The narrator, a man named George, tells the tale of his online friend Henry Pickman who buys a new modem from Miskatonic Data Systems in Arkham, Massachusetts. The modem corrupts his online posts, infusing them with bile and vitriol, and Pickman believes it to be watching him.
The story concludes by stating that Henry Pickman's house is set ablaze and the man himself never heard from again, but just prior to this he sends George a message telling of his fear of the modem, and concluding with a burst of line noise which reads "Iä! FThaGN!Iä!CTHulHu!"
- George, the story's narrator.
- Henry Pickman, George's online friend.
Behind the Mythos Edit
Watt-Evans was inspired to write Pickman's Modem after an online chat session which was interrupted by a burst of line noise which formed text "that looked rather like a Lovecraftian invocation of the Great Old Ones," and another member of the group commented that "Pickman's modem [was] at work."
After completing the work, Watt-Evans sold it to Gardner Dozois at Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine. It was later reprinted in Arkham House's anthology Cthulhu 2000, and once again in Isaac Asimov's SF-Lite. It received an eBook release with the publication of the The Cthulhu Mythos Megapack by Wildside Press LLC in 2012. Watt-Evans also included it in his own collection, Celestial Debris.
- The serial number on the side of Pickman's new modem was #R1LYEH, a clear reference to R'lyeh, Cthulhu's resting place deep beneath the ocean.
- http://www.watt-evans.com/PickmansModem.shtml, the author recounts the inspiration behind Pickman's Modem.