Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Call of Cthulhu” as Want to Read:
The Call of Cthulhu
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Call of Cthulhu

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  41,779 ratings  ·  2,482 reviews
One of the feature stories of the Cthulhu Mythos, H.P. Lovecraft's 'the Call of Cthulhu' is a harrowing tale of the weakness of the human mind when confronted by powers and intelligences from beyond our world. ...more
Kindle Edition, 43 pages
Published April 1st 2011 by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. (first published February 1928)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Call of Cthulhu, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Ekul If you're looking for good fantasy/horror, this is not the book for you, friend. This is actually a non-fiction piece, and the secret language used in…moreIf you're looking for good fantasy/horror, this is not the book for you, friend. This is actually a non-fiction piece, and the secret language used in it is actually the language of the Necromicon. The whole thing is written in this language, yet everyone is able to understand it. It just goes to show how true the stories really are-- which make them that much more frightening.

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.(less)
Mario There is an edition of "The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories" (Penguin, 1999, 420 pages). It has an "Explanatory notes" section, in the note 9 …moreThere is an edition of "The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories" (Penguin, 1999, 420 pages). It has an "Explanatory notes" section, in the note 9 can be read:
"On the pronunciation of Cthulu Lovecraft has left several accounts, all slightly differing; his associates have also supplied contradictory testimonies. The most definitive statement by Lovecraft occurs in a letter of 1934: '...the word is supposed to represent a fumbling human attempt to catch the phonetics of an absolutely non-human word. The name of the hellish entity was invented by beings whose vocal organs were not like man's, hence it has no relation to the human speech equipment. The syllables were determined by a physiological equipment wholly unlike ours, hence could never be uttered perfectly by human throats ... The actual sound -- as nearly as any human organs could imitate it or human letters record it -- may be taken as something like Khlûl'-hloo, with the first syllable pronounced gutturally and very thickly. The u is about like that in full; and the first syllable is not unlike klul in sound, hence the h represents the guttural thickness.' (SL V.10-11)".

On the other hand, I found this:

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.01  · 
Rating details
 ·  41,779 ratings  ·  2,482 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Call of Cthulhu
This here, folks, is the most impressive image of Cthulhu that I’ve come across:
He just looks so damn regal, this eldritch, malevolent entity that appears part octopus kraken, part dragon, part human caricature…the so called "mountain who walks."

Yes, I admit that I’m a Lovecraft/Cthulhu mythos junkie. I can’t help it. I think his stories are just amazing.

Depending on which HPL story I’ve most recently consumed, I vacillate regarding what is my absolute favorite HPL tale, The Call of Cthul
Sean Barrs
Lovecraft does not waste a single word. Every expression, every phrase, is masterfully selected to evoke a sense of the macabre. Like a masterful surgeon, Lovecraft’s meticulous prose is methodical and scrupulous.

Such expertise is carried across the body of his writing, though The Call of Cthulhu is undoubtedly the best example. This story captures so much of Lovecraft’s twisted imagination; it is the pinnacle of his writing, the best of his form. The brilliance of it resides in the way it can
Jan 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Perhaps no story more defines H.P. Lovecraft’s eldritch hold on speculative fiction than The Call of Cthulhu.

Pronounced: Cthulhu.

First published in 1928, in Weird Tales magazine, this launched what is now known as the Cthulhu Mythos. It was here, as much as his earlier unspeakable horrors like Dagon and The Tomb and The Nameless City, that formed what is today known as Lovecraftian; but it was great Cthulhu that gave this sub-genre it’s definition and a face from which to leer down upon poor, lo
Bill Kerwin
Aug 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing

As a Lovecraft fan, I can easily demonstrate why this story is significant, but explaining exactly why it is so terrifying is a much more difficult thing to do.

So, easy things first.

The Call of Cthulhu is significant—at least to Lovecraft fans—because it is: 1) the first story in which we encounter Cthulhu himself, 2) the story which includes the first explicit rationale for the Cthulhu mythos, 3) the only H.P. Lovecraft story in which a human actually sees a god, and 4) the first production of
Leonard Gaya
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Call of Cthulhu is, to all appearances, a rather short and negligible story (little more than 30 pages long). And yet, it’s undoubtedly one of the most iconic novellas by H.P. Lovecraft, and one of his significant early achievements (with, perhaps, The Rats in the Walls). A novella which has spurred the imagination of countless fans, artists, writers, game designers and triggered many imitations.

In this story, we find the first mentions (to my knowledge) of nightmarish cyclopean corpse-citie
Jul 02, 2017 rated it liked it

A BR with a faithful member of Cthulhu Cult, Craig.

Quite a nice ride to sunset with Cthulhu. I liked the spooky atmosphere, the info about the Cthulhu Cult and Old Ones,and the tickles that it gave to unbelievers! :) It would have been really cool to get more limbs flying from the main Thing, but the ending was quite nice :)
Jason Koivu
Nov 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, sci-fi, fantasy
What better time to read The Call of Cthulhu than on Halloween?! Probably should've read this one by now, but I've been holding off for a while, waiting for that special occasion.

