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The Cthulhu Mythos and Doctor Who
The CosmologyFor the Cthulhu Mythos to exist within the Doctor Who universe it is inevitable that their existence would have a radical impact on its origins - especially on those of the Time Lords, whose role would shift from being simply a race who has mastered time to something more sinister - the agents of, or perhaps even, the Elder Gods themselves.
In straight mythos terms (i.e. Lin Carter's Necronomicon), the story goes something like this...
"These dread and awful entities be neither gods nor daemons, but are beyond all limitations of Good or Evil even as They dwelleth beyond all boundaries of time or space; They are immortal and eternal and undying, and They abide from everlasting to everlasting. They are not constructed of Matter as we know it, and neither are They in Their origins true inhabitants of this Universe at all, but in the beginning were native to Another. There it was that They were brought into being by the Elder Gods to be the servants and thralls thereof; but the Elder Gods wrought better than They knew, and in the fullness of time didst They wax exceeding great in Their Power, and wise and subtle and crafty in Their Thought. And in the time that followed, it came to pass that They rose up in rebellion against Those that had made Them, who were even the Elder Gods, and They fled forth from that region of existence, or dimension of space, or plane of being, wherein had They been created by Their erstwhile masters; and They came hither and entered into this Universe, and made it Their empire and dominion."
This concept - that gods or other alien beings have broken into our universe from another - is one that has subsequently been embraced by Doctor Who writers since its adoption by Neil Penswick in The Pit, which explained that:
"...the Elder Gods had broken through and laid waste to the cosmos. Only through the sacrifice of a distant people had the Old Ones been vanquished and order returned to the universe."
While he was one of the first to make use of the mythos, Penswick wasn't the first to explicitly link the origins of the universe to the Cthulhu Mythos. Andy Lane revealed that:
"The universe is cyclical, which means that it periodically goes through cycles of expansion and contraction, punctuated by a series of big bangs."
"The Great Old Ones predate even that. In the dying days of the universe before the current one, which is forever separated from us by a point where time and space do not exist, a group of beings discovered how to preserve themselves past that point where the universe ceased. They shuttled themselves sideways, into a parallel universe which, for various reasons that I will not even attempt to explain now, ceased a split-second after our one."
"Just before that universe ceased, they jumped back to out one, which had just started expanding afresh after a moment of nothingness. The trouble is, the universe before ours was set up differently. Fundamental physical laws such as the speed of light and the charge on the electron were different, which means that the Great Old Ones have powers undreamed of by anybody in this universe. Powers that make them look like gods, to naive races. And they're a pretty nasty bunch, too."
All-Consuming Fire, Andy Lane
Harking back to these origins, the new series explores similar possibilities in The Impossible Planet and The Satan Pit. Here the point of nothingness is identified as the void, while the Beast, despite appearances, is analogous to one of the Great Old Ones that lived in the universe before.
Carter's traditional mythos story, however, goes further:
"And many there were Who chose to make Their empery upon the several stars and worlds of this Universe, but many Others there were that came hither and descended upon this Earth, which some say had once, untold aeons of time before, been even a part of that Place wherein hadst They formerly dwelt under the dominion of the Elder Gods. And Lo! the Elder Gods were waxed exceeding wroth to be thus deserted and deceived by Their Slaves; and They vowed to purse their rebellious Thralls into whatsoever region of existence They had fled, and there should they fall upon the Old Ones and seize and bind Them with mighty spells, and cast Them into everlasting prisonment, Who had durst defy Their Creators. And Thus it came to pass that the Elder Gods, abandoning the Universe which They had ruled from everlasting to everlasting, and They came hither in their Wrath and followed into this Universe Those that had been Their Servants; and The paused upon that sphere They called Glyu-Vho, which is of the stars of space, therefrom to reconnoiter; and They beheld to Their Rage that the Rebellious Ones were arrayed against Them as if for war; wherefore did they wax exceeding wroth, and They chose One of Them to be the leader of Their host; and He bade Them to assume an awful Shape, even the likeness of Towers of Flame, that in such from They should fall upon the Earth to punish Those that had transgressed against Their Creators."
Again, Earth as an ancient cosmic battleground is implied more than it is shown, but the presence of many ancient evils on the planet certainly corresponds with the Lovecraftian genre. And Glyu-Vho, the observation post of the Elder Gods? Could this, in fact, be Gallifrey? Carter goes on to tell us who, exactly, these Great Old Ones are:
"And it came to be known by the Elder Gods that Him that had unwisely and rashly counselled His Brethren to stand fast and to oppose with all Their Might the coming-hence of the Elder Gods was even one Cthulhu."
