Saturday, February 11, 2012
CTHULHU MYTHOS - TO BE, OR NOT TO BE?
This little commentary here is to set the record straight on my comments and my view of Derleth and his contribution to the Lovecraftian Horror Canon.
Now, I’m sure somewhere along the line I’ve read Derleth’s reasons for choosing the term, but I’m not a fanatic enough fan to dissect everything everyone has ever written about Lovecraftian Horror and its contributors, and remember everything for the point of discussion and argumentation. It really doesn’t matter.
As I noted in Facebook, Cthulhu is just one of many GOOs (they’re not gods, they’re aliens). Derleth’s creation could have taken on any number of forms…ie., Azathoth Mythos, Nyarlathotep Mythos, Shub Niggurath Mythos, etc., but it became the Cthulhu Muthos instead. Too me, that’s centralizing the character of Cthulhu far too much than need be. I wonder, if not for Derleth’s term, would the character of Cthulhu be as popular as he/it is today?
Another point of Derleth’s I disagree with, and that is the good vs evil fight between the GOOs and the Elder Gods. We might just want to throw in the idea of elementals as well since it fits into the same scheme.
The elementals? Yes, air, fire, earth, and water, and equating various beasties with each. Sure, I understand that in a socio-cultural context of primitive human beings, they would look to forces of nature to explain things they didn’t understand or feared. But modern humanity (can I use that term?) would have been able to differentiate. Ithaqua wouldn’t have been associated with air, nor Cthulhu or Dagon with water, etc.
The good vs evil conflict? It supposedly parallels the Christian Mythos, but that had never been Lovecraft’s point. The GOOs and Old Ones, etc., were suppose to be beyond the comprehension of humanity, something so above, beyond, and apart from any concept we could come up with and still be wrong. They are big bug-eyed monsters with an agenda all their own, stomping on us when we happened to get in their way, or use us for their own inexplicable ends, or use us simply as food. Cut and dry. No good guys, no bad guys, just us and BEMs.
This brings me to the end of this discourse…am I anti-Derleth as so many seem to be, and so many vehemently so? No, not at all. I’ve said on many occasions that when I write Lovecraftian Horror, I write it for the fun of it, the entertainment value. And although I may disagree with Derleth on the term Cthulhu Mythos and the good vs evil concept, etc., Derleth’s written contribution has entertained me. In fact, THE LURKER AT THE THRESHHOLD, mostly written by Derleth based on a short idea that Lovecraft had left behind, remains one of my favorite Lovecraftian Horror stories/novels to this day.