We’re back, and we’re celebrating our fiftieth episode! We’re as surprised as you are that we’ve made it this far; we really should have been eaten by a shoggoth or returned to our essential salts long ago. With this in mind, we decided to commemorate the occasion in the way we know best: by talking too much. This is a long episode — over two hours in length — but it’s also a big subject. You could almost call it Cyclopean.


There’s a reason why Lovecraft is remembered as a writer and not an artist.

Over the years, we’ve met a lot of people who only know of the Cthulhu Mythos through gaming. Given how pervasively Cthulhu’s tentacles have worked their way into the gaming world, and into geek culture in general, almost everyone interested in such things has heard of Lovecraft, or at least his most famous creation. This episode is our attempt to explain where it all came from and how Lovecraft’s influence spread so widely. It is a superficial overview at best, and none of us are Lovecraft scholars. We hope this will at least serve as an introduction, and may illuminate a few dark corners you weren’t previously aware of.


Or you may prefer to flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.

Our investigations take in books, films, television, comics, music, games and other eldritch topics. All this follows on from the work of Lovecraft himself, however, and happily this is now in the public domain. If you haven’t read any of his stories, you can peruse them free online, or pick up a nicely formatted ebook of his complete works for less than the price of a sandwich.

calamari sandwich

Especially one with tentacles.

With this being an overview, in many cases we’ve done little more than name-check various works, authors and artists. Our half-formed plan is to return to some of these topics in more depth later. Please let us know whether this sounds interesting or is the worst idea since August Derleth decided the Mythos should centre on a fight between good and evil. Weep.

Instead of finishing on that vexing note, here’s one of the highlights from Shoggoth on the Roof, a work we mention a number of times.

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13 comments on “How Cthulhu Took Over the World

  1. darren t. Apr 15, 2015

    Two things I’d recommend for those mentioned who are familiar with Cthulhu to a point but not well read on the stories. One is the Cthulhu 101 book by Kenneth Hite, light reading & a good introduction book to the mythos in many forms. 2nd is the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast, once you read the stories by H.P. Lovecraft, the podcast is a great resource on going deeper into the stories.

    If short on time of reading, look at the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society. They did many lovingly well done adaptations of the stories into 1+ hour radio dramas which are also quite good at getting the heart of the stories in a fun way.

  2. Ben Wenham Apr 15, 2015

    Thanks guys, great episode as always.

  3. Thank you, gentlemen!

    Somehow I’d managed to miss Cthulhu 101, despite being a fan of Mr Hite’s work, and will have to rectify this.

    Paul and I are both avid listeners of the HP Lovecraft Literary Podcast, and I certainly second the recommendation. We didn’t discuss podcasts on the episode for fear of falling into a recursive loop!

  4. Chris Apr 15, 2015

    Congratulations on 50 shows, I look forward to episode 100.

  5. darren t. Apr 16, 2015

    Also Cheers! to getting to 50 shows & looking forward to 50+ more if your sanity is up for it. Few other things to dive into.

    Music- Mercyful Fate has a few Lovecraft songs about the mad Arab. Nox Arcana has an instrumental/atmospheric album in the vein of Midnight Syndicate (which does a lot of other horror atmosphere themed pieces). The H.P. Historical Society did the Dreams of the Witch House as a rock opera & heard there were plans to expand it into a film.

    On the tentacle of board/card games. Another great tablet/pc game out there which is tied to the board games is Elder Sign. Great in spooky horror or humorously creepy card or board games: Cthulhu Fluxx, Cthulhu Gloom, Cthulhu Munchkin, the better Eldritch Horror (more streamlined & world spanning), with the more mystery/story focused Mansions of Madness.

    For the Call of Cthulhu Card Game, which is nice but only for 2 players so I’d suggest going the better route & get the Art of H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos book instead as it’s mostly art from the Fantasy Flight games.

    Other props & my favorite: Cryptocurium.

  6. I think you were thinking of “Smash Up: The Obligatory Cthulhu Set”.

    Good show!

  7. Thanks for the shout out for my band The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets and game Spaceship Zero. If you ever want to chat about it on or off “the air” let me know!

  8. Enjoying the episode…about half way through it. Great Episode and Happy 50th to the 3 of you!

    So yes Mr. Dorward you got me into collecting Crypt of Cthulhu back in the 80’s and I had about 25 issues which I had sold a few years back which meant I had kept them for roughly 25 years….

    • I have fond memories of wandering around the old Forbidden Planet with you and Sol, looking for Lovecraftian publications. My main enduring memory is of Sol being so enthralled by Crypt of Cthulhu that he kept trying to read it while driving us through Greenwich Village. Happy days!

  9. Christopher Jarvis Feb 27, 2020

    I’m still listening to your archives. Is there anywhere you have captured a list of the authors you mentioned in this article?

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