Well it’s time for another Lovecraft review. As you may remember, I did a review on At the Mountains of Madness earlier this month and stated that it was one of Lovecraft’s best known stories. While this is true, it’s not his best known work and it’s his best known work that I’m going to address today. This is the Illusive One’s Reviews and this is The Call of Cthulhu.
The Call of Cthulhu was published in February, 1928 and I guess you could say it started the Cthulhu Mythos. The Cthulhu Mythos is more or less a universal term for Lovecraft’s stories that have the same characters, locations, organizations, or creatures. Even if you’ve never heard of Lovecraft, odds are you have heard of Cthulhu or the Cthulhu Mythos in some form of media or another. The Mythos’ influence had reached beyond Lovecraft’s stories and has been featured in film, video games, T.V. series, various forms of merchandise, and, believe it or not, actual cults that follow the Mythos’ creatures and ideas. But was the story that started it all really that good? Well here’s my opinion.
The story takes place in New England during the 1920’s and is told through the point of view of Francis Wayland Thurston, (although I’m not entirely sure they ever say his name). After the death of his great uncle, he discovers that he, at the time of his death, had been looking into a mysterious cult that worshiped a creature known as Cthulhu. Thinking he may be able to uncover more about this mysterious organization, Thurston picks up where his uncle left off but finds much more than he ever expected.
On the positive side, it was a well written story with good pacing and kept you intrigued with the cult and what Thurston would find at the end of his road. Oddly enough, he never actually sees any of the things described in the story and only tells what other people had written down or told.
There were quite a few negatives to this story however. What some people may or may not know is that Lovecraft was incredibly racist during much of his early life and this transit to many of his early stories, especially Call of Cthulhu.
With that aside, there were a number of plot gaps that existed in this story that most hard core critics would use to tear it to pieces. For example, at the very beginning of the story, Thurston says that he hopes that no one will ever again gain the knowledge he now has. If that’s true then why the hell is writing about all of his discoveries concerning the Cult of Cthulhu? Another had to with the way he discovers the last piece of information he finds. He didn’t look it up. He didn’t spend weeks on end obsessing over this cult. He just happens to see a newspaper article in a museum that a friend of his just happens to be the curator of. If that isn’t a major stretch I don’t know what it. The final plot issue had to do with the ending. I won’t spoil the actual ending but it ends with Thurston just waiting for death. And once again, why is he writing this story if the information is dangerous?
All around though, it was a good story. Despite all of its flaws, it was well written, well paced and kept you wondering what would happen next. I’m still not entirely sure how so much stuff could have spawned from this simple short story series but it is what it is. It’s not perfect but absolutely worth reading.
Until next time this is the Illusive One saying, In his house at R’lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming..