If the 23 contributors to this uneven anthology avoid the obvious Cthulhu Mythos clich s, none comes close to emulating Lovecraft's trademark cosmic horror. Typical is the two editors' collaborative "That's the Story of My Life." Set in Arkham with "its aged, gambrel-roofed neighborhoods," this brisk tale relies for its effect on a twist out of Damon Knight, not on any Lovecraftian atmosphere. Richard Laymon's "The Cabin in the Woods," a tribute to H.P.L.'s "The Whisperer in Darkness," shares a rural Vermont setting, but its action-oriented, dialogue-laden plot is the antithesis of the master's. "A Victorian Pot Dresser," by L.H. Maynard and M.P.N. Sims, in which an old piece of furniture hungers for sacrificial virgins, seems to be inspired by Lovecraft at his more ludicrous. The better stories deal with the Lovecraftian theme of outsideness, in particular Poppy Z. Brite's grotesque portrait of Elvis Presley's last days, "Are You Loathsome Tonight?" (the book's one reprint). Steve Rasnic Tem's homage to "The Shadow Over Innsmouth," "Outside," with its aquatic horror and decayed seaport, nicely evokes some of the brooding menace of Lovecraft's classic tale. And Caitl!n R. Kiernan, in her stylish "Nor the Demons Down Under the Sea," does a turn on the lure of oceanic terrors with a bow to Lewis Carroll. To be preferred to most Lovecraft imitations, these 21 tales will likely please mainstream horror fans more than H.P.L. purists. Agent, Jennifer Jackson at Donald Maass Literary Agency. (Jan. 2) Forecast: Like the amphibious Deep Ones who threaten to expand beyond Innsmouth, Lovecraft-inspired fiction is starting to invade the genre mainstream. If this and similar anthologies take a beatingin the larger marketplace, expect a hasty retreat into the shadowy recesses of the small press realm. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
A young girl learns a terrifying secret about a reclusive old woman in China Mieville's atmospheric "Details," while a British special crimes investigator probes the mysterious death of a serial killer in Paul Finch's deceptive "Long Meg and Her Daughters." This collection of 21 tales brings H.P. Lovecraft's "Cthulhu" mythos to a new generation with contributions by such veteran horror authors as J. Michael Reaves, Poppy Z. Brite, and Steve Rasnic Tem. Fans of Lovecraft in particular and dark fantasy in general will enjoy this standout anthology. Recommended. [See also Brian Lumley's Beneath the Moors and Darker Places below. Ed.] Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
The spirit of the Rhode Island Master descends upon 23 disciples willing to summon up the squids and squirms of the 20th-century's weirdest and most influential horror writer. Over 107 other Cthulhu-"inspired" books cling to the eldritch penman from Providence. One tastes less of the coppery tang of blood from Lovecraft's pen than the ripple of fear when cosmic Yog-Sothoths slip under your skin and race up your back-and you go about switching on lamps and the backyard houselight, checking the garage, weighing the creaks in the attic, and choosing not to go down to the cellar. Standouts here include esteemed stylist Poppy Z. Brite's "Are You Loathsome Tonight?"-a tale worthy of Elvis's blue suede shoes that ties up the Tupalo Troubador's favored peanut-butter-and-banana sandwiches fried in butter with Lovecraft's thoughts about sensation. Brite in no way tries to explain or come to grips with Lovecraft, whose aliens remain unknowable even to him. Just as the unconscious is truly unconscious and not to be plumbed, aliens we might understand would no longer be alien. As Pelan and Adams explain, describing his creations out of space and time, Lovecraft's Cthulhu and Nyarlathotep are beyond genealogy. In China Mieville's "Details," an old woman recluse sees something looking at her from the lines of a brick wall and the leaves of a tree, something that is colonizing her memories and mind. Also here: the late and grisly Richard Laymon, with "The Cabin in the Woods"-about the "horrible thing" that wants to get into his cabin after sunset-and Caitlin R. Kiernan (the recent Trilobite), who, in "Nor the Demons Down Under the Sea," brings her glorious prose to bear on the geology of horror. Werepeat our earlier prayer to Arkham House, that they reprint the original Outsider and Others (1939), the basic text for all Lovecraft fans.
This volume takes Lovecraft’s ideas and truly pushes them in directions the author never could have conceived.”
“UNABASHEDLY HORRIFIC . . . A PERFECT TRIBUTE TO H. P. LOVECRAFT . . . [The stories] range from Poppy Z. Brite’s lucid and magnificent ‘Are You Loathsome Tonight?’ to the elaborate, quintessentially Lovecraftian construction of ‘A Victorian Pot Dresser’ by L. H. Maynard and M.P.N. Sims.”
“H. P. Lovecraft’s dark mythology continues to fascinate and inspire writers. A stellar result of this inspiration is collected in The Children of Cthulhu.”
—The Denver Post