Please join us and guest Andrew Leman as we behold The Horror in Clay!

Once again, thanks to Reber Clark for contributing this week’s music, which is available for download from Amazon.com.

Our ‘cast is now available for mobile on Stitcher.com – check it out!

If you want to live today’s story – get your hands on The Angell Box from the HPLHS!

We lost our iTunes reviews when we started up the new feed, so if you have a chance, would you write us a review?

Next Week: Part 2 in our Call of Cthulhu coverage – The Tale of Inspector Legrasse!

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27 Responses to Episode 42 – The Call of Cthulhu – Part 1

  1. MyFinalHeaven says:

    I am only just past Mr Leman’s reading of the first paragraph, and am absolutely overjoyed at the production. This is sounding just awesome, guys.

  2. Mike Davey says:

    Great stuff. I’ve already bought one of those HPLHS “Angell Boxes” and it’s beautiful. Anyone who’s a bit deterred by the price, don’t be. It’s worth every penny.
    Oh, and Chris, be careful..
    “Baa relief” is something very different in Yorkshire!

  3. Genus Unknown says:

    Guys, this is your best episode yet. As much fun as it is to poke gentle (or not-so-gentle) fun at Lovecraft’s worst dreck, the good stuff brings out the best in this podcast.

    One thing I like about this episode that sets it above previous efforts is that it’s more of… well, a literary podcast. I’m sure that’s mostly a function of actually getting to a good story that’s worth discussing, but I can’t tell you how good it is to hear you guys actually discussing the language and structure of the story, and digging into the meat of what HPL is communicating and why it works. Haven’t seen this much of that sort of thing since ‘Dagon,’ perhaps.

    Keep it up, guys. This one’s out of the park.

  4. Moronic Imbeciles! Fools and Philistines! Idiots and Nincompoops!

    That’s what editors are! Especially the drooling dope who was the editor of “Weird Tales” who REJECTED “The Call of Cthulhu”.

    He R E J E C T E D it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Rejected the story that would go on to become of of the greatest known and influential horror tales ever written.

    The stupid sap never even thought that HPL’s work deserved a “Cover” spot on Weird Tales.

    HPL wasn’t alone in his battle aganist dimwitted dullards in charge of publications.

    In 1938 two young men, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, were shopping around a comic book character that was turned down by EVERY publisher in New York. Finally a small mostly unknown publisher took it. That character was Superman.

    Editors don’t know diddly-doo!

    I don’t know if HPL would have written the great things he did if he was told how great he really was. Maybe his failure made him dig deeper into the blackness of his loss. All I know is the best American Horror writer deserved better treatment than he got.

  5. Azimer the Mad says:

    The best thing about movie Wilcox has to be the straight-faced delivery of his actual bizarre dialogue in the special features. Especially about R’Lyeh & the corn chips.

    I was greatly amused when I first came across on of HPL’s pronunciation comments about Cthulhu. That one suggested “Kluh-luh,” with the tongue firmly touching the roof of his mouth. Imagine running a horror rpg doing that!

    Great episode, guys. Cannot wait for the discussion in part two; there’s beasties mentioned in the swamp I’ve never seen examined or interpreted.

  6. Elderac says:

    I find it mildly curious that the first part of Call of Cthuhlu is Episode 42.

    The artists of the world creating strange and creepy images made me think of Close Encounters of the Third Kind where different people around the world were having sort of the same image and creating it in their own way. “This means something.”

  7. Aram says:

    I distinctly remember the first time I read this story and being completely sucked in by the idea of artists and “sensitive” types across the world going mad in different ways. The Call of Cthulhu is a favorite for so many reasons, but the *scope* of the thing is what gets me.

    And while I have enjoyed every damn episode of your podcast thus far, I feel that this episode has really stepped it up. The usual snark and banter is balanced with an appropriate dose of background info, context and thoughtful discussion. And I always enjoy things that much more when Andrew Leman is around.

