Neil Gaiman’s awesome short story “I, Cthulhu” is filled with his classic humor and irony. I especially like how he humanizes Cthulhu as an ancient semi-omnipotent being with style, making something unapproachable and bizarre by definition come so close you can laugh at it.
In other stories and articles I’ve read about the “Cthulhu Mythos“, the “Old Ones” are always malevolently alien, beyond any sort of sentience that we might understand. They represent a kind of existential horror you might feel if faced with something unimaginably greater than you are stared you in the eyes, inevitable as death. Neil Gaiman’s actually wrote another story setting Sherlock Holmes in a Cthulhu-style universe, called “A Study in Emerald” (available as a pdf as well as a short audiobook read by the author himself), which won many awards.
“I, Cthulhu” however, has more in common with a South Park episode where Cthulhu appears to rampage the town, or the Cthulhu plush toys that take something we might otherwise fear with an all-consuming horror, and put it in a context where it seems absurd and laughable. Cthulhu talks with a mere mortal like a good old chap recounting his younger days. He’s still scary beyond all comprehension, but that’s his darker side he might show you if you make him angry — today you’re on his good side and he’ll share a cup of tea with you.
Brightwind.org is the personal website of David Bowers. He likes writing about life, science, faith, education, games, and all sorts of stuff.
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