Technology of the Great Race

As previously mentioned, the cone-shaped beings (CSBs)are native residents of Earth and have been identified in the fossil record for at least a billion years.  About 500 million years ago the Yithians came to Earth in a non-corporeal form, being minds of pure energy (more on this in a subsequent article), and inhabited the bodies of the CSBs.

Immature Yithian (by Paul Carrick)

It is hypothesized that prior to the Yithians taking over the bodies of the CSBs, these Terran creatures used little to no technology.  However, it should be emphasized that this does not mean the CSBs had low intelligence.  In fact, more than likely they were quite intelligent, which is one of the reasons they were chosen for “occupation” by the non-corporal Yithians.  The CSBs were probably like the whales or dolphins of today; very intelligent beings that utilized no technology.  However, once the Yithians possessed the CSBs, the Great Race was born and this resulted in a dramatic evolutionary jump, a sort of “punctuated equilibrium in technology.”

The Yithians had to use the resources available in both our Universe and our world.  The Great Race started to build Cities with huge libraries, as well as various vehicles used to transport them over great distances.  As HPL describes, the Great Race created “huge boatlike atomic-engine vehicles” as well as many decked boats, titan, projectile-like airships and gigantic submarines.

Possible rendition of a large, multiple-decked Yithian airship (

Most of the Yithian technology produced on Earth was powered through electrical repulsion.  Essentially matter in our Universe can be electrically charged, which means it has an excess (negative charge) or shortage (positive charge) of electrons.  Similarly charged material repel each other, while oppositely charged material attract each other.  There is a relationship between an electric force (which can be defined as an influence that changes the motion of an object []) acting on a point charge due to the presence of a second point charge; this relations is mathematically described as Coulomb’s Law.  Thus, the electric force between two charges can be calculated using Coulomb’s Law ([

Coulomb’s Law (from

If two similar charges were concentrated at two distinct points in space, say 1 meter apart, they would move away from each other under an incredible amount of force, which would have the potential to generate an enormous amount of energy.  As we understand our Universe, a Coulomb of charge is never collected at one point.  For example, as electricity moves through a wire, there is never a large deviation from electrical neutrality over the entire wire.  Thus, we do not see or generate such large amounts of energy through electrical repulsion.  However, maybe the Yithian’s knew how to concentrate the charge into a discrete point in space, thus generating large amounts of energy.  Using this technology in the bodies of the CSBs they would have the ability to build the large airships, vehicles and submarines that HPL identified in The Shadow Out of Time.

In addition to modes of transportation and Great Cities, the Great Race also used their technology to build other devices such as their ” apparatus like mind projection machines” and strange electrical weapons.  I will discuss the mind projection machines in an upcoming article, however, I will briefly discuss the weaponry here.

The Great Race did occasionally get into altercations with other species on Earth such as “reptilian or octopodic invaders, or against the winged, star-headed Old Ones who centered in the Antarctic.”  However, these incidences were fairly infrequent.  To defend themselves, the Great Race had a large army, whose primary weapon was a camera-like device that produced “tremendous electrical effects.”  Again, it appears that most, if not all, of Great Race technology was based on harvesting the incredible amounts of energy generated by focusing electrical repulsion in small discrete points in space.

Is this fossilized artifact of the ancient technology of the Great Race? (from

In spite of the altercations with other residents on Earth, the majority of the Great Race’s military concern and focus was on guarding and defending themselves against the “things” imprisoned in the great sealed trap-doors in the lowest subterranean levels of the dark, windowless and abandoned elder ruins.  Next time the discussion will focus on these imprisoned “things” – known as Flying Polyps.  Thank you – Fred.

