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The Book of Cthulhu Kindle Edition
"There are no weak stories here -- every single one of the 27 entries is a potential standout reading experience. The Book of Cthulhu is nothing short of pure Lovecraftian gold. If fans of H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos don't seek out and read this anthology, they're not really fans - it's that simple." -- Paul Goat Allen
"...thanks to the wide variety of contributing authors, as well as Lockhart's keen understanding of horror fiction and Lovecraft in particular, [The Book of Cthulhu] is the best of such anthologies out there." --Alan Cranis, Bookgasm.com
"The Book of Cthulhu is one hell of a tome." -- Brian Sammons, HorrorWorld.org
"...an impressive tribute to the enduring fascination writers have with Lovecraft's creation. [...] Editor Ross E. Lockhart has done an excellent job of ferreting out estimable stories from a variety of professional, semi-professional, and fan venues [...] to establish a sense of continuity and tradition." --Stefan Dziemianowicz, Locus --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
About the Author
- ASIN : B07H49KS6Q
- Publisher : Night Shade Books (September 1, 2011)
- Publication date : September 1, 2011
- Language : English
- File size : 1077 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 546 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 1597802328
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #403,962 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I was amazed to find that many of the stories feature minorities as protagonists and feature racism, xenophobia and slavery as main topics. The onset of WWII and the fear arising from a second global conflict within a generation, as well as the atrocities committed during WWII enters into a few of the tales as well. While many of these themes are touched on in multiple Mythos collections, they tend to be mere mentions and are rarely at the forefront of the stories as they are here.
The binding is good, the paper is heavy stock and the printing is crisp and clear. There are a few typos throughout, but they're few and far between for the majority of the volume, until you hit the Joe R. Lansdale story.
The Lansdale story and the Lumley story that follows are rife with glaring typos. It quite literally seems as though no one proofread either story before sending them to print. It's not unusual for Lansdale stories to have typos, he tends to get carried away with his writing and he goes off the rails at times with spelling and sentence structure. It takes a good solid proofreader and editor to get a Lansdale story to a readable condition. Brian Lumley is a bit different though and it's rare to see so many typos in one of his short stories. This is especially true considering that his story in this volume (The Fairground Horror) is an often reprinted story. I have two other collections with the same story in them and both are edited properly with no typos.
There are several very, very good stories in this volume and the topics touched on in many of the tales show an evolution of the Lovecraftian theme. This volume highlights the fact that Lovecraft inspired stories do not have to solely consist of indescribable horrors or gibbering monstrosities. While tentacles none the less abound, they are used to push the stories, not keep them trapped in a pseudo Dunsanian stranglehold. Well worth a read
This is a GREAT collection. Along with the favorites listed above, and others, I've found new favorites here--the best so far is "Jihad Over Innsmouth" by Edward Morris; but I have not run across a single "dud" story in this whole collection, which is a miracle. If you like the Mythos you should own this book.
Caitlin R. Kiernan - Andromeda among the Stones - Ms. Kiernan is one of the current marvel's of Lovecraftian publishing. Her short stories routinely are masterpieces and Threshold is one of the very best Lovecraftian (not Cthulhu mythos) novels ever written. In a characteristic ambiguous and layered story of the struggle to protect humanity from unthinkable horror Ms. Kiernan again delivers a remarkable story, with brilliant descriptive prose and deftly drawn characters.
Ramsey Campbell - The Tugging - Unlike most of the stories here, The Tugging is rather dated, originally published in 1976. This is closer to when Mr. Campbell was more imitative of Lovecraft and was just developing his own voice. The setting is the author's own Brichester in the Severn Valley, a location he has used so effectively in so many stories. Even back then Mr. Campbell's gifts with prose were evident. Derived from HPL, yes, but still very original, and very well written, I found it be fresh now as when I originally read it.
