By Kenneth Hite
Reviewed by Matthew Pook
As you can see in his Trail of Cthulhu, Ken Hite is Call of Cthulhu’s number one fan. He is more than qualified to write an initiate’s guide to Cthulhu and the Cthulhu Mythos. Cthulhu 101 is just that guide, a pocket-sized book from Atomic Overmind Press that explains who Cthulhu is, where he is from – both in and out of the fiction – and what he does and does not do.
It explores who H.P. Lovecraft was, what he wrote, and what were his inspirations. It discusses the good and the bad of August Derleth. (He kept Lovecraft’s writings in print, but himself wrote bad stories and claimed too much when it came to copyrights.) And it suggests an awful lot of bests and not-so-bests — the best and not-so-best stories, comics, movies, television, music, games, and toys, all rounded out with suggested next steps.
In places it gets as basic as, “How do you pronounce Cthulhu, exactly?” In others its gets a little more complex, such as the discussions of Lovecraft’s inspiration for his creation, and what exactly Cthulhu might symbolize. For the most part Hite gives us just the facts, but Derleth does come out of this in a wholly favorable light.
Much of Cthulhu 101 will be familiar and too basic to the Oath‘s readers. Basic can still be useful, though, and this is a handy reference. It is easy to imagine Hite delivering Cthulhu 101 as the PowerPoint presentation from R’lyeh, so it’s worth six phobias.
This review appeared in The Eye of Light and Darkness in The Unspeakable Oath 18.
Reviewed items are rated on a scale of one to ten phobias:
1-3: Not worth purchasing.
4-6: An average item with notable flaws; at 6 it’s worth buying.
7-10: Degrees of excellence.