Monday, January 30, 2017

The Terrible Parchment: Review

Our look at Sin's Doorway and Other Ominous Entrances by Manly Wade Wellman continues with his Lovecraft tribute,"The Terrible Parchment." The text can be found here.
The Terrible Parchment 

Summary: A wife surprises her husband with an early copy of the next month's Weird Tales. However, the couple quickly finds out that it is a copy of the Necronomicon instead. As they leaf through it, the Latin and Arabic inside shifts to English text. A spell to summon Chthulhu begs to be read.


This is a fan's tribute to the Lovecraft Mythos, a tongue-in-cheek story that quickly turned dark. It's a fun little popcorn read that's a in-joke with legs. Unfortunately, I'm not familiar enough with the Mythos to appreciate it on a level beyond a couple discovers a creepy dark artifact with a mind of its own and must resist it.

The Pulp Elements:

Action:  The Necronomicon is alive, and stalks the couple. The couple runs, hides, and tries to pin the book in place.

Impact:  If read aloud, the Necronomicon will summon Chthulhu.

Moral Peril:  As usual, if Wellman is not writing a morality play, moral peril is  replaced with mortal peril. 

Romance:  Although the wooing is long in the past, the couple still does little things for each other. Unfortunately, sinister forces took advantage of this natural affection.

Mystery:  Is it really the Necronomicon? How can we stop it?

Structure:  A shorter version of Lester Dent's Pulp formula, with only two twists and an escalation.

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