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.