So much to read and watch, so little time to review. While I wish I could blast out a full write up of everything, I’m going to go with the highlights of what I enjoyed over the last couple of months.
Cult of the Spider Queen by S.A. Sidor (Arkham Horror)
Current read in progress and so far an enjoyable 1920’s jungle romp with all the cosmic horror trimmings. I’m a huge fan of Sidor’s first Arkham Horror novel, The Last Ritual, and his two supernatural-pulp adventures from Angry Robot, Fury From the Tomb and The Beast of Nightfall Lodge, a series I hope he continues.
When Things Get Dark: Stories inspired by Shirley Jackson edited by Ellen Datlow (Blackstone Audio)
Current listen in progress and after the first few stories, altogether excellent. Lots of family, and dining rooms, and creepiness.
X’s for Eyes by Laird Barron (Bizarro Pulp Press)
I’d read the first part of the book “We Smoke the Northern Lights” in The Gods of HP Lovecraft and was excited to finally read the second half of the novella and see what happens. Pure awesomeness of course. Love the Tooms brothers and their weird, wide, universe which feels a lot like the Venture Brothers with cosmic horror replacing superheroes.
King Solomon’s Mines by H. Rider Haggard (InAudio)
I hadn’t read this book since I was young and my main recollections of it were distorted by the 1985 Richard Chamberlain movie, which is more comedic parody than faithful adaption. The book is far superior, albeit steeped in damn horrible colonialism where every non white is a savage and gunning down herds of elephants is considered heroic – definitely overpowers the bones of the story which are about friendships and family.
Pickman’s Gallery edited by Matthew Carpenter (Ulthar Press)
I always loved the character of Richard Upton Pickman from a couple of Lovecraft’s stories and dug this collection continuing his legacy. I especially liked that the stories weren’t necessarily about him, but in many cases adjacent or referential. Great fun.
The Fisherman by John Langan (Word Horde)
I’m of two minds about this book. On one hand I loved it – loved the world, loved the mythology which really reminded me of my favourite Michael Shea stories. The structure, on the other hand, was unexpected. I think I was hoping for more back and forth between the times and less the three act narrative. But, as Sarah says, I’m horribly impatient, so take that complaint as a personal preference. Definitely an amazing story!
Rules for Monsters by Michael Minnis (Lovecraft eZine Press)
So many stories, and I hear there will be another volume – Michael is a prolific author indeed. While not every story is a winner, I enjoyed many of them and loved some, especially where he didn’t directly homage or extend classic Lovecraft stories.
Cthulhu Reloaded by David Conyers
Some entertaining military cosmic horror. Major Harrison Peel is a solid character and his adventures take him across many Lovecraftian locals and pit him against even more Lovecraftian monsters and gods. A fun page turner and I’m looking forward to picking up and reading the next couple of books in the series.
Mr. Cannyharme by Michael Shea (Hippocampus Press)
Michael Shea has always been one of my favourite authors and a serious inspiration for my own writing. I’ve read pretty much everything he wrote and was delighted to learn that this novel existed and would be published (and I hear there may be yet another lost Shea manuscript out there!!). Mr. Cannyharme was written in 81 and is a homage/adaption of Lovecraft’s “The Hound”. Loved it.
Possum (A Sarah pick)
Holy shit this was bleak. And British. If that’s not a genre, it should be. I’m not at all a fan of horrible creepy puppets so yeah… The plot? Sure. Well, there’s this dude named Phillip who used to be a puppeteer and ends up back at his old house with his weird old uncle. Phillip has old, deep issues. And a horrible creepy spider puppet. I can’t even… thanks for nightmares Sarah. Pro tip: Never go home with a puppet.
The Deeper You Dig (A Rob pick)
We’d watched Hellbender and enjoyed it, and I was listening to a podcast where they talked about this being the Adams Family’s (not THE Addams Family, though I kinda wonder, hmm) second movie. So we hunted down The Deeper You Dig and weren’t disappointed. Pretty much the same cast and with a similar witchy/psychic themes, which we loved. The plot? After her daughter dies and haunts the killer, her mom, a psychic, tries to figure out what’s happening. Pro tip? Don’t sled in the dark in a blizzard across a road.
Jug Face (A Rob pick)
Another movie I heard about from a podcast (The Lovecraft eZine Podcast?) that sounded intriguing. Like, what’s not interesting about devout backwoods hillbillies worshiping a malevolent/benevolent pit that’s probably some kind of forest demon god? Hits all the right notes in my book. The Plot? The Pit wants what the Pit wants. And it’s not the friendly sort of blood filled pit that everyone likes. Let’s just say it’s best to obey it’s demands or you lose your intestines.. Pro tip: Don’t sleep with your brother.