Tag Archives: Robert M. Price

Nug and Yeb – Offspring of Shub-Niggurath and Yog-Sothoth

As we have cited a number of times in the discussions of Shub-Niggurath, she and Yog-Sothoth reproduced in some sexual manner to produce Nug and Yeb. Again, we are defining sex in the biological / evolutionary sense – that is, there was an exchange and recombination of hereditary information between Shub-Niggurath and Yog-Sothoth, which resulted in progeny – Nug and Yeb.

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Nug and Yeb by David Lewis Johnson (www.ironimageindustries.blogspot.com)

As described in Robert M. Price’s excellent article “On the Natures of Nug and Yeb” (Dissecting Cthulhu: Essays on the Cthulhu Mythos, edited by S.T. Joshi, 2011), very little is known of these two entities. This is in spite of the fact that Nug is the “parent” of Cthulhu and Yeb is the “parent” of Tsathoggua as a result of asexual reproduction (budding or fission). Dr. Price hypothesizes, based on HPL’s stories and letters that one of the reasons why Nug and Yeb are not very well known on Earth is due to the fact that these entities never resided on or visited Earth. This is in sharp contrast to Cthulhu who currently resides on Earth in stasis and Tsathoggua who has resided on Earth and Saturn during various periods in the history of our solar system.

In the revision story “The Mound” Nug and Yeb are worshipped by underground dwellers who are presumably not natives of the Earth. In that tale the protagonist mentions that the rites and ceremonies of Nug and Yeb are particularly perverse and abhorrent; so much so that he refuses to describe them. Other underground shrines of Nug and Yeb have been identified in Irem, the City of Pillars, located in the Crimson Desert.

As mentioned earlier, besides being the asexual parents of Cthulhu and Tsathoggua, little is known of Nug and Yeb. What we do know is largely from HPL’s letters and not his stories. For example, as cited by Dr. Price, in a letter from September 1936 HPL describes Nug and Yeb as being twins, each one being spherical or oval in shape with a diameter of approximately 10 feet. Other than that HPL described Nug and Yeb as being “a bit destructive sometimes” and having the ability to dissolve matter.

Great_Old_Ones__Nug_and_Yeb_by_HenryTeh8th

Great Old Ones Nug and Yeb by Henry Teh8th (www.deviantart.com)

In “The Black Litany of Nug and Yeb” (Blood Will Have Its Season by Joseph S. Pulver, Sr., 2009; Kindle edition 2013) Nug and Yeb are described as dragons of black and red, respectively, and are identified as preparing the way for their Father. Using HPL’s Table of Genealogy for the Old Ones their father is Yog-Sothoth. Thus, similar to Wilbur Whateley and his twin in “The Dunwich Horror,” the coming of Nug and Yeb would apparently make substantial modifications to the existing ecosphere of Earth. These modifications focus primarily on using “ill-frost” and “black fire” to cleanse the Earth. While this obviously includes ending humanity’s dominance over the Earth, it more than likely also includes additional modifications to the ecosphere, such as changing the planet’s mean ambient temperature (e.g. altering the position of the Earth relative to the sun?), changing the chemical composition of the atmosphere, oceans and freshwater ecosystems, as well as possibly making major topographic alterations. It may also include more intra-atomic modifications that may very well change the nature and structure of matter in this part of the universe (for more on that see below).

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Cover artwork by Steve Santiago

Whatever the global (or possibly universal) changes are, Pulver’s Black Litany of Nug and Yeb supports the idea that Nug and Yeb serve a critical role in opening the way to the Old Ones. While Yog-Sothoth may be the gateway and Cthulhu and Shub-Niggurath may be some of the entities that would dominant and control the Earth, it does appear that Nug and Yeb are the “engineers,” responsible for making the Earth conducive for the Old Ones. This may be another reason why the Old Ones appear to be “weak” in our ecosphere; until a proactive wizard such as one of the Whateley’s or Nub and Yeb modify and “cleanse” the Earth, the Old Ones cannot successfully take hold and establish themselves in our universe.

