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Introduction to the Cthulhu Mythos

By Tatarigami in Op-Ed
Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 11:21:14 PM EST
Tags: Books (all tags)
Books

The Cthulhu Mythos is a branch of horror fictions which has stood the test of time. Begun more than 80 years ago, it's not quite a shared background, not quite a genre of it's own, not quite a series of homages and inside jokes by the writers who created it, but it has elements of all of these (along with some damn fine story-telling). It has inspired some hoaxes and conspiracies, some terrible movies, and even a few popular video games.


The Mythos began in the late 1910s with the supernatural horror stories of H P Lovecraft. Other authors have added to the collected works of the Mythos over time, but the classic stories and core ideas are his. Although he had published previously, the first of his stories which could be linked with the Mythos is "Dagon", printed in June 1919. Dagon is the story of a merchant mariner washed up on a deserted island after escaping capture at the hands of the German navy during World War I, only to be confronted by something infinitely worse than any human enemy.

Pulp horror

Lovecraft was one of a generation of writers churning out tales for the pulp magazines. (A lot of his later stories were printed in Weird Tales.) The pulps were literary publications printed on low grade paper and sold cheaply at news stands, tobacco shops, bus stations -- anywhere a shelf or a rack could be put up to display them. They tended towards fast-paced, melodramatic stories written to stir up the reader's emotions. It was the perfect environment for Lovecraft's macabre and foreboding tales, where happy endings are as rare as Deep Ones in the desert.

To Lovecraft, a dedicated materialist and lifelong pessimist, the universe was a dark and dangerous place. With no benevolent Creator to manage it, the ignorant, hostile cosmos cared no more for humanity than it did for a stray hydrogen atom drifting through space. He saw our Earth as an oasis in the wilderness, where ignorance really was bliss -- and he saw the human race doing its best to scale the walls of its cradle, completely unprepared for what it would find on the outside.

His writing became a framework to showcase this philosophy. Lovecraft's protagonists are almost universally well-educated men with a profound respect for discovery and esoteric learning. They bring about their own inevitable downfall by searching too eagerly for new knowledge, shaking off premonitions and darkly muttered warnings and delving into places where humans don't belong and aren't wanted. At that point they are either destroyed, or called on to make an enormous personal sacrifice -- sanity, reputation, or life itself -- to repair the harm their careless poking has caused.

The Lovecraft circle

While he was fairly reclusive, Lovecraft never attempted to cut himself off from contact with the world. For most of his life he wrote several letters a day, creating a vast correspondence (which has also been published). He was especially diligent in responding to letters by younger authors, and in this way came to be an influence on a number of up-and-coming pulp writers such as Frank Belknap Long, Robert E. Howard (creator of Conan the Barbarian), Clark Ashton-Smith, Robert Bloch and August Derleth.

As Lovecraft began reusing elements from his older stories (the Necronomicon for example), it also became common for the other writers, who came to know one another through their mutual acquaintance, to begin borrowing from him and each other in the same way. It was partly a joke, partly a compliment, partly because referring to the same invented sources gave those sources a respectability and instant reader recognition which made them that much more powerful as plot devices.

They even began to include each other in their stories -- for example, the protagonist of Lovecraft's story "The Haunter of the Dark" is named Robert Blake, and the story itself is dedicated to Robert Bloch, one of the Lovecraft circle writers. Bloch himself returns the favour in his story "The Shambler From the Stars". And in Frank Belknap Long's "The Space Eaters" a writer with the same first name and physical appearance as Lovecraft is frustrated when he finds the English language inadequate for conveying the kind of horror he wants to inflict on his readers.

This is how the work of a series of horror and adventure authors writing independently came to share enough common points to be collectively called the 'Cthulhu Mythos'.

The Mythos

The monsters of the Mythos tales are as likely to come out of space or time as the spiritual realm. They are ancient, enormously powerful, and concern themselves with matters completely incomprehensible to the pathetic primate minds of humankind. They aren't necessarily evil, they simply go about their own mysterious business, paying as much attention to us as we might pay to ants we accidentally crush underfoot while walking.

Cthulhu is the hideous, ancient, eldritch title entity of Lovecraft's 1926 story "The Call of Cthulhu". It's unclear why the Mythos was named after this particular Great Old One, since Call isn't among the most influential of the Mythos stories. The term 'Cthulhu Mythos' was coined by August Derleth, one of the writers influenced by Lovecraft and founder of Arkham House, the publishing company which went on to print volumes of Mythos literature by Lovecraft and others.

Derleth himself is a controversial figure to many fans. While it's true that he worked long and hard to keep Lovecraft's work available after his death, it's also true that he tried to reorganise the Mythos cosmology to suit his own purposes. He demoted the Great Old Ones from enigmatic interstellar consciousnesses whose purposes and methods were unknowable to part of a lowly natural order of elemental spirits who were malevolent just because.

It's also worth mentioning that the Conan tales written by Robert E. Howard (and others after his death) are set in the universe of the Cthulhu Mythos. While these tend to be stories of rollicking adventure rather than spooky horror, it's not unusual to see artifacts from lost ancient Hyperboria popping up in more conventional Mythos works.

Modern Mythos

Many people today are familiar with the Mythos through "Call of Cthulhu", the role-playing game published by Chaosium. While I'd hesitate to say the recent popularity of Mythos fiction is a result of a new generation of fans learning about it through the game, it has proven to be a very successful product for the company, who have also begun publishing anthologies of classic and new Mythos fiction under their Call of Cthulhu imprint.

And the success of the game has led to tangential but sort-of related items like the Cthulhu plush toy and Pokethulhu ("he's gotta catch us all"). Or maybe you'd like to play De Profundis, the game of Lovecraftian letter-writing from the abyss?

The Mythos has also made its way into cinema, although it has to be said that successful translations of Lovecraft and the Mythos into movies are rare.

The Necronomicon is a topic with enough depth to it to deserve an article all to itself. (Or perhaps a website and a book.) Over time the volume has become larger than life, and is certainly better known today than the stories that make reference to it. There are at least a dozen different books in the marketplace under the title of the Necronomicon, some of them homages, some of them hoaxes and at least one a collection of paintings by a practicing Dutch satanist.

I think it's enough to say here that if any secretive occult conspiracies or three-letter government agencies have evidence that the Necronomicon existed before Lovecraft started writing about it, they're keeping it to themselves.

Reading the Mythos

In general, the stories of the Cthulhu Mythos don't get sequels (Great Old Ones might come back to feature in another tale, but their victims typically don't), so there's no need to read Mythos stories in any particular order.

One of the exceptions is "Herbert West - Reanimator", but it would be fairer to call this a single story told in three installments. This story was also the inspiration for the "Re-Animator" movies, currently in their third incarnation.

Another exception is "The Statement of Randolph Carter" and the Dream Cycle stories which followed. These stories have a very different tone to most of the Mythos work, and I'd be tempted to exclude them as unrelated except that they follow the same loose rule of borrowing ideas and references from earlier writing. These stories follow the adventures of Carter, a skilled dreamer, who is able to penetrate deeper than most people into the weird spiritual realm our souls visit during sleep. Although Carter is opposed by powerful enemies (even Gods) he is able to usually able to win through by cleverness.

Arkham House claims to hold the copyrights for the stories of H. P. Lovecraft, but others argue that there is reason to believe the stories are in the public domain, and have made them available to read online.

Other resources

www.hplovecraft.com - biographical site for H P Lovecraft
www.gizmology.net/lovecraft - online library of Lovecraft's work
www.cthuugle.com - Mythos search engine
www.shub-niggurath.com - another search engine
www.shoggoth.net - Mythos fan community site
www.yog-sothoth.com - Call of Cthulhu roleplaying community site
www.stationlink.com/pulpdom/pulphist.html - a history of the pulp magazines
www.necfiles.org - information on the Necronomicon hoax
www.necfiles.org/mythos.htm - extensive FAQ on the Cthulhu Mythos
directory.google.com/Top/Arts/Literature/Genres/Horror/Cthulhu_Mythos - Mythos directory
www.miskatonic.net - Miskatonic University, home of the fighting cephalopods and DIY necronomicon classes

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Related Links
o Google
o Cthulhu Mythos
o H P Lovecraft
o Dagon
o something infinitely worse
o pulp magazines
o Weird Tales
o literary publications
o Deep Ones
o published
o Frank Belknap Long
o Robert E. Howard
o Clark Ashton-Smith
o Robert Bloch
o August Derleth
o Necronomic on
o The Haunter of the Dark
o Cthulhu
o The Call of Cthulhu
o Great Old One
o Arkham House
o Call of Cthulhu
o Chaosium
o Cthulhu plush toy
o Pokethulhu
o De Profundis
o cinema
o website
o practicing Dutch satanist
o Great Old Ones
o Herbert West - Reanimator
o The Statement of Randolph Carter
o Dream Cycle stories
o reason to believe
o read online
o www.hplove craft.com
o www.gizmol ogy.net/lovecraft
o www.cthuug le.com
o www.shub-n iggurath.com
o www.shoggo th.net
o www.yog-so thoth.com
o www.statio nlink.com/pulpdom/pulphist.html
o www.necfil es.org
o www.necfil es.org/mythos.htm
o directory. google.com/Top/Arts/Literature/Genres/Horror/Cthulhu_Mythos
o www.miskat onic.net
o Also by Tatarigami


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Introduction to the Cthulhu Mythos | 166 comments (159 topical, 7 editorial, 0 hidden)
Correction? (2.78 / 14) (#3)
by omegadan on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 06:10:20 PM EST

It was the perfect environment for Lovecraft's macabre and foreboding tales, where happy endings are as rare as Deep Ones in the desert.

s/macabre/mediocre/
s/foreboding/boring/

Religion is a gateway psychosis. - Dave Foley

you've miscast your opinion (1.00 / 1) (#8)
by Attackist on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 07:26:13 PM EST

as if to suggest you aren't just a simple-minded dullard. please fix, thanks.

"See, I will let you have cow's dung instead of human dung, on which you may prepare your bread." -- God Almighty

(/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\)
[ Parent ]

not caring for lovecraft ... (none / 0) (#13)
by omegadan on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 08:10:31 PM EST

Is *not* a sign of a simple mind.

Religion is a gateway psychosis. - Dave Foley
[ Parent ]

is too !!!! (2.16 / 6) (#19)
by rmg on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 09:05:27 PM EST



_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

HAHA (2.37 / 8) (#46)
by wji on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 04:08:56 AM EST

YOU USED S/WORD1/WORD2 ITS LIKE AN AWK SCRIPT HAHAHA WERE LUNIX GEEKS +5 FUNNIE

not

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]

Stupid. (4.33 / 6) (#64)
by ObviousTroll on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 08:05:40 AM EST

Anybody who can't tell the difference between an AWK script and simple VI commands should taken out back and beaten with an EMACS manual


Somewhere in America / There's a street named after my dad / And the home we never had.


