A Season in Carcosa (The King in Yellow Anthology #4) ★★★★✬

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress & Blogspot by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: A Season in Carcosa
Series: The King in Yellow Anthology #4
Editor: Joseph Pulver
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Cosmic Horror
Pages: 268
Words: 100K



Synopsis:

Table of Contents

This Yellow Madness (introduction) by Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.

My Voice is Dead by Joel Lane

Beyond The Banks of the River Seine by Simon Strantzas

Movie Night at Phil’s by Don Webb

MS Found in a Chicago Hotel Room by Daniel Mills

it sees me when I’m not looking by Gary McMahon

Finale, Act Two by Ann K. Schwader

Yellow Bird Strings by Cate Gardner

The Theatre & Its Double by Edward Morris

The Hymn of the Hyades by Richard Gavin

Slick Black Bones and Soft Black Stars by Gemma Files

Not Enough Hope by Joseph S. Pulver, Sr

Whose Hearts are Pure Gold by Kristin Prevallet

April Dawn by Richard A. Lupoff

King Wolf by Anna Tambour

The White-Face At Dawn by Michael Kelly

Wishing Well by Cody Goodfellow

Sweetums by John Langan

The King Is Yellow by Pearce Hansen

D T by Laird Barron

Salvation In Yellow by Robin Spriggs

The Beat Hotel by Allyson Bird

My Thoughts:

My goodness, these anthologies are going up and down for me like a teetertotter! When they are good, they are REALLY GOOD and when it’s bad, it’s so bad I can’t finish them. Thankfully, this was on the upper part of the seesaw.

I went into this a bit worried since Pulver was the editor and I absolutely hated the previous book which was edited and written by him. Thankfully, he only contributed a small part of this. I did realize that I don’t like his writing, period though. There were 1 or 2 poems, which did nothing for me. But Pulver’s story was the only real let down. Not surprising but it’s what kept this from a full 5star.

But most of the other stories were flipping fantastic if you dig cosmic horror. From slides into madness and horror to the unveiling of horrific powers, these ran the gamut from shiver your backbone to a chill of deliciousness running down your spine to the completely inexplicably weird.

I really can’t say that any of these were “better” than the others, but the 2 I do remember are Yellow Bird Strings and Wishing Well. YBS was about a former puppeteer who by the end of the story has become the puppet himself. It was hard to tell if he was going mad or if it was all real. Exactly the right tone for a King in Yellow Story. WW on the other hand, had real IT (by Stephen King) vibes with 2 storylines about kids and them now as adults. A twisted tv show created by a cult of the KIY was the focus and the ending where the main character who appears to be a loser the whole time is revealed to be the son of the King in Yellow, or something like that. It was deliciously spine tingling.

Another absolute winner of a read and I’m pretty happy. These books are definitely not for everyone, in fact I’d say that the majority of readers wouldn’t go for The King in Yellow, but they fit me like a glove, so I’m going to revel in them while I can.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Conan the Marauder (Conan the Barbarian) ★★★★☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Conan the Marauder
Series: Conan the Barbarian
Authors: John Maddox Roberts
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 176
Words: 80K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org & Me

The warlord, Bartatua, is uniting all the Hyrkanian tribes east of the Vilayet Sea into an army for world conquest, beginning with the resistant city of Sogaria. Meanwhile, an exiled Turanian wizard, Khondemir, plans on taking control over Bartatua’s soldiers in pursuit of his own agenda. Caught in the middle are Princess Ishkala of Sogaria, a seductive spy named Lakhme, and the enslaved Conan, who must prove his loyalty towards Bartatua to escape his fate. Everything comes to a thrilling climax near an ancient Hyrkanian necropolis known as the City of Mounds.

Khondemir raises an elder god and gets eaten by it. The warlord is killed by his mistress who had her own plans with the wizard. She in turn is killed as well. The princess is rescued by her lover and Conan escapes to go have another adventure somewhere.

My Thoughts:

Now this was a rousing Conan adventure. I think the biggest part is the villainess in this case. Yes, there’s a bad wizard, but she’s the driving force behind everything happening in this story. It was a joy to read about her machinations because it provided good fodder for Conan to struggle against.