While most of the existing evidence, as small as it is, supports the idea of Nug and Yeb being responsible for modifying the Earth to make it more conducive for the establishment of the Old Ones, there is an alternative hypothesis for these entities. In a number of instances, besides being described as twins, Nug and Yeb are also described as being cosmic opposites. For example, in Irem the yin-yang symbol was found in a number of shrines dedicated to Nug and Yeb (The Encyclopedia Cthulhiana, 2nd edition by Daniel Harms, 1998). This polar opposite perspective, coupled with the role in ushering in a new reality for the Old Ones to dwell, may indicate that Nug and Yeb are possibly physical, sentient manifestations of matter and antimatter. If their mother Shub-Niggurath ushered “matter” into our reality, the introduction of equal portions of Nug and Yeb to our universe at the exact set of space-time coordinates through the gateway of Yog-Sothoth may annihilate the universe, possibly re-starting the cycle of energy creating matter (Azathoth). This hypothesis goes beyond merely modifying the Earth to make it more conducive for the Old Ones; however, it would help to explain why we know so little of Nug and Yeb – once we meet them our universe, our reality is eliminated.

NugYeb

Nug and Yeb by Michael Bukowski (www.yog-blogsoth.blogspot.com)

Next time we will go back to the story “The Rats in the Walls” and discuss the role of cannibalism in that tale. Also, if you are interested in more Lovecraftian Science, please check out the Kickstarter campaign at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1081353216/lovecraftian-science-volume-1.

Thank you – Fred.

Shub-Niggurath: biological highway to other dimensions

I am going to temporarily divert the discussion away from “The Ralls in the Walls” to spend some time discussing Shub-Niggurath.  One of the reasons for this is that the Lovecraftian entity of the month on the Lovecraft Eternal Facebook page is Shub-Niggurath .

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Shub-Niggurath by Muzski (www.deivantart.com)

As the great Robert M. Price identifies in his introductory comments in The Shub-Niggurath Cycle: Tales of the Black Goat with a Thousand Young (Chaosium, 1994), Shub-Niggurath is one of HPL’s most interesting trans-dimensional entities.  She (more on that later) first appears in “The Last Test,” co-written with Adolphe de Castro, which is one of HPL’s revision mythos stories.  However, unlike some of the other revision mythos entities Shub-Niggurath freely crossed over into HPL’s main mythos stories.  While she does not make an actual appearance in any of his stories, she is frequently referred to in a number of HPL’s stories such as “The Dunwich Horror” and “The Whisperer in Darkness” and “The Dreams in the Witch-House.”

So what is Shub-Niggurath?  Based on a letter to Willis Conover dated 1 September 1936 HPL states that she was a “hellish cloud-like entity” (“On the Natures of Nug and Yeb by Robert M. Price, in Dissecting Cthulhu: Essays on the Cthulhu Mythos, edited by S.T. Joshi, 2011).  Shub-Niggurath is frequently referred to as the Black Goat of the Wood with a Thousand Young.  As with any of the Old One entities, we are limited by our human senses on how to interpret the appearance and motives (if any) of these entities.  For example, Cthulhu is perceived by humans to be a combination of an anthropomorphic octopus with large bat-like wings; as we have previously discussed we can not “see” Cthulhu’s true nature or appearance due to our limited five senses since its a being from another dimension.   In the case of Shub-Niggurath, she is frequently seen as a cloud-like being with the horns and/or hooves of a goat (for examples see below).

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Shub-Niggurath by Verreaux (www.deviantart.com)

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Shub-Niggurath, Goat with a 1,000 Young by King Ov Rats (www.deviantart.com)

As with Cthulhu, actual encounters with Shub-Niggurath (or her “dark young” – more on that later) are perceived through the limited perceptions of the human senses.  In this case, the prevailing themes with Shub-Niggurath are having a cloud-like body (similar to Cthulhu who was described as being plasma-like in nature) and having horns and/or hooves.  However, while Shub-Niggurath is not as well described as Cthulhu may appear, her worship by human, pre-human, extraterrestrial and extra-dimensional species appears to be far more common.  Reasons for this may be two-fold.  First, Shub-Niggurath is associated with fecundity and birth something that all entities, particularly those species who reproduce sexually (Sex and the Cthulhu Mythos by Bobby Derie, 2014) are concerned with.  Second, Shub-Niggurath or her avatars / progeny may have had more direct interactions with the species of our existing space-time and beyond.

