|Detail of "Mark Witton's greasy, flowing mass", for Matt Wedel's Collect Call of Cthulhu.|
Matt Wedel, best known in palaeontological circles as a crusader of sauropod vertebrae, certainly has. Over at Echo Station 5-7 he's been musing on the nature of Lovecraft's seminal creation, Cthulhu, and inviting submissions of artwork rendering his hideous visage. A keen emphasis has been made on entrants avoiding the traditional representation of Cthulhu as a guy with squid head through either style or biological interpretations, which I agree with 100%. Lovecraft's descriptions of Cthulhu are undeniably vague, but his suggestion of a greasy, dripping, and ambiguous being is a million miles away from the beefy, green anthropoids we see striding around all too often. Indeed, even Lovecraft's own sketches of Cthulhu seem quite wide of his text:
|Cthulhu takes five in this sketch by H. P. Lovecraft himself. Borrowed from the Lovecraft EZine.|
If Lovecraftian things are up your street, you also owe it to yourself to read the comments from regular palaeoblog contributors on what they think makes a good Cthulhu, here, here and here. They're not only great demonstrations of how diverse the interpretations of vaguely-understood literary beings can be, but offer some great speculative biology because of the informed scientific backgrounds of each commenter. The discussions at Matt's blog have also spawned an interesting essay on the ecological strategies used by Lovecraft's beings, based on vernal pools, penned by Heteromeles at Putting the Life Back in Science Fiction.
All good stuff, and I've thoroughly enjoyed being part of it. Regular programming - art of old dead things - will be resumed shortly.