I had been working my way through a collection of Lovecraft’s stories during the R.I.P. Challenge, but hadn’t gotten as far as the Cthulhu mythos yet. As this is one of his most famous, I decided to skip ahead and read it now.
The story is comprised of the notes of a man named Thurston, who has pieced together papers from his granduncle to tell the story of Cthulhu. The first segment deals with a bas-relief sculpture of a strange creature. The sculptor was one of many unrelated individuals who reported having strange dreams of an ancient city with alien geometry and a winged squid monstrosity.
The second segment describes a cult near New Orleans, where a similar statue was found. Thurston pieces together the beliefs of the cult, which holds that the Great Old Ones dwelled on Earth in the past, but now sleep in a sunken city. One day they shall awaken and begin a reign of destruction.
In the third segment, a handful of sailors accidentally come upon a newly exposed fragment of a sunken city…
Lovecraft is only a little bit racist in “The Call of Cthulhu,” which is more than I can say about many of his other works.
I can see why people like this story so much. The existence of the Great Old Ones is just plausible enough to send chills down one’s spine, especially considering the fact that different cultures around the world with no connection to each other often have similar mythologies. It’s interesting to imagine, especially since I’ve been told that Cthulhu is supposed to be only among the lesser of the Great Old Ones. I’ve got a great respect for Lovecraft for coming up with such a compelling concept.
I recommend Lovecraft as bedtime reading. His stories make excellent nightmare fuel.