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The Cthulhu Mythos Encyclopedia: A Guide to H. P. Lovecraft's Universe [Paperback]

Daniel Harms
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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The Cthulhu Mythos Encyclopedia: A Guide to H. P. Lovecraft's Universe + Necronomicon: The Best Weird Tales of H.P. Lovecraft: The Best Weird Fiction of H.P. Lovecraft (GOLLANCZ S.F.)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 382 pages
  • Publisher: Elder Signs Press; 3rd Revised edition edition (10 Sep 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934501050
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934501054
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 47,666 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Synopsis

This is the third edition of Daniel Harms' popular and extensive encyclopaedia of the Cthulhu Mythos. Updated with more fiction listings and recent material, this unique book spans the years of H P Lovecraft's influence in culture, entertainment and fiction. The voluminous entries make "The Cthulhu Mythos Encyclopedia" invaluable for anyone knowledgeable about the Cthulhu Mythos and necessary for those longing to learn about the Cosmic Horrors from past and present decades. It also includes an appendix about the history of H P Lovecraft's infamous "Necronomicon".

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding 7 Oct 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As you'd expect from Harms, this is both literate and passionate about the subject. It's mostly based on the fiction, but there's a fair degree of inclusiveness when it comes to Call of Cthulhu games and some of the Delta Green stuff too. Mostly it's written "in universe", so in this sense, it isn't literary criticism in the same way as Joshi surveys the subject; but on the other hand, unlike Joshi, there isn't any intellectual arrogance on the part of the author or dislike of the pop culture popularity of the Mythos itself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic guide to Lovecraftian Mythos 20 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback
An incredibly fun read, no matter what your experience with the mythos is. Great descriptions ranging from purely Lovecraft to the RPG campaigns and continuing authors. A great read and a great little companion to CoC campaigns.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT 1 April 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A new edition of one of the most interesting books about the issue.It's a guide that has to be in the personal library of a lover of the Cthulhy mythos.
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0 of 37 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Cthulhu 4 Aug 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It's American so don't be expecting too much.I've had better nightmares but this tome runs them close.Presentation is OK though writing is only fair.
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  23 reviews
48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent reference for mythos aficianados 12 Sep 2008
By Matthew T. Carpenter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
First I suppose I should say what this book is not. It is not a bibliography of all the books, chapbooks, stories or web fiction that use or are about the Cthulhu mythos. With the explosion of mythos sites on the internet and the rapid pace of publication by small presses, such an endeavor would be out of date before it ever hit press. Mr. Harms cites Chris Jarocha-Ernst's A Cthulhu Mythos Bibliography and Concordance from 1999 as useful in this regard. I have used Glynn Barrass' similar chapbook from Rainfall Books as well. A continuously updated online reference would be invaluable for collectors and fans but alas there is nothing definitive. I really enjoy EP Berglund's site, The Reader's Guide to the Cthulhu Mythos ([...] but it has been under construction for some time now. As far as I can tell, The Ultimate Mythos Book List ([...]) has not been updated in 2 or 3 years.

What this book does provide is a detailed description of those entities, characters, tomes, places and critters that populate the worlds of Cthulhu Mythos fiction. Mr. Harms makes no pretense about being comprehensive; monsters that may appear in only a single story will not show up here. Fortunately, Mr. Harms lists his own criteria for inclusion so there is no ambiguity: all entries from the second edition, entries from the first edition where there was a groundswell of popular demand, and things found in two different works by two different authors, or appearing in major Cthulhu Mythos novels. Thus you certainly find the Hounds of Tindalos but you won't find T'loal (not that you would want to; the novella was abysmal). There is likely quite a bit of RPG material that has been excluded as well, although I found a citation on Delta Green.

I have a copy of the limited hardcover edition, a lovely book signed by the author. Art on the slip cover was provided by Malcom McClinton, an was quite nice, with some cephalopoidal thing probing about a library. I don't think Mr. McClinton has been active on the mythos art scene very much, but I hope to see more of his paintings in the future. Page count was a generous 382; materials used in the book were of highest quality and production values are flawless. The paperback is a bargain, with the discount and free shipping offered by Amazon; I have been pleased with all of my paperbacks from Elder Signs Press.

Several features stand out. I really enjoyed Mr. Harms' detailed introduction, with his description about the creation and growth of the phenomenon that is the Cthulhu mythos. There was, I think, a very even handed description of the role and contributions of August Derleth, always a contentious subject for mythos fans. I would have liked to see more about Lin Carter, but that's just a personal bias. Perhaps the least useful (or perhaps least likely to be used) part of the introduction was the guidance offered to authors about how to employ the trappings of the Cthulhu mythos in their stories and books. Like anyone is going to allow themselves to be limited! The appendix about the Necronomicon was quite good, as was expected as this is a special area of interest to the author. I skipped around reading citations about some of my favorite beasties and people. One of my bench marks is how does an author come to grips with the Outer Gods, the Elder Gods, the Old Ones, the Great Old Ones and the Great Race, etc. No complaints here. I enjoyed the treatment of all of these topics. I also don't think Mr. Harms intends these entries to be definitive depictions, of Cthulhu for example (In the short story by Neil Gaiman, I, Cthulhu, there was a pithy description of Cthulhu's 'birth' and its reproduction, which I prefer to what is listed in The Cthulhu Mythos Encyclopedia). Instead he is offering in one place, a description of how these entities have been described, depicted or used by their creators and a large comunity of writers.

