The Call of Cthulhu (fiction)

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"The Call of Cthulhu" is one of H. P. Lovecraft's best known short stories. It is the only story penned by Lovecraft in which Cthulhu himself makes a major appearance as a central part of the narrative. It is a story composed of two major narratives linked by a third, the voice of the "author." Only the author pieces together the whole truth and significance of the information he has in his possession, and he recounts it to the audience in the way that he discovered it.

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Set around 1925, it begins with Francis Wayland Thurston's account of the death his great-uncle, Professor Angell, a prominent professor at Brown University and a study of his papers. These papers include the account of a raid on a supposed cult. In this tale, "sensitive individuals" around the world are afflicted by horrid nightmares. Forbidden lore tells that the nightmares are the telepathically transmitted dreams of Great Cthulhu, an extra-dimensional creature who "cannot live" because "the stars are not right". Driven insane, they perform despicable, unholy rites and chant Cthulhu Fhtagn - "Cthulhu Dreams!" A study of the cultists brings to light clues about the hideous creature that they worship, Cthulhu. The Cthulhu creature, said to have come with his alien followers from the stars millions of years before the dawn of Man, now rests in a death-like sleep in their sunken city of R'lyeh.

The second part of the story continues with the log of Gustaf Johansen, second mate on the schooner Emma, which engages a cultist-manned yacht, the Alert. The battle leaves the Emma derelict, and the survivors move to the Alert after killing all the cultists. The crew discovers the sunken city, now risen to the surface of the Pacific Ocean. The city has resurfaced because "the stars are right" and the time for the awakening of Cthulhu and his spawn is at hand. Cthulhu emerges from his tomb and almost all of the crewmen are slain. But the stars are not quite right, after all, and Cthulhu and R'lyeh return to the deep after the second mate makes a harrowing escape. The story concludes with the death of the second mate under mysterious circumstances, and the author's fear that he, too, will perish by the hands of the Cthulhu cultists.


This story was instrumental in launching the so-called Cthulhu Mythos, stories and novels based on the idea of the other-worldly creatures who wish to re-inhabit Earth. Many of these stories are written by other authors — most of the early ones friends or acquaintances of Lovecraft's.

Call of Cthulhu is the title of a popular role-playing game based on the Cthulhu Mythos.

There are many musical references to Cthulhu and the Mythos, especially in the genres of Heavy Metal, Gothic Rock and Folk music:

See also

External links

Original Wiki source: Wikipedia