[ Parent ]
I think (3.00 / 2) (#88)
by omegadan on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 01:30:43 PM EST

I think the reason he can't tell the difference is because someone already has.

Religion is a gateway psychosis. - Dave Foley
[ Parent ]

Yeah (1.00 / 1) (#128)
by wji on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 11:29:46 PM EST

But at least I didn't make any spelling mistakes, or anything.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]
Feh. Geeks care little for spelling. (none / 0) (#154)
by ObviousTroll on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 10:06:02 PM EST

They have machines for that sort of thing.


Somewhere in America / There's a street named after my dad / And the home we never had.


[ Parent ]
Lovecraft. (2.47 / 17) (#4)
by tkatchev on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 06:40:32 PM EST

Damn, he's one boring writer...

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.

tkatchev. (3.00 / 2) (#9)
by Attackist on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 07:37:13 PM EST

Damn, he's one boring critic...

"See, I will let you have cow's dung instead of human dung, on which you may prepare your bread." -- God Almighty

(/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\)
[ Parent ]

Hey, I'm not arguing. (2.00 / 3) (#11)
by tkatchev on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 08:01:47 PM EST

Just wanted to give my opinion.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

similar sentiments here: (2.00 / 2) (#31)
by Attackist on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 11:56:08 PM EST

I am just attempting to counter the casual negative vibe around the site lately.

"See, I will let you have cow's dung instead of human dung, on which you may prepare your bread." -- God Almighty

(/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\)
[ Parent ]

Negative vibe? (2.50 / 2) (#50)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 04:48:45 AM EST

I must have missed it!

END OF SELF-AGGRANDISEMENT

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

dude (none / 0) (#25)
by circletimessquare on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 10:20:45 PM EST

you're always backbiting my trolling ways, and you're a way much bigger flaming troll than i'll ever be

ironic


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Gee, which is worse? (none / 0) (#49)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 04:46:07 AM EST

To be a flaming troll, or a flaming idiot?

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú


---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

no, no, i am troll, not idiot (nt) (none / 0) (#97)
by circletimessquare on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 03:48:59 PM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
A relief to know this, to be sure. (nt) (none / 0) (#142)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 08:42:45 AM EST



---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]
Agreed (none / 0) (#34)
by j1mmy on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 12:10:15 AM EST

I've read a number of his short stories. Once you've gotten through three or four of them, the others don't seem to have much, if any, original material. Same ideas, different title.


[ Parent ]
Yeah (3.33 / 3) (#56)
by bugmaster on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 06:37:46 AM EST

He always writes stuff like this:
There are things on this Earth that men were not meant to know, for our fragile minds are just islands of sanity in a black, dark, terrifying, really scary sea of madness and insanity and tentacles. Our ignorance is a blessing, for if we could see the world for what it really is -- a dark, scary, insane, terrifying plaything of the ancient ones -- then we would be instantly turned inside out in scary, unnatural, terrifying ways. Did I mention that it's really dark and scary ?
This style fun for a few pages, but then it gets really old really quickly.
>|<*:=
[ Parent ]
Agreed (5.00 / 1) (#69)
by bob6 on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 08:52:45 AM EST

I've always found that most HPL's short stories were (poor) variations on Poe's Ms. found in a bottle.

Cheers.
[ Parent ]
too funny (none / 0) (#163)
by vryl on Thu Sep 04, 2003 at 02:31:59 PM EST

still laughing ... it's just tooooo perfect

[ Parent ]
Some funny stuff (4.00 / 7) (#7)
by zephc on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 07:00:33 PM EST

This is funny, if not necessarily a real prank.  It's scamming the Nigerian spammer, Cthulhu style

And in similar vein... (4.00 / 1) (#57)
by WWWWolf on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 06:46:11 AM EST

Nigerian scammer vs. a disembodied head. This is probably the most stunning 419-baiting I've ever read. Truely a gripping horror tale that also manages to be humorous in the end. A precious work of art.

-- Weyfour WWWWolf, a lupine technomancer from the cold north...


[ Parent ]
hey... (3.05 / 36) (#12)
by rmg on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 08:08:24 PM EST

am i the only one who finds the whole cthulu mythos thing kind of gay? i mean, i'm not saying there's anything wrong with being gay, of course. i'm just saying that most of the people i know who are into h. p. lovecraft are a bit, you know... festive.

i mean, you have this big evil octopus thing... and you know, it's right out of la blue girl/hentai whatever... i mean, it's just this big multi-phallic symbol. and these fanboys obsess over this thing. "the great cthulu" they call him.

i don't know, that's just one example, but it seems much more pervasive than that. every conversation i've ever heard about this stuff reminded me of that interior decorator guy on tlc or the discovery channel or whatever. in fact, the last place i read an article about this stuff was in the local "alternative newspaper" (bizarre headline intrigued me...).

i just don't know that i'd want my son reading this kind of stuff.

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks

Why rate it down? (3.00 / 4) (#45)
by wji on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 04:05:49 AM EST

Granted, the poster is a big troll, but it's worth at least 4 for the La Blue Girl reference alone.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]
Why rate me down? (5.00 / 1) (#155)
by wji on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 11:04:02 PM EST

All of a sudden all these names I've never seen before are rating me 1. No no, not like a modbombing, like k5 has become infested with people who don't have a sense of humour.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]
Festive? (3.00 / 2) (#63)
by ObviousTroll on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 08:02:52 AM EST

You're just saying that because so many people make bad assumptions about the kind of books Mr. "Lovecraft" wrote...


Somewhere in America / There's a street named after my dad / And the home we never had.


[ Parent ]
YAWN. You can do much better. (nt) (3.00 / 2) (#80)
by randyk on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 12:41:16 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Hey! (4.50 / 2) (#172)
by seraph93 on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 04:43:59 AM EST

i'm just saying that most of the people i know who are into h. p. lovecraft are a bit, you know... festive.

Normally I'd tear you a new one for dissing on H.P. Lovecraft, but right now I'm too busy laughing my ass off. "A bit, you know...festive." OMG that's just too fucking funny. Or maybe I've been up too long on too little sleep. Doesn't matter. +5 and a gold star for you.

As far as the Cthulhu==gay?!? controversy, just read some Lovecraft, and then some slash fiction (or maybe some slash fiction and then some Lovecraft), and draw your own conclusions.
--
Ph-nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.
[ Parent ]
I don't wanna read that crap. (1.77 / 9) (#14)
by fae on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 08:16:20 PM EST

Can somebody explain to me, in 2 or 3 sentences, why Cthulhu is so special?

-- fae: but an atom in the great mass of humanity
One sentence summary: (5.00 / 2) (#15)
by ObviousTroll on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 08:41:52 PM EST

Cthulu books are scary and very weird.

Somewhere in America / There's a street named after my dad / And the home we never had.


[ Parent ]
it's new, it's different (2.25 / 4) (#16)
by circletimessquare on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 08:50:05 PM EST

it's all the chic rage amongst the star trek crowd

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
Chick rage? (1.66 / 3) (#62)
by ObviousTroll on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 08:00:22 AM EST

Is that like when she slapped me for asking if they were real?


Somewhere in America / There's a street named after my dad / And the home we never had.


[ Parent ]
chthulu (3.55 / 9) (#18)
by John Thompson on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 09:00:35 PM EST

fae wrote:

Can somebody explain to me, in 2 or 3 sentences, why Cthulhu is so special?

Jesus saves.

Moses invests.

Chthulu forecloses.



[ Parent ]
It's more like: (3.57 / 7) (#32)
by mfk on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 12:05:31 AM EST

Jesus saves

Allah forgives

Cthulu thinks you'd make a nice sandwich.

[ Parent ]

Cthulu Saves! (3.20 / 5) (#61)
by ObviousTroll on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 07:59:20 AM EST

in case he's hungry later!

I can't believe none of you babies remember that old joke!


Somewhere in America / There's a street named after my dad / And the home we never had.


[ Parent ]
Cthulhu for president! (3.00 / 7) (#76)
by rpresser on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 10:33:59 AM EST

Why settle for the lesser of two evils?
------------
"In terms of both hyperbolic overreaching and eventual wrongness, the Permanent [Republican] Majority has set a new, and truly difficult to beat, standard." --rusty
[ Parent ]
You display wisdom. (none / 0) (#166)
by losthalo on Thu Sep 04, 2003 at 09:50:31 PM EST

You will be eaten... next to last.

(Losthalo)

[ Parent ]
No (3.00 / 1) (#22)
by Tatarigami on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 09:48:44 PM EST

If you don't wanna read that crap, the answer's not going to make much of a difference to you, is it?

[ Parent ]
Not Cthulhu - Lovecraft (5.00 / 2) (#33)
by Seth Finkelstein on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 12:06:42 AM EST

It's difficult to do in a few sentences. The best I can manage is "Lovecraft was roughly the Stephen King of his time". He was an innovative horror writer, especially for his era. Some aspects of his stories have less impact now, as it's decades later, and the ideas are stock instead of rare.

-- Seth Finkelstein
[ Parent ]
Four reasons (4.66 / 3) (#72)
by bil on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 09:27:28 AM EST

Well, his stories don't depend on the supernatural or evil demons or whatever, they are instead about creatures so alien we can't possibly understand them, and don't care at all what happens to us, (remember "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic") this creates a very impersonal kind of horror where you can be driven mad, killed or worse by things that treat you in the same way you treat ants.

Secondly, Lovecrafts heroes don't win, no one manages to lure the vampires into the sunlight or drive a stake through their hearts (Lovecraft didn't use vampires but you get the idea). Some survive, some even manage to cause the enemy some damage, but no one ever manages to "save the world" in a conclusive, final way, often they just make things worse.

Thirdly there is some sort of coherence to the Cthulhu Mythos, these are not isolated creatures but members of a race, items, characters, and locations reappear (the Necronomicum being a prime example) etc giving the impression that all these stories occur in the same world, a world that is oblivious to the horror that exists all around it.

Fourthly, the way they are written, Lovecraft is not a great writer, but his style adds to the atmosphere and sense of realism they have, its unpolished nature makes it sound like a true account rather then entertainment.

bil

bil
Where you stand depends on where you sit...
[ Parent ]

Three points, five sentences (5.00 / 2) (#79)
by dcheesi on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 11:44:18 AM EST

1. Lovecraft's horror stories are infused with Big Ideas, both scientific and metaphysical; ie. the kind of thing sci-fi geeks love.

