Ken Asamatsu brings a Japanese perspective to CTHULHU’S REIGN, with “Spherical Trigonometry,” a tale of angular obsession and global apocalypse. Asamatsu’s chilling story was translated by Edward Lipsett. “I was astonished when I heard the setting would be after Cthulhu returned,” says Asamatsu of the anthology. “It shattered some preconceptions I had. I had been thinking the Cthulhu Mythos was a sort of Armageddon setting, and it was a shock to be asked to write it up like sort of a dystopian novel. It was a heck of an impact, and once I snapped out of it I wondered what sort of person could come up with such an idea.”
One of the things Asamatsu enjoyed about writing “Spherical Trigonometry” was being able to (fictionally) destroy Tokyo City Hall. “It must be one of the most hideous buildings in the world, and surely an affront to almost any god,” he says. “Cthulhu tears down the City Hall, the mayor and all the civil servants there get turned into crab-thingies who can’t use Japanese, or even English or Chinese or Korean, and just have to communicate by clacking their claws.”
Asamatsu drew insipration from Frank Belknap Long’s “The Hounds of Tindalos,” (1931) embracing the deadly angles of that tale. “I thought it was a brilliant idea to explain the structure of the universe using a conflict between curves and angles. That story has had an effect on occultists as well, and I was astonished when I discovered a occult ‘text’ using Long’s prose just as he originally wrote it! I thought maybe I had found one of the sourcebooks he used to write the story, but he wrote his story much earlier.
“In any case, the theme of this story was, I suppose, the fact that we puny human beings have no recourse but to escape into sex?or death?when faced with the extinction of the human race. I think it was Ingmar Bergman who said he didn’t believe in anything but sex and death. I wonder if the seeds of the extinction of the human race, and the earth itself, hadn’t already grown to maturity in the depths of that Swedish genius.”
Asamatsu expressed his sincere appreciation of editor Darrell Schweitzer, “who was kind enough to allow a poor author in this island corner of the Orient the opportunity to destroy the world.”