Entry 46: F Paul Wilson, specifically “the Keep”, but also touching on Repairman Jack and the Adversary Cycle

A writer that I have intermittently read through his career but always enjoyed when I did read, F. Paul Wilson has explored some concepts in his works that are very handy for exploring as seeds for CoC. This is no accident, as I will go into here.
First, the Keep. This was the first book that most people encountered this writer through, and while an early novel (Wikipedia indicates that it may be his second published work, the bibliography is a bit tricky) it is a well-structured, and well written piece. There is to my own perception a bit of a flaw in the story, though I am relatively sure most of the audience had less issue with this aspect. As the first book in the Adversary Cycle, we are presented with Wilson’s take on a very Lovecraftian concept, albeit somewhat distantly. The Keep, largely set in a single location during World War II involves a Nazi occupation of a castle that protects a dark secret of its own. Attempting to secure the location and decipher the mystery of the location, the Nazis begin to encounter mysterious and increasingly dangerous phenomenon. A protagonist is drawn to the scene as the story unfolds, and the darker secret of the Keep as antagonist begins to lash out, with the Nazis and some innocent civilians caught in the middle of a deadly game.
Without giving away too much of the story for those interested in reading it, the mysterious phenomenon later is communicated with, and presents itself to some of the humans investigating it as if it were a vampire, while being something darker, and more powerful than any of the humans suspect. (This is the point where I have issues, once any of the people involved in the story begin communicating with the entity, the feeling of menace lessens considerably, even after we discern that the menace is far more than a simple vampire.
The story presents a background of a clash between two forces, one destructive, the other opposed to the destructive one. This is not a good versus evil conflict, more of an indifferent versus destructive conflict, which can be viewed in a very Lovecraftian light. Wilson is a Lovecraft fan, so this presentation is certainly not accidental, and is easily something one can fit into an ongoing game.
His next book, published under the title “the Tomb,” introduces the character known as Repairman Jack, a man who lives outside the normal system, in our modern world (modern for when it was published), and works as a ‘fixer’, seeking to function something like a private eye, helping people who have run out of options in the normal legal or societal system. He is pulled into a situation that is somewhat supernatural, and finds himself protecting innocents against the desctructive force hinted at in the Keep. It has been some time since I’ve read this book, I don’t remember if it was named as such, but this becomes the second book, after the Keep, in Wilson’s Adversary Cycle, and the first released book in the Repairman Jack series.
Aspects of almost all of Wilson’s books can be mined for scenarios, and Repairman Jack comes across very effectively as an Investigator, can be used as a template for an investigator, as a very unusual occupation template, or as a handy npc.
The threats in his book can make excellent monsters themselves, the foundation concept of taking an existing mythical creature and reverse engineering it into a Mythos type threat is a very good technique, and his background entities, the two polarized entities of the indifferent force and the destructive force can be seen as interpretations of the forces of the Mythos, those outright hostile to humanity on the whole, and those less hostile but not necessarily friendly.
I will concede that it is possible to see this as a bit Derlethian in a cosmic Good guys vs bad guys with humans as pawns in the great game, but it is to be perceived that it is less good guys than indifferent guys who happen to be antagonistic to the destructive forces and willing to let us humans be if we manage to survive. It is also easy to set all this aside, but I still suggest Wilson’s writings as a source for potentially mineoworthy material.
In other words, a recommended source of material you can mine if needed.


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