Dante’s Fool: demons, hackers and Outer Gods. What differentiates the Cthulhu Mythos from the Occult?
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In the sci-fi & dark fantasy novel, Dante’s Fool, the lead character Detective Sergeant Louis Cloud is forced to confront the gruesome truth lurking beneath the veneer of modern civilisation: that demons exist and can be responsible for monstrous acts of brutality, violence and cruelty. This truth becomes the heart of a murder investigation that is impossible for him to tie-off, and ultimately derails his life, plunging him headlong into dark, unchartered waters; there to drift out to the boundaries of human experience.
Beneath the surface of the story, behind the scenes of occult horror, there is a greater and more terrifying force at work; the machinations of the Cthulhu Mythos. Originally brought to public awareness in the 1920s by the American writer H.P.Lovecraft, the Mythos has been ever-present in human reality, albeit usually indirectly, through dreams and the corrupting influence of the Outer Gods and Great Old Ones, and probably best documented in all its chaotic madness by the enlightened (or insane) author of the dread Necronomicon, Abdul Alhazred.
But what differentiates the Mythos from the Occult?
This was a question I faced about 15 years ago when I first began developing an RPG system that ultimately became Yellow Dawn – The Age of Hastur (published 2007). To me, the concept was similar to the issue of classical physics and quantum mechanics. Most of us can live in a world with the rules of Classic Physics (the Occult, where Angelic law and elemental Magick have defined rules and structure) but when you start to delve into the surreal Quantum realm – (the Mythos) the rules twist, buckle, bend and tear apart into utter chaos.
For me, the solution was to introduce a barrier to the Mythos. After all, much of the written work about the Mythos to date talks about things that come “from Beyond”, and lurking “on the Threshold”, and how certain words and symbols can bring forth monstrous things “into our world”. There is always a suggestion that they are “out there” looking in. I thought: why can’t they just sweep down from those cosmic gulfs and consume all this flesh and energy? What’s stopping them?
So I came up with the Quantisphere. It’s not an original idea. But it’s my name and definition for the boundary that keeps the Mythos at bay.
When I say Mythos I’m referring specifically to those trans-dimensional entities classified as Outer Gods and Great Old Ones, and not the more mortal, physical creatures defined as non-human species or independent races – who are commonly familiar with the Mythos (unlike human counterparts) and either worship them or serve them directly.
The existence of the Quantisphere ties into the Elder Gods, those ethereal, scarcely mentioned beings that for reasons unknown, created this bubble of form, structure and order; a bubble that doesn’t just contain our Universe but every Universe that has ever existed or will exist in the future**.
**The notion of Time itself being an illusion (or delusion) woven into the fabric of some minds created within the Quantisphere.
The Quantisphere is an invisible membrane. It doesn’t form an actual bubble, there is no tangible boundary you can travel out to, to touch and probe and attempt to penetrate, rather, the Quantisphere is right before your eyes. Pinch your thumb and forefinger together and the Quantisphere exists “in the space in between”.
The Quantisphere is an energy. It taps into what scientists today describe as Dark Matter but is significantly more than that.
The Quantisphere has layers, within which are wrapped the sentient and semi-sentient forms we call Angels and their “fallen” cousins – Demons. They are a part of “our world” and yet removed from it; pure energy, without physical form and yet holding thoughts, passions and desires; they are with Mind. They are aware of the Mythos but are powerless against it.
The kind of magick, ceremony and conjuration required to bring Demons into human presence is vastly different to the kind employed in Mythos Magick.
Demonic entities can be ruthlessly intelligent or blunt forces, obsessed with gratification of their primal urges.
In Dante’s Fool, both extremes of this range come into the story; some are attracted by the blood sacrifice and terror surrounding a set of arcane symbols; another is the bound servant of a sect that is purely Mythos in nature and outlook, a sect that controls the Board of a powerful and enigmatic technology corporation. In this latter case, it is an example of a dominant power utilising the Quantispheric forces to service its needs within the Quantisphere. The Mythos at the helm.
Without giving too much away about the novel, it also dials into the fabric of Mind and the existence of Intelligence without physical form – and how such an existence can shift between the planes of mundane human reality and the upper reaches of the Quantisphere – and even shift into the fabricated virtual realities that humans create through computers… because of the mercurial nature of electromagnetic energy. What is thought but energy? What is Will but the direction of energy towards a chosen purpose?
I wrote Dante’s Fool between 1997 and 1999 but didn’t nail the final draft until 2004. I was heavily influenced by James Ellroy’s detective fiction, in regards to the way DS Cloud manages the investigations he’s involved in, and also from Dennis Wheatley’s fantastic range of horror novels that tackles the subject of demonology. “The Devil Rides Out” by Wheatley, is one of my all-time favourite novels.
If you’re interested in novels that deal with the Cthulhu Mythos and it’s influence of our reality, then you may also like the action-packed thriller God Seed (where Nyarlathotep is aiming to deliver a master blow against humanity), or the corporate espionage orientated novel EDGE (where a new Great Old One is oozing back into our reality at the location of a snowboard resort), or the post-apocalyptic political crime thriller, Dog Eat Dog (which introduces another Great Old One and servitor race into the Mythos).
DANTE’s FOOL is available in paperback, Kindle or iBook
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David J Rodger – DATA