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Volume 6468


Part 7: By R. Johnson
The next story in the Maureen Birnbaum series is:
Maureen Birnbaum and the Looming Awfulness
Published September 1993
Refers to the Cthulhu/Necronomicon series by H. P. Lovecraft
This one is a curiosity in that we see the return of Rod Marquad from MB at the Earth’s Core, but an older Rod from an earlier time and one who does not remember Maureen and one who lived when Maureen was still in diapers.  But I digress.

Basically, it was in September of 1993 when Elizabeth next saw Maureen.  Elizabeth, Maureen’s BFF and roommate from the Greenberg Academy was happily married with a 4-year-old child when Elizabeth’s husband announced that he was in love with his receptionist and she and the baby have a month to move out.   Really?!  Why did Elizabeth NOT hire a really good NYC divorce attorney to take the guy to the cleaners?  Instead she moves out to stay with her mother.  Or, she could have asked Maureen to castrate the guy, an act that Muffy would gladly have accomplished, Maureen being in her radical feminist stage of life.

Maureen simply arrives, again in her gold g-string and bra (this is important), mentions that she may have Alzheimer's because she gets lost in jungles more often than before (her only jungle adventure noted was in Pellucidar as described in MB at the Earth’s Core), she is forgetting the names of heroes and Villains she meets (Robin Hood was the only described Hero and no villain has been recorded), therefore, between her shopping spree in London and today, four years calendar time, our heroine MUST have had any number of unrecorded adventures.  Remember that by Maureen and Elizabeth’s Objective-Time, Maureen is 29 years old but her Subjective-Time when she last left Elizabeth was still 16 and few months.
*Objective Time is what the clock shows on Earth.  Subjective Time is what Maureen actually experiences.  Thus If you are born in 1990 and live all your life normally, today 2018, your Objective and Subjective Time is 28 years.  But if you leave Earth in 2000 for the Middle Ages, spend a week there and return to 2018, Your Objective Time is still 28 years but your Subjective Time is 10 years & 1 week!  You were ten when you went to the past, lived for a week, and returned in 2018, still 10, so you have been alive only 10 years despite the calendar.

Remember that Maureen was 16 when she went to Mars, spent a few hours there, then to NYC for a few days, then to Pellucidar for a couple weeks (max), then <other unnamed adventures that lasted hours or days>, then to the future with the Horseclans for a few days, then to Bermuda for an hour or less, then to Lagosh for an hour or so, then perhaps <other unnamed adventures>. Then to the Moon for a few days, then a few hours shoppying in London so she can only be physically 16 + few weeks or months at most.  Maureen time travels, then returns years later even when her body says she was gone only hours or days.  Maureen Birnbaum look and acts like a 16 year old schoolgirl because she IS 16!  Note that her adventures generally last for a few hours to a very few days.

Now, back on topic.  Maureen returns to Earth, in the future (she still lives as if it were 1981 even though it is now 1993) and cannot fully grasp the concept of her skipping forward in time with each adventure.  To her, Elizabeth is somehow growing rapidly old faster than is possible.  But she accepts this with the casualness of Youth.

BUT, Maureen’s comments on getting lost in Jungles more often than before implies further adventures in various jungles (plural) and meeting Heroes and Villains (plural) that were never mentioned before show that between her search for the Saint Graal and today, Maureen suffered many adventures in many times and places and worlds.  Thus she may be years older though as her adventures generally seem to last hours to days, she is probably only a few months older than 16.  Maureen also comments that as she whooshes about, she arrives closer and closer to the present time which concerns her a bit.

Thus Maureen left Elizabeth when Elizabeth was still pregnant, had a few adventures, then met with the Looming Awfulness, then immediately visited Elizabeth who, miraculously, has a 4 year old kid.

Sterling Library, Yale where Maureen first arrived.

Maureen arrives in the Sterling Memorial Library at Yale University on 1 March 1966 which she exited to go shopping at Ann Taylor Sportswear on Chapel Street.  Maureen mentions that after her last visit, she sold some more gold and gems and kept the cash in her left bra-cup with her stepmother's Gold Card in her right bra-cup.  She describes wanting to buy a pale green button-down shirtdress, a pair of matching Jacque cohen espadrilles and whatever accessories caught her eye.  I am assuming that this is what she bought and was wearing when she decided to buy a warm coat.  She then saw Rod Marquad from Pellucidar commenting that this was 20 years before first meeting him and he looked exactly the same.

