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Title: The Madness of Cthulhu Vol. 1
Series: Cthulhu Anthology #3
Editor: ST Joshi
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Weird Fiction
Table of Contents
Foreword by Jonathan Maberry
Introduction by S. T. Joshi
At the Mountains of Murkiness by Arthur C. Clarke
The Fillmore Shoggoth by Harry Turtledove
Devil’s Bathtub by Lois H. Gresh
The Witness in Darkness by John Shirley
How the Gods Bargain by William Browning Spencer
A Mountain Walked by Caitlín R. Kiernan
Diana of the Hundred Breasts by Robert Silverberg
Under the Shelf by Michael Shea
Cantata by Melanie Tem
Cthulhu Rising by Heather Graham
The Warm by Darrell Schweitzer
Last Rites by K. M. Tonso
Little Lady by J. C. Koch
White Fire by Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.
A Quirk of the Mistral by Jonathan Thomas
The Dog Handler’s Tale by Donald Tyson
Well, the collections by Salome Jones were definitely Cosmic Horror and were creepy and scary and thrilling. This collection by Joshi was not cosmic horror so much as it was Weird Fiction. Now, Lovecraft’s work can be classified as both but after reading this collection, I find that I much prefer the cosmic horror over the weird fiction.
One thing that didn’t work so much for me was that this had bits of humor interlaced with it and nothing about Cthulhu is humorous nor should it be. The opening story, At the Mountains of Murkiness, while an absolute genius piece of parody, set the tone for the whole collection and that was not what I was looking for. The second thing that bothered me was that in a couple of stories Cthulhu or his elder god brethren actually helped humanity. That is NOT how this mythology is supposed to work and the writers who did that should not only be ashamed of themselves but should jump off a cliff to expiate for their literary sins. Or I’d gladly chop their heads off as their bodies are torn apart by a tentacled monstrosity from the depths of utter darkness. But either way, somebody’s gotta pay for that optimism.
I enjoyed this but not as much as I was hoping. I’ll be prepared for the next volume so we’ll see if expectations played as big a part as I think it did. Weird Fiction, here I come!