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Mini-FAQ
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Please note that some of the following questions and their answers have been abbreviated from their full form in the complete FAQ. This portion of the alt.horror.cthulhu FAQ was brought to you by Donovan K. Loucks (webmaster@hplovecraft.com).


  • Q: How do I get a copy of the entire FAQ?

    A: There are several ways to obtain the FAQ, including:

    • Anonymous FTP: Using anonymous FTP lets you access Primenet’s FTP server directly – this is where the FAQ is kept. It can be found in the “users/d/dloucks/ahc” directory and is stored in 9 parts. Here are the details:

        Machine:ftp.primenet.com
          Login:anonymous
       Password:<your e-mail address>
      Directory:users/d/dloucks/ahc
          Files:all files beginning with “ahcfaq”:

      ahcfaq0.txt_Mini-FAQ   The Mini-FAQ
      ahcfaq1.txt_About      About, Sections, Credits
      ahcfaq2.txt_General    Newsgroup, Cthulhu, HPL, Addresses
      ahcfaq3.txt_Writings   Stories, Letters, Mags, Biblio.
      ahcfaq4.txt_Movies_TV  Movies, Television, Books Regarding
      ahcfaq5.txt_Games      Board/Card, Roleplaying, Magazines
      ahcfaq6.txt_Other_MediaRadio, Books on Tape, Music, Comics
      ahcfaq7.txt_Internet   Newsgroups, FTP, WWW, MOO/MUD/MUSHs
      ahcfaq8.txt_Mythos_LoreLocales, Entities, Tomes, Timeline

      Also, a ZIPped file called “ahcfaq.zip” contains all 9 parts.

    • The World Wide Web: Any web browswer can be used to access the FAQ. You may either use your web browser to obtain the FAQ via FTP, or you may access it via The H.P. Lovecraft Archive.

      FTP site:
      ftp://ftp.primenet.com/users/d/dloucks/ahc

      WWW site:
      http://www.primenet.com/~dloucks/hpl/internet/ahcfaq

    • E-mail Bots: For those who don’t have FTP or WWW access, you can have portions of the FAQ e-mailed to you automatically by my e-mail bots. This process only requires that you send me (dloucks@primenet.com) an e-mail message with a particular Subject line. When your incoming message is detected by my e-mail bot, it will e-mail the appropriate section of the FAQ to you, and discard your message. With that in mind, don’t bother sending any messages with contents, because I’ll never get it. Also, since the mailbot handles everything automatically, don’t hesitate to request all the parts of the FAQ. Here’s a list of the exact Subject lines and what each gets you:

      Subject      What it gets you
      FAQ: Part 0  Answers to the top questions asked
      FAQ: Part 1  About the FAQ (outline and credits)
      FAQ: Part 2  General (Cthulhu, Lovecraft, addresses)
      FAQ: Part 3  Written Works (stories, biblio, bio, letters)
      FAQ: Part 4  Motion Pictures and Television
      FAQ: Part 5  Games (board, card, role-playing, computer)
      FAQ: Part 6  Other Media (radio, tape, music, comics, etc.)
      FAQ: Part 7  Internet (newsgroups, FTP, WWW, MUDs)
      FAQ: Part 8  Mythos Lore (towns, entities, tomes, timeline)
      FAQ: Mini-FAQAnswers to the top questions asked

  • Q: What is Cthulhu?

    A: The best answer to this question is found in Lovecraft’s tale “The Call of Cthulhu.” Cthulhu is a monstrous entity who lies “dead but dreaming” in the city of R’lyeh, a place of non-Euclidean madness presently (and mercifully) sunken below the depths of the Pacific Ocean. Cthulhu appears in various monstrous and demonic forms in early myths of the human race. Racial memory preserves Him as humanity’s most basic nightmare. Cthulhu is the high priest of the Great Old Ones, unnatural alien beings who ruled the Earth before humanity formed, worshipped as gods by some misguided people. It is said that They will return, causing worldwide insanity and mindless violence before finally displacing humanity forever.

  • Q: How is “Cthulhu” pronounced?

    A: There are basically three different pronunciations that I have heard, other pronunciations being slight modifications on these.

    The most commonly heard pronunciation is that suggested by Chaosium, makers of the “Call of Cthulhu” roleplaying game. On the back of many of their gaming products is printed the phrase, “Can you say kuh-THOOL-hoo?”