"And so They descended upon the Earth in Their might and majesty, and They smote down the Old Ones, and braked Their power, and scattered Them afar, and chained Them on distant worlds and stars or in the black, unwholesome chasms of the Deep; And against these bonds the Old Ones raged in all Their impotence, but could not burst them asunder."
Again in All-Consuming Fire, Andy Lane reveals the connection between the creatures of the Doctor Who universe, and the Great Old Ones and their servitors:
"The Great Old Ones are those gods. There's Cthulhu, who we met in Haiti, if you recall, and the Gods of Ragnarok, who Ace will tell you about if you ask her nicely, and Nyarlathotep, who I sincerely hope never to encounter. And Dagon, who was worshipped by the Sea Devils, and the entity known as Hastur the Unspeakable who also goes around calling himself Fenric and who Ace will not tell you about no matter how nicely you ask. And Yog-Sothoth, who I met in Tibet and again in London, and Lloigor, who settled quite happily on Vortis... oh, there's a lot of them. all alien to this universe and its laws, both moral and physical."
All-Consuming Fire, Andy Lane
Beyond issues of cosmology and how the histories of these two universes can be married together, pretty much all of the nasties of the Cthulhu Mythos fit into the background of the Doctor Who universe, and it is easy to draw comparisons between them. Indeed, many of the ideas that appear in Doctor Who were pre-empted by the imaginings of Lovecraft's circle, and it is likely that such visualisations have had an unspoken influence on many of Doctor Who's writers. Indeed, some of Lovecraft's Dunsanian fiction, set in the dreamlands, may even have directly inspired the TARDIS. In 1919 Lovecraft invented an accomplished dreamer called Randolph Carter, who acquired an old Ormolu-style clock of quite alien design. By stepping into a door at the front of the clock, Carter would enter a 'dimensional envelope' which would project him across the vast depths of time and space.
The clock was never capitalized on by Lovecraft - it was merely an alien artefact which allowed a contemporary human to leave Earth's confines (he used several such devices in his fiction). Interestingly, the worlds visited by Carter could, in later stories, be accessed by the use of a silver key.
"It did look like a clock at first glance, like a fine old grandfather in the somewhat macabre shape of a coffin, and it did have a dial and hands; but there any resemblance to a clock in the mundane sense of the word ended."
Elysia, or the Coming of Cthulhu, Brian Lumley
One of August Derleth's proteges, the now renowned writer Brian Lumley, dusted down the clock to use in his Tales of Titus Crow (a curious blend of fictional heroes ranging from Van Helsing and the Doctor to the Six Million Dollar Man), who returned the clock to its place of origin - Elysia, the home of the Elder Gods (who are, incidentally, not dissimilar to the Time Lords), who have, according to Crow, 'literally forgotten more than my entire race shall ever learn'.
Perhaps in the belief that turnabout is fair play, Lumley even has a parking lot - The Corridor of Clocks - on Elysia, and deliberately describes the time-clock as if it were a TARDIS.
The Cthulhu Mythos and the classic seriesOf passing interest is Raymond Cusick's final visualisation of the daleks, based on Terry Nation's description. Together they bear some similarity to another of Lovecraft's creations - the Great Race of Yith:
"They seemed to be enormous, iridescent cones, about ten feet high and ten feet wide at the base, and made up of some ridgy, scaly, semi-elastic matter. From their apex projected four flexible, cylindrical members, each a foot thick, and of a ridgy substance like that of the cones themselves."
The Shadow Out of Time, H. P. Lovecraft
The Abominable Snowmen and The Web of Fear are horror stories which reveal the monsters to be of both ancient and alien origin. They also introduce The Great Intelligence - a disembodied mind of vast power that has, through his servitors, passed into legend. This is a typically Lovecraftian concept, and one which didn't escape the attention of later Doctor Who writers when Andy Lane identified him as the Lovecraftian god Yog-Sothoth.
Another of Andy's suggestions refers to the sea devils, whom he identifies with the Deep Ones from The Shadow over Innsmouth. Certainly the aquatic humanoids emerging from the sea (seen in The Sea Devils and The Curse of Fenric) have their roots here. There are, however, some obvious differences, as the Deep Ones are a species that has remained active rather than sleeping for millennia. If any mythos race should be associated with the Sea Devils or their land-living cousins the Silurians it would be Robert E. Howard's Valusians, a race of serpent kings who ruled the Earth before mankind and who only reappear in small cells to manipulate and control from a distance. It is possible that these stories inspired the creation of the Silurians, and more broadly the concept of sleeping races being awakened (also seen in The Ice Warriors and Tomb of the Cybermen) started in a big way with the Lovecraft circle. The Great Old Ones are themselves a perfect example of this particular plot device.
Back to the Deep Ones, perhaps they are human-silurian hybrids, forced into the sea by the rise of mankind, or perhaps a further reptile species as yet undiscovered in the Doctor Who universe.
"It crouched beside the radio telescope tower, dwarfing it, a many tentacled monster, something between spider, crab and octopus. At the front of its body a single huge eye glared at them, blazing with alien intelligence and deadly hatred."
Doctor Who and the Terror of the Autons, Terrance Dicks
Robert Holmes, the greatest plagiarist of all, is well known for using the Phantom of the Opera, the Curse of the Mummy's Tomb, Frankenstein, Sherlock Holmes, Fu Manchu and Jack the Ripper as inspiration for his stories. However, he was equally at hope seeking inspiration from the works of Lovecraft and his peers (he would later return to the mythos pastiche with The Horror of Fang Rock). The Octopus-headed Cthulhu with his amorphous and plastic body might well have inspired his original vision for the squid-like Nestene Intelligence from Spearhead from Space and Terror of the Autons (interestingly, the Bane Queen seen in the Sarah Jane Adventures pilot is closer to Holmes' version of the Nestene Intelligence than the version seen in the new series episode Rose). Andy Lane and Craig Hinton would later identify the Nestene Intelligence with Shib-Niggurath in their fiction.
Similarly Don Houghton's The Mind of Evil uses a machine like many of the alien devices utilised by Lovecraft and his contemporaries, where such devices were a common means for alien intelligences to possess human bodies.
The Daemons also, in spite of its apparently Satanic inspiration, was most notably inspired by Arthur Machen's The Great God Pan, a tale which, although it preceded the mythos, was often adopted as a precursor, and which itself inspired Lovecraft's own story, The Dunwich Horror. Again the theme of awaking ancient evil is explored, and more importantly, The Daemons sets a precedent for using a fictitious country town in which the population is involved with something evil (like Lovecraft's Arkham, Dunwich and Innsmouth). The vast size of the daemon Azal, and his invisibility, are directly drawn from The Dunwich Horror.
The Chronovores, which first appeared in The Time Monster (seen again in Paul Cornell's No Future and Craig Hinton's The Quantum Archangel) are again similar to such beings as Yog-Sothoth and 'The Ancient Ones' or Clark Ashton Smith's Aforgomon and Quachil Uttaus, the Treader of Dust, a time vampire summoned from beyond time and space by a ritual found in an ancient book:
"It was a figure no larger than a young child, but sere and shrivelled as some millennial mummy. Its hairless head, its unfeatured face, borne on a neck of skeleton thinness, were lined with a thousand reticulated wrinkles. The body was like that of some monstrous, withered abortion that had never drawn breath. The pipy arms, ending in bony claws were outthrust as if ankylosed in the posture of an eternal dreadful groping. the legs, with feet like those of a pygmy Death, were drawn tightly together as though confined by the swathings of the tomb; nor was there any movement of striding or pacing. Upright and rigid, the horror floated swiftly down the wan, deathly grey beam."
The Treader of Dust, Clark Ashton Smith
Again we see an ancient and powerful entity imprisoned by a pre-human civilisation that is set free to wander through time and space.
The style of monsters appearing in Doctor Who drew more than a little inspiration from the Cthulhu Mythos, even when it wasn't inspiring the stories themselves. Bob Baker and David Martin's Claws of Axos, with its living spaceship and Axon extensions come from a similar mould, as do the giant maggots from The Green Death and the Zygons.
Where The Pyramids of Mars doubtless tips its hat to the Egyptian mythos tales of Robert Bloch and Lovecraft, and on the stories of Sax Rohmer (creator of Fu Manchu), unashamedly introducing a cosmic god imprisoned by his brethren - just like Cthulhu himself.
The Krynoids are an interesting case-study, as the inspiration for Seeds of Doom is usually attributed to The Thing from Another World which was in turn inspired by John W. Campell's Who Goes There. However, many of these elements first appeared and were inspired by Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness (antarctic expeditions, living plant-creatures who lived on earth millions of years ago). The Old Ones introduced in this story were actually described as 'crinoid', and they travelled to earth drifting on the cosmic winds. When the story moves to England we again see shades of The Dunwich Horror in the monster's rampage across the countryside.
