The Call of Cthulhu

Cover image for


Author: H.P. Lovecraft
Published: 1926
Language: English
Wordcount: 11,849 / 35 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 43.6
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 170,416
Added to site: 2006.03.09 13095
Genres: Horror, Short Story

Three independent narratives linked together by the device of a narrator discovering notes left by a deceased relative. Piecing together the whole truth and disturbing significance of the information he possesses, the narrator's final line is ''The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents.''

Show Excerpt

ndscape in the Paris spring salon of 1926. And so numerous are the recorded troubles in insane asylums that only a miracle can have stopped the medical fraternity from noting strange parallelisms and drawing mystified conclusions. A weird bunch of cuttings, all told; and I can at this date scarcely envisage the callous rationalism with which I set them aside. But I was then convinced that young Wilcox had known of the older matters mentioned by the professor.

II. The Tale of Inspector Legrasse.

The older matters which had made the sculptor's dream and bas-relief so significant to my uncle formed the subject of the second half of his long manuscript. Once before, it appears, Professor Angell had seen the hellish outlines of the nameless monstrosity, puzzled over the unknown hieroglyphics, and heard the ominous syllables which can be rendered only as "Cthulhu" ; and all this in so stirring and horrible a connexion that it is small wonder he pursued young Wilcox with queries and demands for data.


Average Rating of 4 from 24 reviews: ****
Mihaly Borbely

This was the story that got me hooked on Lovecraft long ago.
The effect is something like the old sense of "sublime". He often describes things as "blasphemous", but they are as likely to blaspheme against geometry as against God.
If you don't want to download it, you can also read it online:

Paulo Respighi

Lovecraft had two basic types of stories. One where the thing happens to the protagonist (Herbert West, Whisperer on the Doorstep, Charles Dexter Ward, Mountains of Madness,) and one where the narrator discovers documents, artifacts, etc. and relates someone else's story. This started out as the latter (boring) type, but luckily it ended with a sailor's first-person account of Cthulhu (pronounced, "Smith"). If you can get through the scholarship stuff, the ending is worth it.


One of my favorite short stories! This is a sci-fi classic. If that is not enough for you to read it, imagine a secret cults, horrible monsters, and a following clues "detective" style to discover the horrors of Cthulhu (best name ever).
A must of H. P. Lovecraft lovers, sci-fi/horror lovers, or just anyone who wants a great fictional short story.

Andrew Ives

A very silly story, told very well, although the language used was rather 'baroque' in its overuse of adjectives and descriptions. This story comes in three parts, building up the tension nicely, but the 3rd part eventually annoyed me with its over-ornate, superficially compunctional pericombobulations.

Grant Kerr

It’s appropriately weird that – in this story that culminates in a jellyish-green tentacled monster – it’s the little images that stand out best.

Whether its a man dying inexplicably after a sheath of papers falls out of a window and its him on the head or a 6" statuette of a monster – its claws "gripped the front edge and extended a quarter of the way down toward the bottom of the pedestal.

The depiction of the sifting and physics defying demission of the tomb of Cthulhu (its all wrong geometry) makes the stone buildings and arches as much part of the terror as the wakening monster it harbours.

“They could not decide whether it lay flat like a trap-door or slantwise like an outside cellar door… (Donovan) climbed interminably along the grotesque stone moulding – that is, one would call it climbing if the thing was not after all horizontal.”


The Call of Cthulhu was amazing, for starters. Lovecraft has a strange writing style, but once you get past that into the story, it's incredible.

The only part that confused me was towards the end (spoiler) where he described R'lyeh with angles that behaved wrong, and then there was Cthulhu. :DDD

One of the greatest works of Fiction I've ever read. I loved it, and I recommend it.


Arguably H.P. Lovecraft's greatest work. The prose is dense, like many of Lovecraft's other works, but the patience needed is well worth it. Cthulhu is one of the best monsters of all time, a mammoth figure comparable to Satan and Dracula.


Eh. While I can see how this would have been a riveting sci-fi novel during its time, it definitely reads like a relic of literature today. However, it'll only take about an hour to finish so it's worth checking out if you're a sci-fi fan.


One of the most intersting early 20th century scifi stories. I enjoyed learning about some archaic english words Lovecraft uses throughout the story. It is also also quite an innovative story when you consider the time this was written and the `newness` of the scifi genre at that time. A must read for every scifi aficionado. Make sure to watch the South Park parody of the Cthulhu cult - hilarious!


An excellent, chilling story.


Horror story about, like, an evil blob. I wasn’t wild about the blob, but I loved the way the story was told. Our first-person narrator discovers his dead uncle’s notes on a strange occurrence and pieces together a really nifty little story, a potential world-ender.


"Call of Cthulhu" is a noteworthy novel about gruesome and horror-inducing story. Lovecraft zealously describes everything in such precise details that it creates and keeps an ambiance of fear and terror whilst reading the story to the very end.

A-must-read for everyone who cherishes fantastically interesting horror stories set in style of sci-fi.


Lovecraft was not a great writer, but he was great at imagining.

He writes with an awkward, clunky, affected style that does not flow well and can be disruptive to the mood he would like to build.

But the ideas themselves, the stories he wanted to tell, are in themselves so chilling that they transcend his less than stellar prose. A lot of horror and science fiction that we have today is influenced by Lovecraft. A lot of authors in these genres consider him a powerful influence.

It says something that authors like Stephen King, Brian Lumley, Robert Bloch, and others, have written stories set in Lovecraft's mythology. It also says something that these stories are usually better than Lovecraft's own.

Not a great writer, and yet a huge figure in horror and science fiction. He just understood what frightens people.

Mark G Melvin

Very interesting.


This was moderately interesting but not of Lovecraft's better stories.


you know, everyone, that the metal band Metallica made several songs off of Lovecrafts books, such as: 'Ride the Lightning', 'The Call of Ktulu' (they changed the spelling cuz no1 could pronounce it), 'The Thing That Should Not Be' and among others, check um out


Wow. That was short, but it felt like it was very long, you get drawn into the story. The imagery was so good, I coulld almost see the bas-reliefs of Cthulhu. I am glad that I was able to read this, and wish to thank whoever put this here.

Shelby Davis

The book that started the Cthulhu mythos! What more reason do you need to read it?

If you read Stross, or Gaiman, or Bradbury, or practically any science fiction, this is a must-read to understand the development of the genre.


I can't believe I never read Lovecraft before! Cool, creepy and intriguing. Even though some of the story elements were a little predictable, I still wanted to read through to the end.


At first a little all over the place but eventually you are really drawn in. I enjoyed it all the way through the ending.


I have a great love of Science Fiction movies and find those using HP Lovecraft themes to be interesting but the actual short stories that the movies are based on are a great deal better. HP writes as if everything is from out of a diary, first person and very serious. Tales are written as if that are fact which is why I guess some people think of them as stories of real places and people.

Jeff Edwards

"The Call of Cthulhu" is one of H.P. Lovecraft's most famous -- and most accessible -- works. It is sometimes difficult to read Lovecraft because of his prose style, but this story moves along at a fairly brisk pace. If you've never tried Lovecraft -- or if you have, and didn't enjoy his work -- then try "The Call of Cthulhu."


What can one say about the man who invented these tales of madness and cosmic strangeitude? (word coined by Ozric Tentacles - english space rock band influenced by Lovecraft)

If you don't know his works than download all of these short books and devour them! His writing, although archaic by today's standard, is filled with alien gods, occult secrets, and things that man was not meant to know...


Perhaps the best known of Lovecrafts works The Call of Cthulhu is an excellent introduction to his unique style of horror. It has everything that makes his writing great; an unwitting witness drawn into madness, a mythos of creatures beyond human understanding and a great perspective. Without doubt a horror classic.

(Promote your book here)

Featured Books

Cover image for The Call of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft - Free eBook


True Alpha 1
Alisa Woods

Shifters in Seattle – Desired (True Alpha 1) Ne... Read more

Cover image for The Call of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft - Free eBook

Open Minds

Mindjack Saga Book 1
Susan Kaye Quinn

When everyone reads minds, a secret is a danger... Read more

Cover image for The Call of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft - Free eBook

Rise of The Iron Eagle

The Iron Eagle Series Book 1
Roy A. Teel Jr.

Is The Iron Eagle a psychotic serial killer?Read more

Cover image for The Call of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft - Free eBook

XGeneration 1

You Don't Know Me (XGeneration Series)
Brad Magnarella

In the fall of 1984, Cold War tensions between... Read more

Cover image for The Call of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft - Free eBook

Drive, Ride, Repeat

The Mostly-True Account of a Cross-Country Car and Bicycle Adventure
Al Macy

Author Al Macy is a character and a tightwad wi... Read more

Cover image for The Call of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft - Free eBook

I Bring the Fire

Part I: Wolves (A Loki Story)
C. Gockel

In the middle of America, Amy Lewis is on her way... Read more

login | register

User ID


reset password

Help ManyBooks by sharing this page!

See it as donating a moment of your social media time, every little thing helps us improve and stay online.

Popular in This Genre

The list of books below is based on the weekly downloads by our users regardless of eReader device or file format.

by Théophile Gautier
At the Mountains of Madness
by H.P. Lovecraft
The Call of Cthulhu
by H. P. Lovecraft
The Best Ghost Stories
by Various Authors
The Invisible Man
by H.G. Wells
by Bram Stoker
by Franz Kafka
Collected Works of Poe
by Edgar Allan Poe
A Stable for Nightmares
by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

See more popular titles from this genre.