Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Sound Mirrors, Conspiracies and Monsters from Beyond

Cosmic Hobo productions are doing a great job. If you don't know about them, find out here. Their Lovecraftian adventure The Devil of Denge Marsh is currently running on BBC 7. If you'd like to hear it you can catch the latest episode on the Listen Again page or simply find The Scarifyers on the A to Z listing of programmes.

I'm particularly impressed by the way the writer, Paul Morris, takes real between-the-wars facts and mucks them about a bit. In this case it's the almost-forgotten technology of sound mirrors. These have always fascinated me. The idea was to use huge concrete surfaces to focus soundwaves onto microphones, so that operators on the English coast could detect the engine noise from incoming enemy (i.e. German) aircraft.

Of course, in the story it turns out that the sounds are not coming from the beastly Hun, but from something older and far more dangerous. Ia! Shub-Niggurath! A bit player in the Lovecraft Mythos gets a starring role at last. It's only taken a few aeons.

Fortunately for Blighty, radar was invented and the sound mirrors were left to fall apart. But not quite all of them. For instance, a place called Denge (yes, it's real and near Dungeness) still has some, and very weird they look, like a modern art project only interesting. 

There seems to be a bit of a Lovecraftian audio renaissance going on. While the Cosmic Hobo team take a comedy/drama approach, over at the HPL Historical Society they are going great guns with more serious - but still wonderfully entertaining - dramatisation of Lovecraft stories. Their latest projects for Dark Adventure Radio theatre are two favourites of mine, 'The Shadow Out of Time' and 'The Shadow Over Innsmouth'. (The former, incidentally, was highly praised by Arthur C. Clarke in his book Astounding Days.) Oh, and they're making another movie - The Whisperer in Darkness. Check out the HPLHS site for more info, trailers, behind the scenes stuff and all sorts of jolly trinkets. 

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