View Full Version : A Kayak Full of Ghosts

10-31-2005, 10:56 PM
I bet, like me, you wonder "Where does TL get all his crazy ideas?" Well, maybe by reading books like this one. This is a short book review/recommendation by TL that was published in The New York Review of Science Fiction, Number 40, December 1991. I remember him mentioning this in one of his interviews.

A Kayak Full of Ghosts: Eskimo Tales Gathered and Retold, by
Lawerence Millman. When Lovecraft wrote of "degenerate
Esquimaux" in "The Call of Cthulhu," this phrase seemed an
inspired oxymoron or a xenophobic fancy. But the word
"degenerate" is hardly adequate to describe the wonders of
cruelty, perversion, morbidity, and delirium in these folk-
tales. Some titles: "The Entrail Thief," "The Spirit of the
####-Pile," "Him-Whose-Penis-Stretches-Down-To-His-
Knees," "The Old Man Who Ate His Grandson." This one
is simply called "Namik."

Namik lacked all wisdom. He went out to hunt
during a plague of shooting stars. The stars dripped
down on him just a little. But this was enough to
transform poor Navik into a greyish patch of lichen
forever. Moral: Remain indoors or the star #### will
get you.

No doubt Lovecraft would have disapproved of the lack of
cosmic indifferentism in the wisdom of these Eskimos.