This piece, I suspect, is not for everyone. Here’s the high concept: Price pulls together many excerpts of the Necronomicon that have appeared in print, from people like August Derleth and Lin Carter as well as H.P. Lovecraft. Even though they should have nothing in common (and some of the writers had very different views of the tone of the Mythos), Price treats them all as real, and applies historical literary analysis to them to determine what Albdul Alhazred actually write and what were inventions of later writers.

And you know what, this works well. Price frequently draws parallels between his reconstructive work and research on the New Testament, and comes up with a coherent architecture of Alhazred’s beliefs and those of later splinter groups. These techniques also provide some straightforward literary analysis with looking at how the fragments echo genuine religious texts, analysing how the fragments were composed (in real life) in the first place. Finally the very perverseness of such an essay is entertaining, and Price gets away with his tongue subtly within his cheek without ever making outright jokes.

A Critical Commentary of the Necronomicon by Robert M. Price

Availability: print only

Word count:  30,000

First published: Crypt of Cthulhu #58, 1988, Cryptic Publications

Where to find it: The Necronomicon, anthology, edited by Robert M. Price, 1996, Chaosium Fiction

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