WEIRD FICTION: My Little Shoggoth : The Evolution of an Eldritch Horror

Posted by on Apr 30, 2013 in Apex Publications Blog: Matters of SF, Fantasy, and Horror | 7 comments

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Say you want to put a little Lovecraftian horror into your life. Let’s take a moment to consider the shoggoth, and how it has evolved in cultural perception.

First, the shoggoth, in all its glory, as described in Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness:

… a plastic column of fetid black iridescence… a shapeless congeries of protoplasmic bubbles, faintly self-luminous, and with myriads of temporary eyes forming and un-forming as pustules of greenish light.

This shoggoth ‘oozes’, ‘crushes’, ‘slithers’, and ‘drives before it a cloud of pallid abyss vapor’.

Here’s how the original Astounding Stories cover rendered it:

“At The Mountains of Madness” Astounding Stories (serialization), 1936


Readers, shall we see whether 82 years has domesticated the shoggoth? I think we shall.

Crafters have taken up the cry, including fiber artist Tracy Widdess:

Pealed Surveillance, by Tracy Widdess – see more of her work at

Artist K.M. Kotulak has this amazing shoggoth podling, as well as others, on Etsy:

K.M. Kotulak’s Etsy shop is here:

Authors have explored the depths, including the award-winning “Shoggoths in Bloom,” by author Elizabeth Bear (Newly released in the eponymous short story collection Shoggoths in Bloom, below), and Charles Stross’ “A Colder War.”


Even young children have come up with their own interpretations:


Sometimes the toymakers try to get in on the act…. :

ehrm…. ok, sure, they’re able to take on any form, any task, but…


But never fear! We can find evidence of Shoggoth horrors in their natural state even in the most innocuous of circumstance.

I leave you with this nightmarish thought.  Perhaps we are the ones being domesticated after all:

Be afraid.

Fran Wilde writes speculative fiction, poetry, and things in between. She is a submissions editor for Apex Magazine, hosts a food and genre fiction interview series called Cooking the Books. She can also tie a bunch of sailing knots, set gemstones, and program digital minions.

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  1. Don’t forget the Shoggoth references in the bizarre and wonderful Resume With Monsters.

    The novel is “Office Space Meets Colour Out of Space” and you can read about it at Amazon.

    I’ll buy you a copy if you knit me a Shoggoth tea-cozy.

  2. Thanks, Joe! A good reminder!

    Shoggoth tea-cozy. *that* could be really cool…

  3. In the last picture, that tomato looks like some sort of sucker-mouth and it’s freaking me out.

    • You are not alone in this, Gary. The whole assemblage is terrifying.

  4. And who could forget “Shuggoth on the Roof” (

  5. btw, Fran, this post had me cracking up all day – especially the last image. thx.

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