Thursday, October 5, 2017

Book Review | The Call of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft

The Call of Cthulhu is a short story (novelette) by H.P. Lovecraft.

The Call of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft

One of the feature stories of the Cthulhu Mythos, H.P. Lovecraft's 'the Call of Cthulhu' is a harrowing tale of the weakness of the human mind when confronted by powers and intelligences from beyond our world.

I'm enjoying my trek through the works of Lovecraft, but The Call of Cthulhu is going to get a low rating from me.

This isn't the first time I've tried to read The Call of Cthulhu so I knew what to expect. I was going into it with a fresh perspective and a fresh love for Lovecraft this time, though.

The Call of Cthulhu is where we get to briefly meet the Great Old One Cthulhu. As the seminal work that an entire mythos is named after, The Call of Cthulhu is underwhelming. The actual entity Cthulhu, however, is a huge human form that is part octopus and part dragon. That's awesome.

I'm continuing to enjoy the atmosphere in these stories. I may not be a fan of Lovecraft's use of language, but atmosphere is something he does very well.

"It was voodoo, apparently, but voodoo of a more terrible sort than they had ever known; and some of their women and children had disappeared since the malevolent tom-tom had begun its incessant beating far within the black haunted woods where no dweller ventured. There were insane shouts and harrowing screams, soul-chilling chants and dancing devil-flames; and, the frightened messenger added, the people could stand it no more."

Even though this story is not going to be on my list of favorites, it's one I will probably revisit. Lovecraft's writing is so complex, there is bound to be more to discover and it can only get easier with each read.

I feel like The Call of Cthulhu is where a lot of people start reading Lovecraft. I've seen it suggested as an appropriate place to start. I'm obviously not a Lovecraft expert, but I wouldn't start with this one simply because the writing is unbearable at times. Hopefully in the near future I can provide an alternate suggestion.

4/10: Not My Thing

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12 comments:

  1. I've never read a Lovecraft. To be honest it doesn't look like I will any time soon.

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    1. Not all of his stuff is this hard to read. I would probably only recommend this one to folks who are reading Lovecraft for the sake of reading Lovecraft and not people who are looking for a great horror story.

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  2. I've only read a little of his stuff and it was pretty creepy? I love the idea though of elder gods...

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    1. Yes. You can find a lot of creepy atmospheric stuff in Lovecraft, and it's really great stuff. I haven't read much of the Cthulhu mythos, and I'm really looking forward to more of the elder god stuff. The storytelling elements are fantastic; I just have trouble with his use of language.

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  3. I read this sometime within the last couple of years. Didn't work for me either. I am starting to get very leery anytime I hear "Lovecraftian" because it seems to push my threshold for "weird", and also, I found it rather slow.

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    1. I probably could have read a novel in the days it took me to get through Cthulhu. I love the weird stuff, though.

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  4. I haven't read this yet but I'll keep in mind not to start here when I start with his materials.

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    1. It seems like an obvious choice to start the Cthulhu mythos at the Call of the Cthulhu, but ugh. There's probably many other places that will work fine.

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  5. I'd say a good first bet would be The Cats of Ulthar. It's super short and dastardly.

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    1. Yeeees. I read that one today. That was fun! :)

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  6. I have heard about the writing in this one being difficult. Probably not one for me - and probably, like you said, not the best place to start.
    Lynn :D

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    1. It's all true. It has grown on me a bit having had the chance to step away from the writing. It's an important part of his mythos, but it's definitely a rough place to start reading Lovecraft in my opinion.

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