Notes From Yuggoth, part 3 (the moon of Yuggoth)

New Horizons

New Horizons path through the Pluto (or Yuggoth) system

As New Horizons approaches Pluto, one should not forget the dwarf planet’s largest moon Charon, which was discovered in 1978 at the United State Naval Observatory.  Charon is the largest of the five known moons of Pluto and is the largest moon relative to its parent body than any other moon in our solar system.  In fact, the barycenter (the center of mass of two bodies orbiting each other) of the Pluto / Charon system is outside of Pluto.

nhpf20150701_0278The Pluto / Charon System (www.nasa.gov)

While Charon was not discovered until the late 1970’s, Lovecraft may have had some knowledge of this satellite.  In “Through the Gates of the Silver Key” Randolph Carter mentions that he saw Kynarth and Yuggoth on the rim.  Since Carter mentions both of these bodies on the rim (referring to the rim of the solar system), and Yuggoth is Pluto, is it possible that Kynarth is Charon?

Charon

Some more details of Yuggoth’s moon Kynarth (also known as Charon)

S.T. Joshi hypothesizes that Kynarth may be a tenth planet in our solar system (Lovecraft and a World in Transition: Collected Essays on H.P. Lovecraft by S.T. Joshi, 2014) but since Kynarth and Yuggoth are mentioned together, I think it is more than likely that Kynarth is Charon.  Additionally, Joshi does cite that Lovecraft mentions in “The Haunter of the Dark” that Shaggai is apparently “more distant” than Yuggoth (Joshi, 2014).  Thus, I think Shaggai is the tenth planet, more than likely another dwarf planet, and Kynarth is Charon.

Tomorrow we should receive new photos of the Yuggoth – Kynarth system!

Burn_to_Build_Lovecraft_Pilei

Lovecraft (www.burntobuild.com)

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17 thoughts on “Notes From Yuggoth, part 3 (the moon of Yuggoth)

  1. In pure Lovecraft, “Shaggai” only shows up in the semi-self-parody “Haunter of the Dark,” as the name of one of Robert Blake’s stories and then as part of his deranged ramblings when Nyarlathotep is about to get him.

    But post-Lovecraft, Shaggai has become a pretty important place, as the home of the eponymous Insects From Shaggai. Those guys are not from a planet orbiting in the outer fringes of the Solar System, but from a world which circles “two emerald suns.”

    Ironically, I think the non-Lovecraft interpretation is actually more “Lovecraftian.” By modern standards, our Solar System seems awfully _crowded_ in Lovecraft’s works. A mostly-lifeless obscure backwater system better fits with his notion of an uncaring cosmos. Kinda like reality.

    1. You are correct – the Lovecraftian (and Smithian as well) solar system is very crowded – but the solar system was when you read most Sci-Fi / weird fiction from the early 20th century. Even in his astronomical writings, early on Lovecraft hypothesized about the possibility of life on the moon and Mars and then in his later work he acknowledged that if there is life in our solar system (beyond Earth) it would not be complex (and hence microbial).
      Thank you for the comments – Fred.

    2. No matter how you slice Lovecraft’s stories, our solar system, and Earth in particular, is overflowing with intelligent life, both native (us, the Cone-Shaped Beings, Ghouls, the insect philosophers on a moon of Jupiter, etc.) and from elsewhere (the Elder Things, Cthulhu-spawn, Mi-Go, etc.) This leads to two possibilities: either the universe really is that crowded, or perhaps there is something ‘special’ about our little world after all. Perhaps THAT is the real horror hiding in HPL’s ‘uncaring cosmos.’

      1. My impression of that matter is that Earth (and perhaps the solar system by default) is at least more unusual than the average rock in space in that it has life, and that is why it gets some attention, but my thinking is that every inhabited world in the cosmos gets that degree of attention too, and most of them may even get more attention than Earth. Basically, the reason all these races have showed up is (A) we’ve contacted them with help from Nyarlathotep, (B) life and its associated compounds are resources being studied, mined, and utilized by otherworldly beings, which draws them to us, and (C) while Lovecraft’s cosmos is actually harsher than the real world with regards to life (in that it either rarely occurs or tends to destroy itself (given the infinite multitudes of destroyed worlds in the story ‘Nyarlathotep) or both), but travel between worlds is a little bit easier, so the very, very hardiest species that “succeeded” despite the odds have spread far from their origins, and the most successful even into other dimensions. Due to the general hostility of the cosmos, however, individual civilizations created by these entities (like the Elder Things’ civilization on Earth) are being wiped out of existence all the time, and most species are destroyed before they even get the chance to spread. Given enough time, individuals from these species may in time rise to the level of GOOs, and finally to greater heights creeping upon the almighty power of the Outer Gods, a result of the pressures of evolution when life has to survive in a multi-verse that actively and habitually wipes life clean.