2. It's a truly original occult mythos that's not just a rehash of the same old christian themes/metaphors. This also makes it a popular occult reference among atheists/agnostics who don't want to be mistaken for actual satanists or pagans.

3. It's sufficiently obscure to serve as an in-joke for those in the know. In fact, I'd say the mythos is worth reading more for its cult status (no pun) than for the actual content.

[ Parent ]

Don't forget to mention (3.50 / 4) (#17)
by egg troll on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 08:50:56 PM EST

How all of Lovecraft's stories are basically metaphors for immigrants coming to Amerca, whom he hated.

He's a bondage fan, a gastronome, a sensualist
Unparalleled for sinister lasciviousness.

So, does that mean Cthulu (4.50 / 2) (#38)
by ObviousTroll on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 01:27:08 AM EST

was actually FDR?

And I guess the Mountains of Madness were actually the Hollywood hills?


Somewhere in America / There's a street named after my dad / And the home we never had.


[ Parent ]
Not quite... (4.50 / 2) (#39)
by pla on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 01:28:47 AM EST

Although you could call him a Germanophile, somewhat un-PC in the modern era, Lovecraft displayed no more "racism" than the prevalent attitude of his times.

He described slums full of immigrants in a way half accurate (in ways we don't want to remember), and half "common knowledge", which generally includes a lot of falsehoods.

But to attribute those ideas as somehow the unique product of Lovecraft's racism or xenophobia, you do him an injustice. He described the ideas of his time, with a bit of added color to suit his chosen genre. Nothing more, and nothing less.


[ Parent ]
Cthulhu good, no mention of Gaiman less so n/t (4.00 / 1) (#23)
by livus on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 10:14:39 PM EST



---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

Will this do? (5.00 / 1) (#73)
by edo on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 09:43:27 AM EST

"I Cthulhu" by Neil Gaiman.
-- 
Sentimentality is merely the Bank Holiday of cynicism.
 - Oscar Wilde
[ Parent ]
Obligatory election comment... (3.71 / 7) (#24)
by Rocky on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 10:15:28 PM EST

Vote Cthulhu in 2004!

When you're tired of choosing the lesser of two evils!

If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?
- Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

Obligatory election link... (4.00 / 3) (#26)
by Tatarigami on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 10:30:32 PM EST

www.cthulhu.org

[ Parent ]
Obligatory election comment... (1.00 / 1) (#134)
by MikeBelrose on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 02:46:04 AM EST

the GOOP (Great Old Ones Party) has also thrown it's hat into the ring in California: http://www.amigovernorornot.com/ratemy/governor?image=84901

[ Parent ]
+1FP, Cthulhu for PRESIDENT 2004!! (2.00 / 4) (#27)
by RandomLiegh on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 10:42:53 PM EST



---
Thought of the week: There is no thought this week.
---
Yeah! (2.75 / 4) (#40)
by flo on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 01:52:34 AM EST

Why settle for the lesser of two evils?
---------
"Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
[ Parent ]
The thing I never understood (4.33 / 3) (#28)
by godix on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 10:42:59 PM EST

In the Call of Cthulhu RPG why does it take longer to create a character than it does to drive it insane or get it killed? Has ANYONE ever had a character who lasted more than one adventure?

"Fuck... may be appropriate in certain venues... (Florida Elections Commission, speed eating contests, public defender offices) and may be inappropriate in
He explains why. (5.00 / 1) (#29)
by ti dave on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 11:30:07 PM EST

In general, the stories of the Cthulhu Mythos don't get sequels (Great Old Ones might come back to feature in another tale, but their victims typically don't)...

It's simply not germane to the mythos, but more power to you, if they do survive.

I'm almost drunk enough to go on IRC. ~Herring
[ Parent ]

I understand that (3.00 / 2) (#30)
by godix on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 11:34:26 PM EST

What I don't understand is why it takes half an hour to make a character. In a game like this the DM should have you roll one d20. That's how many minutes you live. Once that character is dead roll the D20 again for the next guy. There's no need for stats like strength or anything, what the hell are you going to do, punch a deep one to death?

"Fuck... may be appropriate in certain venues... (Florida Elections Commission, speed eating contests, public defender offices) and may be inappropriate in
[ Parent ]
Its all personal preference (4.00 / 1) (#35)
by Resonant on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 01:04:39 AM EST

You dont like playing games where, at every turn, your death is RIGHT THERE? CtC is not meant to be a hack 'n slash game, its more of a solve-the-mystery game. If a deep one happens to open you up like a turkey at thanksgiving, well, I cant be held responsible...

"I answer, 'This is _quantitative_ religious studies.'" - glor
[ Parent ]
You played with a horrible DM (5.00 / 3) (#68)
by jgerman on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 08:28:00 AM EST

It's that simple. You shouldn't be encountering Mythos creatures very often, if at all. And especially not until you're character is prepared for it.

Brief, so brief that you can't tell for sure is all that's generally necessary for the most part. When they are encountered, they're usually mistaken (intentionally for sanity's sake) for something else.
Ghouls feeding on a body in a graveyard? Must have been dogs.
Deep one hanging around the docks? Just an old fisherman with some sort of disease.

It's been a long time since I've played, but one of our group was really good. His character would always come up with rational explanations for what we'd seen. For example, we caught a glimpse of a Night Gaunt one night on a ship and fired a few shots at it. The next morning it was explained away as a "giant madagascarian bat", no big deal.


if textbooks were a kuro5hin user, they would probably be Silent Chris. because textbooks piss me off. -- anaesthesis
[ Parent ]

Stop thinking in "normal" RPG terms... (5.00 / 6) (#36)
by pla on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 01:05:45 AM EST

When you see something shiny...

RUN!

When you see a harmless little animal with a very valuable bauble around its neck, don't stomp it to death an take the bauble...

RUN!

When the GM says you've woken up and feel great, ready for a hard day's adventuring, and asks whether you'd like to head to a store, a pub, or your local guild hall...

Answer "Hide under the bed".


The problem newbies have with CotC involves familiarity with other RPG systems, where encountering things out of the ordinary means either EXP or gold or both. In CotC, it means death or insanity (or both), so "run and hide" should count as your default response to just about everything. ;-)

Everything you fight, wins (or damages you so badly if you survive that a strong wind could finish you off); nothing really benefits you all that much (learning the plot makes you insane, getting cool artifacts makes you insane, visiting the f'n public library makes you insane!); and the only things you need to spend money on, travel and weapons, won't help you at best, and lead to one of the above (bad) results in most cases.


OTOH, I consider it quite a pity that chars die so quickly... The skill-based advancement systems works really quite well, if you manage to live for more than a session or two.


[ Parent ]
RPGs (4.00 / 1) (#43)
by yooden on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 03:32:23 AM EST

The skill-based advancement systems works really quite well, if you manage to live for more than a session or two.

CoC uses the Basic Role-Playing System, which is also used for RuneQuest and perfected in Hârnmaster.

[ Parent ]
That almost (4.00 / 1) (#67)
by jgerman on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 08:21:32 AM EST

... reminds me (well it reminds me, since I am writing this) of the chart in the April Fools issue of Unspeakable Oath (a CoC based fanzine for those who don't know) back in the mid nineties. It was a flowchart to get you out of danger in case of encountering a Mythos creature.

Some of the questiong paths were:
Has it seen you? (No) Run.
Has it seen you? (Yes) Can you throw it a companion? (No) You're screwed.

I can't remember the whole chart, but it was pretty amusing.


if textbooks were a kuro5hin user, they would probably be Silent Chris. because textbooks piss me off. -- anaesthesis
[ Parent ]

Wait... (none / 0) (#145)
by dasunt on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 11:05:45 AM EST

So the `Call of Cthulhu' RPG is nothing more then playing a tourist in Nethack?

PS: Nethack just released 3.4.2!



[ Parent ]
...Without the spiffy monster-repelling camera. (none / 0) (#146)
by pla on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 12:07:13 PM EST

NT (didn't fit in the subject <G>).

[ Parent ]
I did! (5.00 / 1) (#48)
by atreides on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 04:20:33 AM EST

I and an ex-friend of mine played a pair of soldiers returned from WWI. I was the infantryman and he was supply/procurement. His character was also "smarter" than mine so early on, whenever we'd find a book about the Mythos, he'd take it before I ever saw it. Over time, he learned more about the Mythos, becoming a little insane, and would basically tell me how to kill the evil creatures. I always made my sanity rolls and never lost more than a few points at a time which I'd get back from killing creatures. He, however, went madder and madder. By the end of the campaign, I had more sanity (95) than I started with (85) and he had devolved into a gibbering idiot (31).

I've lost more characters than I can count to madness or death in that game, but I 0wn3d it at least once!

"...heroic hearts, made weak by time and fate, but strong in will, to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."
[ Parent ]

no (none / 0) (#91)
by the sixth replicant on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 02:30:18 PM EST

that's why i loved it. you always had to make sacrifices to go ahead.

Ciao

[ Parent ]

I used to make my players survive (4.00 / 1) (#169)
by hugues on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 01:22:10 AM EST

As an ex-Keeper (when I was in college), I did not usually make my player die or go insane too quickly. I remember playing the `Masks of Niarlathotep' from start to finish with lots of extra quests pretty much with the same team. The characters that did die outright sacrificed themselves to save others (in Egypt in particular, while the Queen was awakened, a great scene). Some did succumb to bullets and unfortunate encounters but some did survive (not very sane) an actual encounter with the Black Man. That was the only actual God anyone ever saw in person (lots of minions, though).

One single player got to read a few books and was able to use some magic. By the end he had so little sanity left that he could not really participate in any action. He had to stay behind and help direct others but couldn't really face anything, but he was still incredibly useful, thanks to his high CM knowledge.

That was after about 40 sessions. I think I can say than after the eclipse scene and more than a year of role playing everyone was very happy. Something I can never do again unless I lose my job or go on a long sabbatical.

[ Parent ]

It depends on your Game Master (5.00 / 1) (#171)
by seraph93 on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 03:56:57 AM EST

...or Keeper, as I believe it's called in Call of Cthulhu. I haven't played much CoC, but I did run a GURPS Cthulhupunk campaign, once upon a time.

