In February 1928, a story entitled "The Call of Cthulhu" was published in Weird Tales. The author was the already popular H.P. Lovecraft, who had made his mark on the readership with such tales as "The Rats in the Walls" and "The Temple." With the publication of "The Call . . .," however, HPL assured himself lasting recognition in the weird fiction field. Within months, other writers, seeing the vast possibilities of this mythology devised by Lovecraft, began writing Cthulhu Mythos tales. A number of beginning writers, many of them close friends of HPL, first made their mark with tales in the mythology. This practice continued until the death of the market in 1954 with the demise of Weird Tales. Yet, even today, new stories in the genre are still published in original harcovers from Arkham House, and older stories are still being reprinted. A sort of following has developed for Lovecraft and the mythos an the stories. It is for these readers and those who are just learning of the Cthulhu stories that this guide and index has been prepared.
In writing his tories, Lovecraft borrowed ideas from the earlier tales of Machen, Bierce, and Chambers. Probably, the stories that influenced Lovecraft the most were "The Great God, Pan" by Machen; the four King in Yellow stories by Chambers; and "The Wendigo" by Blackwood. In these tales, very rarely, if ever, is the true horror actually described. Several times, a horrible book containng dark secrets that drive men mad is consulted. Almost all of the tales are told in the first person. To these basic concepts, HPL added several original ideas of his own, and came up with an entirely new mythology. In brief, his stories deal with a race of "Elder Beings" who oce ruled the universe, but now are imprisoned or sleeping in various parts of the Earth and the galaxy, awaiting for the time "when the stars are right" and they can resume their rule. These beings employ evil humans and terrible monsters for servants to further their aims. Other men, discovering dark secrets from ancient, terrifying books, try to thwart these plans, with varying degrees of success. Newspaper clippings, interviews, and long quotes from authentic sounding sources lend an air of realism to the stories.
A number of authors modified this structure, the most notable being Lovecraft's pupil and later publisher, August Derleth. The most drastic revision added by Derleth was another entire race of beings, "The Elder Gods," who werre directly opposed to the "Elder Beings," though not always friendly towards mankind. Derleth had these Gods responsible for the imprisoning of the Elder Beings where originally it seemed that Loveraft intended to imply that they wre just awaiting for a period of galactic turmoil to pass. Some people have claimed that Derleth's Gods are based on a quote by HPL in one of the tales. The one passage that they use as evidence is inconclusive. Lovecraft's stories usually reflect an air of pessimism and dispair throughout. One strongly doubts that HPL would want to provide a possible "out" for mankind by a race of Gods. It is more likely that Derleth just added the Elder Gods by chance. Lovecraft never opposed any changes other authors made in the mythology. In fact, the man welcomed such revisions.
Clark Ashton Smith used Lovecraft's mythology in several of his stories, but usually with a twist of his own. Smith's tales of Hyperborea are so vaguely related to the true mythology that they have been excluded from this index. Likewise, those tales taking place in Kingsport, Arkham, and New York City which are just vaguely related to the Cthulhu Mythos have been left out.
An extensive effort has been made to locate every story published that forms a part of the mythology, but there is a possibility that a story, or even several, have been overlooked. All magazine appearances are given. Because of the lack of a comprehensive index to all weird story anthologies, hardcover and paperback reprints have been regretfully excluded. Any comments, corrections, or additions to the Guide are welcome and appreciated.
In the Index proper, I have listed all known Cthulhu tales, first by title, and then by author. In the author section, I have also listed all magazine appearances. Afterwards, I have indicated those stories which are sequels or form a minor series. Thre is a list of those tales, which, as far as I can tell, remain unreprinted. Some notes on the stories and the men who illustrated them make up the last part of the index. All information is complete up to the time of publication, which is early June 1969.
Return to History Page
Created: February 21, 1997; Current Update: August 12, 2004