Thursday, June 27, 2013

Podcast Episode 4: I, Cthulhu

I, Cthulhu, by Neil Gaiman

This story is Neil Gaiman's lighthearted take on H.P. Lovecraft's work surrounding the now-dead-but-soon-to-rise-again anti-deity Cthulhu. In it, Cthulhu dictates his memoir. I definitely recommend reading some Lovecraft before listening to this story; it's a humorous take on the utterly black and bleak universe that Lovecraft created, and the humor only makes sense if you've been exposed to at least a little of the blackness and bleakness. I'd recommend starting with The Call of Cthulhu and At the Mountains of Madness.

Around the time I created this episode, I also made a recording of Lovecraft's The Colour Out of Space that was then lost in computer crash, and I felt it too time-consuming to re-record ('s a long story, literally). My introduction presupposes that you listened to this recording, which is of course impossible. This is the level of professionalism I achieved in my podcast production, ladies and gentlemen.

This episode predates my love of all things Neil Gaiman; I had never heard of him when I first read it, I just enjoyed the story. Nowadays my list of favorite Gaiman stories has to be at least 5 entries long to really be fair to the depth of my admiration (and the quantity of dude's work).* My memory tells me that I pronounced his name wrong in this recording, but apparently I got it right. In contrast, under the heavy influence of my ongoing linguistics education, I made the amusing choice to interpret the exclamation point in Ia! Shub Niggurath's name as an alveolar click, which is not, I believe, the canonical pronunciation at all. Speaking of clicks, I apparently lacked the wherewithal to edit mouse click sounds out of a couple places, notably the points where I overlaid two sets of vocals to give a weird quality to the gibberish Cthulhu occasionally spouts when dictating his memoirs. All that said, I still think this one is a lot of fun, especially if you know enough Lovecraft for it to be really funny. 

*Fine, since you cared enough to read the footnotes, I'll give it to you: Neverwhere, Stardust, The Graveyard Book, "Murder Mysteries" from Smoke and Mirrors, and in a related note to this post, A Study in Emerald (Gaiman has a bit of a Lovecraft obsession, if his bibliography is any indication).

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