Terror Tales of the Toad God
Amid the unremitting vigilance of his warders, Knygathin Zhaum came forward, fixing upon me the intent but inexpressive gaze of his lidless, ochre-yellow eyes, in which a face-to-face scrutiny could discern no pupils. He knelt down beside the block, presenting his mottled nape without a tremor. As I looked upon him with a calculating eye, and made ready for the lethal stroke, I was impressed more powerfully and more disagreeably than ever by the feeling of a loathsome, underlying plasticity, an invertebrate structure, nauseous and non-terrestrial, beneath his impious mockery of human form. And I could not help perceiving also the air of abnormal coolness, of abstract, impenetrable cynicism, that was maintained by all his parts and members. He was like a torpid snake, or some huge liana of the jungle, that is wholly unconscious of the shearing axe. I was well aware that I might be dealing with things which were beyond the ordinary province of a public headsman; but nathless I lifted the great sword in a clean, symmetrically flashing arc, and brought it down on the piebald nape with all of my customary force and address.
—Clark Ashton Smith, “The Testament of Arhammaus”
Can a god be a pet? Even a devil-god who relishes human sacrifice? It is hard to deny that for his creator and godfather, Clark Ashton Smith and H. P. Lovecraft, Tsathoggua was exactly that. They found the Saturnian-Hyperborean-N'klaian toad-bat-sloth-deity as cute and adorable as horrific, and this strange ambivalence echoes throughout their various tales over which Great Tsathoggua casts his batrachian shadow! Some are droll fables of human foibles; others are terrifying adventures of human delvers who perish in the fire of a religious fanaticism fully as awful as its super-sub-human object of worship. Tsathoggua has inspired many types of stories in many moods. And not just by Smith and Lovecraft! In this arcane volume you will read Tsathogguan tales old and new by various writers, chronicling the horrors of the amorphous amphibian's descent into new decades and deeper waters. The mere fact that such a thing is possible attests mightily the power of the modern myth of Tsathoggua, and the men who created him!
Robert M. Price ed.; Cover by Mark Achilles White. 240 pages, illustrated. Trade Paperback.