I don’t know why this worked so well for me but man, it was the best Conan story by Maddox yet. Conan was shown in a variety of roles and there was everything from a siege to a sorcerous showdown with an Old One.

I am feeling much better about this series now. Knowing that there is the chance of stories this interesting makes it worth hanging around the average ones 🙂

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Pyrate Cthulhu Vol. 1 (Cthulhu Anthology #4) ★★★★✬

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Pyrate Cthulhu Vol. 1
Series: Cthulhu Anthology #4
Editor: Pyrate Press
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Cosmic Horror
Pages: 221
Words: 77K



Synopsis:

Table of Contents

The Swelling by David Conyers

The Disciple by David Barr Kirtley

A Colder War by Charles Stross

The Ghoulish Wife by Kevin L. O’Brien

The Last Horror Out of Arkham by Darrel Schweitzer

Harold’s Blues by Glen Singer

Documents in the Case of Elizabeth Akeley by Richard A. Lupoff

The Plague Jar by Allen Mackey

The Dead Man’s Hand by Jason Andrew

A Little Job in Arkham by John Sunseri

In His Daughter’s Darkling Womb by Tina L. Jens

My Thoughts:

Where the last volume edited by ST Joshi was in the Weird Fiction, Pyrate Press returns us full speed back into the Cosmic Horror and it was good.

The first story, The Swelling, was a King in Yellow tale and it set the tone for the whole book. This book covered the whole gamut of Cosmic Horror entities, not just Cthulhu. The Disciple was a wonderfully delicious twisted tale where evil feeds on evil and it just made me chortle with unholy glee. The Colder War was a bit longer but reimagined the Cold War with Elder Entities being involved and the destruction of Earth. It was interesting while being gloomy and bit by bit you could tell the main character was losing hope.

This was a really good collection of stories. They were all interesting and they were well written. I tried to find out about Pyrate Press, but beyond there being a Vol 2 in this series (which I have on tap), I couldn’t find anything on them. Even this book I had a devil of a time trying to find any concrete info. Well, maybe if Vol 2 is as good as this I’ll try to do some serious digging but right now I’ll just have to rest on my laurels.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The King in Yellow Tales ★☆☆☆☆ DNF@50%

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The King in Yellow Tales
Series: The King in Yellow Anthology #3
Editor: Joseph Pulver
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: Cosmic Horror
Pages: 249 DNF/125
Words: 77.5K DNF/39K



Synopsis:

From the Publisher

Collected within this substantial volume of madness, murder, and spectral tragedy are tales of Carcosa, the characters that inhabit the KIY “Play”, and Chambers’ cosmic horror. Pulver’s tales adhere to Chambers’ core ideas and themes, and they retain all the mystery of Chambers originals. Joseph S. Pulver, Sr. has been acclaimed by many notable editors, writers, and reviewers, as the contemporary heir to Robert W. Chambers’ “King in Yellow”. Have you seen the Yellow Sign?

“‘The King In Yellow’ reigns over the labyrinthine crossroads between the grand indifference of the cosmic Outside, and the inner wasteland of the tormented mind, so it’s no surprise to find Joe Pulver’s saturnine face so frequently behind the Pallid Mask. Joe plies the fathomless depths of existential nightmare breathing music and poetry, and brings back strangely beautiful salvage. That he has so lovingly and deeply explored Chambers’ bizarre pocket universe without destroying the merest scintilla of its mystery is ample testament to his painfully sharp craftsmanship and terrible wisdom.

My Thoughts:

It turns out this was a collection of madness in the form of frenetic poetry and fragments of prose. I thought I could make it through, surviving on the prose but at the 50% mark I simply couldn’t take any more.

I was bored, confused and feeling like someone was grinding broken glass into my earlobes. Not the feeling I want when reading a book. Heck, not the feeling I want, ever.

