Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Hounds Of Tindalos

 The Hounds of Tindalos by Frank Belknap Long. Originally published in 1929. Approx. 14 pages.

Today we take a look at one a classic Lovecraftian tale that has had a massive pop culture impact, Frank Belknap Long's The Hounds of Tindalos.

Hounds tells the tale of a tragic author named Halpin Chalmers, who decides to undertake a foolhardy experiment. By obtaining a mysterious East Asian narcotic, be plans to achieve a mental state in which he can perceive what is referred to as the Tao - which apparently is not a philosophy, but a way of seeing the true spectrum of time. To Chalmers, the concept of true time transcends so far beyond Einstein's concepts of curved space. Chalmers believes our present time is just the limited view available to the average person, a tiny slit of a glance into the real truth. Chalmers believes that with the help of the drug, he will see and experience all of the pasts, and futures, along with the present, running concurrently. And so, with his friend (and our narrator) Frank attending to him, he embarks on his narcotics-induced voyage.

Chalmers gets to see all the he dreamed, and more.

Chalmers also discovers nightmares he never expected, and worse. And, as is the true threat of these scenarios, sometimes when you look into the eye of evil, evil looks back.

The Hounds of Tindalos is a perfect primer for Lovecraftian myth. In fact, it had such a lasting impact that the Hounds themselves were incorporated into Cthulhu Canon. These creatures, born from a dark deed that transgressed in the infancy of time, move, as do other dark denizens, along angular time (not the curved time that we pass through). Once they have caught your scent, they are tireless in their pursuit, and they can reach their quarry through angles. Just think about that; look around whatever room you are in, and count all the right angles, and think of how you might best avoid the dread demonic dogs.

Frank Belknap Long writes this story extremely effectively; it moves along at such a brisk clip. The concepts posited here are both astounding and terrifying. Like some of the best horror readers, he leaves the actual conceptualizing up to the end user, and just crafts the accommodating mood. The reader is left in doubt of exactly what is there; the only constant is terror.

There is wonder here as well. Perhaps the most thrilling scene in the story is where Chalmers recounts his journey through time, bearing witness to so many major historical events. For those raised on classics and not Twitter feeds, how grand that concept must have been.

As mentioned, the hounds pop up in many other stories, and have influenced other pop culture genres as well. Take a look at some of them on the wiki page here.

The Hounds of Tindalos reside in the public domain, which is full of angular space. So watch the corners of your computer screen. Read the full story here.

Or, need some nice Halloween listening? Why not enjoy an audio reading of the story?

Need more tunes? How about the classic song by Beowulf?

Or the Metallica song influenced by The Hounds of Tindalos?

Or maybe the group that took their name from them?

Enjoy! And remember, "They are lean and athirst!"

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