Playing Games with the Great Old Ones: Ritual, Play, and Joking within the Cthulhu Mythos Fandom. Mullis, J. Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, 26(3):512–530, 2015.
abstract   bibtex   
This essay seeks to illuminate a fascinating aspect of global popular culture - fandom - by devising an original analytic frame based in Religious Studies which demonstrates that fandoms not only provide their devotees with new mythologies and communities but also succeed in creating subjunctive 'as-if' worlds for their adherents, thus providing a real alternative to traditional religions rather than simply a crude imitation of them. The fandom being examined here is devoted to the Cthulhu Mythos, a series of short interwoven sci-fi horror stories about monstrous alien gods and their dealings with human beings. Born of the pen of pulp author H.P. Lovecraft during the 1920s, this unique brand of "cosmic horror" survived its author's death by continually mutating to this day, attracting a wide ranging group of individuals who have "consecrated themselves" to Lovecraft's literary legacy and "long for the return of the monster gods" he dreamed up.
@article{mullis_playing_2015,
	title = {Playing {Games} with the {Great} {Old} {Ones}: {Ritual}, {Play}, and {Joking} within the {Cthulhu} {Mythos} {Fandom}},
	volume = {26},
	abstract = {This essay seeks to illuminate a fascinating aspect of global popular culture - fandom - by devising an original analytic frame based in Religious Studies which demonstrates that fandoms not only provide their devotees with new mythologies and communities but also succeed in creating subjunctive 'as-if' worlds for their adherents, thus providing a real alternative to traditional religions rather than simply a crude imitation of them. The fandom being examined here is devoted to the Cthulhu Mythos, a series of short interwoven sci-fi horror stories about monstrous alien gods and their dealings with human beings. Born of the pen of pulp author H.P. Lovecraft during the 1920s, this unique brand of "cosmic horror" survived its author's death by continually mutating to this day, attracting a wide ranging group of individuals who have "consecrated themselves" to Lovecraft's literary legacy and "long for the return of the monster gods" he dreamed up.},
	language = {en},
	number = {3},
	journal = {Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts},
	author = {Mullis, Justin},
	year = {2015},
	keywords = {\_PR, \_TRPG, \_fandom, \_lovecraft, \_research},
	pages = {512--530},
}
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