted Yuggoth, and Dire Carcosa”, it has the key stories written by H P Lovecraft, Ambrose Bierce, Robert W Chambers et al.

The material varies in style, with so many authors including Arthur Machen and Ramsey Campbell, and include poems and play scripts as well as more conventional short stories. Karl Wagner’s “The River of Night’s Dreaming” will make you think twice when watching The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Essential reading, and the stories are in a sequence charting the development of the mythology behind Hastur and the King In Yellow, and even includes James Blish’s stab (at insanity) at writing the play of The King In Yellow in “More Light”.

Rehearsals for Oblivion (Act 1)

Given the distraction of supervising the builders (overgrown children with power tools), I ordered and read another book of short stories on my favourite subject The King In Yellow (me).

This was a much richer set of stories than in “A Season in Carcosa“.

The stories reference oscar Wilde’s Dorian Grey, Gehenna, WW2.

Have you ever seen a flower drip blood, or watched the sky grow black and rained dead fish ?

Broadalbin (by John Scott Tynes) in particular reminds me of the Angel episode Are you now or ever been, set in a weird hotel.

People come here when they’re looking for something. For some of us, it takes a while to find it.


I spotted a scarecrow, it was a bulky, low figure whose assemblage of rags flapped in the wind.

Eerily, we’ll have scarecrows in the AVBCW game on the 8th March…so maybe a SAN test for all the players who have heard of the King In Yellow ?

Also it includes “The Adventure of the Yellow Sign” featuring Sherlock Holmes & Dr Watson, and of course Holmes has read (part of) the iconic play and keeps it next to de Quincy’sConfessions of an English Opium Eater“.

Helpfully (?) translations into several more foreign languages are provided for the title of the play.

Gaze not too long on the Pallid Mask,
Or the Yellow King, for mercy ask.

This is a must have book.

Hastur la vista baby – A Season in Carcosa

Typically, having ordered some more books about He Who Shall Not be Named, the True Detective series broke.

KIY A Season in Carcosa

A collection of short stories and poems its a good book by Miskatonic River Press. Many of the authors are the usual suspects but some are new. Lots of good allusions to the source material. The annoying thing is that there is an over abundance of overtly Parisian and contemporary American material. This is something Ligotti et al avoid adeptly.

Still a good read and as you can see I have strewn with post it note flags for shout out quotes.

One of the most interesting partds was actually the Introduction that the editor wrote outlining his criteria for stories. One that was mirrored in one of the stories:

Not dreaming, but in Carcosa.
Not dead, but in Carcosa.
Not in hell, but in Carcosa.

The title, is a quote from one of the stories, read carefully, and don’t read the second act..