    Very nicely done, gentlemen. I am eagerly anticipating the upcoming shows.

  8. Pekka says:

    Could you please add to the shownotes all the names of the stories you discuss?

    My Hyperborean tongue twists Cthulhu to K’tul’who (tul like pull).

  9. Keith McCaffety says:

    This episode was very enjoyable! Lots of fun and informative.

    Unfortunately… I read the story several months ago, and I found it VERY dull. Downright BORING. Hardly worth remembering. Didn’t do a thing for me at all.

    There was ONE moment I liked near the end, but I’ll bring it up when you do.

  10. Zontar says:

    I can only echo the sentiment that others bring to this discussion–your game steps up as does the quality of the material. I am slavering–*figuratively*–in anticipation of your analysis of The Color Out of Space, The Dunwich Horror, and some of Lovecraft’s other standard-setting masterpieces.

    One thought regarding the pronunciation of R’lyeh: don’t know if Lovecraft was even aware of it, but the use of the apostrophe as a phoneme usually indicates a glottal stop, where the speaker closes the throat and says nothing at all; it’s how one might pronounce the “tt” when saying “bottle” with a Cockney accent. I’ve seen it so used when romanizing Arabic and Navajo words.

  11. J.B.Lee says:

    When I first ran across Those Words, at the age of 13 or so, I took HPL at his word and assumed that Angell had actually intended every letter that he’d written. Thus I came up with Kuh-THOOL-hoo and Ar-LYE-eh. And I continue to stick with ‘em, too, because no sane human being would hear the simple, two-syllable “Cluh-luh” and spell it the way Angell (and Lovecraft) did.

    Of course, I believe that HPL gave a different pronunciation to everyone who asked him about it: we have, besides “Khlul-hloo” and “Cluh-luh,” reports of “Koot-u-lew” and the dread, sanity-shaking “K-lutl-lutl.”

    That said, this is one of the great Lovecraft tales and one of the primary stories of the horror genre in the 20th century, and it has moved you to entertaining brilliance, especially after the lengthy lacklustre New York spell.

  12. Johannes says:

    Ladies and gentlemen, I have just now struck podcast gold.

    The discussion, the wonderful narration and all the tasty tidbits of trivia and background is what makes my absolute favourite podcast in the world!

    Cthulhu horribly bless Lovecraft, the grandmaster of wierd stories.

  13. Tim Scurr says:

    Loved the episode, thought it absolutely fantastic, and got me pumped for checking out the silent movie treatment. Really enjoy Andrew’s reading, combined with the music (some gear I’ve not heard before) gave the extracts a real sense of… hideous cosmic grandeur. Just thinking too, if any speculators link Old Castro’s statement about the ‘Old Ones plunging from world to world when the stars are right’ to the frog dudes descending from the moon in in mists from “The Doom hat Came to Sarnath’ and similar gear in ‘The Other Gods’ (and yes, I know it’s not the same as ‘no human has ever seen the Old Ones’). Great show guys, have a drug-fiend style dependency on it, shivering and sweating on upcoming episodes.

  14. Rage says:

    find it rather sad the sale of HP Lovecraft’s letter/manuscripts
    While alive he could not afford to by paper so he writes on the back of any old scrap of paper. He is living on a diet of baked beans and stale bread in utter poverty, dying an early death due to malnutrition and not able to afford hospital treatment. Now the scraps of paper are worth a fortune. Be great if Brown University could buy up as much as possible of his old papers, all collected in one place.

  15. Reber Clark says:

    to Tim Scurr – Thank you so much for the phrase “hideous cosmic grandeur”:

    ‘Really enjoy Andrew’s reading, combined with the music (some gear I’ve not heard before) gave the extracts a real sense of… hideous cosmic grandeur.’

    That is exactly what I am going for in the music – may I quote you?