I believe the key to understanding Shub-Niggurath can be found in the “Genealogy of the Elder Races” found in Leslie S. Klinger’s The New Annotated H.P. Lovecraft (2014), Appendix 4.  This was originally drawn from a letter to James F. Morton dated 1933.  I have cited this chart in pervious articles but for convenience it is provided below:

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Looking at the chart above it is interesting to note that Azathoth gave rise to Nyarlathotep, The Nameless Mist and Darkness. This may be the origin of the hypothesis that Azathoth is and was essentially the Big Bang of our universe. As one moves down the chart the majority of the creation of new entities appears to be largely asexual in nature, either as a biological process (fragmentation, budding or spore development) or as a transfer of consciousness from one physical body to another. As described in Bobby Derie’s Sex and the Cthulhu Mythos (2014), such asexual means of reproduction are quite common in HPL’s tales. Thus, it is not surprising to see that the majority of the alien, inter-dimensional modes of reproduction / creation are largely asexual.

However, it should be noted that there are two instances in which some type of sexual reproduction may be identified. Specifically, the fact that Yog-Sothoth and Shub-Niggurath “joined” or mated and gave rise to Nug and Yeb, which in turn gave rise to Cthulhu and Tsathoggua, respectively.

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Shub-Niggurath by Mr. Zarono (www.deviantart.com)

From an evolutionary standpoint sex is basically referring to the production of new genomes by the recombination of preexisting genomes (Evolution: The First Four Billion Years, edited by Michael Ruse and Joseph Travis, 2009). Think of it as having two separate decks of 52 cards, shuffling them together as one large deck and then separating them out as two separate decks (each with a new combination of 52 cards). This biological invention provides an increased amount of variation within a species that provides the raw materials for natural selection (mutations are obviously another source of potential variation). While bacteria and some viruses can conduct a limited amount of sexual reproduction, this evolutionary strategy is largely a function of eukaryotic organisms (animals, plants, fungi, protists). Thus, is sexual reproduction a natural but unintentional outcome of the creation of more complex cells through endosymbiosis or was sexual reproduction “engineered” into Earth life by the Elder Things? Another future topic for discussion.

Getting back Yog-Sothoth and Shub-Niggurath, this sexual union may have generated offspring, such as Cthulhu and Tsathoggua that are more conducive to living in our space-time. Evidence of this is provided simply by the general appearance of Yog-Sothoth and Shub-Niggurath in comparison to Cthulhu and Tsathoggua. The general physical descriptions of Yog-Sothoth and Shub-Niggurath are frequently somewhat nebulous (e.g. cloud-like entity; iridescent collection of spheres or bubbles) when compared to Cthulhu and Tsathoggua (large, sloth-like, bat creature). In addition, this sexual union between Yog-Sothoth and Shub-Niggurath and their birth from Azathoth itself may provide valuable information into the structure of our space-time and beyond, which will be the next topic of discussion in the next article. Thank you – Fred.

 

 

Elder Things and Cone-Shaped Beings: Creators and Created?

Last time it was established that the cone-shaped beings (CSBs) has been on Earth for at least a billion years, while the Elder Things came to Earth sometime in the Archaen Aeon (between 2.5 and 4 billion years ago).  When the Elder Things arrived on Earth, life only consisted of prokaryotic (bacterial cells) life.  It was the Elder Things that created more complex, eukaryotic cells, which then gave rise to multicellular life.  It appears that one of their earliest experiments, whether the eventual outcome was intentional or not, may have the creation of the CSBs.