After the previous book, this was doubly disappointing.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Conan the Valorous ★★★☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Conan the Valorous
Series: Conan the Barbarian
Authors: John Maddox Roberts
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 219
Words: 86K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org

Hathor-Ka, a Stygian sorceress, tricks Conan into stealing certain relics from Ben Morgh, a sacred mountain in Cimmeria. His expedition takes him across Koth, Nemedia, and the Border Kingdoms where Conan is diverted by his rescue of a chieftainess. Meanwhile, Jaganath (a sorcerer from Vendhya) is also on a journey into the Cimmerian Wilderness. In Cimmeria, the various clans are uniting against the Vanir and their allies, a tribe of lizard folk. The two armies are traveling towards Ben Morgh and proceed with a final battle. As the conflict rages on, Conan and a wizard from Khitai wage a more crucial battle inside Crom’s Cave beneath the mountain with the aid of Jaganath, Hathor-Ka, and her patron, Thoth-Amon. Ultimately, Cimmeria is delivered from outside sorcery and Conan joins a raiding party of Aesir in their journey towards Hyberborea.

My Thoughts:

Robert Howard wrote the original Conan the Barbarian stories. I reviewed a collection of them back in ’18 and thoroughly enjoyed them. So much so that I have finally tracked down a collection of Conan the Barbarian stories by two other authors, notably John Maddox Roberts and Robert Jordan (of the Wheel of Time fame). Since I finished WoT last year, I wanted to give myself a break from Jordan and so chose Roberts to begin my Conan Pastiche journey with. I’ve got 6 Conan books by him to keep me occupied for a while.

I am not sure if these stories by Roberts are in any particular order or how they fit into the original canon by Howard. Honestly, I don’t think it matters. I am treating each one as a standalone story. Howard also mainly wrote the Conan stories as short stories, so getting full length novels is going to be a different beast and we’ll see how Conan the Character handles it.

This story is about Conan getting tricked by a sorceress and being involved in a once in a millennium confluence where great powers are bestowed on one sorcerer. Conan has to go back to his homeland of Cimmeria and you find out they’re a bunch of goat herders who like to kill everyone else with their weapons. Conan isn’t the sharpest sword in the barrel but compared to the rest of the Cimmerians he’s a world traveling playboy of exquisite refinement.

There are monsters galore and the god of the Cimmerians plays a tiny part as does an Eldrich Horror. Roberts delves into the Cosmic Horror side of things with tentacled god monsters in the spaces between the planets but it is more of just a nod to the idea than any real work on the idea.

This was a decent sword & sorcery adventure tale but it didn’t hold a candle to Howard’s original stuff.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

In the Court of the Yellow King ★★★★✬

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: In the Court of the Yellow King
Series: The King in Yellow Anthology #2
Editor: Glynn Barrass
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Cosmic Horror
Pages: 289
Words: 99.5K



Synopsis:

Table of Contents

These Harpies of Carcosa — W. H. Pugmire

The Viking in Yellow — Christine Morgan

Who Killed the King of Rock and Roll? — Edward Morris

Masque of the Queen — Stephen Mark Rainey

Grand Theft Hovercar — Jeffrey Thomas

The Girl with the Star-Stained Soul — Lucy A. Snyder

The Penumbra of Exquisite Foulness — Tim Curran

Yield — C. J. Henderson

Homeopathy — Greg Stolze

Bedlam in Yellow — William Meikle

A Jaundiced Light at the End — Brian M. Sammons

The Yellow Film — Gary McMahon

Lights Fade — Laurel Halbany

Future Imperfect — Glynn Owen Barrass

The Mask of the Yellow Death — Robert M. Price

The Sepia Prints — Pete Rawlik

Nigredo — Cody Goodfellow

MonoChrome — T. E. Grau

My Thoughts:

In the fantasy Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan, there is a power called Saidin and Saidir. One half can be used by males and the other half by females. The male half, Saidin, was tainted by the Dark One thousands of years before the series starts. The main character, Rand, can use Saidin but is affected by the taint. He describes the experience as wrestling with fire and ice that is covered with a putrid oil. He never feels more alive than when using Saidin but the taint makes him sick and drives him insane.

That is how these two Cosmic Horror Series (Cthulhu & King in Yellow) seem to be affecting me.

I couldn’t stop reading this. The stories dragged along relentlessly. I felt like I had jumped into a river and that it turned out to be way more powerful than anticipated. There were times I was in the center, speeding along, but then there were times when the stories pushed me into the banks or slammed me into hidden rocks beneath the surface. By the end of this I felt battered, emotionally and spiritually. Yet I had never felt so alive either.