    - Reber Clark

  16. Tim Scurr says:

    to Reber Clark – Somebody wants to quote me, and not for use in a court of law? Definitely! Really appreciate the scores, so keep up the fantastic work.

  17. Bruce says:

    I distinctly remember the first time I read this story and being completely sucked in by the idea of artists and “sensitive” types across the world going mad in different ways. The Call of Cthulhu is a favorite for so many reasons, but the *scope* of the thing is what gets me.

    And while I have enjoyed every damn episode of your podcast thus far, I feel that this episode has really stepped it up. The usual snark and banter is balanced with an appropriate dose of background info, context and thoughtful discussion. And I always enjoy things that much more when Andrew Leman is around.

    Very nicely done, gentlemen. I am eagerly anticipating the upcoming shows.

  18. Mike aka Talionis says:

    I really love this 3 part series of reviews for one of my favorite stories. I don’t know if Andrew is referring to the letters from Houdini to Lovecraft that sold on eBay last year which we acquired and are considering transcribing and publishing in a limited edition.
    *hey Andrew, we met at the Slamdance premier of The Call of Cthulhu and the release of the letters is still pending.

  19. Jeb Card says:

    Little bit I wrote about the earthquake that helped inspire the story

    http://miskatonicmuseum.blogspot.com/2009/11/earthquake-that-uplifted-rlyeh.html

  20. [...] Stitcher.com – check it out! If you want to live today’s story – get your [...] HPPodcraft.com – The H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast Comments [...]

  21. ej says:

    Famous spy assassinations: The kgb may have used the idea from Call Of Cthulhu to kill a defector.

  22. Alex says:

    I laughed out loud at the thought of Wilcox relating his mundane dream of being naked in class and throwing in a “Cthulhu fhtagn” just to keep Angell’s attention.

  23. [...] (including me) to be Lovecraft’s finest work.  The HP Podcraft version is in 3 parts; Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3. World War One, the setting of part of Herbert West: Reanimator (image [...]

  24. […] approach.  Then, if you’ve got time and are unconvinced, you can listen to a discussion of why people like me trot out the word “brilliant” in connection with a fellow who never got rich on his […]

  25. Raúl Moreno says:

    In Wikipedia’s “Cthulhu” article they copy Joshi’s text as “Kthûl’-hloo”:

    “Lovecraft said that “the first syllable [of Kthûl'-hloo is] pronounced gutturally and very thickly. The u is about like that in Umberella; and the first syllable is not unlike ktul in sound, hence the h represents the guttural thickness.” H. P. Lovecraft, Selected Letters V, pp. 10 – 11.”

    But in http://www.hplovecraft.com they transcribe a Lovecraft’s letter where he supposedly said it was “Khlûl’-hloo” (as J.B.Lee pointed out above). From the letter:

    “The actual sound—as nearly as human organs could imitate it or human letters record it—may be taken as something like Khlûl’-hloo, with the first syllable pronounced gutturally and very thickly. The u is about like that in full; and the first syllable is not unlike klul in sound, since the h represents the guttural thickness. The second syllable is not very well rendered—the l sound being unrepresented. (to Duane Rimel, 23 July 1934).”

    On a later letter:
    “The best approximation one can make is to grunt, bark, or cough the imperfectly-formed syllables Cluh-Luh with the tip of the tongue firmly affixed to the roof of the mouth. (to Willis Conover, 29 August 1936).”

    For me it would be disappointing to know he thought of that pronunciation when he wrote “The Call of Cthulhu”, as the spelling would be absurd, arbitrary. It is written by humans to be as close as possible to the actual sound (if someone ever called Cthulhu by his name, and making a sound with our air and humanly audible frequencies…).

    I suppose he changed his mind since the wrote “The Call of Cthulhu” in the summer of 1926 and, of course, was not able to change the name in all of his writings to Cthlulhu or something more in accordance to that pronunciation.

  26. Joel says:

    The pronunciation used in Out of Mind is about as accurate as you’re going to get.

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