CoC characters practically build themselves when you compare them to the amount of time it takes to create a GURPS character. Also, in GURPS, *14* is quite a lot of hit points. Your average firearm does 2d6 damage *per shot*, with automatic weapons firing at least ten shots per attack. Body armor helps, of course, but you don't need much math skill to realise that firefights are about as deadly in GURPS as they are in real life. As far as encounters with Mythos creatures are concerned, Mythos fright checks (sanity checks in CoC) are very difficult to succeed at, and failure results in new psychological disorders. Cthulhupunk is a genre combining cyberpunk (lots of deadly firepower) with the Cthulhu Mythos (lots of hideously powerful, sanity-draining creatures immune to most physical attacks). So this is a campaign far more deadly than even a game of Call of Cthulhu (yet far less deadly than even the shortest session of Paranoia). Did all of the characters die two minutes after all the hours the players spent creating them? No, not at all. All of the PCs lived through many adventures.

One of the things that a competent GM will do, before gameplay starts in earnest, is to demonstrate to the players just how easily their characters can be killed, crippled, or driven insane. Once the players understand this, an amazing thing happens: The characters all start acting realistically. They will go out of their way to *avoid* a firefight, and they will run like hell when Mythos creatures are even hinted at, just like real people will. What happens then, is that you can concentrate on *role* playing, instead of *roll* playing. It applies as much to CoC as it does to GURPS.

It just depends on whether your Keeper is trying to run the game like it's Call of Cthulhu, or like it's Dungeons and Dragons. If the Keeper runs it like D&D, then your character will die quicker than a tourist in Nethack. If the Keeper runs the game like CoC, you'll be in for a game that involves far more story telling and role playing than it does rolling dice. And that's a good thing.
--
Ph-nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.
[ Parent ]
One problem with the article... (4.87 / 8) (#37)
by pla on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 01:22:24 AM EST

You didn't really mention all that much about the mythos itself, more the meta-info on the mythos.

Also, if you want to deal with meta-Mythos, at least mention the one point that no one ever gets to - The stories that Lovecraft actually wrote (under other names), as compared to the more common situation of Derleth writing things under Lovecraft's name. This one in particular drives me batty.

For starters, avoid anything credited to Derleth as more than the publisher.

Second, if you've read "everything" by Lovecraft, find "The Horror in the Museum" (ISBN 0-7867-0964-2), "The Loved Dead" (ISBN 0-7867-0445-4), and if you can find and afford it, "Miscellaneous writings" (ISBN 0-87054-168-4, somewhat rare but I have heard it recently went to a new print run).

Between those three you'll get about two dozen HPL stories you've never even heard of, with a good half dozen arguably counting as Mythos stories (though not the standard mythos, and some might not even consider them as "proper" mythos material - Works such as "The Mound", a longer story up there with "Shadow out of Time" for quality, or "The Green Meadow", a masterfully subtle work by a man best known for a complete lack of subtlety).


And yet... (4.00 / 1) (#41)
by dasunt on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 03:19:05 AM EST

Posting to a geeky site about the Cthulhu mythos, and you forget to mention the giant albino penguins...

Incidentally, the same story with the penguins (Mountains of Madness) was an example that humans were not the only beings that screwed up in the Cthulhu mythos. Good introduction to his work if you want to read it.

Incidentally, why does it seem that the people who praise H. P. Lovecraft are the same sort of people who would have to struggle to read through his works?



Incidentally... (2.00 / 1) (#42)
by dasunt on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 03:24:23 AM EST

Incidentally, posting at 2:15 AM leads to a lot of incidental redundancy in a post.



[ Parent ]

Huh? (3.50 / 2) (#66)
by jgerman on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 08:16:08 AM EST

Who has to struggle through his works?

OTOH most people struggle through his stories if only because he spends six paragraphs describing a doorknob. Six paragraphs to say the same thing about it that he says about everything else: "Eldritch". <jk>


if textbooks were a kuro5hin user, they would probably be Silent Chris. because textbooks piss me off. -- anaesthesis
[ Parent ]

Delta Green (3.00 / 1) (#44)
by BJH on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 03:53:16 AM EST

For those of you who prefer your Cthuloid RPGs to be a bit more up-to-date (and "The Stars Are Right" supplement just doesn't work for you), try Delta Green.
Plenty of that good old HPL weirdness mixed in with enough X-Fileish conspiracy to make your head spin.
--
Roses are red, violets are blue.
I'm schizophrenic, and so am I.
-- Oscar Levant

H.R. Giger (4.80 / 5) (#47)
by fhotg on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 04:14:35 AM EST

does not appear to be a "practicing Satanist".