Great Race of Yith (by Douzen)

If the Elder Things did create the CSBs, why didn’t Dyer and Danforth come across a description of these beings on the bas-reliefs they were examining in the ancient city in At the Mountains of Madness.  There are a number of possible explanations.  As Dr. Robert M. Price described in his article – Patterns in the Snow: A New Reading of At the Mountains of Madness (Crypt of Cthulhu, Issue 81; 1992), the data that Dyer and Danforth collected were based on conjectural “readings” of “mute bas reliefs in one single building in a vast city..”.  Dr. Price hypothesizes that it may be possible there was some misinterpretations of the bas reliefs.  For example, what if the story of the Elder Things was not them coming to Earth and establishing a civilization?  What if the story was that the Elder Things were also residents of Earth who created the Shoggoths and then voyaged to the stars (Price, 1992)?  Thus, isn’t it possible that other passages of the bas reliefs were misinterpreted, including any mention of the CSBs?

Crypt of Cthulhu, Issue 81
Crypt of Cthulhu, Issue 81

Another explanation is that descriptions of the CSBs were found in other buildings within the city.  Maybe each building or section of the city provides information on various aspects of Elder Thing culture or history.  As an analogy, imagine if an alien civilization was given the chapter summaries from a book on American History.  While an overall view of general historical accounts would be given, large portions of critical details would be overlooked.  This may be the case in At the Mountains of Madness.

Finally, maybe the Elder Things did not consider the CSBs to be very interesting to include them in their historical accounts.  However, this last explanation is unlikely.

While the CSBs or the Great Race were not mentioned in At the Mountains of Madness, the Elder Thing were mentioned several times in The Shadow Out of Time.  The first time they are mentioned was when Wingate Peaslee was describing some of the other minds that were transferred with the bodies of the Great Race.  I will review some of these Terran and alien minds in a later article but Peaslee did state that “Of earthly minds there were some of the winged, starheaded, half-vegetable race of palaeogean Antarctica…”  Thus, it is obvious from this passage that the Elder Things are susceptible to the mind transfer with the Great Race, just as are humans.

Yithian and Elder Things (www.roebeast.blogspot.com)

In a later passage it was noted that warfare has been waged by the Great Race against various species, including the “…star-headed Old Ones who centered in the Antarctic, was infrequent though infinitely devastating.”  Thus, it sounds like the Great Race and the Elder Things rarely had contact but when they did war was typically the result.  In addition, being described as “devastating” by the Great Race indicates that the Elder Things were typically the winners of such skirmishes.  It sounds like the camera-like electrical weapons of the Great Race were no match against Shoggoths!

The last time the Elder things are mentioned is when Peaslee is again recalling some past memories and asks himself if he can find a tower in the Great Race’s ancient city where “S’gg’ha, the captive mind from the star-headed vegetable carnivores of Antarctica, had chiseled certain pictures on the blank spaces of the walls?”  Here we actually given the name of an Elder Thing!

To conclude, the interactions between the Great Race and the Elder Things were complicated to say the least.  While the Elder Things may have been the ultimate creators of the CSBs, these two species had aggressive conflicts, more than likely after the CSB minds were taken over by the Yithians.  Finally, it is quite ironic that the Great Race could manipulate their creators or “gods” through mind projection.  Next time I will talk about Yithian technology.  Thank you – Fred

Ancient text of a Yithian (from granraza1)

Necrononicon Convention talk Biology of the Old Ones, Part 14 – History of the Elder Ones, Part 2

Elder One in the Antarctic by Steve Maschuck
Elder One in the Antarctic by Steve Maschuck

The previous article started a discussion on the history of the Elder Ones and left off with the Mi-Go arriving on Earth and battling with the Elder Ones, pushing them back into the sea.  Moving forward:

  1. Long-term, natural, geologic forces continued to impact Elder One cities.  “Seismic convolutions of land or sea -bottom, and other natural causes” resulted in the destruction of many of these cities.
  2. It appears that the Elder Ones retreated to both deep in the sea as well as one of their last terrain outposts in the Antarctic.
  3. As part of the geologic changes, peaks higher than the Himalayas formed (the Mountains of Madness).  Some of the Old Ones prayed to these mountains but none ever dared to travel to them to see what lay beyond.
  4. Over time underground limestone was hollowed out through groundwater, creating a series of caves and tunnels.
  5. A river that originated from the Mountains of Madness flowed toward the Old One’s city and then dropped down into these deep limestone caves.
  6. Then the great cold came (the latest Ice Age), the vegetation thinned out and the Elder Ones had to rely on heating devices.
  7. The last great city of the Elder Ones was in the sea; the remaining populations took refuge there from the global cooling.
  8. To build the great undersea city the Elder Ones used Shoggoth tissues and other biomatter to create beasts of burden and phosphorescent organisms as a source of light in the deep sea.  These “labor” Shoggoths grew to great sizes.  They also eventually created cold-resistant Shoggoths, adapted to live on the land.

Lovecraft’s history of the Elder Ones essentially ends with a series of questions.  Is the undersea city still in existence?  What was the ultimate fate of the ocean-dwelling Elder Ones?  Are they still alive (which was obviously answered in the story)?  A more interesting question is there no signe of them in more recent geological strata?  Could it be that they died out except for some isolated colonies deep in the sea or that humans did not yet find this more recent fossil evidence (this situation occurs all the time in paleontology).  Did the Mi-Go drive the Elder Ones to the north or into the Mountains of Madness?

While not explicitly identified, it is implied in the story that the Shoggoths at least partially contributed to the ultimate downfall of the Elder Ones on Earth and this will be discussed further in an upcoming article.

Reading the story a number of times, I always wondered if the bas-relief drawings were more of a representative of Elder One mythology and/or religion and not a historical account.  Indeed, Robert Mr. Price mentioned this as well in an article he wrote called Patterns in the Snow (Crypt of Cthulhu #81).  In the article Price states, “Suppose the narrator has taken literally, i.e.,  as history, what was the myth of the star-heads.  Perhaps the notion of their ancestors descending from the stars was no more historically true than the myths of many nations that their kings are descendants of the gods?”

Crypt of Cthulhu, Issue 81
Crypt of Cthulhu, Issue 81

While the entities on the murals they battled were real within the context of Lovecraft’s universe, I wonder if some of the other components of their history, such as their arrival on Earth, the creation of life and their disappearance, was more directly linked to religious beliefs.  For example, the sinking of the R’lyeh into the Pacific Ocean, did the Elder Ones see this as “divine intervention”?

In this same article, Price makes an interesting augment that Dyer and Danforth may have been “reading” the history of the Elder Ones on the bas-reliefs backwards.  Initially in At the Mountains of Madness, fossil evidence points to the fact that the Elder Ones are a very ancient form of complex life that evolved on Earth, before all other multicellular life.  Somewhat similar circumstances are known to have occurred on Earth in the past.  For example, during the Permian – Triassic extinction event up to 96% of marine species and 70% of terrestrial vertebrate species (both groups are complex multicellular life) became extinct.  Whole groups of animals, such as the trilobites, sea scorpions and spiny sharks, went completely extinct.  Fifty out of fifty-five brachiopod families died out (Michael J. Benton, History of Life).

Did a mass extinction event or cosmic war with opposing entities take out the Elder Ones?  According to Price’s Patterns in the Snow article, this may not be the case.  If the bas-reliefs are properly read backwards as proposed in Price’s article, then the Elder Ones would be residents of Earth and ended up “filtering” back up to the star instead of coming from them.  It is an intriguing hypothesis and from a technological standpoint it makes sense.  However, if the murals account for Elder One history, do they also accurately account for the history of other entities, as least from the Elder One’s point of view?  For example, does this mean that R’lyeh rose from the Pacific Ocean, the Cthulhu spawn battled with the Elder Ones and then filtered back up to the stars before the Elder One did themselves?  It is an intriguing hypothesis but further investigations are needed to determine if the Elder Ones came from the stars to settle on Earth or if the Elder Ones are a form of Terran biology that mastered interstellar travel and then left the Earth.

