Friday, June 5, 2009

H P Lovecraft's "The Colour Out of Space" (novelette, Cthulhu?, free): Alien hatchery in a human village

Quote from short story titled The Colour Out of Space by H P LovecraftMay be it was original when it first appeared nearly a century ago. I've seen its elements in so many stories that it generally left me untouched. Still, not a bad read.

Wikipedia says it's one of author's "most anthologized works".

Story summary.

A meteorite falls in a village somewhere on earth. Only it's not a meteorite - it's a cocoon containing ... sort of ... eggs of some alien life form.

Only their metabolism isn't very compatible with earth life. Or may be they're just feeding. In any case, their hatching days will wreck havoc to life in the neighborhood - dead harvests, dead animals, a whole family apparently killed as alien food, ...

Eventually, one hatchling will be big enough & strong enough to leave earth. But there is evidence that at least one is still here - may be it's not yet well fed enough...


Alien hatchlings are described as beings perceivable to us as strange colors. This kind of description seems to be not uncommon when the idea is to convey something creepy & beyond our comprehension. E.g., God in Eric Frank Russell's "Hobbyist", & a member of ancient lost race in Abraham Merritt's "The Moon Pool"; there are other examples too.

Fact sheet.

First published: Amazing Stories, September 1927.
Rating: B.
Download full text from Dragon Bytes or Mythos Tomes. [via Best Science Fiction Stories]
Note: This post is based on Dragon Bytes version linked above (which has many spelling mistakes). BSFS links a different version that takes forever to download in my browser. I just saw Mythos Tomes version, & haven't read it. There are more versions online.
Note 2: ISFDB says this story is part of "Cthulhu Mythos" series. So I suppose the aliens depicted here are famous ones?
Movie adaptations: Daniel Haller's "Die, Monster, Die!" (1965); David Keith's "The Curse" (1987); (in Italian) Ivan Zuccon's "Colour from the Dark" (2007); (in German) "Die Farbe" (2008) (Director?).
Alternate titles associated with probably movie versions: "Monster of Terror", "The House at the End of the World", "The Farm".


Gwenny said...

That is a problem when you go back and read the early scifi/horror works, they have been copied by so many people that their stuff seems trite now. But it was earth shattering when he wrote it.