The Masque of Mandragora touches upon disembodied power reminiscent of cosmic gods, and The Talons of Weng Chiang uses another time cabinet reminiscent of Randolph Carter's clock. Interestingly, the mutation of Magnus Greel mirrors the similar but more gruesome fate suffered by Carter.
The most blatant mythos pastiche has to be The Horror of Fang Rock, with the vast amorphous blob wreaking havoc in a remote coastal location. Everything screams Lovecraft, and yet the cliche that it uses - reused from The Ark in Space and mirrored in films like Alien - is one that rarely rears its head in mythos fiction.
The Image of the Fendahl steals an entire species from the Cthulhu Mythos. where they are known as the Chthonians. Again we see a reawakening, and when we do the fendahleen creatures resemble the Chthonians in nearly every way. Chthonians are repelled by 'star stones' inscribed with an Elder Pentagram (which apparently works on all of the Great Old Ones) and are vulnerable to salt-water (as opposed to just salt). The Fendahleen seen on TV are about as close as special effects could have got to visualising a Chthonian at that time. Again, much of the Chthonian legend has been created by Brian Lumley.
The Key to Time season draws little inspiration from Lovecraft, although the dualist nature of the Black and White Guardians did itself inspire some later connections, with Craig Hinton identifying the Guardians as Elder Gods in his novel The Quantum Archangel. At the end of the season, Robert Holmes' The Power of Kroll introduces us to another Cthulhuesque Octopus-god worshipped by a loony cult.
The City of Death's Scaroth of the Jagaroth is convincingly Cthulhoid not just in appearance, but also in name. there are more links to ancient Egypt, and interestingly Jagaroth is credited with having created life on Earth - a feat often attributed to Great Old Ones with names like Abhoth or Ubbo-Sathla.
Erato, the Tythonian from The Creature from the Pit is another creature that looks Cthulhoid. The idea that alien and inhuman doesn't mean evil is one rarely explored in mythos tales - depending on the author these creatures were usually amoral and occasionally evil. The nearest to this idea is from Brian Lumley's Titus Crow stories, where the Elder God Kthanid is almost identical in appearance to Great Cthulhu, whose appearance drives men mad.
Although inspired by the Hammer horror genre rather than the Lovecraftian, the Great Vampires from State of Decay have become the driving force behind many mythos-related elements of Virgin's New Adventures and successive Doctor Who literature. In Neil Penswick's The Pit they are called the Yssgaroth, and in Terrance Dick's Blood Harvest and Paul Cornell's Goth Opera we discover that they were very definitely not defeated by the Time Lords. The only Lovecraftian aspect to the original story was the defeat of the vampires by Rassilon and the Time Lords just as the Great Old Ones were defeated by the Elder Gods.
Through the New Adventures it is suggested that the Great Old Ones were the Yssgaroth, and that one branch or line of that species were the Great Vampires. While vampires didn't appear in the mythos, if they had done it would have been as they appeared in mythos-author Brian Lumley's Wamphyri novels (then again, maybe those are mythos tales).
The Eternals of Enlightenment are (like the Guardians and, the books later inform us, The Celestial Toymaker) Elder beings frm the universe before our own. They, as adequately as anything, flesh out the pantheon of Elder Gods never seen in mythos tales, but capable of taking human form.
The Awakening resurrects various aspects used before in stories like The Daemons and The Image of the Fendahl. Ancient evil awakened to bring its wrath down upon a fictitious country village.
Another story not immediately connected to the mythos, but drawn into it by later literary references, is The Greatest Show in the Galaxy. Here its antagonists, the Gods of Ragnarok, are later revealed to be Raag, Nah and Rukh who, along with Fenric from The Curse of Fenric (connected to Hastur), come to be associated with the pantheon of the Great Old Ones. In the mythos proper, their role would hae been assumed by Nyarlathotep.
Ghost Light is another story which has something you cannot easily place. Its central character, Josiah Smith, is a typically lovecraftianvillain reminiscent of many similar characters throughout the genre - Wilbur Whately, Dr Laban Shrewbury, the warlock Joseph Curwen, and others. The mysterious master of a household whose dabblings with things beyond mortal understanding robs him of his humanity.
Curse of Fenric, as well as having the later Hastur connection, revisits the awakening of ancient evil, but also introduces the in-bred inhabitants of a coast village, and their still-living ancestors hidden underwater (imagery drawn straight from The Shadow over Innsmouth). The Haemovores are themselves an extremely Lovecraftian concept - an ancient and decadent human race from the distant future who could so easily have fitted into both Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith's depictions of a polluted Earth's twilight years.
