26 January 2010

Neil Gaiman Frees CTHULHU, Lovecraft Grateful But Pessimistic

Like a lot of folks, we've got an ongoing list of authors we keep meaning to read, but never get around to tackling even one of their great many - and perhaps even legendary - works.   How embarrassing for us that one of today's foremost fantasy - and comics - writers, Neil Gaiman debuts on our list in the Top Spot.  Not nearly as much of The Sandman as been explored as we'd like, and while we did get through the Eternals and Neverwhere, we've yet to meet his Anansi Boys or the American Gods, both still sitting patiently on the shelf beside Howard Phillips Lovecraft's cosmic horror novel, The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories. 
Lovecraft, as you can well imagine, didn't write  any comic books (they were a little after his time; Lovecraft died a year before Action Comics #1 hit the stands), but he certainly influenced many of today's most notable writers, Gaiman included. Both authors written works span a related spectrum from horror to fantasy and science fiction -- in essence, they write weird fiction And though he created the shared universe of his Cthulhu Mythos tales nearly a century ago, the powerfully winged, extra-universal octopus-headed deity he dubbed 'Cthulhu' is more popular than ever.   (Rumor has it the squid-looking dude even ran for President back in 2008.)  Considering their similarities  talents, and appeal, it seemed like only the small matter of time prevented Lovecraft and Gaiman from ever meeting.

Luckily for us list-folks, that time has come, thanks to Great Cthulhu himself.  Even better, the 'tickets' are free and the show's all of five-minutes long. Neil Gaiman wrote his own Lovecraftian short story, I, Cthulhu, or, What’s A Tentacle-Faced Thing Like Me Doing In A Sunken City Like This (Latitude 47° 9' S, Longitude 126° 43' W)?, back in 1986, of which you've probably just read the first few sentences of above this very paragraph.  And while I, Cthulhu has been available (on Gaiman's website) to the web-browsing public, the short autobiographical account given by the Great Cthulhu himself  to his human slave, Whateley, has never before been accompanied by the cool illustrations that artist Brian Elig now provides.  Both the online tale and Elig's fantastical captures come thanks to the good people of Tor.com, a site for science fiction, fantasy, and all the things that interest SF and fantasy readers. 

Take five to ten to dive into the cosmic awareness that I, Cthulhu offers -- just don't get lost in the dark mists of Khhaa'yngnaiih as you go!  You'll find on Tor.com's blog HERE. For more Free Stuff from Neil Gaiman, go HERE....and to see several of Brian Elig's awesome illustrations, check HERE. [Top Cthulhu illustration by Brian Elig.]

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