My narration of Paul Jessup’s “Sun Sorrow” came out today in Episode 116 of Far Fetched Fables. The story is dark and lush and surreal, in large part because Jessup’s imagery is so visceral and unexpected. It compelled me to enter the world-view of Beyla, the main character, if for no other reason than to see more of this strange Beyla-place. Throughout the story I was awash in both Beyla’s thoughts and Belya’s pain, which was exactly where I wanted to be. For me the story is an emotional mystery–what is real, what is Beyla–and a journey to a dying kingdom that I would never had found on my own.
The story includes references that many will consider Lovecraftian, including the King in Yellow and Carcossa, but Jessup takes his inspiration from the source material, Robert W. Chambers and Arthur Machen, rather than from Lovecraft himself. In fact, one of the lovely things about this story is the way it subverts Lovecraft, placing a female character at the center of the story.
…and then Beyla sat down, under the lost arch and thought again of Carcosa, and the hidden secrets she’d searched for in its crowded temples and burning libraries. She picked up the rabbit head, deep in her own thoughts, staring into the dead eyes. Wanting to forget. Wanting to remember. Perverse, the way her mind worked. She rubbed the tips of the ears, pushing them back against the head. Slick, like hair. The oracle. She had found him. He was dead, but she had found him.