see ?
~~~
Gitarren für die Mädchen -- Champagner für die Jungs

Giger's Satanism (3.66 / 3) (#53)
by Tatarigami on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 06:09:32 AM EST

...was something I read about in a biography included in a book of prints owned by a friend some six or seven years ago. It's possible I may be misremembering what I read, or that the bio wasn't being entirely truthful.

Either way, sloppy research. Mea culpa.

[ Parent ]

H.R. Giger (5.00 / 4) (#55)
by kinnell on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 06:31:25 AM EST

He's not dutch either, he's swiss.

[ Parent ]
Marathon Trilogy by Bungie Software (now Studios) (4.33 / 3) (#51)
by interactive_civilian on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 05:39:32 AM EST

According to the Marathon Story Page and also having played the games quite a number of times myself, there is a bit of the Cthulhu Mythos in Marathon as well, not to mention also in another Bungie game, Pathways into Darkness.

If you haven't played these games (and you have a Mac lying around as I don't believe the first Marathon was ever released for Windows), I highly recommend playing them. Though they are a bit old, and the graphics are not good by todays standards, they have an incredibly intricate and (IMHO) interesting plot. Check out the Marathon: Aleph One page if you want to download updated versions of the game engine, as Bungie released the source code to Marathon 2 a few years ago. This will allow you to play 2 and Infinity on modern OSes.

Or, if you are bored, take a few hours/days and read through the Marathon Story page. It is quite an amazing site, and I have never played a game that created such a stir and a desire to investigate thoroughly in its community.

Other Bungie games worth playing are Myth and Halo.

Cheers.

Small mistake, re: Marathon 1 (none / 0) (#52)
by interactive_civilian on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 05:55:50 AM EST

Whoa...apparently, you can play Marathon 1 (I assume on any supported platform) with the Aleph One engine.

Check out M1A1. Hope this helps any who might be interested, though the Cthulhu Mythos stuff doesn't really start until Marathon 2. But it is kind of nice to read a book from its beginning, IMHO...

Cheers.

[ Parent ]

I can't believe that nobody has mentioned... (3.50 / 4) (#54)
by mooZENDog on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 06:09:56 AM EST

Quake yet. I may well be wrong, but wasn't the final bad-guy in this game called Cthulhu (and a massive, tentacled old-one to boot)? The "Shambler" featured in that game too, similar to the "Shambler from the Stars" also mentioned in the article. Good to see that id software are using decent influences for their games.

--------
"An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind"
- Gandhi

Pedantic Corrections... (5.00 / 4) (#58)
by Pervy Hobbit Fancier on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 06:53:12 AM EST

A lot of the level design for Quake was done by Sandy Peterson, the main writer of the Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game. The Lovecraftian monsters that it uses are actually ones invented by Peterson.

The tentacled end creature in Quake is called 'Shub', and the creature appears to be a 'Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath'. Shub-Niggurath is mentioned in Lovecraft stories, but the 'Dark Young' are an invention of Peterson when he needed more 'monsters' for the Call of Cthulhu game. The quoted description that he uses in the game statistics for the creature is actually describing a 'Shoggoth' (which is a completely different Lovecraft invention).

The 'Shambler' in Quake is not related to the 'Shambler From The Stars'. The creature in 'Shambler From The Stars' is an invisible bloodsucking creature that was (in the roleplaying game) called a 'Star Vampire'. You may be getting it confused with the 'Dimensional Shambler' from the roleplaying game. This is another invention of Peterson's. Again it has a quote from a story (although this time it is actually from a Lovecraft story - well, a story that Lovecraft edited) but in the story what is being described is a man in a suit!

[ Parent ]

Appreciated! (none / 0) (#156)
by mooZENDog on Thu Sep 04, 2003 at 05:40:26 AM EST

A lot of the level design for Quake was done by Sandy Peterson, the main writer of the Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game. The Lovecraftian monsters that it uses are actually ones invented by Peterson.

Ah, I see - you can definitly tell that Lovecraft is a big influence on the game. I'm not actually that familiar with his work, but I'm now sure I've seen a lot of Lovecraft-inspired stuff in this genre of games without realising it. It's great to find out where the influences are from though, cheers!

--------
"An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind"
- Gandhi

[ Parent ]
Shotgun (4.00 / 1) (#158)
by Boa Treize on Thu Sep 04, 2003 at 11:31:37 AM EST

This is not a coincidence that the shotgun is player's favorite in Call of Cthulhu, Doom, and Quake. Sandy Peterson was there.

[ Parent ]
Obviously (4.00 / 1) (#59)
by ObviousTroll on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 07:51:35 AM EST

But Doom had a very Cthulu-ish feel right off the bat, so it isn't surprising that the sequels did, too.


Somewhere in America / There's a street named after my dad / And the home we never had.


[ Parent ]
XCOM 2 too, ... as well (none / 0) (#65)
by jgerman on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 08:14:05 AM EST

The final "monster" in XCOM 2 was Cthulu as well. Horribly undersized, but the final mission pretty much takes place in R'leh.

if textbooks were a kuro5hin user, they would probably be Silent Chris. because textbooks piss me off. -- anaesthesis
[ Parent ]

Best Lovecraftian game (5.00 / 6) (#60)
by Boa Treize on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 07:56:42 AM EST

There have been a few games set specifically in the universe depicted by Lovacraft (Alone in the Dark, notably), and many more that borrowed ideas from it. Strangely enough, I found that the most effective of these games, in terms of being true to the spirit of that universe, being rather true to the events depicted by Lovecraft, and being a successful game, is a text-mode game called Anchorhead.

Anchorhead is 100%-pure interactive fiction, where locations and events are depicted to you as text, and where you interact with the game using English-like sentences. Also, Anchorhead is 100%-free (as in beer), just like the interpreters that allow to play it. Give it a try! :-)

Anchorhead information
http://www.wurb.com/if/game/17

Game file
http://mirror.ifarchive.org/if-archive/games/zcode/anchor.z8

MsWindows interpreter
http://mirror.ifarchive.org/if-archive/infocom/interpreters/frotz/WindowsFrotz20 02.zip

Many other interpreters
http://www.inform-fiction.org/zmachine/interpreters.html

I have to heartily agree with this. (4.50 / 2) (#124)
by Rocky on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 08:39:24 PM EST

I've played Anchorhead and it has what have to be the best death scenes in an interactive fiction game!

Here's a hint: don't stand on the altar!

If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?
- Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)
[ Parent ]

Seconded (4.50 / 2) (#157)
by Tatarigami on Thu Sep 04, 2003 at 06:28:32 AM EST

This game has mystical powers. There can't be any other explanation for the five hours that mysteriously vanished while I was playing it...

[ Parent ]
My favourite Necronomicon page + Koraktor (4.66 / 3) (#70)
by edo on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 09:06:09 AM EST

My favourite Necronomicon page has got to be the brilliantly conceived Necronomicon Anti-FAQ. Not a word of it is true, but the books and events it refers to are fascinating in their scope and the way it ties them all together is masterly.

Speaking of imaginary scary books, is anybody here familiar with Otfried Preussler's Satanic Mill (in Dutch: Meester van de zwarte molen)? That has a grimoire in it called Koraktor, which roughly means Höllezwang or Hell's Coercion, a book which shows up in imaginary Lovecraft bibliographies every now and then. Weird stuff indeed!
-- 
Sentimentality is merely the Bank Holiday of cynicism.
 - Oscar Wilde

Cool book (4.00 / 1) (#114)
by Happy Monkey on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 05:52:15 PM EST

Satanic Mill, not Koraktor, that is. Sort of the original evil version of Harry Potter...
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
Infocom game (3.66 / 3) (#71)
by edo on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 09:16:39 AM EST

Infocom did a genuinely frightening Cthulhu-spoof text adventure (with sound effects!) called The Lurking Horror in 1987. When I first played it on my Amiga in the early '90s it scared the bejeezus out of me!
-- 
Sentimentality is merely the Bank Holiday of cynicism.
 - Oscar Wilde
The Uninvited (none / 0) (#83)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 01:07:23 PM EST

I don't think that was Infocom, but I remember that game making me jump out of my chair...


--
Monkey in the middle of a metal detector... Do you have yesterday's time?


[ Parent ]
Uninvited? (none / 0) (#95)
by jasonditz on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 03:32:58 PM EST

You mean the game for the NES? Kemco made that one.

Definately Lovecraftian themes in it.

Impending and to an extent unknowable evil that slowly drives the character insane.

[ Parent ]

Easy for us to say (4.00 / 1) (#116)
by jasonditz on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 05:57:28 PM EST

I mean, since none of us has obviously been presented with incontrovertible evidence of a supreme malevolent being with plans to unleash an evil the likes of which cannot even be described in any human language, whose to say what the normal reaction would be?

[ Parent ]
inconceivable evil (5.00 / 1) (#121)
by JyZude on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 07:37:38 PM EST

Maybe you should be giving examples of some hitherto unreflected upon evil that you don't think humans can understand. Now remember this has to be *original* and *totally* unexpected.

I assume you're arguing that all conceivable evils are communicable, and that all communicable evils are conceivable. Have it your way. Logically you must also concede that all inconceivable evils are uncommunicable.

So, do inconceivable evils exist? Well, if they do then you don't know about them since they're obviously uncommunicable. Thus, there is no way to know if inconceivable evil exist. Maybe inconceivable evil would drive you mad. Maybe some people actually ARE mad due to experience of inconceivable evil. We cannot know.

How can you prove that an inconceivable thing cannot exist?


-----
k5 is not the new Adequacy k thnx bye


[ Parent ]
No, I get it... its just that: (none / 0) (#123)
by jasonditz on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 08:36:35 PM EST

Assuming I had examples of unreflected upon evils that humans couldn't fully understand, I wouldn't understand them either, nor could I communicate those examples.

Anyhow, the Devil is a really bad example, because in that case he has not only a clear cut agenda that is readily quantifiable, but has clear limits to his power, and at any rate has a foil of superior power.

Even if one were to meet the Devil in person it would seem to imply the validity of the entire Christian mythos and therefore he's clearly far from supreme. In fact much of the non-Scripture based literature involves people successfully defeating him with a little cunning or at the very least a little faith in a higher power.

Besides man, Cthulhu is like 20 pissed-off Satans all rolled into one big Cuttlefish.


[ Parent ]

Nope. This was on the Amiga, 1988 or so. (none / 0) (#130)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 11:32:41 PM EST

Of course, I've seen a couple of Amiga games much later come out for consoles & PC, and even game boy... (Lemmings, for example) so maybe they ported it.


--
Monkey in the middle of a metal detector... Do you have yesterday's time?


[ Parent ]
Yup same game (none / 0) (#133)
by jasonditz on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 02:10:18 AM EST

It was also available for DOS, Atari ST, and the Commodore 64.

[ Parent ]
No, it was Infocom. (none / 0) (#117)
by andfarm on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 06:31:58 PM EST

I found a copy in their Lost Treasures collection for the Apple iiGS. It was tricky to bring it onto a modern system, but I managed. It is indeed rather Lovecraftian -- for example, there's the Professor of Alchemy drawing a pentagram about you and summoning a demon...

[ Parent ]
Wrong example (none / 0) (#137)
by Boa Treize on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 03:46:06 AM EST

It is indeed rather Lovecraftian -- for example, there's the Professor of Alchemy drawing a pentagram about you and summoning a demon

Uh? That's not Lovecraftian.

[ Parent ]

Glad to see your still willing (none / 0) (#131)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 11:42:02 PM EST

to mock people out of your own ignorance.

The game had a flicker effect that started out almost subliminally, definitely had a very creepy effect until you figured out what was going on.


--
Monkey in the middle of a metal detector... Do you have yesterday's time?


[ Parent ]
Why I like HP. (4.62 / 8) (#74)
by waxmop on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 10:06:58 AM EST

Maybe I'm not getting the facts entirely right, but I think HP Lovecraft was a member of some prominent Rhode Island family that fell on bad times. I can't remember if he had to drop out of Brown or he never started, but the point is the same. He was on his way to joining the aristocracy when family illness, his father's bankruptcy, or something like that stole all those opportunities from him. He spent his life living off the dwindling family fortune and writing weird fiction on the side as a hobby (he certainly didn't sell enough to live off his writing).

