The Black Tome of Alsophocus (fiction)

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"The Black Tome of Alsophocus" is a short story by H.P. Lovecraft and Martin S. Warnes. It appears in the collection New Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos (1980 and 1989).

Written by Warnes as a "posthumous collaboration" in an attempt to complete a fragment left by Lovecraft, "The Book (fiction)", in which the narrator is given an ancient book by a strange bookseller, and when he takes it home and examines it, weird and sinister events ensue. Lovecraft appears to have started the fragment as one of the sole surviving experimental attempts to convert the first three sonnets of "Fungi from Yuggoth (poem)" (The Book, Pursuit, and The Key) into prose, before abandoning it: "I am at a sort of standstill in writing — disgusted at much of my older work, and uncertain as to avenues of improvement. In recent weeks I have done a tremendous amount of experimenting with different styles and perspectives, but have destroyed most of the results...." - HPL

Warnes' story is a sort of demonic possession tale concerning Nyarlathotep, about a human who discovers a spellbook called the Black Tome, described as "that legendary manuscript written centuries ago by the great necromancer Alsophocus, who lived in the land of Erongill before ever modern man ever had taken his first uncertain steps upon the earth". The narrator learns much sorcery from the Black Tome and eventually travels with his mind to Sharnoth where Nyarlathotep dwells.

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