Friday, October 02, 2009

Book: Eldritch Primer

Cthulhu 101 By Kenneth Hite, Illustrations by Drew Pocza, Atomic Overmind Press, 2009

Where I Got This Book: I bought this on a whim at The Dreaming up in the U District. The Dreaming , a full service game and comic store, is usually my first stop for Cthulhiana. In this case, I picked up the short (128-page digest-sized) book, opened it to a random page, discovered it told me something I didn’t already know about the Cthulhu Mythos, and on that alone determined to buy it.

Here is what it is: A basic introduction to the madness that is the Cthulhu mythos. It feels like it got its origin in people reading Ken’s earlier work Tour De Lovecraft and wondering what all the nasty references to August Derelith were all about.

This book, large-typed, equipped with cartoons, looks at the mythos from the outside in, as the phenomena of a shared world that has gotten out of control of its original creator. It examines the myth and lore of Lovecraft himself (and does a good job attacking the whole “spooky recluse” moniker that has settled on the writer), as well as case a wide net through through literature and popular culture.

So we have explanations of Cthulhu, Arkham, and Miskatonic, a waltz through the races and gods, an overview of movies about the mythos, connected to the mythos, and those that just steal a couple names to sound cool. Games and comic books and toys. And all in all, it’s a pretty good intro to the mythos to those wondering where all this craziness involving that giant squid-headed Godzilla came from.

The book does have at least one big globby typo (it states that Cthulhu rose briefly in 1923 in the classic “The Call of Cthulhu” when in fact it was 1925), but otherwise it is a fast-paced, info-packed, neat little bonbon of a book, perfect to that player new to the CoC game that doesn’t understand why it’s a bad thing to say “Hastur” three times fast (something that neither Lovecraft nor Derelith asserted back in the day).

More later,