To conclude this article, one point that appears to made in the mural drawings is that the creation of the Shoggoths at least partially contributed to the disseappearnce of the Elder Ones.  That is precisely what the next article will cover – the relationship between the Elder Ones and the Shoggoths.  Thank you and Happy Halloween! – Fred

Elder One reawakening (created by Greg P. Onychuk)
Elder One reawakening (created by Greg P. Onychuk)

Necronomicon Convention talk Biology of the Old Ones, Part 13 – History of the Elder Ones on Earth, Part 1

The Elder Ones arrived on Earth around a billion years ago and used the existing prokaryotic life to create more complex life such as eukaryotic organisms and the Shoggoths.  However, their history on Earth is full of conflicts and complications that arose from a variety of entities and situations.

An Elder One and HPL, from Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos (Arkham House, 1990)
An Elder One and HPL, from Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos (Arkham House, 1990; illustration by Jeffrey K. Potter)

For the sake of this article, I will focus on the history of the Elder Ones as described in At the Mountains of Madness.  it should be noted that Lovecraft’s Cosmic History was always changing for each story, which frequently resulted in conflicts and contradictions between the stories.  As Dr. Robert M. Price notes in his article Lovecraft’s Cosmic History, which can be found in H.P. Lovecraft and the Cthulhu Mythos as well as Crypt of Cthulhu, Issue 37 (both shown below), “…Lovecraft constantly used his fundamental theme of eons of cosmic history dwarfing humanity, but he did not bother to work out the details of this history in advance.  Instead, he tinkered with it as he went, as this or that modification would best suit the plot or the atmosphere of a given story.”  Thus, it is important to note the discussion here focuses on the Elder One history as told in At the Mountains of Madness.

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For convenience, the Elder Ones history, at least relative to the Earth, is outlined below (please keep in mind this is in no way a comprehensive description of their history on Earth):

  1. The Elder Ones lived on other planets, in other galaxies and in other universes before they arrived on Earth
  2. The Elder Ones may have lived a mechanized life on other planets, but a portion of them found this “emotionally unsatisfying”, thus some came to Earth
  3. Coming to Earth, they first lived in the sea and used the raw Terran biological material to create food as well as the Shoggoths
  4. With the aid of the Shoggoths, the cities in the sea expanded and eventually moved onto the land
  5. While they used their biological / chemical technologies to make modifications to themselves to adapt and survive in various environments, they eventually lost the technology (chemical in nature) for interstellar travel
  6. Life on Earth continued to evolve and anything that did not bother them or cause problems for the Elder Ones, was left alone
  7. The Elder Ones continued to thrive; however, some of the marine cities were negatively impacted by continental drift
  8. Later, a land race of octopi beings (pre-human spawn of Cthulhu) came from cosmic infinity, which resulted in a large and brutal war
  9. Later peace was made, the new lands (produced presumably from plate tectonics) were given to the Cthulhu spawn, while the seas and the old lands were given to the Elder Ones.  Later, the new lands of the Pacific suddenly sank into the sea, taking the great stone city of R’lyeh and the Octopi spawn with them.  The Elder Ones were once again the supreme entities of the Earth
  10. Over time the Elder Ones lost the ability to create new life from inorganic matter.  This meant that they could only use / manipulate existing life, which included the Shoggoths and the Dinosaurs
  11. Later the war of re-subjugation between the Shoggoths and the marine Elder Ones broke out; it was a long, drawn-out war but the Elder Ones were victorious thanks to “curious weapons of molecular disturbance”
  12. Later, the Mi-Go invaded the Earth from the “Outside”.  While the Elder Ones tried to leave the Earth, they couldn’t re-create the technology needed for space travel.  Thus, the Mi-Go drove the Elder Ones back into the sea
Dyer and Danforth examining XXX
Dyer and Danforth examining bas-reliefs that depict the war between the Elder Ones and the Cthulhu spawn (from Brian Lumley’s The Caller of the Black, Arkham House, 1971; illustration by Herb Arnold).

In order to give this subject the proper time it needs, I am breaking it up into two parts; thus, the outline history stops at the point where the Mi-Go drive the Elder Ones back into the sea.