    Another pronunciation is that used by several Lovecraftian scholars. This form is based on Lovecraft’s revision tales where Cthulhu is often referred to as “Clooloo” or “Clulu.” Unfortunately, this form does not have a sound representing the “th” combination.

    The pronunciation that I prefer is a compromise between these two. The “h” sounds are aspirated, thus the “th” is not as in “them” or “thin,” but two separate sounds. The first four letters of the word are run together in something like a sneezing sound, “K’t’hoo-lhoo.”

    According to H.P. Lovecraft:

    “The actual sound - as nearly as human organs could imitate it or human letters record it - may be taken as something like Khlul’-hloo, with the first syllable pronounced gutturally and very thickly.”

    “The best approximation one can make is to grunt, bark, or cough the imperfectly formed syllables Cluh-Luh with the tip of the tongue firmly affixed to the roof of the mouth. That is, if one is a human being. Directions for other entities are naturally different.”

    From these quotes (taken from Lovecraft’s letters), one might conclude that the second pronunciation mentioned above is the most correct of the three.

  • Q: Who is H.P. Lovecraft?

    A: Howard Phillips Lovecraft was a writer of weird fiction who wrote most of his tales during the 1920s and 1930s. He was born on August 20, 1890 in Providence, Rhode Island, where he spent most of his life. He was briefly married and lived in Brooklyn for two years. After this he returned to Providence where he died on March 15, 1937.

  • Q: Where is H.P. Lovecraft buried?

    A: Lovecraft is buried in Swan Point Cemetery, Providence, R.I., which is just northeast of the Brown University and College Hill area. He and his parents are in the plot belonging to his maternal grandfather, Whipple Van Buren Phillips. Once you enter the cemetery, follow Holly Avenue straight back to Junction Avenue, where you make a left. Soon after this, Pond Avenue curves off to the right. Follow Pond until it intersects Avenue B. The family plot is on the east side of the intersection of these two avenues.

    Lovecraft’s grave was unmarked until the mid-1970s when fans raised funds for a tombstone. Prior to that, the only indication that he was buried there was his name inscribed on the back of the large family monument. On his tombstone is inscribed:

    HOWARD PHILLIPS
    LOVECRAFT
    AUGUST 20, 1890
    MARCH 15, 1937
    –––––
    ‘I AM PROVIDENCE’

    The “I am Providence” quote is from a letter he wrote to James F. Morton dated May 16, 1926.

  • Q: What are the addresses of the various companies or organizations which are mentioned throughout this FAQ?

    A: The following address list is presented because folks have found it difficult to pick and choose addresses from within the FAQ. Also, due to repeated mentionings of various companies and organizations, this list will prevent having multiple postings of their addresses.

  • Q: What stories should I begin with?

    A: Bob Cannard (BobTheMigo@aol.com) conducted a poll to determine which tales would be best for new readers. The top five suggested tales were:

    1. The Call of Cthulhu
    2. The Shadow over Innsmouth
    3. The Dunwich Horror
    4. At the Mountains of Madness
    5. Pickman’s Model

    However, I felt that “At the Mountains of Madness” was a bit of a read for those just being introduced to Lovecraft. This anomaly might be due to the small number of voters involved (12). As such, I would recommend “The Haunter of the Dark” in its place (which received fairly high marks in the poll).

  • Q: Where can I find Lovecraftian fiction and articles?

    A: The most accessible versions of Lovecraft’s tales are paperback editions by Ballantine/Del Rey. They are very inexpensive and are available in most large bookstores.

    The definitive versions of H.P. Lovecraft’s stories (as well as Mythos fiction by other authors) are available in hardback from Arkham House Publishers, Inc. They include:

    The Dunwich Horror and Others               (037-8)$19.95
    At the Mountains of Madness and Other Novels (038-6)$19.95
    Dagon and Other Macabre Tales               (039-4)$19.95
    The Horror in the Museum and Other Revisions (040-8)$19.95

    The prices listed include shipping and handling and these books can be ordered directly from Arkham House. S.T. Joshi’s index to the tales collected above is available from Necronomicon Press. Paperback anthologies from other publishers can be found in many bookstores. Other important publishers of Lovecraftiana are:

    • Necronomicon Press
    • Pagan Publishing
    • Fedogan & Bremer
    • Borgo Press
    • Chaosium (their ‘6000’ series of products)

  • Q: Why are volumes I and II of Lovecraft’s letters so hard to find?

