A note about The Cuddlywumps Chronicles

This blog is written and maintained by Miss Cuddlywumps, a fluffy-tailed calico cat who is both classically educated and familiar with mysteries. She receives creative input from the Real Cats and clerical assistance from She of Little Talent (old SoLT, a.k.a. Roby Sweet). Comments or complaints should be addressed to Miss C rather than to old SoLt (Ms. Sweet). Ms. Sweet accepts no responsibility for Miss C's opinions.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Cat Classics: The Cats of Ulthar

You may recall some months ago we reviewed an app called The Cats of Ulthar. This game is based on a short story of the same title by H. P. Lovecraft, and we just finally got around to reading the original story. It is a cat classic that is worth knowing about, and if you’re into weird things, it’s well worth reading.

H.P. Lovecraft’s weird cat story

Photo portrait of HP Lovecraft, 1915
H.P. Lovecraft in 1915.
Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.
H. P. Lovecraft (1890–1937) was an American author who had the great misfortune of being largely unappreciated during his lifetime. He is known now for his weird, gothic-tinged horror fiction and is considered a significant influence upon that genre. Stephen King has cited Lovecraft as an influence.

“The Cats of Ulthar,” written in 1920, is the short tale of a place where it is forbidden to kill a cat. In this village, there is an old couple who, for reasons we prefer not to know, have a habit of killing their neighbors’ cats. A band of wanderers arrives, and among them is a young orphan boy who has a cherished black kitten. When the kitten goes missing…well, let’s just say the boy fixes things for the village’s cats once and for all.

Weird, mystical, horrifying…but not gross

Lovecraft has woven a sense of the mystical through every sentence in this story, which will take you only a few minutes to read. It is not the sort of graphic, violent horror that makes you want to unsee the words you have just read. Instead, “The Cats of Ulthar” wraps itself through the folds of your brain and leaves seeds of creepiness to sprout and grow. In other words, it’s pretty terrific, and we think it’s worthwhile to track down a copy of the story, which appears in several editions of Lovecraft’s complete fiction and online. If creepy, weird stuff is your thing, Lovecraft may just be your guy.

Oh, and if you ever happen to find yourself in a place called Ulthar, don’t upset the cats!

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