Monday, November 10, 2008
First serialized in 1932, Dwellers in the Mirage is a fantasy novel by Abraham Merritt. The novel tells the story of an explorer named Lief Langdon who discovers a lost valley in Alaska, whose inhabitants believe him to be the reincarnation of a long-lost hero, Dwayanu. There's a cult dedicated to a Cthulhu-like entity -- he's even octopoid -- that demands human sacrifice and not one but two beautiful women whose affections Langdon must choose between. It's a terrific, if uneven novel, and it's not hard to see why Gygax found it (among several other Merritt works) to be so enjoyable.
(I find it interesting to note that a great many of the books and stories Gygax acknowledged as influencing D&D were in fact "lost world" tales, in which a modern day hero stumbles upon some throwback to an earlier, more magical era. I'm not quite sure what this says, honestly, but some thoughts are percolating in the back of my brain nonetheless. Perhaps I'll make a post about it later.)