Thursday, February 14, 2013
Review: The Book of Cthulhu II
The Book of Cthulhu II by Ross E. Lockhart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Book Info: Genre: Lovecraftian Anthology/Dark Fantasy short stories
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: Fans of Lovecraft
Trigger Warnings: Murder, violence, death, black magic, etc.
My Thoughts: I have, below my disclosure, listed the names of the stories and given a hint as to what each is about. I have done my best to avoid major spoilers. It is very difficult to review an anthology, because each story is separate and requires a separate analysis if one wishes to do things properly, yet with short stories it is hard to do this without providing spoilers.
The nice thing about this particular anthology is that it shares a common theme—the Cthulhu mythos—and therefore it all holds together in a way. The authors have mostly made an effort to follow in Lovecraft’s footsteps in their style and wording, often filling their stories with beautiful and unusual words that create an eerie, yet enticing, atmosphere, at least for people who enjoy words for the sake of their beauty. The exception to this is the first story, by Neil Gaiman, which was so funny that I spent the whole thing laughing my head off. People who haven’t read much Lovecraft might miss some of the jokes, but I think most people will enjoy the humor in it.
The stories by Elizabeth Bear and Jonathan Wood have led me to want to read more of their respective work, if I can find it. I’d love to learn more about the Boojum, so I’m hoping some longer stories have been written featuring these creatures, and I so enjoyed Jonathan Wood’s style and humor that I sincerely hope there is more out there to be read. (Note: Jonathan Wood’s story is in his Arthur Wallace series, in which there are two books. I hope to acquire these books once they are again available. And more if there are any more.)
These stories are all darkly brilliant gems of Cthulhuian/Lovecraftian imagination. Fans of Lovecraft will not want to miss it. Highly recommended.
Disclosure: I received an e-galley from Night Shade Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. n
Stories in this Anthology: Introduction by Ross Lockhart
“Shoggoth’s Old Peculiar” by Neil Gaiman—Wherein a young American goes on a walking tour of the British coastline and stumbles upon a mysterious town and meets a couple of interestingly frog-faced men. Very funny.
“Nor the Demons Down Under the Sea” by Caitlin R. Kiernan—With lyrical and poetic language, a story is told about two young ladies.
“This is How the World Ends” by John R. Fultz—Not with fire, not with ice, but with water.
“The Drowning at Lake Henpin” by Paul Tobin—What if H.P. Lovecraft had written a procedural mystery? I think it would have gone like this.
“The Ocean and all it’s Devices” by William Browning Spencer—A lonely and isolated motel, a mysterious family that visits at the same time each year.
“Take your Daughters to Work” by Livia Llewellyn—A story told from a different point of view.
“The Big Fish” by Kim Newman—Lovecraftian Noir set right after Pearl Harbor. Wry, dark humor.
“Rapture of the Deep” by Cody Goodfellow—Remote viewers searching the Marianas Trench for a wrecked ship find more than they bargained for.
“Once More from the Top” by A. Scott Glancy—An old Marine remembers his visit to Innsmouth 70 years ago.
“The House of the Tortoise” by Molly Tanzer—An illegitimate child visits a dying guardian and learns a horrifying secret.
“I Only Am Escaped Alone to Tell Thee” by Christopher Reynaga—Ishmael tells the real story about Captain Ahab.
“Objects from the Gilman-Waite Collection” by Ann K. Schwader—Mysteriously enticing—and disturbing—scultures.
“Of Melei, of Ulthar” by Gord Sellar—Black and white cats, and the dreams of Melei and mysterious, swarthy soldiers in Ulthar.
“A Gentleman from Mexico” by Mark Samuels—A poet who writes strange and sinister poems in Náhuatl introduces his publisher to a man who perfectly mimics Lovecraft's style. Or is it only mimicry?
“The Hands that Reek and Smoke” by W. H. Pugmire—A strange man named Nyarlathotep inspires artists, including a young woman named Lisa, who now wears strange, metallic-mesh gloves and draws using charcoal.
“Akropolis” by Matt Wallace—Danny is eight when a city falls from the sky.
“Boojum” by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette—A Boojum is a living entity that is used as a spaceship. And I want one!
“The Nyarlathotep Event” by Jonathan Wood—A night at the theatre goes horribly awry, since the performer represents all human fear.
“The Black Brat of Dunwich” by Stanley C. Sargent—A new perspective on Wilbur Whatley.
“The Terror from the Depths” by Fritz Leiber—Geroge tells of his home and the strange, desert trails of his childhood in California. Recursive meta-fiction.
“Black Hill” by Orrin Grey—There is something more than oil under the dir.
“The God of Dark Laughter” by Michael Chabon—Coulrophobia and the Uratian origin of clowns
“Sticks” by Karl Edward Wagner—Strange stuctures and cairns of sticks.
“Hand of Glory” by Laird Barron—Irish mobsters and black magicians.
Synopsis: For nearly a century, H. P. Lovecraft's tales of malevolent Great Old Ones existing beyond the dimensions of this world, beyond the borders of sanity, have captured and held the imaginations of writers and aficionados of the dark, the macabre, the fantastic, and the horrible. Now, because you demanded more, anthologist Ross E. Lockhart has risked all to dive back into the Cthulhu canon, combing through mind-shattering manuscripts and moldering tomes to bring you The Book of Cthulhu 2, with even more tales of tentacles, terror, and madness.
Featuring monstrous stories by many of weird fiction's brightest lights, The Book of Cthulhu 2 brings you even more tales inspired by H. P. Lovecraft’s greatest creation: The Cthulhu mythos.
This year, the stars are right
Iä! Iä! Cthulhu Fhtagn!
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