Throwback Thursday: H.P. Lovecraft’s Mi-Go (1931)

YUGGOTH WATCHTOWER, by Cal MacDonald. Click here for more of the artist’s work!

Great and dreadful Cthulhu is without doubt Lovecraft’s most recognized creation, and many who are only casually aware of his work may think he’s the end-all and be-all of his work. I’d even personally go so far as to say that Cthulhu in the present day is overexposed, his shadow obscuring many of H.P.’s other fascinating creatures and stories. So on this Throwback Thursday, I’m casting a light on one of his lesser know creations before they… or I… scurry off into the darkness.

The Mi-Go are fungus-based extraterrestrials that first appeared, as they would be thereafter presented, in Lovecraft’s short story The Whisperer in Darkness in 1931. They alluded to in far less detailed way, and not by name, in sonnets from Fungi from Yuggoth which he finished in 1930. But it is in The Whisperer that he drops this bit of description:

They were pinkish things about five feet long; with crustaceous bodies bearing vast pairs of dorsal fins or membraneous wings and several sets of articulated limbs, and with a sort of convoluted ellipsoid, covered with multitudes of very short antennae, where a head would ordinarily be…. As it was, nearly all the rumours had several points in common; averring that the creatures were a sort of huge, light-red crab with many pairs of legs and with two great bat-like wings in the middle of their back…

H.P. Lovecraft, The Whisperer In Darkness.

The Mi-Go have been around for at least a billion years and originate from somewhere in the cosmos far beyond our solar system. They are highly intelligent, with advanced scientific and medical skills easily surpassing that of humanity, and live mainly on an outpost on Pluto, which they call Yuggoth. In eons past, before the evolution of man, they had colonies on Earth as well. But long ago these were mostly abandoned after ages of war between them and other alien colonists and gods. They still maintain hidden bases here and there on earth, however, to mine for minerals and other resources they require.

As is typical in Lovecraft’s works, as beings the Mi-Go are apathetic towards mankind and not dedicated to it destruction. They could likely accomplish the task if they wanted to, but doing so is simply not amid their aims and goals. Frankly, humanity is only ever a passing concern and nuisance to the Mi-Go… although the most interesting of human minds they encounter may find their brains removed from their bodies, sealed in life supporting cylinders, and then flown off as helpless observers to see cosmic horrors unknown.

Lovecraft – Mi Go III, by KingOvRats. Click here for more of the artist’s work!
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5 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday: H.P. Lovecraft’s Mi-Go (1931)

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    1. Many of Lovecraft’s creations could absolutely care less about humanity. ;-) One of HP’s most common themes is the insignificance of the human race in the cosmos, and in comparison to the far more advanced and powerful beings within it.

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  1. The Whisperer was one of my favorites – even their “deal” – being brain hooked up to wires carried on the backs of beasts through the emptiness of space was horrifying.
    And I agree, Cthulhu has dominated the perception of Lovecraft (much like Poe’s comedy short stories- angel of the odd, a few words with a mummy) are overshadowed by his horror writing.
    Personally, my favorite stories were from Lovcraft’s dream cycle, such as Ex Oblivione and the Dreamquest of Unknown Kaddath. This led me to Dunsany and the rest is history.

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    1. “The Whisperer in Darkness” is one of my favorites too. :-) The Mi-Go have inspired some vignettes from me, as well as a Lovecraftian novel outline for story set in Maine in 1929 called “Whispers on Weldon Island”. They don’t get a mention in my current Lovecraft / R.E. Howard inspired piece “Shadow of the Black Tower”, but they are certainly in its background.

      The Dream Cycle is very interesting stuff, and I’ve been very happy to have been able to incorporate some of its aspects into the setting of “Shadow”.

      Liked by 1 person

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