Necronomicon for Android
The Necronomicon originated as a fictional book in the works of H.P. Lovecraft, and grew into an extended literary in-joke as other horror writers organically added to the Cthulhu mythos. According to Lovecraft, it was written by Abdul Alhazred, ‘a mad Arab poet of the Yemen’, in 950 A.D. in Damascus. In many of the stories written by Lovecraft and his successors, merely reading or possessing the Necronomicon leads to insanity …or worse.
How Lovecraft conceived the name Necronomicon is not clear — Lovecraft said that the title came to him in a dream. Although some have suggested that Lovecraft was influenced primarily byRobert W. Chambers‘ collection of short stories The King in Yellow, which centers on a mysterious and disturbing play in book form, Lovecraft is not believed to have read that work until 1927.
Donald R. Burleson has argued that the idea for the book was derived from Nathaniel Hawthorne, though Lovecraft himself noted that “mouldy hidden manuscripts” were one of the stock features ofGothic literature.
Lovecraft wrote that the title, as translated from the Greek language, meant “an image of the law of the dead”: nekros – νεκρός (“dead”), nomos – νόμος (“law”), eikon – εικών (“image”). Robert M. Price notes that the title has been variously translated by others as “Book of the names of the dead”, “Book of the laws of the dead”, “Book of dead names” and “Knower of the laws of the dead”. S. T. Joshi states that Lovecraft’s own etymology is “almost entirely unsound. The last portion of it is particularly erroneous, since -ikon is nothing more than a neuter adjectival suffix and has nothing to do with eikõn (image).” Joshi translates the title as “Book considering (or classifying) the dead.”
Lovecraft was often asked about the veracity of the Necronomicon, and always answered that it was completely his invention. In a letter to Willis Conover, Lovecraft elaborated upon his typical answer:
Now about the “terrible and forbidden books” — I am forced to say that most of them are purely imaginary. There never was any Abdul Alhazred or Necronomicon, for I invented these names myself. Robert Bloch devised the idea of Ludvig Prinn and his De Vermis Mysteriis, while the Book of Eibon is an invention of Clark Ashton Smith’s. Robert E. Howard is responsible for Friedrich von Junzt and his Unaussprechlichen Kulten…. As for seriously-written books on dark, occult, and supernatural themes — in all truth they don’t amount to much. That is why it’s more fun to invent mythical works like the Necronomicon and Book of Eibon.
Reinforcing the book’s fictionalization, the name of the book’s supposed author, Abdul Alhazred, is not even a grammatically correct Arabic name. The name “Abdul” simply means “the worshiper/slave of…”. Standing alone, it would make no sense, as Alhazred is not a last name in the Western sense, but a reference to a person’s place of birth.