Neonomicon

June 6, 2016 at 6:00 pm (Reads) (, , , )

neoNeonomicon by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows

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H.P. Lovecraft had an odd sex life. Literary historians say his childhood, when his mother dressed him up as a little girl, was part of the reason. Whatever the reason, sex — and women in general — didn’t exist in Lovecraft’s stories, save for a passing reference to “nameless rituals”. So when it came time for Alan Moore to write the sequel to The Courtyard, of course he made it all about sex.

Neonomicon follows directly from The Courtyard, with new agents investigating what happened to Sax in the first story. Their investigations take them back to the dance club where Sax had his own breakthrough, right before his breakdown, which then takes them to Salem, MA, where they become involved with a sex cult that worships Dagon.

The main character, Agent Brears, has suffered from a breakdown of her own, though it’s not instigated by exposure to the Great Old Ones. What caused her breakdown is unknown, but we do learn that she became a sex addict afterward. At the start of the story, she’s recovered, but that aspect of her character is useful for a story that breaks down into orgies, rapes, and other nameless rituals. In addition, it prepares her for what she has to endure at the end of the story, and very likely saves her sanity because of it.

Where Lovecraft barely touched on sex, Moore gives it to us in full-color splashes. The orgy shows us just about everything, of all varieties, but it’s not very sexy. Moore presents it as a horror, using nudity as vulnerability and sex as an act of power instead of one of intimacy.

In The Courtyard, Moore teased the reader with different Lovecraftian connections, but Neonomicon brings it to the forefront, with the agents making the connections between the stories and the investigation. In fact, they use the stories to help them investigate the case. That becomes the central point of the story, that Lovecraft didn’t invent these creatures for his stories; instead he was inspired by real events. This isn’t a new perspective in the Lovecraft mythos, but Moore carries it off pretty well.

Moore still has it, even if it’s not as strong as it was when he wrote Watchmen and From HellThe Courtyard and Neonomicon are better as a single story than two separate ones, and having them in one collection makes the most sense. I would recommend this to people who are interested in Lovecraft, but understand going in that this isn’t the kind of Lovecraft that shies away from the details. The horrors may be nameless, but they’re certainly not merely suggested.

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