I do that with some books, usually classics. There's a Steinbeck or two I'm keeping in my proverbial back pocket for when I'm in the right mood or need to get out of a reading funk.

The Call of Cthulhu is pure horror. It's terrifying. If I'd been wearing boots, I'd be quaking in them. Reading this reminded me of reading
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
"This momentous story---which introduced the ersatz mythology that came to be called the 'Cthulhu Mythos'---was written in the summer of 1926."

It begins...."The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents."

A locked manuscript of a recently deceased elderly grand-uncle, an authority on ancient inscriptions, leads to bizzare and frightening research resulting in discovery of a monster like human caricature with a pulpy tentacled hea

Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
His most famous work!


The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far.

Easily the most known story by H.P. Lovecraft and the text which gives a formal “birth” to the Cthulhu Mythos, along with the mention of the “fake” book of Necronomicon, inspiring dozens of other write
Dec 11, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
What’s great about a Lovecraftian horror story, besides the fact that his writing is eerily similar to that of Jason Morais, is that it can afford such a welcome reprieve from a weekend otherwise consumed by madness and violence, the kind of violence that disturbs the soul to its core.

“The Call of Cthulhu” is the story of a man who uncovers evidence of otherworldly beings residing in a state of hibernation deep beneath the surface of the Earth’s oceans. Though the image of Cthulhu¹ is by no mean
Dec 04, 2019 added it
"Who knows the end?". ...more
For years now, I have been wanting to read Lovecraft after hearing Stephen King discuss his importance and just haven’t done so. Two years ago, I bought a Barnes and Noble collection of his ‘Great Tales of Horror’ that has only sat on my pretty shelves. So, I decided to dig into Lovecraft, or at least start and I read about Cthulhu. This started the mythos.

Cthulhu is described as a huge creature or god with the head of an octopus, the body of a dragon with scales and wings and both sets of feet
Jun 22, 2014 rated it it was ok
Lovecraft's writing style is just not my cuppa and that's why I thought this was only OK. Even though this was a short story it felt like it took me forever to get through. I'm all for purple prose but Lovecraft describes things in 2 pages when he really only needed 2 sentences. Verbose is putting it mildly.

I always wanted to read this so that I would better understand what people were talking about when they mention Cthulhu. Now I do. Cthulhu is an interesting concept and I wanted to know more
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Read for February Reading Sprint-2019 in Buddy Reads.

3.5 (rounded to 4 because I enjoyed it)

The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far.

Yes, I had no intentions of starting this book and the only reason I decided to read it was the fact that it was super short, and yet it took me a long time to finish i
Paula W
Oct 25, 2017 rated it did not like it
If you like to read boring stories with no characterization, no dialogue, lazy descriptions, and rampant racism, this is for you. As for me, one star is a bit too generous.
Joey Woolfardis
One can easily see why "Lovecraftian" is a thing from this, and why only people who are true devotees can really write anything in-depth about his stuff.

His writing style is utterly sublime. I got vagaries of Fitzgerald-in terms of writing style and their ability to put every single word to good use, with no spare sentences put adrift on the page-but unlike F. Scott, the story was as riveting as the prose. You can feel the tension seeping from the page as you read on.

It's hard to say much else w
Alex ☣ Deranged KittyCat ☣
They had come from the stars, and had brought Their images with Them.


The Call of Cthulhu is truly a horror story without the need of any graphic violence. Just the idea of the cult of Cthulhu (how it came to be and what its purpose is) gives me shivers down my spine.

This is my first experience with H.P. Lovecraft. But it will not be my last because I like his style very much.
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
Jun 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror

I'm beginning to think this is one of those books I'll never write a review of; one of the books simply for me to enjoy.


I may be able to write a good review of this sometime. This time I'll just say I need more stars.


Just as great as the first time I read it. That didn't change.
Aug 29, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: not-for-me, classics, 2013
For those who enjoy rifling through old research notes, piecing together missing data, making sense of the big picture, and then being left hanging at the end.

I'm kidding, of course. The best part of any horror story is that it leaves you hanging. No explanation, no resolution, no sense of closure.

This story is told in a series of personal accounts in which the narrator pieces together what he thinks was the cause of his granduncle's mysterious sudden death, speculating that the late uncle's mys
Mar 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
oooo spooky octopus 🐙
Ebony Eldritch
In the "popular answered questions" section of this book, somebody has confused the opening line of the Turkish edition for text in the secret language of the Necronomicon.

If that does not set the scene for The Call of Cthulhu, and indeed for the works of H.P. Lovecraft as a whole, I'm not sure much will.

As a disclaimer with which to begin, I would like to briefly mention the overt racism and general bigotry which the author regularly expresses and supports in this and other works. These things
This was an audio re-read of The Call of Cthulhu for me. This audio came through the AudioBlast newsletter and I requested it right away.