Charles Stross - A Colder War - For me A Colder War is one of the very best Cthulhu mythos stories of the last 20 years. Mr. Stross brilliantly weaves together cold war political themes and Lovecraftian horror. It presages his series of novels about Bob Howard and the Laundry.
Bruce Sterling - The Unthinkable - This story also considers the use of Lovecraftian supernatural horrors as strategic weapons in the Cold War. It was a decent read but suffers in comparison to A Colder War.
Silvia Moreno-Garcia - Flash Frame - Ms. Moreno-Garcia deserves wider recognition for her efforts with the independent publishers and online forum, Innsmouth Free Press. Flash Frame is brilliant, not overtly Cthulhu mythos but definitely Lovecraftian in feel. It also has heavy echoes of Robert Chambers. A reporter investigates a classic film. Wonderful stuff.
W. H. Pugmire - Some Buried Memory - Mr. Pugmire often writes of death and transfiguration. His dreamy stories about transitioning between states of being is constantly absorbing. Here he explores Lovecraftian ghouls. The events in the story are not so important as the mood they invoke; sometimes I think he is striving for anoesis in prose.
Molly Tanzer - The Infernal History of the Ivybridge Twins - Ms. Tanzer's work was originally published in Historical Lovecraft. It creates a somber mood from late 1700s England in the mansion of a decaying aristocratic family. For me it was pretty good, nothing more, particularly flanked by such impressive work.
Michael Shea - Fat Face - Fat Face may be the best story about shoggoths ever written, although Charlie Stross and Elizabeth Bear in this book may have something to say about that! Mr. Shea beautifully evokes a decadent San Francisco and the hapless life of a prostitute while spinning a horrific yarn. Fat Face is one of the top five stories in this book.
Elizabeth Bear - Shoggoths in Bloom - Ms. Bear was awarded the Hugo Award for Shoggoths in Bloom, a meditation on what it means to be a slave from the perspective of a descendent of slaves in Jim Crow America.
T. E. D. Klein - Black Man with a Horn - Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. Black Man with a Horn is one of the best Cthulhu mythos stories ever written, one of the best stories ever about the Tcho Tcho people.
David Drake - Than Curse the Darkness - Here's another story that I found OK, but not much more, as an English noblewoman goes into the heart of darkness to thwart Nyarlathotep.
Charles R. Saunders - Jeroboam Henley's Debt - I've always meant to read Mr. Saunders' Imaro stories, probably fine reading for a Conan fan like me. Jeroboam Henley's Debt is more about African mysticism and only has one throw away reference to Shub Niggurath. While a decent read I think of all the stories here it's the one that doesn't really belong in terms of content.
Thomas Ligotti - Nethescurial - The anthology continues from strength to strength with the wonderful Nethescurial from Thomas Ligotti. More Lovecraftian than Cthulhu mythos, an antiquarian or anthropologist loses himself in a manuscript.
Kage Baker - Calamari Curls - Somewhat played for humor and somewhat a story of supernatural horror, Calamari Curls depicts the vicissitudes of having the wrong address in a fading California town. OK for me but not much more.
Edward Morris - Jihad over Innsmouth - What a great story! It's spies vs Cthulhu in the air, in the backdrop of the paranoia since 9/11.
Cherie Priest - Bad Sushi - Bad Sushi was OK for me but not much more, as an aging sushi chef an ex-soldier from Japan has to figure out what is in the new fish that is having such a terrible effect on his customers.
John Hornor Jacobs - The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife - Moody, evocative and a little bit sad, a lonely woman abandoned in someway by her husband is pursued, and alas, caught, by a customer at her restaurant.
Brian McNaughton - The Doom that Came to Innsmouth - Another absolutely brilliant story. Mr. McNaughton died in 2004 at the unreasonably young age of 69. Only now do we realize what we lost. The story hooks the reader by way of the American soft spot for those who are persecuted for their religion, and then turns everything upside down. This is one of the best Cthulhu mythos stories ever.