The Virgin Circle - Embracing the LegendBy far the strongest influence that Lovecraft has had on Doctor Who is his effect on the writers of Virgin's New Adventures. Active in a period where Chaosium, Inc.'s Call of Cthulhu dominated the role-playing scene, and where the origins of TV stories were often of as much value as the on-screen adventures, these writers formally acknowledged the series' debt to Lovecraft and his peers by making a version of the Cthulhu Mythos an integral part of Doctor Who mythology.
"Until the next time the connections in the huge multi-lobed brains take sufficient form for a new dream. Whenever the stars are right..."
White Darkness, David A. McIntee
The first of Virgin's New Adventures to involve the Cthulhu Mythos was David A. McIntee's White Darkness. Despite making Cthulhu himself the principal antagonist, McIntee's approach was quite subtle, using only the names of mythos tomes and the titles 'Old Ones' and 'Great Old One'. He emphasised the alien and cosmic nature of these creatures, but did so in such a way that they didn't have to be the same Great Old Ones.
"They all share certain elements in common. One of those elements is the story of an all-powerful race who tried to conquer and destroy Creation. A race banished from this universe. The myths of Gallifrey talk about nameless horrors infesting our universe which were only defeated through the might of the Time Lords."
The Pit, Neil Penswick
In The Pit, Penswick brings the mythos much closer to Doctor Who, but at the same time he distances it. He invents the name Yssgaroth, using it as the true name of the Great Old Ones, who were banished from the universe not by the Elder Gods, but by the Time Lords. It was a clear move to embrace what parts of the mythos worked well for Doctor Who, encouraging other writers to do their own thing with the mythos, moving it away from Lovecraft or Derleth's canon. But no...
"I-ay, I-ay, naghaa, naghai-ghai! Shoggog fathagn! I-ay, I-ay rsa toggua tholo-ya! Tholo-ya fathagn!"
All-Consuming Fire, Andy Lane
With his Doctor Who meets Sherlock Holmes opus, Andy Lane brought the mythos kicking and screaming into the universe of Doctor Who, with Night Gaunts, Azathoth, R'lyeh, books of mythos lore and, most dramatically, by using it to explain away certain past incidents from the previous thirty years, making a statement that the mythos has, does and allways will have a place in the world of Doctor Who.
"This Great Kingdom is based on three very different laws of physics: those indigenous to this universe; those of Saraquezel who hals from the universe that follows this one, and those of Yog-Sothoth - the Great Intelligence - who is asurvivor of the cosmos that existed before the big bang."
Millennial Rites, Craig Hinton
The next major foray into the Cthulhu Mythos came from Craig Hinton, in his novel Millennial Rites. Rather than following the conventions of either Doctor Who or the mythos, this story drew on the more visual medium of comic-books to build a reality-challenging story that had no need of the mythos or its legacy.
Returning to the mythos, albeit on the periphery, with his novel First Frontier, David McIntee introduced the Darklings - a sci-fi revisioning of the fungi from Yuggoth, hailing from a planet of the same name.
Mythos Metafictions - how the Mythos evolves
The Mythos in other media
The Cthulhu Mythos and the new series
This material originally appeared in the fanzine Apocrypha Presents: A Dr Who fan's guide to the Cthulhu Mythos © Adrian Middleton 1993, and is reproduced with permission. Necronomicon quotes are ©1990 Lin Carter, printed posthumously in the Candlemas 1990 issue of Crypt of Cthulhu.
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|SimonFoston||Integral?!||0||Mar 3 2013, 7:41 PM EST by SimonFoston|
Thread started: Mar 3 2013, 7:41 PM EST Watch
" These writers formally acknowledged the series' debt to Lovecraft and his peers by making a version of the Cthulhu Mythos an integral part of Doctor Who mythology."
I would hardly describe a cross-over in non-canonical spin-off fiction to be integral to Doctor Who mythology. None of these writers have done anything for the actual TV series, so I don't care what they choose to acknowledge.
|SimonFoston||All Consuming Fire||0||Mar 3 2013, 7:51 AM EST by SimonFoston|
Thread started: Mar 3 2013, 7:51 AM EST Watch
"Again in The All Consuming Fire, Andy Lane reveals the connection between the creatures of the Doctor Who universe, and the Great Old Ones..."
NO. No he does not. He merely imagines it. There's no connection between ANY of these fictional universes until someone comes along and says there's one in order to sell comics, tacky spin-off novels or bad films.
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