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Cthulhusattva: Tales of the Black Gnosis Kindle Edition
Is there wisdom in insanity? Enlightenment in blackest despair? Higher consciousness in the depths of chaos? These are the stories of the men and women who choose to cast off from the shores of our placid island of ignorance and sail the black seas of infinity beyond. Those who would dive into primeval consciousness in search of dark treasures. Thos who would risk the Deadly Light for one reason: it is still light.
Martian Migraine Press presents fifteen diverse tales of enlightenment and horror from some of the best new voices working in Weird Fiction today. Cthulhusattva: Tales of the Black Gnosis features poetry from Bryan Thao Worra, stories by Gord Sellar, Kristi DeMeester, Jayaprakash Satyamurthy, and the groundbreaking Mythos novella from Ruthanna Emrys, The Litany of Earth. With cover art by Alix Branwyn, interior illustrations by Michael Lee Macdonald, and an introduction by editor Scott R Jones (author of When The Stars Are Right: Towards An Authentic R'lyehian Spirituality), Cthulhusattva: Tales of the Black Gnosis will plunge readers into a seriously entertaining contemplation of the mysticism and magic inherent to Lovecraft's fantastical world of cosmic horror and dread. Take the Cthulhusattva Vow! Enter the Black Gnosis!
Table of Contents
The Pearl in the Shadows — Bryan Thao Worra
Keys in Stranger Deserts — Vrai Kaiser
Mr Johnson and the Old Ones — Jamie Mason
Antinomia — Erica Ruppert
Heiros Gamos — Gord Sellar
Mother’s Nature — Stefanie Elrick
At the Left Hand of Nothing — Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
The Litany of Earth — Ruthanna Emrys
Emperor Eternal — Konstantine Paradias
The Wicked Shall Come Upon Him — Kristi DeMeester
Messages — John Linwood Grant
That Most Foreign of Veils — Luke R J Maynard
We Three Kings — Don Raymond
Feeding the Abyss — Rhoads Brazos
After Randolph Carter — Noah Wareness
- ASIN : B01EVMC3D4
- Publisher : Martian Migraine Press (May 23, 2016)
- Publication date : May 23, 2016
- Language : English
- File size : 667 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 206 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #816,357 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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The best of these are Luke R. J. Maynard's "That Most Foreign of Veils", which does not really have that much mythos content, but what it has is well considered. It is a genuine story of the gnosis promised in the title and manages to go from cold to clinical and finally to horror in the last page or so. Rhoads Brazos's "Feeding the Abyss" has a strong mythos content and is an excellent and memorable piece of writing involving body transport and sunbelt suburbia and very much grasps the possibilities of both the religious impulse and the Cthulhu Mythos. Gord Sellar's "Hieros Gamos" is very very good, the most genuinely Lovecraftian in spirit though not particularly bound to the Mythos itself. It tells of a modern seeker's encounter with the Eleusinian Mysteries, and would be a standout in any collection. All of these are well worth reading, and give this collection its fourth star. Each of these combines the ecstasy of the devotee with the inhuman gnosis promised in the subtitle.
John Linwood Grant's "Messages" is really not up to these standards but has an ecstatic touch which raises it up, but it is too cozy and has the feeling of wish fulfillment. Interestingly it has a lot in common with the marquis piece of this collection: Ruthanna Emrys's "The Litany of The Earth." While a story which is to my taste fundamentally wrong and a perfect example of throwing the inhuman, in the Robinson Jeffers sense, out with the Lovecraftian revisionist bathwater. Set historically against the Japanese American internment experience its Cthulhu is rather warm and cozy and the overriding feeling is of community, right down to the nice government and dangerous commies. There is no real terror here, but rather a strange maudlin quality which turns to something prosaically cuddly in Emrys' follow up novel "Winter Tide." I guess one may see the Deep Ones as just like the Nisei, but it seems to miss the point utterly. "The Litany of The Earth" is available in multiple places online, such as Tor.com, but is here in print, something strangely lacking in these days, it should have been included in "Winter Tide", and thus i good for collectors.
Also worth mention is Jayaprakash Satyamurthy's "At the Left Hand of Nothing" which is brief, with an amusing and not altogether wrong new take on cultists. It has a sort of raving nihilistic quality, but no real catharsis, and really undercuts this by its self satisfied tone.
And then there is the serious downside. The opening essay by Scott Jones is a good example of what is wrong with Lovecraft "fandom" today. But worst of all is the utterly wrong and trite "Mr. Johnson and the Old Ones" by Jamie Mason which is offensively stupid and stupidly offensive. Robert Johnson who at this point has already sold his soul at a previous crossroads nazi punches H.P. Lovecraft, it is worse than you can imagine from its awkward non dialect dialect, cartoonishness, and utter failure to grasp anything about the Blues, Lovecraft, Robert Johnson, or racism.
At this point I will just round out the rest of Cthulhusattva. Stefanie Elrick's "Mother's Nature" is a generic body horror story, while Konstantine Paradias' "Emperor Eternal" is similarly grotesque but at least involves Mythos themes, and shows some familiarity with the source material. Don Raymond's "We Three Kings," a sort of stunt epiphany story presumably pretending to shock, and Vrai Kaiser's "Keys in Stranger Deserts" which is a cutesy modern Miskatonic, madness road trip pastiche which completely underwhelms. And there are the post apocalyptic stories, Erica Ruppert's dreary but professionally paced "Antinomia" and Kristi DeMeester's death driven Yaoi "The Wicked Shall Come Upon Him," Neither have any real Mythos content. This is rounded out by a few bits of anodyne verse and a Randolph Carter meditation that couldn't end fast enough.
I suppose it's a stylistic choice, but it's jarring for me to read Mythos stories where the cultists are not only the protagonists but also basically good, guilty only of putting the smackdown on thieving Muggles and Wanna-bees ("Messages"), of getting rid of a vile racist ("Mr. Johnson and the Old Ones"), or of seeking knowledge while also dealing with rampant racism ("That Most Foreign of Veils" - although that one at least managed to keep a pretty good mood going throughout it).
Most of the stories weren't bad, but (aside from the external trappings) I didn't find them particularly Lovecraftian either.
By Lewis W. Evans on September 17, 2018