Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

“Take Cthulhu,” he began.

I couldn’t help starting as I heard that word pronounced for the first time in my life; the harsh, dark, monosyllabic growl it came to was so very like the sound that had originally come to me from my imagination, or my subconscious, or my otherwise unremembered dreams, or…

He continued, “If Cthulhu exists, then he (or she, or it) can go anywhere he wants through space, or air, or sea, or earth itself. We know from Johansen’s account (it turned his hair white) that Cthulhu can exist as a gas, be torn to atoms, and then recombine. He wouldn’t need tunnels to go through solid rock, he could seep through it — ‘not in the spaces we know, but between them.’ And yet in his inscrutability he might choose tunnels — there’s that to be reckoned with. Or — still another possibility — perhaps he neither exists nor does not exist but is in some half state — ‘waits dreaming,’ as Angell’s old chant has it. Perhaps his dreams, incarnated as your winged worms, Fischer, dig tunnels.”

— Fritz Leiber, “The Terror from the Depths.” Emphasis mine.

Leiber’s assertion convinced me the moment I read it — that is how That Name is pronounced. One syllable. Try it.

Ever since, tripe like this annoys the hell out of me. They’re not saying it right!

Not that Cthulhu cares whether his puny followers say his name correctly, but if he did, I’d think he’d be a mite annoyed, wouldn’t you?

Ah well. “The Terror from the Depths” is worth seeking out. I’ve said before it’s my favorite Lovecraftian tale. It’s in Heroes and Horrors, (which also has the wonderful “Dark Wings,” a non-Lovecraftian masterpiece and another favorite.

“The Terror from the Depths” is also found in this book, which may be easier to put your hands on. Enjoy.

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2 Responses to Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

  1. BobG says:

    Great writer. I grew up reading a lot of his stuff during the late fifties and the sixties.

  2. Mollbot says:

    So… which syllable do I use? Because my head sees a minimum of two when I read that word. Kthool? Shool?

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