H. P. Lovecraft

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Howard Phillips Lovecraft (August 20, 1890 – March 15, 1937) was an American author of weird fiction whose work has had a lasting imprint on popular horror and science fiction.

Indirect influence on the seminal concepts of Doom may be seen in the two movies that have been mentioned as having helped define the underlying character of the game. On one hand, the brooding theme in the Aliens series added to the concept of mere humans facing strange and terrible super-creatures, and on the other, that the evil unleashed in Evil Dead II comes from tampering with the Necronomicon, a fictional book appearing in Lovecraft's tales.

The lead designer of Doom during the later parts of development, Sandy Petersen, was very familiar with the author's work, and had previously designed the Lovecraftian table-top role-playing game, Call of Cthulhu, for Chaosium. It may have been Petersen who inserted a couple of more explicit references to the author and his legacy, namely:

  • The teleporter flats and associated pentagram-like skin textures display symbols that appear in the Simon Necronomicon, a popular rendition of the fictional book first published in 1977, where they depict the symbols on a gray stone gate to "the Outside". The inclusion of these symbols may have been suggested equally by Sandy Petersen because of his affinity to Lovecraft or by any of the id Software staff having Evil Dead II in mind.
  • Sandy Petersen's E3M6 is named Mt. Erebus. The mythological place Erebus is originally a deep place of utter darkness and the personification of shadow, but Petersen chose a bright lava-filled open area in reference to the volcano in Antarctica, which is incidentally located where one of Lovecraft's most celebrated tales, At the Mountains of Madness, takes place. In the tale the volcano is described and associated with Edgar Allan Poe's Mount Yaanek (in his poem Ulalume), taking a special and ominous significance. Petersen's authorship of the level and his ties to Lovecraft's work make this a certain reference likely attributable to him.

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