Reading Lovecraft The Shadow Out of Time (1934). After this I’ll read The Mountain of Madness and The Call of Chulhu. Lovecraft might be good source for developing an understanding of horses (and other non-human beasts).
The story of The Shadow Out of Time is told by a man called Nathaniel Wingate Peaslee whose mind is snatched to work in an massive archive populated by drones. He is (along other drones) tasked to document the history of the world (and worlds) in the service of the Great Race. The plant like Great Race is in the process of departing our world and set to live in the future (because they fear the “elder beings”). The library is located in the past of our world (between Paleozoic and Mesozoic periods) but drones (some of who have human minds) that serve the archive come from all ages. The task of documenting everything is so enormous that Nathaniel can’t maintain a stable mind. The archive he describes feels like a data center and narrator is slowly turning into some kind of artificial intelligence. The horror of this story is in the description of the various states of self awareness this intelligence is in. The text is very tricky to read.
The text bundles psychology, archeology and geology. The narrator is on a quest to understand a personal experience (a sudden change in his person and amnesia), this leads to a quest to understand myths, which leads to a quest to understand the world that has created the myths. Perhaps Haraway has used this approach to draft her proposal on different scales that should be thought of when facing other species (biological, cultural and face-to-face). The term “post-human” is mentioned (or specifically a “posthuman beetle race”)! Other interesting concepts are “pseudo-memory”, “memory-rhythm” (a choreography for opening a lock) and “myth-born unreality”. The narrator is excavating trough layers of concealed memories (trauma) and prompted to orchestrate a archeological excavation. The researchers discover archeological and geological evidence which confirms that the narrators pseudo-memories from the distant past are real, that his trauma is based on actual events which took place before his birth. The Lovecraftian world feels very similar to the world of the enchanted, which is depicted in ME AND MINE film (2018).
Here is a description of the archives the narrator is forced to work in and his body when it’s in its virtual drone state:
And then the morbid temptation to look down at myself became greater and greater, till one night I could not resist it. At first my downward glance revealed nothing whatever. A moment later I perceived that this was because my head lay at the end of a flexible neck of enormous length. Retracting this neck and gazing down very sharply, I saw the scaly, rugose, iridescent bulk of a vast cone ten feet tall and ten feet wide at the base. That was when I waked half of Arkham with my screaming as I plunged madly up from the abyss of sleep.
Only after weeks of hideous repetition did I grow half-reconciled to these visions of myself in monstrous form. In the dreams I now moved bodily among the other unknown entities, reading terrible books from the endless shelves and writing for hours at the great tables with a stylus managed by the green tentacles that hung down from my head.
The archives were in a colossal subterranean structure near the city’s center, which I came to know well through frequent labors and consultations. Meant to last as long as the race, and to withstand the fiercest of earth’s convulsions, this titan repository surpassed all other buildings in the massive, mountain-like firmness of its construction.
The records, written or printed on great sheets of a curiously tenacious cellulose fabric were bound into books that opened from the top, and were kept in individual cases of a strange, extremely light, rustless metal of greyish hue, decorated with mathematical designs and bearing the title in the Great Race’s curvilinear hieroglyphs.
The narrator returns to the archive site in a later episode and tells about the same space when he is in human form:
One thing only was unfamiliar, and that was my own size in relation to the monstrous masonry. I felt oppressed by a sense of unwonted smallness, as if the sight of these towering walls from a mere human body was something wholly new and abnormal. Again and again I looked nervously down at myself, vaguely disturbed by the human form I possessed.
The very prints of my shoes behind me in the millennially untrodden dust made me shudder. Never before, if my mad dreams held anything of truth, had human feet pressed upon those immemorial pavements.
The way a distant creature is described reminds me of being close to a horse when it’s breathing heavily while trotting:
There was a wind, too – not merely a cool, damp draught, but a violent, purposeful blast belching savagely and frigidly from that abominable gulf whence the obscene whistling came.