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The Shadow Over Innsmouth Annotated

The Shadow Over Innsmouth Annotated

2020 . Howard Lovecraft



The Shadow Over Innsmouth Annotated
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About the book

The Shadow over Innsmouth is a horror novella by American author H. P. Lovecraft, written in November-December 1931. It forms part of the Cthulhu Mythos, using its motif of a malign undersea civilization, and references several shared elements of the Mythos, including place-names, mythical creatures, and invocations. The Shadow over Innsmouth is the only Lovecraft story that was published in book form during his lifetime.The narrator is a student conducting an antiquarian tour of New England. He travels through the nearby decrepit seaport of Innsmouth which is suggested as a cheaper and potentially interesting next leg of his journey. There he interacts with strange people and observes disturbing events that ultimately lead to horrifying and personal revelations.The narrator explains how he instigated a secret investigation of the ruined town of Innsmouth, Massachusetts, by the U.S. government. He proceeds to describe in detail the events surrounding his initial interest in the town, which lies along the route of his tour across New England, taken when he was twenty-one. While he waits for the bus that will take him to Innsmouth, he busies himself in the neighboring Newburyport by gathering information on the town from the locals; all of it having superstitious overtones. The narrator finds Innsmouth to be a mostly deserted fishing town, full of dilapidated buildings and people who walk with a distinctive shambling gait and have "queer narrow heads with flat noses and bulgy, stary eyes". The only person in town who appears normal is a grocery store clerk from neighboring Arkham. The narrator gathers much information from the clerk, including a map of the town and the name of Zadok Allen, an elderly local who might give him information when plied with drink. The narrator hears repeatedly that outsiders are never welcomed in Innsmouth, and that strangers, particularly government investigators, have disappeared when they pry too deeply into the town.The narrator meets Zadok, who explains that an Innsmouth merchant named Obed Marsh discovered a race of fish-like humanoids known as the Deep Ones. When hard times fell on the town, Obed established a cult called the Esoteric Order of Dagon, which offered human sacrifices to the Deep Ones in exchange for wealth in the form of large fish hauls and unique jewelry. When Obed and his followers were arrested, the Deep Ones attacked the town and killed more than half of its population, leaving the survivors with no other choice than to continue Obed's practices. Male and female inhabitants were forced to breed with the Deep Ones, producing hybrid offspring which have the appearance of normal humans in early life but, in adulthood, slowly transform into Deep Ones themselves and leave the surface to live in ancient undersea cities for eternity. He further explains that these ocean-dwellers have designs on the surface world and have been planning the use of shoggoths to conquer or transform it. Zadok sees strange waves approaching the dock and tells the narrator that they have been seen, urging him to leave town immediately. The narrator is unnerved, but ultimately dismisses the story. Once he leaves, Zadok disappears and is never seen again.






Independently Published



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