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Mythos Audio Library 1: Call of Cthulhu $12.99 $6.50
Publisher: Dream Machine Productions
by Chris H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/24/2008 01:26:00

I wanted to love this product. After all, the source material is top-notch weird fiction, and I very much enjoy H.P. Lovecraft's stories (although he does overuse the word "Cyclopean" in "The Call of Cthulhu). It's very nice to have an unabridged reading of "The Call of Cthulhu" to listen to while doing yard work, exercising, or commuting. Thus I eagerly bought this product as soon as I learned of its availability here.

However, I have to register some disappointment in the narration. The product description touted the reader's "rich voice" and "deft characterizations," but I confess that I wouldn't be able to second those descriptions. The only "characterization" that I noticed was in the reading of the newspaper article from the Sydney Bulletin in Part III of the story--where the reader read the Bulletin article a little louder and a little faster, but not in a different tone or accent, than the mainstream narration.

But my biggest complaint is that the reader mispronounced several words, and pronounced others inconsistently. The reader consistently mispronounced "bas-relief" (a word that recurs frequently in "The Call of Cthulhu"), making the "bas" part sound like /bass/ (like the fish) instead of /bah/; the reader also insisted on improperly pronouncing the "s" in "Fleur-de-Lys" ("Lys" should sound like /lee/, not /lease/). "The Call of Cthulhu" features a schooner called "Emma"; the reader consistently pronounced "schooner" as /shooner/ rather than the proper pronunciation, like /skooner/. And the reader could not seem to decide how to pronounce "Cthulhu," sometimes making it sound like /kuh-TOOL-hoo/ and sometimes like /KOO-too-loo/. An audiobook narration should have impeccable pronunciation. This one doesn't, and the mispronunciations really distracted me from the story itself.

So there are two levels at which to judge this product: the story by Lovecraft, and the audio execution by Dream Machine. My star rating focuses on the latter: this particular audio production is, in my opinion, subpar and definitely not up to the level of Lovecraft's prose.

[2 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
The only time I respond to a review is when it contains factual inaccuracies, and that's the case here: Every single one of your pronunciation complaints is, ironically, wrong. Both "bah-relief" and "bas-relief" are correct pronunciations of the word. Similarly, both "lee" and "leese" are correct English pronunciations of Fleur-de-Lys. In both cases, the pronunciation used in the audio book is the more common pronunciation (although this may have regional variation).

In the case of the pronunciation of "Cthulhu", I believe you'll discover that the syllabic emphasis varies by who's saying it. This was a deliberate choice, reflecting the unusual pronunciation of a word not designed for human lips. I'm sorry you disagree with that artistic choice.
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Mythos Audio Library 1: Call of Cthulhu
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