I enjoyed listening to this performance. It had a full dramatization going on with sounds effects, screams and whatnot in the background. However, at times the main narrator went a little flat for me.

Overall, I enjoyed this performance and would recommend it to fans of cosmic horror and Lovecraft.

*Thanks to Audioblast for the opportunity to listen to this stor
Khashayar Mohammadi
In high school, my best friend was utterly obsessed with Lovecraft, which meant I was constantly force-fed numerous short stories of his which I never really enjoyed or remembered fondly. After a decade or so I decided to go back and revisit Lovecraft, and I gotta admit I was pleasantly surprised. The Horror he depicts is a metaphysical horror that very few writers have been able to replicate, but his prose, though often overstimulating, is engrossing and poetic. Xenophobia aside, I enjoyed this ...more
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, audio-book, owned
A nice change from reading the story. The narrative choice for this tale was well done with a nice twist at the end. I've listened to this twice in one day!

MY GRADE: B plus.
J.L.   Sutton
Chicken mole tamales wrapped in corn husks, like H.P. Lovecraft's Call of Cthulhu, burst with flavor. You experience the authenticity and the complex and dark, rich tastes in every bite you take. Every bite, or rather Lovecraft's narrative, takes you back to ancient rites alien to the ways of the modern world (now read as 2015). Makes me wonder, just for an instant, what a really good homemade tamale has in common with the modern world. Tamales are anachronistic, aren't they? Sort of like the Ct ...more
Sep 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, owned
A nice change from reading the story. The narrative choice for this tale was well done with a nice twist at the end. I've listened to this twice in one day! ...more
Feb 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Not that great as a stand-alone story, but I can see why it is influential -- it is dense with background material that practically begs to be expanded upon.
Mike (the distracted librarian)
I wish I could rate this book purely on the merits of literary talent, but to do so would be irresponsible to those who might be swayed by my recommendation. I don't see many references to Lovecraft's personal flaws in this review section, so I feel obligated to at least mention some.

While I was captivated by the profound nuance of the ideas being conveyed in the story, there were a few remarks that caught my attention as potentially harboring significant undertones; so I decided to research Lov
Sep 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
So- I read this for my PopSugar prompt: “book by a local author.”

And I sort of wished I’d picked something else, mostly because Lovecraft was apparently a huge racist, and it shows in his writing. He managed to demonize probably every group of people on earth that weren’t white Christians, up to and including Eskimos.

This wasn’t scary. It’s told from the perspective of a man compiling notes and researching this strange cult his grandfather stumbled upon. There was no feeling in this story. No-
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Very creepy and atmospheric, in an old-fashioned way. Not really my thing, but it kept my interest well enough. 3 1/2 stars.

Disclaimer: I'm not into the horror genre and I've never been a Lovecraft fan, although I did read The Dunwich Horror once upon a time. But I was reading and trying to understand Neil Gaiman's A Study in Emerald yesterday, and in the course of researching the Cthulhu aspects of that story I found this one online at It's worth readin
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
UWM Libraries' Bo...: New Story for the Week! 3 11 Apr 16, 2020 07:37AM  
New Story for the Week! 1 5 Apr 10, 2020 10:21AM  
How Would Gmail Help If Can’t Send Mails To Anyone? 1 2 Feb 01, 2020 06:17AM  
Around the Year i...: The Call of Cthulu, by H.P. Lovecraft 2 49 Oct 27, 2019 02:49AM  
Book description of this book not in English 1 14 Feb 11, 2018 10:04AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • H.P. Lovecraft's the Dunwich Horror
  • The Music of Eric Zahn
  • H.P. Lovecraft's Dagon
  • Shadows over Innsmouth (Shadows Over Innsmouth #1)
  • The Masque of the Red Death
  • The Pit and the Pendulum
  • The Raven
  • The Hounds of Tindalos
  • The Tell-Tale Heart
  • The Fall of the House of Usher
  • The Black Cat
  • Les Montagnes hallucinées : Tome 1
  • الأنف
  • The Black Stone (short story)
  • Ubbo-Sathla
  • Dark Adventure Radio Theatre: Dagon War of the Worlds (Audio Drama)
  • Call of Cthulhu: Horror Roleplaying (Call of Cthulhu RPG)
  • Notebook Found in a Deserted House
See similar books…
Howard Phillips Lovecraft, of Providence, Rhode Island, was an American author of horror, fantasy and science fiction.

Lovecraft's major inspiration and invention was cosmic horror: life is incomprehensible to human minds and the universe is fundamentally alien. Those who genuinely reason, like his protagonists, gamble with sanity. Lovecraft has developed a cult following for his Cthulhu Mythos, a

Related Articles

Victor LaValle knows his way around a scary tale or two. He's the author of the horror novels The Ballad of Black Tom...
79 likes · 24 comments
“Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.

In his house at R'lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.
“We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far.” 258 likes
More quotes…