        Anyway, I personally feel that the next stage of the Cthulhu Mythos ought to be the “fleshing out” in a sci-fi sense of the greater cosmos beyond Earth, many locations of which harbouring far greater importance than the cosmic back-water that is Earth. Eventually, a natural consequence of this might even be xenofiction from the point of view of fictional, non-anthropomorphic species existing on planets beyond Earth with unique alien psychologies interacting amongst themselves or with the broader Mythos. At least, I hope this comes to pass since I am tired of reading about humans all the time! x) Plus, even an eye-opening, cosmic narrative such as the Mythos can be turned towards stroking our own human ego again if we aren’t careful due to inadvertently emphasizing how uniquely important we must be to be getting all this exclusive cosmic attention. :p

      2. Reading some of the latest information on String Theory, Gravity waves, and parallel
        universes there is all kinds of directions both Cthulhu mythos and cosmic horror / fiction can go!

  2. Actually, I’d think the later adoption of Shaggai as a world in another System entirely is accurate. While Blake refers to Shaggai as “more distant” than Yuggoth, while Yuggoth is described as “on the rim” in “Through the Gates.” I take that to mean Yuggoth is on the edge of the Solar System while Shaggai is completely outside of it.

    Also, I’d always assumed Kynarth is Charon because the passage says “Kynarth and YUGGOTH on the rim,” not “Yuggoth and Kynarth.” In the latter arrangement it would be understandable to think Kynarth was some Tenth planet on the edge of the Solar System, but not in the former.

    1. Shaggai may still be part of our solar system – our solar system does not necessarily end with Pluto. There is the Kuiper Belt – from the orbit of Neptune and beyond Pluto that is similar to the asteroid belt but much larger. There are comets whose orbit is well beyond Pluto’s. There is the icy planetesimals of the Oort Cloud that is truly the rim of our solar system. Thus, Shaggai may be one of the “black planets” of the ultimate void, beyond our solar system. Obviously more analyses are required – maybe New Horizons will shed some light on this! Thank you for the comments – Fred.

      1. Why should we as fans insist on making it so though when Lovecraft left its nature so ambiguous? Ramsey Campbell has been one of the best post-Lovecraft Mythos writers, and insisting upon making Shaggai in the solar system makes at least a significant portion of his work non-canonical given that he has Shaggai with its own suns. Of course, we may choose to provide conflicting narratives for different features of the Mythos, but I’m leery of making our solar system overly “special” in its ability to generate tons of life.

      2. Yes, Lovecraft is very ambiguous and the whole goal of this blog site is to attempt to correlate these unknown forces / entities in concepts we can understand. It does not mean it’s correct but that is how science works. Also, I find that attempts to answer questions such as this only reveals more unanswered questions and unknowns! Thank you for the comments! Fred.

  3. There’s the possibility of there being a Ninth Planet (Tyche, right?) here in the real world, but Lovecraft’s text seem to suggest Yuggoth is the edge of Our system. Also, it may be worth mentioning that the inhabited asteroid referenced in “The Shadow Out of Time” (a fragment of the hypothetical Phateon, said fragment of which apparently has an internal sea in Lovecraft’s fiction) may be Ceres.

  4. I completely agree with your comments about Kynarth, but there is still some doubt to Shaggai – as many people have brought up. The idea that it is one of the black planets in the icy Oort Cloud is intriguing, and probable if you’re looking at Lovecraft’s work.

    Zoom out to Ramsey Campbell, we see that Shaggai orbits emerald suns (as Frter Julianus mentions). The exact position of Shaggai merits an article – rolling in the black void of the Oort, or circling in a decayed emerald system.

    1. Yes, I absolutely agree – I try to stay limited to Lovecraft’s text but I do meander out from time to time (e.g. Smith) so yes, I do need to re-read some Campbell and it does warrant an article further investigating the validity of my original hypothesis. Thank you for the comments! Fred

      1. It would be interesting if Shaggai was some sort of multi-dimensional sphere that existed in several places at once: the Oort Cloud and the emerald system…

        Speaking of which, that’s my belief about Leng. Since it’s in varying places – Asia (inhabited by ghouls), the Dreamlands (inhabited by satyr-like devils and moon beasts), and Antarctica (inhabited by Elder Things) – it’s logical that different incarnations of it exist in various places.

        That, or the names “Shaggai” and “Leng” are just words given to places that are not good. Either way, interesting!

      2. Yes, these other worlds may be on other “branes” touch or near our universe – from a multi-dimensional perspective of course! I will be talking about that in my upcoming presentation for the NecronomiCon next month! – Fred

      3. Huh. That idea actually works for Leng; the Dreamlands Plateau could border on several locations in the Waking World, such as in Central Asia and the Elder Thing Plateau in Antarctica.

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