Ann K. Schwader - Lost Stars - Ms. Schwader isn't nearly as prolific with mythos fiction as I think she should be. Here Egyptian and mythos themes are woven together in a story of resurrection and its cost.
Steve Duffy - The Oram County Whoosit - This is the first time I've read Mr. Duffy's wonderful Lovecraftian tale. Deep time and alien physiology are strong themes used to frame the characters' difficulty comprehending the horror they are facing.
Joe R. Lansdale - The Crawling Sky - OK, the prose of the initial section of The Crawling Sky is magnificent, alone worth the price of the book. My goodness Mr. Lansdale spins an entertaining yarn of transdimensional evil.
Brian Lumley - The Fairground Horror - Of all the stories in this book, this is the one I think is a lame read. It dates from 1976 when Mr. Lumley was heavily influenced by Derleth while writing mythos pastiches. Tired tropes are evoked and no tension developed in a tale of a carnie side show operator trying to cash in on his brother's occult doings.
Tim Pratt - Cinderlands - I've never read anything by Mr. Pratt before. I'll remedy that when I see his story coming out in New Cthulhu. I thought this was another gem, very evocative and quite Lovecraftian about a man who decides to refurbish the wrong house.
Gene Wolfe - Lord of the Land - I am not the biggest Gene Wolfe fan; mostly I find him over-rated. That said, Lord of the Land is quite well written and has a very nice creepy feel of ancient horrors and alien possession, using the Lovecraftian dev ice of a folklore expert poking around where he shouldn't.
Joseph S. Pulver, Sr. - To Live and Die in Arkham - One day Mr. Pulver will be recognized as a giant in the field of mythos fiction. His prose is like poetry, his imagery is acute. A hit man in Arkham rethinks his options.
John Langan - The Shallows - The Shallows originally saw print in the marvelous anthology Cthulhu's Reign. My second read of it was as good as the first. It is post apocalyptic mythos fiction of the best sort. The Shallows is horrifying and indescribably melancholy. Mr. Langan is another wonderful prose stylist.
Laird Barron - The Men from Porlock - I became a lifelong fan of Mr. Barron with the first story I ever read by him, Old Virginia, a brilliant mythos story. The Men from Porlock showcases all of his strengths. He brilliantly uses the geography of Washington and the northwest, like HPL used topography from New England. His unhurried prose allows us to get inside the skin of his characters. Tension is gradually developed before it is ratcheted up to unbearable levels. What a marvelous way to end a wonderful anthology.
In summary, The Book of Cthulhu showcases many of my favorite modern Cthulhu mythos authors and has a selection which includes some of the very best such stories ever written. If you have read any Lovecraft or are wondering why all the fuss about fiction influenced by or based on his creations, The Book of Cthulhu is a great place to start. You will not be disappointed. Highly recommended. At Amazon's discounted pricing it's practically a steal.
Top reviews from other countries
The second issue is common to any collection and that is the varying quality of the stories. I didn't think any of them were bad, but some were truly amazing, while others lagged in comparison. My biggest issue came as a surprise to me. This isn't a curated universe, so there's no guidance as to how the stories should fit with established fiction in this world. That can make for some jarring reading as one perspective shifts radically into another and after three stories in Innsmouth you wonder what is going on!
That isn't a fault with the stories though, more how the anthology was compiled. The stories themselves all have something of value and some stood out for me and made the compilation worth reading. For the most part it was the earlier stories that grabbed me, especially with Ramsey Cambell with the second tale. This had an authentic Lovecraft feel and was exceptionally well written.
The other standout was Charles Stross' cold war redux with the elder gods being the weapons of mass destruction. It was a fun idea that was carried quite well and fitting with the events of the time. I also enjoyed the Jihad over Innsmouth, which was a fun meld of modern technothriller and Cthulhu mythos.
If you're relatively new to the mythos then this is a great book to start with (assuming you've already read Lovecraft's originals!). If you're familiar genre then your mileage may vary, but it's worth checking out.