Guest-Posting: “Ia, Ia, Google Fthagn” and “Any Sufficiently Advanced Technology Is Indistinguishable From Cthulhu”

What would the Cthulhu Mythos look like if they were written from scratch in 2015?

That’s the question I’m answering over on Charles Stross’s blog today, in a post entitled “Ia, Ia, Google Fthagn

Lovecraft’s concern was vast, alien entities who have no knowledge of, or concern for, the human race.

Our modern-day concerns are about vast, alien entities who have total, invasive, privacy-destroying knowledge of the minutae of the human race - and still have no concern for us.

In the era of Google, Facebook, datamining and intelligent advertising, the problem isn’t that the alien entities who scare the crap out of us have no interest in us - rather the reverse. The aliens in our midst know when we’ve become accidentally pregnant. They know what pornography we watch. They can predict our behaviour and influence us to do what they want.

And this element actually fits rather well into the Cthulhu Mythos’ core concepts - and it makes them a whole lot scarier.

This post is a sequel of sorts to another piece I wrote on Charlie’s blog a couple of weeks back, entitled “Any Sufficiently Advanced Technology Is Indistinguishable From Cthulhu -

Charlie’s Laundry is inspired by the British civil service, spy novels and programming. HOWTO’s universe centres around a shady Internet forum where people who would otherwise be doing black-hat SEO crowdsource ways to profit from demonology. And I’m sure there are dozens of other spins on the same thing.

So why does it work?

Well, for starters, the Lovecraftian universe fits extremely well with the universe as understood by geeks. It’s a fundementally science-driven place, where all magic is indeed just sufficiently advanced technology. Cthulhu isn’t scary because he’s a big squid, he’s scary because he’s a Culture Mind without the sense of humour or concern for human life. Yog-Sothoth isn’t a Judeo-Christian demon, it’s a force of the universe like Weak Nuclear or gravity.