Rod does not recognize her either at Yale in 1966 nor in Pellucidar in 1985.  The only explanation was that this was Rod's father who would later marry and produce Rod Jr. to save Maureen from the Sagoths of Pellucidar.  I seem to be the only one to ascribe to this idea though Maureen did visit a Dr Bertram A Waters of the Plasmonics Department to discuss time travel.  Note that although Plasmons have been studied for a century or more, the actual field did not begin to grow until some years after this adventure so Dr Waters must have been a pioneer in this field which explains why his explanation of time was so confused.

At lunch she and Rod found a paper written in an old Arabic Dialect which Rod learned in Egypt with his Uncle Dr Zach as he solved the Mystery of the Dismembered Murders.  I suppose this is how Rod Jr came by his desire and skills to fight crime in the 1980s.  When Rod mumbles “Chhulhu fhtagn”, Maureen recognizes that as a ‘scaly unclean squid-headed creature’ which would not be well known to a schoolgirl from the 1970-80s, thus Maureen must have had some dealings with the Great Old Ones before this.  Another unwritten adventure.

Harkness Tower, site of the first battle with the Great Old Ones.

Maureen is woken up by Rod who enlists her aid to save his roommate from an Eldrich Horror because Maureen is the one with the sword.  She wears her gold bra-and-g-string under a ski vest and the fight is on.  Afterwards she changes into blue jeans and a blue sweatshirt where they visit the Sterling Library to consult the Branford copy of the Dee ms of the Necronomicon.

Copy of the Dee ms of the Necronomicon in the author's possession.
Below are the De Camp ms and the Releyh Text, both in the author's possession.

From there they travel to a nearby hill for the climatic ballet with an unspeakable horror and having confronted what Maureen fought, I can attest to her courage.
From there, Maureen changed into her fighting gear and later visited Elizabeth in 1993, only to tell her that she had given up on Prince Van and was going to chase after Rod.

The Necronomicon is considered to be one of the most evil and dangerous works of religious magick ever written.  Penned by ‘the mad arab’ Abdul Alhazred, the Necronomicon describes the Great old ones, Gods from another star system, who rest under the pacific ocean, sending out nightmares and rituals to people who will awaken and serve them.  This always comes to no good.

HISTORY of the Necronomicon

The Simon ms (1972) and the Tyson ms (2004), both in the author's possession.

Since the 1950s, there have been a number of semi-authentic and fake Necronomicons published, the fake Simon version of 1972 being the most famous, and the Tyson version of 2004,all attempting to make money on the reputation of the Necronomicon.

Semi-authentic versions include:

The major problem with translating any ms from one language to another is that many words have no equal terms so the translator, if fluent, must choose a word that he hopes will fit, thus errors creep in.  Then when you translate from one language to another, then from that second language to a third and then to a fourth, the errors multiply.  As an example I submit the first paragraph from A Princess of Mars, translated from English to Latin, then from Latin to Greek, then from Greek to Arabic, then from Arabic to English, using Google Translator.  Note the increasing errors.

I am a very old man; how old I do not know. Possibly I am a hundred, possibly more; but I cannot tell because I have never aged as other men, nor do I remember any childhood. So far as I can recollect I have always been a man, a man of about thirty. I appear today as I did forty years and more ago, and yet I feel that I cannot go on living forever; that some day I shall die the real death from which there is no resurrection. I do not know why I should fear death, I who have died twice and am still alive; but yet I have the same horror of it as you who have never died, and it is because of this terror of death, I believe, that I am so convinced of my mortality.

Ego sum senex valde, Quot annos nescio. Forte mihi centum, plus fortasse, sed quia numquam novi aetatis hominibus sicut nec quicquam pueritiae memoriam. Ita ut quantum memini me semper fuerit vir, vir circiter XXX. Non hodie apparere sicut ante feci, et quadraginta annis, et viventem in sempiternum non possum, quod sentio; quadam die ut ego moriar in ipsa morte non est unde invenirent resurrectionem. Nescio cur mortem, qui bis mortuus adhuc viveret sed tamen ego ipse horror ex eo quod nunquam, qui mortuus est, et timore mortis huius est, quia, credo, hoc mihi ita persuasum videbitis mortalem.



I am old, do not know how old. They may have a hundred, maybe more, but I've never seen anything like an age to recall memory. So, as I remember, I always have a man, a man of about 30. It seems that today, as I did before, forty years, I can not live forever, which I feel. The nature of death, I will die in my time, it was not a kind of resurrection of the body from where we can find one

Reference books on the Necronomicon, vital to a study of the books.
In the Authors Possession but published after The Looming Awfulness so unseen by Rod.

Although the author possess a number of versions of the Necronomicon, I admit to having too much PTSD from three wars and two marriages to add to my problems by working in this most dangerous magickal system.



Rick Johnson Feature Articles and Fiction in ERBzine


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