A Night In Na-Nupp: Dr. Seuss In Lovecraft’s Dreamlands

And then, like a lot of dreams… There’s a monster at the end of it.

— Rust Cohl, True Detective

Howard Phillip Lovecraft (born 1890) and Theodor Seuss Geisel (born 1904) were literary contemporaries, both with a penchant for creating fantastic worlds that teetered on the brink of madness. But until the discovery of Dr. Seuss’ “secret stories,” nothing had been written about the hidden dialogue Lovecraft and Geisel exchanged through their writing. There are pages in Seuss’ children’s books that, lifted and rearranged, form a contribution to the weird fiction canon as unsettling as anything Robert Chambers, August Derleth, or Lovecraft himself envisioned — often with the same problematic attitudes on race and gender.

The excerpt below is from the hidden story “A Night In Na-Nupp,” which was scrambled and embedded in Dr. Seuss’ Oh the Things You Can Think. That is the danger with too much free-range thought. The journey inward just might lead you to the eldritch dangers of Lovecraft’s Dreamlands.


Na-Nupp, like Carcosa, is a mythical “country” with details that point to an otherworldly or other-dimensional location. It is at night that the humans of Na-Nupp walk freely, when the birds are asleep. We are never privy to the specifics of the threat the birds pose. They are a menace that is noted, but otherwise taken for granted, a masterful technique of world-building often employed by Lovecraft.


Light in the darkness is a common theme in the Lovecraftian sub-genre, but instead of illumination providing safety, peering under the darkness is the path to madness and death. The symbol of ascending stairs is similarly inverted. Here, the ascent is not a rise out of fear and darkness, but into the lair of the Beast.


And at last, the monster at the end of the dream, inescapable, inevitable. The monster’s form echoes and enhances the menace of Na-Nupp’s birds, but its dusky coloration and referential appellation calls back to the most controversial aspect of Lovecraft’s work — his xenophobic dread of other races. Indeed, what would you do? Geisel provides no answers.


Wil Wheaton


Why is July 29th different from all other days?

In the Before Time, gamers and geeks were a vicious, predatory lot, venting the pain and frustration of their lives in the material world by savagely attacking each other in the digital world. Their virtual homeland knew no kindness nor civility, for whence would they have learned such things? But that was before the young actor Wil Wheaton, at the margin of the marginalized for portraying Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation, stood before a gaming convention, and delivered unto them Wheaton’s Law. “Don’t be a dick,” said Wheaton, and the geeks rejoiced. Tears streamed down their faces, they collapsed into throes of ecstasy, and women and ponytailed men washed his feet with their hair. For the lessons of prophets and saints, of parents and teachers, had never reached the ears of the geeks. Until Wil Wheaton, they had not known self-restraint; it never occurred to them that there was another way to conduct themselves. He had lifted the veil from their eyes and shown them the path with a handy flowchart. The Internet was not the homeland they were promised, but now it could be. And the geeks loved him. And as a gift to them, Wheaton declared his birthday would be a world-wide “Don’t Be A Dick” Day, lest they ever forget.

Kanye West


On Kanye West’s third birthday, before his parents parted ways, a seer revealed that should the child grow up witnessing human suffering before the age of twelve, he would become the world’s greatest civil rights activist, and millions would travel great distances to sit at his feet and hear his wisdom. But if he grew up innocent of the suffering of others, he would become the world’s greatest rap star, beget a child on a Kardashian, and declare to the millions who listened, “I am a god.” — from The Book of Yeezus

Tilda Swinton

Every evening after the MOMA closes, Tilda Swinton emerges from her glass case as a great, crystal Luna Moth. She flies to the moon, where she feeds on Moon Milk all night long. At dawn, she returns to earth, sheds her skin, and emerges in human form. Then she returns to the MOMA where she begins the cycle again, as she has since before the dawn of human civilization.
Her sleeping case is constructed entirely of Google Glass. It’s how she projects her visions deep into the Internet, where they gestate as cyber-life.
Tilda Swinton can assume other forms, including a snow goose, a white hart, cubic zirconium, white noise, a moonbeam, the scent of vanilla, and Gandalf the White.