H P Lovecraft's "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" (novella, free): Intelligent sea-based amphibians have been interbreeding with humanity!
Very cool ending that has obviously influenced Henry Kuttner. But interesting bits are in the last 20%; first 80% just builds up the creepy atmosphere & kept putting me to sleep. Took me over a week to finish this.
Wikipedia has a quote that suggests this is really a story about "what Lovecraft found revolting in the idea of interracial marriage...the subtextual hook of different ethnic races mating and 'polluting' the gene pool."
Story summary.The "ancient Massachusetts seaport of Innsmouth", once a bristling city & now a very-low population town that's pariah to its neighboring towns because of
- the strange disease that has been afflicting & "killing" its residents,
- its creepy jewelry,
- association of the town with "blasphemous fish-frogs",
- Story features a religious cult called "The Esoteric Order of Dagon". I got an impression the "Dagon" is what is called Cthulhu & his people in Lovecraft's "The Call of the Cthulhu". But I'm not sure of this.
Note there is a "Dagon" of Biblical legend too - some sort of "evil" ancient deity that's an object of worship by undersea monsters. Lovecraft's story, "Dagon", is inspired directly by that.
- The story also mentions "Cthulhu", in a context similar to that in Lovecraft's "The Call of the Cthulhu". Only the cultists here aren't human but an intelligent race of sea dwelling "fish-frogs".
- Wikipedia mentions two stories as its primary influences: Robert W Chambers' "The Harbor-Master" and Irvin S Cobb's "Fishhead" (download), & a third story, H G Wells' "In the Abyss" (1896) as a likely secondary influence.
Fact sheet.First published: As a book of the same title in 1936.
Download full text from DagonBytes.
Related: Stories of H P Lovecraft; fiction from 1930s.