Yithians defending themselves against Flying Polyps.  Called “Yithian Hero” (from Spore by Cryptdidical)


5 thoughts on “Technology of the Great Race

  1. Another great article!

    I have done some more contemplating on the connections between the Elder Things and the Cone-Shaped Beings and I think I have more support for the idea that the CSBs were designed to be a slave-race. Mostly this comes down to continental drift (of which Lovecraft was an early supporter.) It occurred to me that, for most of Earth’s history, Australia and Antarctica were joined as part of the ancient supercontinent of Gondwanaland (see some very nice maps here: ). This means that the centers of the two species’ civilizations were right next door to one another, indeed they were part of the same continuous land mass, for hundreds of millions of years. This includes the entire period when the CSBs were occupied by the Yithians and fought periodic wars with the Elder Things. The two continents were only just starting to separate at the very end of the Cretaceous, exactly the time when the Yithians left for the future to escape the resurgent Flying Polyps.

    This is just too much of a coincidence. It strains belief that the Elder Things could have been unaware of an intelligent race (the CSBs) living so close to their capital. It would be like France not knowing about Germany. To me this supports the idea that the Elder Things created the CSBs as a slave race, one more intelligent and thus complimentary to the Shoggoths.

    The advent of the Yithians, since it was a purely psychic event with no immediately obvious physical evidence, must have been apparent to the Elder Things only in retrospect. At the time it would have appeared that the CSBs were simply rebelling, though the new weapons the Yithians were able to construct in short order should have been a hint (note that the Yithians seem to have relied more on technology than the Elder Things did.) No wonder the Elder Things did not record such an embarrassing episode in their wall sculptures. Probably they removed as many depictions of the pre-Yith CSBs as they could.

    Of course, the above remarks about geographic proximity also apply to the Flying Polyps. They also were ‘right next door’ to the Elder Things’ capital, so why were they not shown in the wall sculptures?

    Well, maybe they were! Consider for a moment that, while they were apparently extra dimensional aliens, when visible the Flying Polyps would have looked rather like Shoggoths. It is possible that the explorers in ‘At the Mountains of Madness’ were misreading the bas-reliefs and that the ‘rebellion of the Shoggoths’ was in fact a war with the Flying Polyps. I also wonder if this is also the secret behind ‘Earth’s Highest Peaks’ which were also so close to the cities of the Great Race. Perhaps the horror behind those mountains, the horror even the Elder Things shrank from contemplating, was a city of the Flying Polyps?

    1. WOW. That was very good. I agree with the “Highest Peaks” statement – the inter-dimensional Polyps would probably seem immensely more horrifying than a shoggoth (which Danforth saw and remained sane).

      Great theories!


    2. Hey Julianus:

      You touch on some many interesting ideas that I both thought of myself and have not even considered!

      I did think that perhaps the CSBs were a slave race of the Elder Things; were they a “failed” experiment that eventually lead to the Shoggoths? Or were they an “accident or joke” like humanity that was later recognized as valuable “service species?” I can see the Elder Things being amazed on how the behavior of the CSBs changed once the Yithians took over their bodies and became the Great Race. You can see how the Elder Things would be perplexed by the Great Race suddenly constructing electrical repulsion weapons. In The Shadow Out of Time HPL does state that the wars between the Great Race and others (including the Elder Things) were “infinitely devastating.” The way the text is written you get the impression the devastation was felt by the Elder Things more so than the Great Race.

      The continental drift idea is intriguing as well – the reduced conflict between the Elder Things and the Great Race may indeed have largely been a result of increased spatial separation (e.g. island biogeography!). In addition, the Great Race had to contend with the flying polyps while the Elder Things had to deal more with Shoggoth rebellions as well as other (Mi-Go, Cthulhu spawn, etc.). Is it possible that the freedom of the Great Race was at least partially responsible for the Shoggoths thinking about their own freedom from the Elder Things?

      Finally, I do like the idea that the flying polyp may have something to do with the “things” beyond the Mountains of Madness (e.g. the proto-Shoggoth). As I will discuss in the next article, I feel the flying polyps are the most “alien” of HPL entities, second only to perhaps the Colour Out of Space.

      Great stuff and thanks for contributing!


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