Even though this subject is more of a historical examination rather than scientific, outlining this material and discussing it will aid in future conversations.  Thus, the next article will continue and conclude this discussion on the History of the Elder Ones.  Thank you – Fred

Necronomicon Convention talk on the Biology of the Old Ones, Part 2 – Taxonomy of the Old Ones (Robert M. Price)

As anyone who is familiar with Lovecraft knows, his stories were a loosely connected set of tales that provide glimpses into what lies beyond our five senses and sense of reality.  There are things in and beyond the known Universe that we can not imagine, must less quantify or categorize with science.  However, his concepts and ideas of “what lies beyond” resonated with so many people that some have attempted to provide some clarity or explanation on the subject.

For some, such as Robert M. Price, this was more of a fun academic activity while to others, such as August Derleth, it was suppose to provide critical insight into Lovecraft’s philosophy on his Cthulhu Mythos, which was coined by Derleth and not Lovecraft.

This part of the talk at the convention was very short but I wanted to elaborate a bit here.  Before I get into Derleth’s work, it should be known that Mr. Price provided a proposed taxonomic scheme for the Old Ones that I did not discuss during my presentation.

In Price’s H.P. Lovecraft and the Cthulhu Mythos (Starmont House, Inc., 1990) he includes an article called “A Lovecraftian Taxonomy”.  The article focuses and addresses the confusion and inconsistency in names of the Lovecraftian entitles in Cthulhu Mythos fiction.  Thus, the article focuses on the taxonomy of names and not on the biology of the entities.

Price's Book
Price’s Book

Reviewing Lovecraft’s stories, Price came up with a set of recommendations in the development of a classification system of Lovecratian entities for future scholars.  Listed below are his recommendations taken directly from his article:

1.  The Great Old Ones (= the Other Gods): the pantheon of cosmic entities threatening humanity, including Yog-Sothoth, Azathoth, Shub-Niggurath and Nyarlathotep.

2.  The Cthulhu-spawn: the cosmic octopi headed by Great Cthulhu, now asleep in R’lyeh.

3.  The Deep Ones: a race of fish-frog men dedicated to Cthulhu’s service.

4.  The Mighty Ones: a race of merfolk led by Nodens, Lord of the great Abyss.

5.  The Elder Ones:  the star-headed aliens of ancient Antarctica.

6.  The Outer Ones: the Mi-Go or fungi from Yuggoth.

7.  The Great Race: the time-travellers of Yith.

8. The Great Ones: the mild gods of earth.

9.  The Ancient Ones: the ascended masters beyond the Gate of the Silver Key.

10.  The People of K’n-yan:  the humanoid aliens living beneath the surface of the Oklahoma wilderness.

You may ask (as I’m sure you are), why bother to do this?  Lovecraft didn’t categorize his entitles.  He worked and created from story to story and was not concerned about consistency between the tales.  Yes, there were connections but he did not see it as a fully developed and integrated Universe.   In fact, including inconsistencies and mixing the real with the imaginary gave his work an air of mystery and realism.

So with this in mind, why did Price propose this classification system?  Well, first and foremost, it was done for academic fun.  When you hear Mr. Price talk, his appreciation for the Mythos really shines through and he readily admits that a lot of his work was simply done for the love of it.

In addition, it makes sense that humans would at least “try” to categorize something they are trying to understand.  We have a compulsion to label, categorize and systematize things (stars, rocks, plants, animals), even when such methodology does not work.  For example, while Linnaeus’s binomial nomenclature for naming organisms (Genus, species) can be easily applied to plants, fungi and animals, this system is difficult to apply to bacteria where horizontal gene transfer is possible.  In other words, the concept of species is sometimes very difficult to apply to bacteria, yet we still use it to label these organisms.  The same could be said about Lovecraftian entities; it’s our attempt in trying to understand them.

Finally, using such a labeling system does not have to be etched in stone and could be great fodder for future stories where humanity is trying to understand exactly what these “things” are.  Next time, I will be talking about the infamous “Derleth” taxonomic system before I move into the meat of the presentation.

Thank you – Fred Lubnow