It was an extremely disturbing dichotomic feeling. I had to stop and really ask myself if I was capable of reading more of this stuff. While I acknowledge that I have changed over the years, is the change engendered by reading stories like these the kind I want to voluntarily submit to? Whether I like to admit it or not, what we put into our minds does affect us.

Thankfully I don’t have to make that decision right away. I’ve got another month before I cycle back to this cosmic horror duology.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Cthulhu Lies Dreaming ★★★✬☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Cthulhu Lies Dreaming
Series: Cthulhu Anthology #2
Editor: Salome Jones
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Cosmic Horror
Pages: 389
Words: 134.5K



Synopsis:

Table of Contents

Foreword: Cthulhu, Lies, Dreaming by Kenneth Hite

Nikukinchaku by Matthew J. Hockey

Babatunde by Ayobami Leeman Kessler

The Myth of Proof by Greg Stolze

Service by Lynnea Glasser

The Star that is Not a Star (The Statement of Natasha Klein, April 1996) by Lucy Brady

August Lokken by Yma Johnson

Wake My Lord by M. S. Swift

Puddles by Thord D. Hedengren

Sometimes, the Void Stares Back by Marc Reichardt

Beyond the Shore by Lynne Hardy

Bleak Mathematics by Brian Fatah Steele

Father of Dread by Matthew Chabin

He Sees You in His Dreams by Samuel Morningstar

Isophase Light by Daniel Marc Chant

Icebound by Morris Kenyon

Seven Nights in a Sleep Clinic by Saul Quint

Mykes Reach by William Couper

Notes for a Life of Nightmares: A Retrospective on the Work of Henry Anthony Wilcox by Pete Rawlik

Offspring by Evey Brett

Out on Route 22 by E. Dane Anderson

The Red Brick Building by Mike Davis

The Lullaby of Erich Zann by G. K. Lomax

Cymothoa Cthulhii by Gethin A. Lynes

My Thoughts:

I am finding that the Cosmic Horror genre is my weakness. Mostly in the sense I would naturally abhor everything contained within it (hopelessness, dread, despair, the absolute insignificance of man) but that within these stories not only do I NOT abhor them, I practically revel in them. I was thinking about this as I was nearing the end of my read trying to figure out why this was. When I read Hard Day’s Knight the other month, the very mention of Jesus not being strong enough to combat the powers of Hell sent me into a frenzy of practically calling down fire on the authors unbelieving head. Yet in this collection when God is simply dismissed as a non-entity in the face of the elder gods, I didn’t blink. Why? I don’t know yet but I’m keeping that question in the forefront of my mind as I continue reading this genre. Once I figure it out I’ll be mentioning it in one of the reviews.

This collection started out fantastically with “Nikukinchaku”. A story about a school teacher facing budget cuts and how she cuts costs by buying nikukinchaku, a cheap food source that everybody loves. The story ends with the things eating a teacher, the dealer drowning himself in a toilet and everyone who has eaten the nikukinchaku heading out to see to answer “a call” they all can hear, including the teacher. This story had the perfect sense of dread and psychological horror. It was almost literally delicious to read. While some of the other stories had more horror, this was a great way to start.

Sadly, every collection has a low point and this one’s was “Father of Dread”. Incest fantasy between adopted siblings and teen hormones. I don’t need or want to read about a teen boy masturbating to thoughts of his adopted sister. This story is the main reason this was 3.5stars instead of 4.

Salome Jones has done another great job with this anthology and I’m really impressed. To the point where I’ll be looking her up to see what else she has put together. That’s pretty high praise coming from me. That’s if I can figure out how to search for editors instead of authors of course.

I had mentioned in the previous Cthulhu Anthology that I was wanting to space these out a bit more so as to lessen the impact on myself from these soul destroying stories. After reading this my desire is intensified all the more. So instead of reading nothing but Cthulhu Lore, I’ll be spacing it out with a couple of King in Yellow anthologies. Brilliant or what?!?