Underneath all the supernatural stuff, his stories are really about people finding out that their hopes and dreams and aspirations don't matter one bit, and there's much more powerful forces at work that don't care at all about our notions of justice, mercy, humanitarianism, etc. Way before the existentialists showed up, HP Lovecraft was already singing the 'life sucks and then you die' song that they made so popular.
--
We are a monoculture of horsecock. Liar

sir (none / 0) (#100)
by Battle Troll on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 04:22:07 PM EST

The existentialists had been around for 80 years before HPL got started.

HTH
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

I would like to point out to you (none / 0) (#105)
by Battle Troll on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 04:46:36 PM EST

The works of Søren Kierkegaard, famous existentialist philosopher.

Also your master as a troll.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

as gzt put it (1.00 / 1) (#108)
by Battle Troll on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 04:55:20 PM EST

The original master of multiple accounts.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
I'm at my wit's end. (none / 0) (#150)
by it certainly is on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 06:46:53 PM EST

Rand, Forte, Stockhausen. Fermented Laotian pork. But now you've gone straight for his first love.

Please, just be honest with me. Are you or are you not Mr N. Simington?

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

And also... (none / 0) (#151)
by gzt on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 09:31:51 PM EST

...look at this.

[ Parent ]
heh (none / 0) (#152)
by Battle Troll on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 09:55:39 PM EST

Look, just don't tell a certain celestial (Shavian-spelling) piscid, OK?
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
All of Lovecraft's writings were very personal (5.00 / 3) (#170)
by seraph93 on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 01:45:55 AM EST

Financial difficulties, extreme introversion, and poor health kept H.P. Lovecraft out of school, and out of much of society in general. His writing was the only method of communicating with the world that he really felt comfortable with, and this is why he was such a prolific correspondent. He spent much of his time writing letters, and formed many lasting friendships with people that he never once met in person. So of course his fiction reveals much of his own personality.

Underneath all the supernatural stuff, his stories are really about people finding out that their hopes and dreams and aspirations don't matter one bit, etc.

The Cthulhu Mythos stories are like that, but his stories about the Dreamlands are much different. The Dream Cycles, I think, represent Lovecraft's hopes and aspirations, his dreams if you will, whereas the Cthulhu Mythos stories represent his fears and disappointments. Protagonists in the Dreamlands tend to not only live beyond the end of the story, they even triumph over adversity, and pass on to strange heavens beyond the ken of mortal men ("The Silver Key" is a good example). There are of course broken dreams and shattered hopes in the Dream Cycles ("The Quest of Iranon" comes immediately to mind), but these are usually presented as tragic instead of inevitable. Certainly Lovecraft enjoyed singing, "Life sucks, and then you die," but every now and again, he would softly sing beautiful songs of hope, and of the endless wonder and joy that awaits just beyond the confines of this world.

And that's one of the many reasons I like H.P.
--
Ph-nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.
[ Parent ]
Reading order (3.00 / 1) (#75)
by uXs on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 10:29:36 AM EST

The article mentions 2 cycles which are meant to be read in order.

Could someone enlighten me as to what books belong in those cycles, and in what order ?

(The cycles are: "Herbert West - Reanimator", and "The Statement of Randolph Carter" and the Dream Cycle stories)

Thank you.

uXs

--
What our ancestors would really be thinking, if they were alive today, is: "Why is it so dark in here?" -- (Terry Pratchett, Pyramids)

Re: Reading order (4.00 / 1) (#77)
by rpresser on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 10:51:00 AM EST

Herbert West, Reanimator was "Published in six parts, February-July 1922 in Home Brew, Vol. 1, Nos. 1-6. "

The Dreamworlds stories are:

"The Cats of Ulthar"
"Celephais"
"Polaris"
"Pickman's Model"
"The Strange High House in the Mist"
"The White Ship"
"The Silver Key"
"The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath"
"The Statement of Randolph Carter"

(Get them from the index, I'm not going to link them all)

Except for the last three, read the others in any order. Each presents an aspect of the Dreamworld that you will recognize later in "Dream-Quest".  
------------
"In terms of both hyperbolic overreaching and eventual wrongness, the Permanent [Republican] Majority has set a new, and truly difficult to beat, standard." --rusty
[ Parent ]

Hello Cthulhu! (3.75 / 4) (#78)
by Stavr0 on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 10:57:37 AM EST

http://www.otherwonders.com/hanging/designs/patterns/hellocthulhubg.gif
- - -
Pax Americana : Oderint Dum Metuant
Most obvious Troll (1.00 / 1) (#85)
by LittleZephyr on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 01:21:37 PM EST

EVAR
(\♥/) What if instead of posting that comment,
(0.-) you had actually taken a knife and stabbed
("_") me in the eye? You murderer. ~ Rusty

Hey! (3.50 / 2) (#153)
by ObviousTroll on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 10:03:38 PM EST

Take that back!


Somewhere in America / There's a street named after my dad / And the home we never had.


[ Parent ]
Hi, UVM! Where have you been? (5.00 / 3) (#87)
by randyk on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 01:30:14 PM EST

And can you go back there please?



This guy's trolls aren't even good (2.00 / 2) (#90)
by Dphitz on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 02:23:30 PM EST

But thanks for the laugh anyways.  Try doing those "more important things" you mentioned instead of over-analyzing every word of an article about fictitious characters in your mind-boggling, psuedo-intellectual fashion.  Seriously, that's just too much cutting and pasting.  


God, please save me . . . from your followers

dealetot? (1.00 / 1) (#98)
by baron samedi on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 03:51:39 PM EST

Do you mean "dilettante"? Because I would use that word to describe you.
"Hands that help are better by far than lips that pray."- Robert G. Ingersoll
[ Parent ]
Hmmm... (2.50 / 2) (#102)
by jgerman on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 04:34:55 PM EST

before I was 12

Are you 13 now? Your spelling seems to indicate that. Happy Birthday!


if textbooks were a kuro5hin user, they would probably be Silent Chris. because textbooks piss me off. -- anaesthesis
[ Parent ]

Happy Birthday to you... (2.50 / 2) (#107)
by jgerman on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 04:55:17 PM EST

... Happy Birthday to you!

if textbooks were a kuro5hin user, they would probably be Silent Chris. because textbooks piss me off. -- anaesthesis
[ Parent ]

Nothing like the troll comment style either (4.00 / 1) (#135)
by BJH on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 02:50:52 AM EST

Spelling and intelligence are not correlative.

Maybe not, but all the intelligent people I know can spell. Sorry.
--
Roses are red, violets are blue.
I'm schizophrenic, and so am I.
-- Oscar Levant

[ Parent ]
please define . . . (1.00 / 1) (#129)
by Dphitz on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 11:30:43 PM EST

What is a CS junkie?  Is that computer science?  (still scratching head) I guess I don't know that word because I'm a dealetot.

What is a dealetot?  That's gonna confuse me for a while.  Maybe that word means, "one who is confused for a while."

Muchas thanks


God, please save me . . . from your followers

[ Parent ]

So the Baron was right (none / 0) (#160)
by Dphitz on Thu Sep 04, 2003 at 01:13:13 PM EST

What you meant to say was "dilettante".  That must be it since there is no "dealetot" in the dictionary.  I guess that's why I didn't know the word; it doesn't exist.

So, since your command of the English language is so poor, (I mean, you didn't even get it right phonetically) can I call you a dilettante as well . . .  a dabbler of English?

And no, I'm not a CS junkie.  Boring.  Zzzzzz. . . .


God, please save me . . . from your followers

[ Parent ]

LMAO (nt) (none / 0) (#162)
by Dphitz on Thu Sep 04, 2003 at 01:32:49 PM EST




God, please save me . . . from your followers

[ Parent ]
And no one has mentioned: (4.50 / 2) (#92)
by iGrrrl on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 02:47:03 PM EST

Campus Crusade for Chthulhu IT found ME!
From back in the 70's, in response to the Campus Crusade for Christ, who had buttons reading "I found it!"

But I guess if I have to explain it, it isn't funny any more.

In the same vein of feeling old, I read Lovecraft before there was much Stephen King, or any of the modern horror writers. In an age of graphic and over-the-top violence and gore, Lovecraft must seem at least tame. At the time, it gave me nightmares, in part because my imagination filled in the "unspeakable" parts with perfectly horrible clarity.

--
You cannot have a reasonable conversation with someone who regards other people as toys to be played with. localroger
remove apostrophe for email.

CCC (none / 0) (#147)
by kitsune on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 02:49:23 PM EST

I've got that on a T-Shirt which I purchased at GenCon three or four years ago (from Pegasus Publishing, I think). It has a parody of the CCC logo with an upside-down cross on the front. On the back, it says "IT FOUND ME!" in large green letters. I think the only time anyone "got" the shirt was at Ren Faire.

[ Parent ]
fnord (3.00 / 2) (#103)
by craigd on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 04:36:24 PM EST

IIRC, Shea and Wilson suggest that Lovecraft was killed by the Illuminati for revealling dangerous secrets under the cloak of "fiction"...


A man who says little is a man who speaks two syllables.
Deities, Demigods, and a good floor show. (5.00 / 3) (#109)
by Remus Shepherd on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 04:55:24 PM EST

I don't think the RPG game 'Call of Cthulhu' was most people's first introduction to the mythos. I suspect that the earlier AD&D book 'Deities and Demigods', in which the Cthulhu Mythos was detailed and given game stats, had a much larger hand in inducting young minds to the concept of horrible ancient ones.

Oh, and it should be mentioned that there is also a musical stage show about the mythos...although all attempts to actually stage a production of 'A Shoggoth on the Roof' have met with strange and mysterious failure. There are some things man was not meant to adapt to musical theatre...


...
Remus Shepherd <remus@panix.com>
Creator and holder of many Indefensible Positions.

Mysterious... (5.00 / 1) (#122)
by bodrius on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 08:18:43 PM EST

And now every attempt of mine to download the video has met with strange and misterious failure.

One click and the site is down...
Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
[ Parent ]

Heh (3.66 / 3) (#111)
by Tatarigami on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 05:32:37 PM EST

Do you realise how hard you just worked in order to prove your superiority to utterly fictional beings?

Too late (3.00 / 2) (#113)
by edo on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 05:46:29 PM EST

> I don't think evil would ever be able to drive me
> into insanity.

That's because you're already there.

I mean, will you listen to yourself? This obsession with 'intellectual discipline,' your irrational conviction that everything is ultimately understandable, your ridiculous, point-by-point style of arguing (it must be very noisy in your head) – these are all marks of the petty mind (I use the word very loosely) of someone more interested in talking about thinking than in actual thought.

You are, hands down, the most block-headed, prejudiced, wilfully ignorant moron I have ever come across on K5. You make APA (RIP) look like a genius!
-- 
Sentimentality is merely the Bank Holiday of cynicism.
 - Oscar Wilde
[ Parent ]

Jesus feckin' Christ (2.00 / 2) (#125)
by djkitsch on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 08:58:20 PM EST

Aside from the pedantic method in which you troll a reply to your troll, please get this into your head:

**THIS IS FICTION**

Regardless of whether it fits logically into history, or whether we're supposed to believe that monsters are part of early 20th century history, it doesn't matter because THEY'RE NOT HISTORICAL NOVELS!

Readers know this! I don't watch Buffy because it gives me insight into what's going on in America these days, I watch it because it's fun escapist entertainment. So you don't like HP Lovecraft. Big Fucking Deal. Spend your energy ranting about something more worthwhile.

And just for the record, how is "Virtually more than 75% at least" equal to "ALL of it"?

Also:
"I think personally there are a number of holocaust historians who would disagree with you on the ability of evil to be known and explicated."

I would never condone the Holocaust or anything like it, but even Hitler believed he was doing the right thing. He didn't wake up every morning and think "hmm, I think I'll have an evil day today".
Many historians argue that it never even happened. That doesn't mean it's a valid opinion.

Get off your high horse and don't take yourself so damn seriously.

-------------------------
sig:- (wit >= sarcasm)
[ Parent ]

best college political organization (4.00 / 2) (#115)
by glor on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 05:53:53 PM EST

"Campus Crusade for Cthulhu"

University of Tennessee, probably around 1995

--
Disclaimer: I am not the most intelligent kuron.

Just remember: (4.00 / 2) (#165)
