“The broad leaves were murmurous with evil life.”
-The People of the Black Circle
Howard’s use of the sinister family of intoxicating, toxic and even demonic lotus plants in his fantasies is one of the single most pervasive themes among the Conan yarns. The fact that he utilized flowering plants as a supernatural menace chills his hero tales of the barbarian adventurer from the inside out. If one were to remove the various dream-inducing plants from Howard’s stories the Conan cycle would lack much of its ancient, horrific feel, these weird plants being “an elder” aspect of a prehistoric fantasy crucial to imparting the feel of great antiquity to a past world.
Gene Wolfe also utilizes plants in this vein throughout his Book of the New Sun, with aquatic plants dragging his hero into a dreamy near death and the sacred avern or “Flower of Dissolution” used by Severian in his weird duel in The Shadow of the Torturer, lending a similar ancient feel to Wolfe’s ancient future, as the lotus did to Howard’s ancient past, for we humans know in our very bodies that plant life have preceded us in this unthinkably old world.
1. adjective form of murmur
2. a soft, indistinct sound made by a person or group of people speaking quietly or at a distance:
a softly spoken or almost inaudible utterance:
the quiet or subdued expression of a particular feeling by a group of people:
synonyms: whisper • undertone • mutter • mumble • complaint •
grumble • grouse • gripe • moan
a low continuous sound:
synonyms: hum • humming • buzz • buzzing • thrum •
thrumming • drone • sigh • rustle • susurration • murmuration
a recurring sound heard in the heart through a stethoscope that is usually a sign of disease or damage.
a condition in which the heart produces or is apt to produce a recurring sound indicative of disease or damage:
3. say something in a low, soft, or indistinct voice:
make a low continuous sound:
synonyms: mutter • mumble • whisper •
talk under one's breath • speak softly • rustle • sigh • burble • purl • whisper
say something cautiously and discreetly:
express one's discontent about (someone or something) in a subdued manner.
synonyms: complain • mutter • grumble • grouse • gripe •
late Middle English: from Old French murmure, from murmurer ‘to murmur,’ from Latin murmurare, from murmur ‘a murmur.’
murmurs (plural noun)
murmurs (third person present)
murmured (past tense)
murmured (past participle)
murmuring (present participle)