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Cthulhu Lives! (Cthulhu Anthology #1) ★★★✬☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Cthulhu Lives!
Series: Cthulhu Anthology #1
Editor: Salome Jones
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Cosmic Horror
Pages: 235
Words: 80K



Synopsis:

Table of Contents

  • FOREWORD by Leeman Kessler
  • UNIVERSAL CONSTANTS by Piers Beckley
  • 1884 by Michael Grey
  • ELMWOOD by Tim Dedopulos
  • HOBSTONE by G. K. Lomax
  • ON THE BANKS OF THE RIVER JORDAN by John Reppion
  • DARK WATERS by Adam Vidler
  • INK by Iain Lowson
  • DEMON IN GLASS by E. Dane Anderson
  • SCALES FROM BALOR’S EYE by Helmer Gorman
  • OF THE FACELESS CROWD by Gábor Csigás
  • SCRITCH, SCRATCH by Lynne Hardy
  • ICKE by Greg Stolze
  • CODING TIME by Marc Reichardt
  • THE THING IN THE PRINTER by Peter Tupper
  • THE OLD ONES by Jeremy Clymer
  • VISITING RIGHTS by Joff Brown
  • AFTERWORD
My Thoughts:

I rather enjoyed this anthology. Going into Cosmic Horror though, you have to have the proper mindset. There are no heroes overcoming great odds but ordinary people being overcome with hopeless despair and being devoured (whether physically, psychologically or spiritually depends on the story). Madness, mayhem and murder are the key phrases of the day. Finally, the elder gods are dark gods, uncaring, unmoral and barely able to even interact in this reality without destroying it.

If any of those “rules” are broken, it makes for a very unsatisfactory cosmic horror story. Rites of Azathoth was such a book that just didn’t work for me. On the other hand, The Private Lives of Elder Things was fantastic and everything you’d want from cosmic horror. I went into this book wondering which course on the path it was going to take. I’m glad to announce it took the better (errr, worse?) path and was truly horrific and terrifying as only good cosmic horror can be!

I did stay up late a couple of nights because I got caught up in the “one more story” syndrome which has come to represent, to me, the pinnacle of the short story collection. If you can’t put the book down, it has done its job perfectly.

Salome Jones has done a fantastic job of putting together stories and while some are pushing the edge of graphic, either violently or sexually, none of them go into what I’d classify as gratuitous. After the couple of short story collections at the end of November, I am thankful for an editor who has dash of good taste in what stories are chosen.

The reasons this was 3 ½ stars instead of higher is because in one story the writer specifically states how the puny god of the christians is as nothing before the darkness of the elder gods. It was the specificity that irked me. I probably wouldn’t have minded nearly so much if all the religions were lumped together in that statement, but nope, had to specifically talk about Christianity. sigh.

I’ve got another couple of volumes of cosmic horror anthologies after this one but I might stretch them out a bit. Too much darkness isn’t good for the soul after all. Just like eating a whole bag of cheetos isn’t good for the body.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Whitechapel Demon (Adventures of the Royal Occultist #1) ★★★✬☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Whitechapel Demon
Series: Adventures of the Royal Occultist #1
Author: Josh Reynolds
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 172
Words: 59K



Synopsis:

Publisher’s Blurb & Me

Formed during the reign of Elizabeth I, the post of the Royal Occultist was created to safeguard the British Empire against threats occult, otherworldly, infernal and divine.

It is now 1920, and the title and offices have fallen to Charles St. Cyprian. Accompanied by his apprentice Ebe Gallowglass, they defend the battered empire from the forces of darkness.

In the wake of a séance gone wrong, a monstrous killer is summoned from the depths of nightmare by a deadly murder-cult. The entity hunts its prey with inhuman tenacity even as its worshippers stop at nothing to bring the entity into its full power… It’s up to St. Cyprian and Gallowglass to stop the bloodthirsty horror before another notch is added to its gory tally, but will they become the next victims of the horror guised as London’s most famous killer?

Using the powers of darkness themselves, Charlie and Ebe use the medium who originally brought forth the demon as bait. Charlie uses some magic embued in his house to chase the eldritch horror back into the dark from whence it came.