by losthalo on Thu Sep 04, 2003 at 09:23:32 PM EST

"Our god can eat your god."

(Losthalo)

[ Parent ]
One of the best Metallica songs? (3.00 / 1) (#119)
by Fen on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 07:02:13 PM EST

Along with Orion--I dunno of any other instrumentals.
--Self.
On the copyright (3.00 / 1) (#126)
by the on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 10:27:25 PM EST

I'm sure the first edition of AD&D had stats for the Cthulhu Mythos but they were pulled from later editions for copyright reasons. TSR, at least, must have felt there was some reality to the claims.

--
The Definite Article
oh, the horror (3.00 / 2) (#127)
by wrinkledshirt on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 10:35:54 PM EST

Oh, this unspeakably horrible creature in front of me! Oh, this unimaginably horrifically terrifying unholy monstrosity! I cannot even begin to describe how spectacularly horrible it is! etc. etc.

I keep having this image of a monster hanging out in front of the guy writing the stuff down and saying, "Move it along, will you? I'm starved."

It can strike you that way (none / 0) (#139)
by Tatarigami on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 06:24:41 AM EST

I was reading "The Hounds of Tindalos" by Frank Belknap Long last week, and was amused to realise the author had ended a hastily-scrawled final note by the creature's victim with a horrified scream.

[ Parent ]
ia! ia! (3.00 / 1) (#132)
by Fero on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 01:24:17 AM EST

I was thinking about what you said about the RPG. I'm not sure if the game is what led to all the new interest in cthulhu (I haven't played it, personally, though I have a copy), but a few years ago when I was first getting interested in the books they were impossible to find. This was before the Del Rey editions were published, of course, but my first set of books I was able to get my hands one was a bundle of 1970s editions on ebay.

If it was the game, then cthulhu bless.
*** MidKnight2501: i wish i had a real penis so i could go to Flex and have lots of gay-man sex. jagil:whitney... you'll never have gay man sex jagil: you're not a man

That's my homie H.P. you're talking about, mister (4.16 / 6) (#136)
by seraph93 on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 03:00:50 AM EST

Wow. It's amazing that such an insignificant and worthless author, who would be best left forgotten by history, has goaded you into such a rant over sixty years after his death.

Seriously how is a bunch of retarded badly writen period centric thinking going to help anyone?

Well, for one thing, the stories in the Cthulhu Mythos provide many fine examples of the proper usage of hyphens and commas. That you would call them "badly writen"(sic) makes me wonder what sort of yardstick you use to measure good writing (c.f.: pot, kettle, black). Grammar issues aside, this comment begs the question: What sort of "help" are these stories, and indeed literature in general, supposed to provide? I read my Lovecraft collection for help with my lack of entertainment, and it provides this admirably. What else do you expect beyond that? Just because old H.P. makes you run for a dictionary too often for your enjoyment doesn't invalidate his work in the eyes of the rest of humanity.

Frankly it just tries to be blah blah blah ad nauseum...

What a post you've written! I could go into a point-by-point rebuttal of the rest of your comment, but my life expectancy is only seventy years or so, and I don't think I have the time. Instead, I think I'll just pick some choice points to respond to. [Addendum: Actually, now that I've read the whole comment, I'm pissed off enough to respond to the whole thing, which will probably make my post even more tedious than yours. C'est la vie.]

If you currently hear about most video games they more than likely were popular to begin with.

The video game, "Alone in the Dark," published in 1992, was the first survival horror game, a genre which enjoys substantial popularity today. It is number forty-five in IGN's list of the Top 100 Games of All Time. All of this is despite the fact that the game was based entirely on the writings of H.P. Lovecraft. Did you ever hear of that Gamecube game, Eternal Darkness? You know, that game that broke or threw away most of the traditional rules of survival horror, and was completely different from all the Resident Evil clones clogging the shelves? It was new, different, and not at all "popular to begin with." The one element that they didn't change or throw away was Lovecraft's influence. In fact, they expanded and intensified Lovecraft's influence on them, and still they wrote the best game ever to grace the genre.

*ALL* his nobody should be really forced to go through this kind of stuff.

What? All his nobody are belong to who, now? Just a little punctuation can go a long way, you know...

And this is in an age when people could write in a way recognizable to us even now. I have found much writing that is consistent with what would be good grammar and style for today and it isn't necessary to sound archaic.

"Archaic" was Lovecraft's style of writing. It sounded archaic even in the 20s and 30s when he was writing it. I can't speak for you, but I can recognize and understand his writing even today. Tolkien wrote in a voice even more archaic than Lovecraft's, does that invalidate his works? Do you really think that The Lord of the Rings would be the same story if it were told in modern English? Oh, I forgot, you probably just watched the movies, where they dumb down the language enough that even "modern" people can understand it.

...something tells me that if monsters existed in the past that they would have either wiped us off the face of the earth or they would have more or less been exterminated by past generations.

You didn't actually read much of Lovecraft's work, did you? Much of it deals with exactly that topic.

This is why shitty things like Buffy the Vampire Slayer are just shit.

That's a very profound and informative argument. I am a better person for knowing why shitty things are just shit: Because people can't be bothered to do more than just scratch the surface, and then leap to unfounded conclusions based on three whole minutes of research. Thank you. Personally, I suspect that Buffy the Vampire Slayer might be shit, but having never watched the show itself, I can't say that with any degree of certainty. How I envy you, knowing with such conviction exactly what you think of an author that you've never read.

On this basis, I can invalidate most of the rest of your arguments, as they seem to be founded on one reading of "In the Walls of Eryx" (that's the lizard man story), and one skimming of a Kuro5hin post.

"With no benevolent Creator to manage it, the ignorant, hostile cosmos cared no more for humanity than it did for a stray hydrogen atom drifting through space."

Oh please if you want to be correct on your nihilist position please remember that the universe most likely *has* no creator or conscience to care about it. Therefore talking about it's level of care towards humans is irrevelent.


Wow. Not only did you not read the stories the post is talking about, you didn't even bother to read the very sentence you quoted. The original sentence is asserting the universe's lack of a creator and a conscience, which is exactly what you insist it must do if it can be considered correct. Losing credibility by the sentence, your post just gets better and better.

Like I said if the monsters were going to get us they would have done it by now.

Like I said, if you had actually read the stories, you would understand why they haven't.

See that was his problem leaving his "philosophy" and his "writing" in the same place. Both of them are flawed and both of them are bad as a result.

Your problem is leaving your "facts" in a different place than your "opinions". Which leaves your "arguments" on a rather shaky foundation.

"Lovecraft's protagonists are almost universally well-educated men with a profound respect for discovery and esoteric learning."

Must have had a high opinion about himself did he?


Nowhere near as high as your opinion of yourself. Lovecraft did not hold himself in very high esteem at all. If you had read his works, you would notice that all of his protagonists suffer horrible fates, many of them worse than death.

Human beings are *the* most intelligent species on the planet.

And hubris like that is more than enough proof of that argument.

The technology to destroy things like that existed in his time let alone ours. Frankly nothing much can withdtand a nifty nucelar warhead with a .5 mi multi-million degree inferno and gamma rays.

Well, nothing except a shoggoth, or mighty Cthulhu, or Nyarlathotep, or any of the Old Ones for that matter... How exactly would you go about hitting Yog-Sothoth with a nuclear weapon anyway? Or Azathoth? Oh, never mind. You never read any Lovecraft, you don't know what I'm talking about.

Of course it is extremely telling that I know none of these stupid throwbacks. Perhaps these people aren't as fameous as you think.

Yes, it is extremely telling. Perhaps you aren't as well-read as you think. These "stupid throwbacks" have had a far greater influence on modern horror writing than you will ever realize.

Frankly a person who has no knowledge of historical causality doesn't have any respect in my book.

Likewise, a person who spouts off for pages on a topic that he knows nothing about, doesn't have much creedence in my book.

Yeah you guys are just *so* much smarter than Kant and Decartes right? *stiffled chuckle*

Maybe my sources are wrong, but I thought that Kant and Decartes wrote philosophy, while H.P. Lovecraft wrote fiction. All through your tirade, you attack Lovecraft's works by comparing them with reality. Did you know that Lovecraft was making things up? He was playing "make-believe" on paper. That's what "fiction" means. I try to elucidate this only because it is painfully obvious to me that you do not own a dictionary.

Frankly I don't think that there isn't something that people *can't* understand.

More hubris. It should be immediately apparent that mind is smaller than the Universe and therefore cannot ever encompass it entirely. The only mechanism vast enough to model the Universe in all its complexity is the Universe itself. But this must be common knowledge amongst philosophical powerhouses such as yourself.

I could (given the appropriate ammount of explanatory space) teach quantum mechanics to virtually anyone given enough time and such.

Bullshit. You can't even explain the difference between hard drive space and memory to most people, even if you were given all of eternity to do so. I think that you yourself are a good example of how eager people are to disregard all available evidence in favor of their own preconceived notions. And now you're going to teach everyone quantum physics? Good luck.

Trying to do various activities that actively interact with a person is indeed a hostile act.

It looks like either you were making a weak attempt at alliteration, or that you're in need of a thesaurus in addition to that dictionary. But, to utterly destroy your point, which you would have never made had you read Lovecraft: Is stepping on an ant that you never even saw a purposely hostile act? What of the civilizations of bacteria that we destroy every day without even thinking? What of the yeast that cause our bread to rise, and yet are consigned to unceremonious death in the ovens? Our view of the yeast, the bacteria, the ants: such is Cthulhu's view of humanity. Which you would understand had you only read that which you blather on about.

And where is this oh so reputable and successful company today? Probably an empty direlect building that got turned into a crack house or a "loft" for some dumb gay urbanite with too much money.

Right here. Again, I must stress the importance of researching a topic before you rant about it.

Or how idiots who have too much time on their hands, wear too much black, listen too Marlyn Manson, and think they are vampires try to justify their existence on planet earth in other terms than just pathetic leeches.

Far more of these "idiots" know the difference between "too" and "to" than you would ever bother to find out. They would also make a valid point, instead of a grammatical train wreck like the one that ends your sentence. What exactly were you trying to say, anyway? Oh, and on behalf of the Gothic community: Fuck you.

Frankly I'm glad that people like Hitler/Stalin can be created every so often to deal with little social mistakes like this.

Tempted as I am, I'm not even going to touch this one. I think that here you illustrate your ignorance and stupidity far better than any response of mine could.

"Many people today are familiar with the Mythos through "Call of Cthulhu", the role-playing game published by Chaosium."

That sounds like just so much *"fun"*.


Actually it is a lot of fun, but I don't think you'd like it. Role-playing involves far too much imagination and intelligence for troglodytes like you to appreciate it.

Don't worry in the next few decades/centuries this shit will fall away and *real* writing will last. Things like Dickens and Tolstoy, etc.

Excuse me, but who are Dickens and Tolstoy but two of those bullshit 19th Century authors that you deride so vehemently earlier in your post? Three sentences later, you say:

...no one wants to deal with stupidity from the 19th century.

...yet you praise two authors from the same century as models of *real* writing (emphasis yours).

Wow a stupid made up retarded book. Frankly what's the point of makeing stuff up if you then try to justify it in the world of real life?

But you yourself are making things up and then trying to justify them in the world of real life.

"Satanist" read deluded fool who just dosn't get it.

Has it ever occured to anyone that satanism is just about the stupidest thing going. Imperical evidence of acting out such a life is all around us. Hmmmm exactly *what* happens to all the rapeists and murders and such in the world. Do they get gold medals? Thought not. Frankly seems that the good old devil seems not to live up to his promises much.


