Cult of Cthulhu Bible Review

I broke down and bought my own PDF copy of Darrick Dishaw’s new book, the Cult of Cthulhu Bible.

This isn’t an “On the Shelf” review, as I haven’t gotten through the whole Bible. Nonetheless, I made it to the section on the Cthulhu Mythos. I’d been intrigued to see how he’d handle it. Would he think to cover it at all, or assume that most readers would already be familiar with it? If he did, what would he say about it? How would he mesh the vision of Lovecraft, Derleth, Smith, Howard, and other Mythos authors with his own?

Let’s start with the Great Old Ones:

The Great Old Ones are ancient creatures of immense
power, and most are also colossal in size. They are worshiped
by deranged human cults, as well as by most of the
non-human races of the mythos. The Great Old Ones are
currently imprisoned—a few beneath the sea, some inside
the Earth, and still others in distant planetary systems (and
beyond). The reason for their captivity is not known,
though there are two prevailing theories:

We won’t get into those theories, but suffice to say they’re similar to those in my Encyclopedia Cthulhiana. What’s more important, they’re almost identical to the text from the Wikipedia entry on the Great Old Ones, as is much of the material that follows.

Likewise, his section on “Dread Cthulhu” is very similar to the text from Wikipedia’s Cthulhu entry, and the section on Yog-Sothoth… well, you get the picture. For the sake of completeness, there’s also Azathoth and Nyarlathotep.

It’s vaguely possible that Darrick wrote these entries for Wikipedia and reused them in his book. Having reviewed the “History” section for all of them, I can’t find a poster responsible for all the text that he’s quoted. Further, his usage doesn’t seem to correspond to Wikipedia’s own guidelines for reprinting.

It’s possible Darrick has obtained permission to reprint these entries from Wikipedia, though he mentions this nowhere. If he can send me relevant information on those permissions, it would be most welcome. If he can do the same for the other two, non-Wikipedia websites that he also has left unattributed – I’m sure he knows which ones – I’ll consider the matter closed and post an update here.

Nonetheless, Darrick, a writer and proud owner of a degree in English, has failed to cite his sources, one of the cardinal sins of authorship. As with many such cases, the moral is rather pathetic. Darrick should be capable of writing ten pages of original prose detailing the entities to which he’s devoted his life. His failure to do so is not merely one of style or technique, but one of faith.

UPDATE: More here, and a response to Darrick’s comments here.

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Published in: on January 3, 2007 at 9:35 pm  Comments (18)  

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  1. thanks for thinking of me dan,

    i also appreciate your “contributions” to the Mythos as well.

    as you’ll probably note, the section you are referring to (i assume) is titled “Conventional” Lovecraftian Mythos scholarship. i wanted to present a side of the Cthulhu Mythos which was completely divorced from myself, unbiased by the High Priest. this is why i included a section without so much original prose. i did take some cues from various sources (Wiki included) in order to create a pastiche of common knowledge. then i proceeded to edit and re-write the material so that it fit with the required length i was looking for.

    if i had simply copied and pasted Wikipedia’s Mythos entries verbatim, the content in Cthulhu Cult would have looked much different, i assure you. and at that point i would have cited it as a source.

    as some of your readers might know, you seem to enjoy being a constant thorn in my side. although in reality, your futile puppet dance fills me with nothing but joy. dan, it’s been a pleasure.

    Cthulhu Cult:

    Venger Satanis
    Cult of Cthulhu High Priest

  2. [...] 7th, 2007 at 8:47 pm (Occult, Lovecraft) Given the strong condemnation of Darrick Dishaw’s book, it’s not surprising that the author has responded in the comments: as you’ll probably [...]

  3. My response to Darrick here:

    http://danharms.wordpress.com/2007/01/07/cult-of-cthulhu-bible-review-darrick-speaks-part-1/

  4. let me put a new theory out there. one far more serious and disturbing…

    the fact that Dan Harms has altered the Cthulhu Mythos Wikipedia entries AFTER reading Cthulhu Cult in order to substantiate his claims. words fail me, Mr. Harms. honestly, how far will you go to discredit me?

    i did some research of my own. i asked a friend who looks at the Mythos Wikipedia frequently to do some checking. and he was sure that several entries were indeed altered from the time my book became available to the time your Cthulhu Cult blog entry was created.

    for shame, Dan.

    VS

  5. A couple months ago, I copied (cut and pasted) the Wikipedia articles on the Great Old Ones for my own reference. Looking back over it, and comparing it to Wikipedia… uh… no, nothing has been altered.

  6. [...] For the next event in this exciting saga, check this out. [...]

  7. Shameful. Plagiarism is truly shameful.

  8. What did anyone expect? The guy has named himself after the Bad Guy from the old animated “Dungeons & Dragons” cartoon.

  9. Considering that the print run of the book was cancelled due to copyright infringement by it’s publisher, Waning Moon, I’m not surprised at such unsourced use of other’s output.

    The youngman simply has no understanding of Fair Use and proper citation.

  10. Fitz,

    Really? That’s news to me.

  11. If you have copy of the book take a look at the bust of Cthulhu image.
    Then take a look at http://www.moritorium.com/collective/cthulhu.html

  12. no, it wasn’t canceled. it was a limited-run hand bound leather edition of 33 copies or so. it is, however, virtually sold out. perhaps a couple copies can still be obtained via the internet.

    the bust of Cthulhu is similar, yes. and i did use that rendition as a model for my own, technically original, artwork on page 23 of both the softcover and leather editions. since the image was artistically altered, it becomes a new image and not someone else’s property.

    VS

  13. Venger Satanis, how can you possibly be taken seriously as a writer when you can’t even use proper punctuation in your sentences? Maybe they don’t use caps to begin sentences in R’Leyth, but here on Earth we do. I’m not sure why you do this, but it looks extremely unprofessional.

  14. Dude! Where’s my free t-shirt you promised if I signed up!

  15. VS, get someone qualified to explain to you how “Fair Uses” works. Clearly you have no idea.

  16. Its amusing for linear minds will debate the authenticity of a “mythos” – like all occult practice – IS what YOU make it.

    That being said – the fact that some of you argue over semantics, and proper punctuation is evidence that you are living within and AS the cosmic construct. You demand order, where there is none, you seem to freak out, even at the inconsequential things.

    to quote Heath Ledgers joker character – “They’re schemers, schemers trying to control their little worlds. I’m not a schemer, I just try to show the schemers how pathetic their attempts to control things really are.

    And you know what I noticed, is that when things go according to plan, nobody panics. If tomarrow I told the press that like a gang banger will get shot, or a truck load of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics, because it’s all part of the plan. ”

    I suppose I am a flake and unoriginal because i quoted the joker verbatim – but that speech happens to be perfect for the essence of what I wanted to get across -

    Also – VS using a pre-made name that suits character in a fanciful way of expressing his chosen mask upon the abyss is no less valid than “coming up” with any other pseudonym, if the shoe fits……

    As for capitalizing sentences “here on earth” – you half wit twit – that comment does not even make sense – there are NO valid parameters of the Cthulhian Mythos, the essence of Cthulhu shatters all parameters

    maybe he does such things just to fuck with your shallow minds….. such is one way initiatory guilds separate the “wheat” from the “chaff”

  17. that being said – my frustration was not meant to be vented so much at you, Dan Harms, but at the plethora of pointless comments regarding the linguistic habits of VS

    also – I am not affiliated with the Cult of Cthulhu, but I do appreciate the work of VS, even if it might be a conglomerate of previous material……


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