My Thoughts:

I have some theological quibbles, which I’ll deal with as I suspect most anyone reading this review won’t have them. First, the Royal Occultist is supposed to protect England/Britian/Whatever from forces Occult, Otherworldy and Divine. Why would it need to be protected from the Divine? The answer of course is that despite saying on several occasions “For God and Country”, there is no God, no Jehovah, just a shell for the story’s sake. So Divine in this case will mean any and all gods, who are all valid. Balderdash. Secondly, Charlie is as involved in the Occult and Occultic Forces as any demon loving secret society, he just happens to use those powers “for good”. Once again, Balderdash. It is quite evident that Reynolds is using the shell of Protestant England without thinking about its depths or anything real. It annoys me to see Christianity used as a prop and in this case, a very poorly made prop.

Other than that, I quite enjoyed this read. It was short, filled that cosmic horror itch I sometimes get (and how much more cosmic horror’ish can it get than an Old One masquerading as Jack the Ripper?) and was fast paced almost to the point of being frenetic. It also has the honor of only being a completed trilogy (even though, from what I can gather, there might be 2 more books after the trilogy, but I’m not sure how they tie in, don’t really care at this point). Short books and short series are like short skirts, they look really good if you’re wearing ♪a looooong jacket♪.

I feel like this type of story is at the other end of the spectrum from the Wheel of Time books. WoT could be compared to a 14 course meal that lasts 8hrs and has little umbrella drinks between courses. This Royal Occultist? It’s driving through the front of a McDonalds, grabbing the burger from the hands of a senior citizen and then backing out and taking out a load bearing wall, collapsing the whole building. But man, that hot greasy burger does taste good. And knowing that you kept somebody’s Grandma from having a triple heart attack, well, it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside (never mind that you killed her when you took out the load bearing wall and collapsed the whole building on her head. So you should probably actually feel ashamed of yourself. But this is a judgement free zone, so kill all the Grandma’s you want. It’s open season!)

I am looking forward to the next 2 books and hope the pace stays as crazy as this was.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Private Life of Elder Things ★★★★☆


This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Librarything & Bookype by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Private Life of Elder Things
Series: ———-
Editor: Adrian Tchaikovsky
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Cosmic Horror
Pages: 207
Words: 77.5K



Synopsis:

Publisher’s Blurb

From the wastes of the sea to the shadows of our own cities, we are not alone. But what happens where the human world touches the domain of races ancient and alien? Museum curators, surveyors, police officers, archaeologists, mathematicians; from derelict buildings to country houses to the London Underground, another world is just a breath away, around the corner, watching and waiting for you to step into its power. The Private Life of Elder Things is a collection of new Lovecraftian fiction about confronting, discovering and living alongside the creatures of the Mythos.

With stories from Adrian Tchaikovsky, Keris McDonald and Adam Gauntlett

My Thoughts:

This was a fantastic little read. I only have one quibble, which is why this got 4 stars instead of 5. One of the stories deals with a ghoul and ghouls reproduce by necrophilia. It wasn’t the main part of the story and isn’t revealed until the end, but it just made me go “Oh, that is disgusting!” and wonder if I’d made a mistake in picking the book up. Thankfully, nothing like that is repeated.

I’m a sucker for short story collections. Something about an author distilling a story down to just a couple of pages, or even up to 20’ish, works really well for me. Now, I can’t read just ONE short story. I won’t sit down and read one short story all by itself. So short stories that are online only (like the Powder Mage short stories were before McClellan put them altogether in one book) are a complete no-go for me. But give me a collection and bam, I’m eating that stuff with 2 spoons, 3 forks and a bottle of ketchup!

I also have a soft spot for cosmic horror. As long as it’s done well and doesn’t rely only on violence and profanity to shock the reader. The Rites of Azathoth was such a book and when I started this collection I was a little afraid that that was what I might be getting. Thankfully, I got some good writing and some excellently shivery stories. Just what I wanted and expected from a book with a title like this!

One thing to be aware of is some of the limey slang. One of the stories especially seemed to be deliberately written so as to be incomprehensible to anyone outside the shores of Albion. If I hadn’t read the movie review of The Sweeney a couple of months ago, I’d have been totally lost. Gor blimey govnah, the Sweeney is doing a real snazzertowsin. Ok, I made that up, but for that one story I felt like I had to get half the story from context instead of the actual words.

If Tchaikovsky were to put out another collection like this, I’d definitely be interested. But without his name I doubt I’d try something by the other two authors.

Rating: 4 out of 5.