So who should be most interested in this book, other than fanatics like me? I think authors who are trying to keep all these names and places straight would find it useful. New fans to the mythos who are daunted by all the cross referencing that happens between mythos authors (and that is part of what makes mythos fiction so cool for readers) now have a scorecard to identify all the players. Role players now have a handy compendium (alas without pictures) to add depth to their campaigns. And of course collectors must have it all.

Bravo and thank you, Mr. Harms!
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Resource for Mythos Writers 6 Jan 2010
By Wilum Hopfrog Pugmire, Esq. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a resource that I keep beside me on my writing table while working on new books of Cthulhu Mythos fiction. Not only does it answers questions concerning every aspect of the Mythos, but it can also be a source of inspiration for new Mythos fiction; for one can read over the entries and find some line of reference that is so tantalizing that it makes one ache to write a story based on that entry. One important aspect is that after each entry there is a listing of the core stories, by H. P. Lovecraft and others, in which the entry subject is featured; such as this, following the main entry on Nyarlathotep:

"See Abbith; BOOK OF AZATHOTH; BLACK RITES; Brotherhood of the Black Pharaoh; Byagoona; Cthugha; Cthulhu; Dreamlands; Eibon, sign of; elemental theory; Fable of Nyarlathotep; ghouls; gods of Earth; Great Old Ones; gugs; hunting horrors; Koth; Million Favored Ones; moon-beasts; NECRONOMICON (appendices); Nephren-Ka; N'gai, Wood of; Nophru-Ka; Old Ones; Other Gods; Outer Gods; Prinn, Ludwig; Set; SEVEN CRYPTICAL BOOKS OF HSAN; shantaks; Sharnoth; Smith, Morgan; S'ngac; Stygia; World of Seven Suns; Yegg-ha; 'Ymnar. ("The Faceless God", Bloch; "The Shadow from the Steeple", Bloch; THE LURKER AT THE THRESHOLD, Derleth and Lovecraft; DELTA GREEN, Detwiller, Glancy, and Tynes (G); MASKS OF NYARLATHOTEP, DiTillo and Willis (G); THE FUNGI FROM YUGGOTH, Lovecraft; "Nyarlathotep" (prose poem), Lovecraft (O); "The Rats in the Walls", Lovecraft; THE BURROWERS BENEATH, Lumley; ELYSIA, Lumley; "The Worm of Urakhu," Tierney.

Thus not only do the entries explain the nature of the thing, but they lead us to core Mythos tales in which the entry is fictionally evoked; and we learn of other things to which the entry is related. I've never heard of Nophru-Ka, nor Ymnar. This book is extremely thorough, and it can be enjoy'd both as a source of information and as a source of entertainment. For those of us who are professional Mythos writers, it is as essential guide. For those of us who love Lovecraft, it provides endless hours of entertainment and information. This is such an awesome time to be a Mythos writer. The Internet is changing the face of the contemporary Mythos scene. We now have ezines that specialize in presenting new Mythos fiction each month, zines like the Lovecraft eZine and the Innsmouth Free Press, and more and more books are being reprinted as Kindle. For those of you who have been tempted to try your hand at writing Lovecraftian weird fiction, this may become a Golden Age, and books such as this wonderful Cthulhu Mythos Encyclopedia add to the fun and adventure. I cannot stay away from this fabulous book, it is so informed and fascinating in its details, and it is the work of a man who is intimate with his subject. Bravo!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent resource for both new & longtime fans of Lovecraft 30 Jan 2010
By RaynorHere98 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having recently gotten reacquainted with the stories of H.P. Lovecraft, I found this encyclopedia to be very informative. I had read some of Lovecraft's stories back in college, but now thirty years later, I am enjoying the stories again, along with tales by other authors who want to keep the Lovecraft or Cthulhu mythology alive in their own way. This encyclopedia covers many well known topics, characters and locations within the mythology from the dangerous book known as the Necronomicon to the professors of Miskatonic University. Sometimes, I will read a Lovecraft story and then see if any of the events or characters are featured in another story (maybe by another author) by checking the Cthulhu Mythos Encyclopedia. Unfortunately, the encyclopedia does not have any pictures or artwork inside, which would be helpful, but that is my only complaint with this book. I hope that if you do pick up this book, you will find it to be as much of a fun and helpful resource to Lovecraft's world as I have. Thank you for reading.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Have Cthulhu Mythos Reference Book! 26 Nov 2008
By Kitsu-kitsu - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have to agree with everything Mr. Carpenter wrote ahead of me. There's not much more I can add to that, honestly. It's a wonderful, straightforward reference book, and if you're a fan of the mythos, definitely pick this book up!

I'm curious how it compares to the Encyclopedia Cthulhiana, however. A year or two ago, we attempted to order it and were informed that it would never be printed again and gave up trying to purchase it. We certainly won't be dishing out the 99$ for a used paperback. We guessed that this was the answer to the discontinued book, but we aren't certain.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely helpful 3 Dec 2008
By SIN - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I recently purchased a copy and have found it to be extremely helpful in deciphering the 'mythos'. I especially enjoyed the Forward. It was a simple explanation to many of the questions which were raised in my mind. I was trying to determine how all of these 'connections' were made, when they didn't seem to connect by simply reading the works of Lovecraft.

I'd say this is a MUST HAVE reference book!

Hats off Mr. Harms.
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