Original language: English

Original title: Eyes of the God. The Weird Fiction and Poetry of R. H. Barlow

Year of publication of the compiled volume: 2002

Translation: Aurora Jimenez

Valuation: Okay (recommended for those interested)

Robert H. Barlow personally met, when he was sixteen, his admired HP Lovecraft, who was then forty-three. The two had been exchanging correspondence for some time, and struck up a friendship that led to stimulating talks and artistic collaborations; This friendship was so intense that the Providence Dreamer made Barlow his literary executor. Unfortunately, after the death of the first, some of the followers of the intellectual creator of cosmic horror (among them August Derleth, systematizer, for better and worse, of the Cthulhu Mythos) forced Barlow to hand over the management of the Lovecraftian legacy to them.

The night of the ocean and other tales of the strange compiles several of the texts (some of them revised, corrected, or even co-written by Lovecraft) that Barlow produced in his youth.

It is positively surprising how eclectic Barlow’s stories are. Of the fifteen compiled in this anthology there are, it is true, some that are formulaic, excessively conditioned by the pulp literature of the time or the influence of Lovecraft. However, we also find more sui generis pieces, such as “The Battle That Ended the Century” or “The Interrogator.” Coincidentally, the ones I liked the most lean toward the less terrifying fantasy, even though I am a devotee of the latter genre.

The aforementioned “The Battle That Ended the Century” is my favorite piece of the set. Brief, imaginative, hilarious and absurd, it has captivated me because of the crazy premise, the attention to detail it displays and the multiple references it gives us. In it, two fighters face each other in an extremely surreal and violent combat.

I also value the abstract vocation of “The Death of the Monster”, “The Interrogator” or “The Craftsman’s Reward”, although the execution of the three stories leaves a lot to be desired. Another vindictive story, despite its somewhat soulless style, would be “Until the Seas”, an environmental apocalypse that crudely narrates the extinction of humanity and the withering of planet Earth.

Lastly, I would highlight “The Night of the Ocean.” Instead of bowing to the most obvious schemes of Lovecraftian cosmic horror, she takes ownership of them to offer a story of atmospheric and ominous terror in which the lack of definition is much more disturbing than the explicit. What is it about? Well, the sensations experienced by an artist who retires to rest on the coast in front of the vast ocean. “Some of the darkness and restlessness of the sea had penetrated my heart, so that I lived in an irrational and illogical torment…”, confesses the narrator of this little gem that recalls the formidable Los sauces de Algernon Blackwood.

Let us now turn to Barlow’s verses. Perhaps because of my limitations as a reader I have not been able to appreciate them adequately; In any case, I admire that they touch on eroticism (although Barlow, who was homosexual, barely takes advantage of the opportunity to sublimate his desire) or pre-Hispanic mythology (when he grew up, Barlow became a recognized expert on the subject).

Summarizing: The night of the ocean and other tales of the strange It is a valuable anthology, especially as a tribute to one of the most forgotten authors of the Lovecraft Circle. The only complaint I would make is that the two introductory texts seem redundant. For the rest, I highly recommend it to those who may be interested in it; Despite the irregularity of the pieces that make it up, lovers of fantasy and cosmic horror will especially like it.

Source: https://unlibroaldia.blogspot.com/2024/01/robert-h-barlow-la-noche-del-oceano-y.html

Leave a Reply