All of the Satanists I know understand the use of the colon, and of the comma. And they can spell "empirical", especially because empirical evidence is one of the things that they demand before they will commit something to their personal beliefs, unlike Christians. You obviously know nothing of the Church of Satan (or empirical evidence, for that matter). Where did you ever come by the notion that Satanism is about raping and murdering people? Not from researching the topic, I can tell you that much. Oh, and on behalf of the Satanist community: Fuck you.

"Reading the Mythos"

I.e. I begin shoving my dick into a Quisenart.


Would it even reach the blades? And it's spelled "Cuisinart", by the way.

Ahh another science ignorant writing. Keep em coming.

The irony of this statement is just far too rich for me to even comment on.

Ahh another stupid attempt at Dr. Who-ism.

Please don't put the other foot in your mouth by commenting on a show that you were too dense to understand, if you watched it at all. Thanks.

Oh well this is one time I think that the copyright holder should use the power of copyright and shall we say burn these hideous wastes of time.

Kinda like those BBC archives, eh Sellison? Oh, wait. Got my trolls confused. Sorry.


In conclusion, you don't know what the fuck you're talking about. STFU. Maybe when you can bring facts and empirical evidence to the table, maybe when you can research a topic instead of talking out of your ass, then we can have a debate instead of an argument. And then we can both walk away more enlightened instead of more angry.

I would have invited more debate and less argument, but you have chosen to attack an opinion very dear to my heart, without the benefit of evidence. I'm sorry for the lengthy--and rather acerbic--response, but no one spits on the grave of my favorite author without invoking my ire.



And to all the other Kuro5hin folks who somehow found the patience to read all the way to the bottom of this post, I offer no apologies. When the trolls come crawling out from under the bridge, I don't ignore them. I reach for the flamethrower.
--
Ph-nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.
Awesome story! (2.50 / 2) (#138)
by seraph93 on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 05:47:56 AM EST

Of course I love Lovecraft!

Just check out my sig if you don't believe me. And if you don't believe that, just read my hideously lengthy and tedious response to some filthy anti-Lovecraft troll, further down the page.

This is great stuff. I feel compelled to write reams of commentary (everyone get ready with your 1.00 moderations!). I can't right now, though: I'm far too sleepy. Awesome story, though, Tatarigami; it's not very often that someone has the vocabulary and the patience to read through all of H.P. Lovecraft's works, much less to research the topic thoroughly. And it's even rarer that someone should actually enjoy my favorite author's writings. How many ways can I thank you for writing about a subject so dear to me? Maybe I can curse you instead: How dare you think up that subject before I did? ;)

And thanks to all of Kuro5hin, too, for voting this story up to the front page. I'm not sure that I would have noticed it otherwise.
--
Ph-nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.
That's no troll! Run! (5.00 / 3) (#144)
by edo on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 09:37:58 AM EST

uniball vision micro is no troll. He is, instead, a formless, stygian (dare I say eldritch?) creature, forever oozing and gibbering beyond the abyss. Only those willing to expose their mortal minds and sanity to the dismal weirdness of slithering, primeval horrors from the outer darkness may catch a glimpse of his true nature, which is ghoulish and lizard-like in its cold, devouring madness.

Reading one of his posts costs 1d6 points of SAN unless a SAN roll succeeds.
-- 
Sentimentality is merely the Bank Holiday of cynicism.
 - Oscar Wilde
[ Parent ]

Dude, that's hilarious. (4.00 / 1) (#167)
by seraph93 on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 12:33:42 AM EST

Lol, rofl, etc. (and a smiley: :D) I see you've played a bit of Call of Cthulhu, or at least own the rulebook. Lovecraftian roleplaying is (to me, at least) so much more satisfying than your standard swords-and-sorcery fare. "Slay the dragon and haul the gold home" doesn't seem to present as many opportunities for good roleplaying as does "attempt to stop the malevolent gods from regaining their dominion over Earth, while you slowly lose your mind." True, player characters in Mythos campaigns don't usually end up living happily ever after, but I don't think that Mr. Lovecraft would have wanted it any other way.

Did you ever hear of or play GURPS: Cthulhupunk? It's a Lovecraftian Cyberpunk campaign setting. "Ancient horror crawls into the dark future," as the cover of the book says. What a fun campaign that was, way back in the day. It's a shame that all my old RPG buddies have since scattered to the winds.
--
Ph-nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.
[ Parent ]
Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem (3.50 / 2) (#140)
by nebbish on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 07:23:21 AM EST

Im surprised no-one has mentioned this game for the Gamecube, which although doesn't specifically locate itself in Lovecraft's writing is definitely in the same spirit and has loads of references to it. In fact its pretty explicit about it. A very good game too.

---------
Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee

The best survival horror game ever (5.00 / 2) (#168)
by seraph93 on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 12:49:06 AM EST

Eternal Darkness was just dripping with Lovecraft. What an awesome game, especially the sanity effects. I would purposely let my characters lose sanity just so I could check out all the craziness the game would pull. I also thought that dividing the game into chapters set all throughout history was a great idea. Not only did it give an excuse for lots of different scenery, and creepy deja-vu when you'd revisit a certain place centuries later, but having a different character for each chapter meant that a good number of the protagonists could end their stories in the true Lovecraftian style. I just rented the game for weeks, though. Maybe it's time I went out and bought it. I think that Nintendo* deserves a bit of money for showing the world such a truly great and frightening experience.

*You know, Nintendo, that company that supposedly only makes games for little kids...
--
Ph-nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.
[ Parent ]
Lovecraft quotations (5.00 / 3) (#141)
by amk on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 07:39:59 AM EST

I have a collection of Lovecraft quotations that I sporadically work on. The fiction's been done, and currently I'm working on the published letters.

Cthulhu Games (3.50 / 2) (#143)
by sypher on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 08:57:59 AM EST

I liked playing the 'Shadows of the Comet' adventure game, I think it was set in Arkham and was quite interesting. http://www.mobygames.com/game/sheet/gameId,132/ You can probably download the game from The Underdogs.

I dreamt of it once, now I fear it dreams of me
Not in Arkham (4.00 / 1) (#148)
by javiernoval on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 04:33:30 PM EST

The game was set in Innsmouth.

[ Parent ]
If not on underdogs, try here (none / 0) (#176)
by tx on Sun Sep 07, 2003 at 07:54:01 AM EST

http://www.g-oldgames.com/abandonware3.htm

[ Parent ]
what a curmudgeon. (none / 0) (#149)
by goosedaemon on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 06:44:04 PM EST

i bet you don't like pep rallies, either. ...not that i do, myself.

Lovecraftian inspired band (3.00 / 1) (#164)
by dmitri on Thu Sep 04, 2003 at 08:35:54 PM EST

The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets is a great lovecraft inspired band. They have a few mp3s available for your listening pleasure.

Suggested Reading List? (none / 0) (#173)
by rleyton on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 09:25:56 AM EST

Great article. It reminded me of my interest in this area (from a long distant Call of Cthulu RPG session or two back at Uni). I'd never quite got around to reading any of the books, but have often fancied the idea.

So, I'd appreciate any pointers to good starting points for reading (I had a read of The Curse of Yig and The Alchemist purely out of chance, and enjoyed them), or is it quite simply dive in where you want?

--
Ooooooooooooooh! What does this button do!? - DeeDee, Dexters Lab.
My Website

Here's a list (5.00 / 1) (#174)
by Boa Treize on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 04:04:58 AM EST

Giving a reading list is not completely easy, notably because I don't know in which books the novels are published. Ah well, you can always read them online. So here are the one that I liked the most (well, I liked most of his novels):

Horor novels:

  • The Colour Out of Space
  • At the Mountains of Madness
  • The Call of Cthulhu
  • The Shadow Over Innsmouth
  • Dagon
  • The Temple
More poetic than horrific:
  • The Quest of Iranon
  • The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath
  • The White Ship
  • The Strange High House in the Mist
Great one-pagers:
  • Azathoth
  • Memory
Hilarious (more or less):
  • Ibid
  • Sweet Ermengarde


[ Parent ]
one more.. (3.00 / 1) (#177)
by Spider on Sun Sep 07, 2003 at 07:09:12 PM EST

The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.
Very interesting and quite long for being Lovecraft.

[ Parent ]
Charles Dexter Ward (none / 0) (#178)
by survomies on Sun Sep 07, 2003 at 07:46:47 PM EST

I saw a rather lovely play here in Finland this year, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. Very good, nicely reached the athmosphere of H.P.Lovecrafts books.

I think that I was originally attracted to the stories of H.P.Lovecraft through the role-playing game... Or was it the other way around? Impossible to say.

BTW. I already love this site! First Buddha and now... Cthulhu! I quess i'm going to become a really frequent visitor. ;)

[ Parent ]
Dreams in the witch house (none / 0) (#182)
by sparkchaser on Tue Sep 09, 2003 at 01:51:30 PM EST

I love Lovecraft, but Dreams in the Witch House was the only one of his stories that really weirded me out. I think that maybe living in an attic bedroom with angled walls had something to do with it...

BTW, does anyone else remember an episode of The Real Ghostbusters called "The Collect Call of Cthulhu"?

[ Parent ]

Ghostbusters (3.00 / 1) (#183)
by Tatarigami on Wed Sep 10, 2003 at 03:34:08 PM EST

BTW, does anyone else remember an episode of The Real Ghostbusters called "The Collect Call of Cthulhu"?

Never seen it, but it's on the list of Lovecraft-themed cinema at www.unfilmable.com.

[ Parent ]

Doesn't do it for me (3.00 / 1) (#175)
by domovoi on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 10:41:47 AM EST

I didn't learn anything about the Cthulu Mythos that I didn't already know, to wit:

  1. It's popular among every new generation of computer geeks and RPG players (excepting myself, back in the day).
  2. It has mysterious cult status, in part explaining #1. That is, people flock to it because it has cult status, without actually reading it, or on its own merits.
  3. Its melodramatic quasi-gothic 19th C. language (i.e. in the manner of the 19th C. gothic writers--I'm not talking about the tiresome folks whose only personality trait is wearing black eyeliner) makes people think of spooky old castles and whatnot.

Okay, the last one isn't entirely sincere, but I had no interest in reading Lovecraft before, and I have none now. You didn't sell me on anything. What you've offered is really not a review or even a real discussion, it's an entirely laudatory paean to H.P. Lovecraft. The message it sends is, ultimately, "I really love this, can't you see I really love this? I really love this, and you should too. Oh, and I won't really give you any reason other than my insistence that you should really love this."

Eh.


------------------------------
This is not my signature line.
The movies are terrible? (3.00 / 1) (#179)
by HombreVIII on Mon Sep 08, 2003 at 12:10:22 AM EST

"Whatchu talkin' bout Willis?" - CA gubernatorial candidate Coleman

You must not have seen the Re-Animator and Bride of Re-Animator movies! :D

And for the fans of these so-called "terrible" movies I've got some good news. Jeffrey Combs has come back once again to play Herbert West in "Beyond Re-Animator" Info and Trailors here. Unfortunately, the actor who played West's arch-rival Professor Carl Hill, (David Gale), in the first two movies could not be successfully re-animated in order to co-star in the third. The movie was completed last year and has been playing in indy movie theatres throughout the US for the last few weeks. Expect a US rental release mid-winter.

pronounciation (none / 0) (#180)
by tomatoeblue on Mon Sep 08, 2003 at 07:09:21 AM EST

can anyone tell me how to actually say the word "Cthulhu"?

Can't really pronounce it without tentacles (3.00 / 1) (#181)
by Tatarigami on Mon Sep 08, 2003 at 03:29:47 PM EST

According to Chaosium (the people who publish the RPG) it's pronounced 'kuh-THOO-loo'.

'Serious' Lovecraftian scholars (or at least, people who consider themselves serious) pronounce it 'KLOO-hoo'.

Based on information from Lovecraft's letters, he intended it to be pronounced 'KLUL-hloo', or as close to it as the human vocal apparatus can manage while it's not being strangled.

My advice is to pick whichever pronunciation you feel most comfortable with, and always say the name while chewing a mouthful of biscuits, so you inspire the appropriate horror and dread in whoever you're talking with. :)

[ Parent ]

Slashdotted! (none / 0) (#184)
by andfarm on Thu Mar 04, 2004 at 12:01:48 PM EST

http://games.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/03/04/041243&mode=thread

Introduction to the Cthulhu Mythos | 166 comments (159 topical, 7 editorial, 0 hidden)
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