Questions and topics for discussion

1. People possessed by the Necronomicon often chant in tongues or shout "join us!" Do you think this is a postmodern commentary on how language speaks us?

2. Unlike most books, the Necronomicon is bound in human flesh and inked in blood. Did this format enhance your reading experience? What does this say about form and function in literature?

3. Reading the Necronomicon may make clocks spin backwards or open a vortex to the medieval age. Magical realist Gabriel Garcia Marquez also distorts time in his novel One Hundred Years of Solitude. Should the Necronomicon be considered magical realism? Why or why not?

4. Sacrifice, especially human sacrifice, is a major theme in the Necronomicon. Recall a time in your life when you were asked to sacrifice something. Do the sacrificial rituals in this book speak to that experience?

5. The Necronomicon is filled with written warnings from its previous owners not to recite or even look at certain passages. Did you find these annotations helpful? Should a book like the Necronomicon be considered on its own or as part of a larger conversation with the people it kills or drives insane?

6. Some pages of the Necronomicon must be translated from Sumerian, or retrieved from a cellar haunted by an undead crone, making the book in many ways a collaboration between the text and reader. Did you find this collaborative format rewarding or frustrating? Explain.

7. The Necronomicon's author, Abdul Alhazred, claimed to have written the book while possessed by an ancient, unspeakable evil. What does this say about an author's role in writing his or her work? Should all literature be read vis a vis the social, political or demonic forces that shaped its creation?

8. Some readers of the Necronomicon report being sucked through the book into a horrible demon dimension. Is this feeling of "losing oneself" in a text key to an immersive reading experience?

9. People seeking the Necronomicon may encounter other "false" versions of the book, including one that flies around and bites them in the face. Does the book's relation to these other works make it a hypertext? Why or why not?

10. The Necronomicon isn't the only book to use nontraditional inking. William Faulkner originally wanted to use different-colored inks in The Sound and the Fury. Could Faulkner have been influenced by the Necronomicon, either consciously or because he was possessed by its ancient malevolence?

11. Critics of the Necronomicon have called it "[a book of] bizarre burial rites, funeral incantations, and demon resurrection passages ... never meant for the world of the living." Is this a fair assessment, or does it reveal an implicit bias toward the living?

12. The spirits released by the Necronomicon have been known to fly down people's throats and make them grow a second evil body. Should all good books have this polarizing effect on their audience?

13. The Western literature canon has often been criticized for its preponderance of "dead white people." Do you feel that by killing people and turning them into pale undead ghouls the Necronomicon contributes to this trend?

– Jedidiah (@notoriousamoeba)

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