    A: Volumes I and II of Arkham House’s Selected Letters are long out of print. As of this writing (November 2000), Arkham House has announced that volume IV was also in short supply. Here’s the publication history of these five volumes:

    Book                 1st Edition  2nd Edition  Total
    Selected Letters I   2,504 (1965) 3,000 (1974) 5,504
    Selected Letters II  2,482 (1968) 3,000 (1974) 5,482
    Selected Letters III 2,500 (1971) 2,500 (1997) 5,000
    Selected Letters IV  5,000 (1976)     –      5,000
    Selected Letters V   5,000 (1976)     –      5,000

    As you can see, Arkham House reprinted volumes I and II in 1974 and probably intended to simply delay reprinting volume III until after volumes IV and V came out. At that point, the page proofs for volume III were lost, and that volume was not reprinted until popular demand brought it back in 1997. Arkham House has yet to announce plans to reprint any of the Selected Letters volumes.

  • Q: What Lovecraft information is available at World Wide Web sites?

    A: There are dozens of Lovecraft-related pages dotting the web. Many of them consist of nothing but collections of links, but those in the list below provide their own unique information.

    • “The H.P. Lovecraft Archive” (Donovan Loucks)
      • The URL is: http://www.hplovecraft.com
      • Maintained by Donovan K. Loucks (dloucks@primenet.com), the keeper of this FAQ.
      • Includes over 30 photographs of Lovecraftian locations in New England!

    • Chaosium’s Page
      • The URL is: http://www.sirius.com/~chaosium

    • “De Web Mysteriis” (Laurent Alquier)
      • The URL is: http://www.eerie.fr/~alquier/cthulhu.html.

    • Necronomicon Press Page
      • The URL is: http://www.necropress.com.
      • Maintained by Marc Michaud (necropress@ids.net)

    • The NetherReal
      • A very thorough site devoted to the fiction and art of H.P. Lovecraft and the “Cthulhu Mythos.”
      • The URL is http://www.netherreal.de
      • Maintained by Jim Hawley (editor@netherreal.de)

  • Q: Where can I get a copy of the Necronomicon?

    A: “The” Necronomicon, i.e. the book written about by Lovecraft, cannot be found anywhere because it was never written - anyone who disagrees with this statement is invited to produce a copy. Several commercial Necronomicons have been published. The easiest to find is the Avon paperback by Simon, which is mainly a re-hash of Sumerian mythology with a few Mythos names dropped in; some practitioners of magick consider it useful, but it has very little to do with Lovecraft’s creation.

    The 1973 Owlswick Press edition, prefaced by L. Sprague de Camp, is reputedly a facsimile of an old manuscript but actually contains only 8 pages of Arabic text repeated over and over again.

    “H. R. Giger’s Necronomicon” is a collection of that gentleman’s art; if you are not familiar with his work, watch the “Alien” movie.

    “The Necronomicon: The Book of Dead Names” by Colin Wilson et al claims to be the rediscovered work.

    There are many known library references to the Necronomicon by Abdul Alhazred, Michael Tice’s entry at UCLA being perhaps the most notorious; these are pranks engineered by students or librarians. The newsgroups alt.necromicon and alt.necronomicon are suggested for those who wish to discuss the historical authenticity, translations and publications of this tome.

  • Q: What is the etymology of the word “Necronomicon”?

    A: Lovecraft himself provides us a translation in a letter to Harry O. Fischer dated late February, 1937: “The name Necronomicon (necros, corpse; nomos, law; eikon, image = An Image [or Picture] of the Law of the Dead) occurred to me in the course of a dream, although the etymology is perfectly sound.”

    Some will argue that this etymology is not perfectly sound, but since Lovecraft invented the book, I feel his etymology is the correct one. However, for those interested in a more correct translation, the following was provided by S. A. T. Haldane (sah@dl.ac.uk):

    Nekros/nekr-o- (noun) ‘dead (person)’
    nomos/nom-o- (noun) ‘law’, ‘custom’
    -ikos/-ike/-ikon (adjectival suffix) ‘to do with’, ‘concerning’,

    hence nekr-o- + nom-o- + -ikos > nekronomikos (adjective) concerning the customs of the dead’. Functioning as a noun in the neutral gender, to Nekronomikon ‘(The Thing) Concerning the Customs of the Dead’.


End of Part 0 of the alt.horror.cthulhu FAQ, “Mini-FAQ.”

 
 
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Page Last Revised 10 March 2001
URL: http://www.hplovecraft.com/internet/ahcfaq/mini-faq.aspx
 
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