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Urban Temples of Cthulhu - Modern Mythos Anthology Paperback – April 25, 2016
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- Publisher : CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (April 25, 2016)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 214 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1532764391
- ISBN-13 : 978-1532764394
- Item Weight : 9 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.49 x 8.5 inches
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Little Gods by James Pratt - This one opens the anthology. It reminded me of something by Ellison; an urban fantasy postulating that there are Things that even Gods may fear.
Sects and the Single Girl involves a smarmy preacher - of the Church of Stary Wisdom - and a conniving minx with plans of her own. The writing has zip and the story is amusing.
Kings in Rebel Yellow - Describing what the coming civil wars of the followers of the Elder Gods might look like. It's fast paced and absurd and entertaining, gritty, disgusting and some good humor.
The Face of God Within - A self-improvement cult within the Lovecraft world, with foreseeable results if you are into that kind of thing.
The Black Metal of Derek Zann - Rock music will end the world. This story, like the last, is more of a downer and a cautionary tale.
Cosmic Cavity or the Mouth of Man - A dentist with a very special clientele. Clever and inventive, but a one-note joke.
Along the Shore of Old Ridge - This story is one of the stories that comes the closest to Lovecraft in its creepy tale about a man who wants to get Innsmouth. I found this to be the least entertaining of the stories, but that is a matter of taste.
Sleep Talking - Ever sleep-walk? Ever sleep-invoke an evil entity? This is another downer, which I didn't find entertaining. So, perhaps, my problem is that I like the goofier, fun stories, rather than the stories where evil is triumphant.
Matriarch of Skid Row - Another downer as a cop discovers a cult in the Bowry.
Uncle Lovecraft - With this one we are back to goofy and fun and disturbing as Lovecraft aficionados dissect a short clip from a very creepy sitcom.
Strange Communion - Lousy people; I wasn't really sure what happened in this one. Perhaps this was my least favorite.
Death in the Sunset - A vet's last fight against evil.
The Abomination of St. Jude - There are things that man is not meant to know. Not one of the funny ones. A psychiatric horror piece.
Doorstepping - Lovecraftian abominations go door to door to get their guy elected. This is a very short and funny story.
Saturday Night at the Esoteric Order of Dagon - It was just the luck of this lesbian couple to inherit a coffee shop in a town inhabited by Dagon worshippers. The tongue is firmly planted in cheek on this one, with a good bit of humor and characterization, but it tells a real story. This may be the one I will remember from this book.
City of Our Lady - Asking the question of whether Our Lady of Guadelupe may have been the cover for an entirely different kind of entity. This one is not funny, but it is an effective horror story.
Warm Red Sea - A love story based on bondage, torture and loss. Not funny, at all. Very much a downer. Probably my least favorite of the book.
So, that covers the story. Some are parodies of Lovecraft, others are tongue in cheek stories that update Lovecraft for modern times, and others are true homages to Lovecraft's creepiness, horror and hopelessnes.
I prefer the first two, which is probably why I liked Doorstepping, Sects and the Single Girl, Kings in Rebel Yellow and Saturday Night at the Esoteric Order of Dagon. Uncle Lovecraft occupies its own category for creepy weird. The downer stories, however, are not to be dismissed. They do their job as horror stories.
All in all, a surprising collection of readable stories (particularly when compared to what passes for "Best of the Year" these days.)