So after years of knowing about Cthulhu, I finally decided last summer that I was going to read Lovecraft. I think my Neil Gaiman kick was the main catalyst. I got myself one of the anthologies and read all the stories it contained. While I was doing that, I started searching online for everything Cthulhu & Lovecraft.
Of what I found, the two things which really stuck were the pattern for my crocheted Cthulhus and the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast (at HPPodcraft.com). The podcast goes week by week through Lovecraft’s short stories and novellas (excluding childhood stories), starting with “The Tomb.”
I’m not entirely sure I’d call it “literary,” though it qualifies on the count of being concerned with his writings, not biographical or derivative or gaming stuff. It’s done by Chad Fifer and Chris Lackey, two filmmakers/Lovecraft buffs. They often have guests, including Kenneth Hite who wrote Tour de Lovecraft and Andrew Lehman who directed the Call of Cthulhu silent film. It’s not a serious study, it’s generally lighthearted and amusing, but they often share fascinating trivia about Lovecraft or things derived from this week’s story.
Even though I’d read the best-known stories before starting the project, I found it really helpful in keeping up with reading the rest. If it’s one of his painful or atrocious stories (“The Street”? *shudder*), then I’ll know that I’m not the only one suffering through it and can look forward to Chris and Chad making fun of it or talking about how irritating it was. Sometimes they’ve also found something redeeming about it or seen how it derives from something else or is drawn out in a later story.
There are also forums where other listeners can talk about episodes, Lovecraft, and related miscellanea. (If you’re on the forums, I’m CthulhuChick there and you’ll know me by my avatar.)
Anyway…..after starting last summer, we’ve finally made it to “Call of Cthulhu”! So, if you’re one of those people who’s never actually read the Cthulhu story, this is your chance. They’re doing it over a series of weeks so we’re only two parts in and you can catch up. The full text is available online and you can find the podcast by searching for Lovecraft Literary Podcast in the iTunes store (or on the website).
And hey, if you like it enough, then you can start at the beginning and read up on Lovecraft. Full texts of his complete works can be found at hplovecraft.com.
Standard Lovecraft disclaimer: the man was a racist. Really a xenophobe. He hated anything that was other than him. Including most other white people whom he thought degenerate for this or that reason. I sometimes think he may have hated himself too. Of course, he wrote in an era where casual racism and eugenics were acceptable, and like much fiction from that time it’s sometimes painful to read. But in some of his stories Lovecraft crosses way past “painful” into “do I have to smack you with the stop-fearing-people-who-are-different stick?”