Cthulhu Mythos

What is Cthulhu Mythos?

Also known as Lovecraftian. Cthulhu Mythos is fiction inspired by H.P. Lovecraft and the fictional deities he created. To better understand this subgenre, it helps to be familiar with the work Lovecraft himself. A lot of his work was steered by the notion of Cosmicism. This philosophy stated that humans couldn't fathom life and the universe is uncanny.

Cthulhu Mythos horror is modeled after this philosophy. The protagonists gamble with their sanity when they attempt to use logic to make it through the story. The dread of accosting the unknown is the focus in this subgenre. There isn't a lot of emphasis placed on gore, though sometimes it is present.   


Characteristics of Cthulhu Mythos

Level of Characterization
Moderate amount of characterization. The protagonists of Lovecraft's work have often been cited as scholarly, solitary, and sometimes semi-schizoid.

Level of Plot Complexity
High. Cthulhu Mythos stories are very plot driven.

Level of Supernatural
High. You won't find a story in this subgenre without supernatural elements.

Level of Scary

Level of Violence
Varies by author. Usually isn't graphic.


Typical Setting
Mostly in the country, but modern adaptations have wandered into different territories.

Related Fantasy Sub-Genres

Gothic, Bizarro, and Supernatural.

Cthulhu Mythos Isn’t For You If You Dislike

The work of H.P. Lovecraft or weird stories.


    1. Cthulhu: The Mythos and Kindred Horrors, Robert E. Howard. A collection edited by David Drake. Stories about the Old Ones and ancient Gods, such as Cthulhu and others.

    2. Shadows over Innsmouth #1, Stephen Jones. An anthology compiled by Stephen Jones that includes chilling Shadows over Innsmouth related stories and the novella by H.P. Lovecraft of the same name. Bonus points for having a Neil Gaiman story in here.

    3. The Atrocity Archives, Charles Stross. First installment of the Laundry Files series. Bob Howard, a computer-hacker desk jockey, should be the last person to be called upon to do anything heroic but somehow is.

    4. Shadows over Baker Street, Michael Reaves and John Pelan. An anthology that shows what would happen if Sherlock Holmes and his crew were faced with Lovecraftian mysteries. Bonus points for having a Neil Gaiman story included.

    5. The Innsmouth Cycle: The Taint of the Deep Ones, Robert M. Price. A collection that contains 13 stories and 3 poems, including the three tales by Lord Dunsany, Robert W. Chambers, and Irvin S. Cobb that inspired Lovecraft's "The Shadow over Innsmouth."    

    6. That Which Should Not Be, Brett J. Talley. Carter Weston searches a village for a book that is believed to control the inhuman forces that rule the Earth.  When Weston gets the book however, he quickly realizes he has played a role in potentially opening the gate between the netherworld and the world of Man.
    7. The Book Of Cthulhu, Ross E. Lockhart. The ultimate collection that includes the weirdest and creepiest crop of modern mythos tales from veteran story tellers and rising stars.

    8. The Book Of Cthulhu II, Ross E. Lockhart. With the popularity of the first collection, readers demanded more. Lockhart and some talented contributors gave the readers what they wanted.

    9. New Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos, Ramsey Campbell. A collection containing 9 stories, including one by Stephen King.

    10. A Night in the Lonesome October, Roger Zelazny. The author manages to combine Jack The Ripper, Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Frankenstein, and Dracula together with witches, werewolves, druids and many others in this amusing tale.  

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