Editor: Salomè Jones
Publisher: Ghostwoods Books
Number of Pages: 272
Format: Print (Paperback)
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars aligned
At the time of his death in 1937, American horror writer H.P. Lovecraft was virtually unknown. The power of his stories was too great to contain, however. As the decades slipped by, his dark visions laid down roots in the collective imagination of mankind, and they grew strong. Now Cthulhu is a name known to many and, deep under the seas, Lovecraft’s greatest creation becomes restless…
This volume brings together seventeen masterful tales of cosmic horror inspired by Lovecraft’s work. In his fiction, humanity is a tiny, accidental drop of light and life in the endless darkness of an uncaring universe – a darkness populated by vast, utterly alien horrors. Our continued survival relies upon our utter obscurity, something that every fresh scientific wonder threatens to shatter.
The dazzling stories in Cthulhu Lives! show the disastrous folly of our arrogance. We think ourselves the first masters of Earth, and the greatest, and we are very badly mistaken on both counts. Inside these covers, you’ll find a lovingly-curated collection of terrors and nightmares, of catastrophic encounters to wither the body and blight the soul. We humans are inquisitive beings, and there are far worse rewards for curiosity than mere death.
The truth is indeed out there – and it hungers.
Cthulhu Lives! Or so I have been told, And I believe that is true…to some extent. In fact, in the minds of many of H.P. Lovecraft’s contemporaries, devotees, or worshipers, all his creations are real. Whether taken literally and practicing such worship or devotion with a cult, or simply creating a space in your mind whilst reading Lovecraftian fiction, creations such as Cthulhu, Nyarlathotep or Yog-Sothoth have made their place in our world for better or worse. Yet it is the high priest to The Old Ones himself, Cthulhu, who is most recognizable both in form and in unpronounceable name. Whether it be a symbol of a tentacle faced god, or the megalithic shadow beneath the waves that speaks to you in your dreams, this star spawn has solidified its place amongst most of todays weird/cosmic horror fiction. Cthulhu’s presence within these tales is what connects, not only the stories that lay within the Cthulhu Mythos, but also the authors and readers of said stories under the ever growing membranous Lovecraftian banner. These and more were the thoughts I bore as I dipped my mind into Ghostwoods Books newest anthology of Lovecraftian fiction.
17 very unique tales are what make up this collection. Some better than others, and others way better than some, the satisfying content this book has to offer is evenly distributed throughout. None of the tales are too long, the longest being 18 or so pages, allowing for easy digestible reads.
- 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 Watters 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 Gabor 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
- The Highland Air by Gethin A. Lynes
There are a few authors in this collection, one of them G.K. Lomax, who are emerging authors into both the writing scene and the Lovecraftian scene. Upon my initial inspection of the cast of writers I was expected to read, I was a little weary of the unfamiliar names. However, I was incorrect in my judgment of quality these stories possessed. Not being able to choose only three favorites, I settled on four that I believe were the most memorable and entertaining. Hobstone by G.K. Lomax, On the Banks of the River Jordan by John Reppion, Scritch, Scratch by Lynne Hardy and Icke by Greg Stolze. All four of these tales possessed an essence that I believe to be truly Lovecraftian. It was the vague suggestion at a grander menace, or entity with out necessarily giving it a name or advertently connecting it to the Cthulhu Mythos. It was stories like these that convinced me that this book should have been titled Lovecraft Lives! Simply because of the true theme of cosmic horror and fear of the unknown that Mr. Lovecraft is so aptly known for expanding if not creating.
Unfortunately though, there were just one to many stories that left me with nothing. Either ending so abruptly that it borderline made the story incomplete, or just the shear lack of engaging writing to keep me hooked through out the story. These stories made reading feel like work. All in all it was a pleasant and enjoyable book, wrapping up with a sincere afterword from resident H.P.L. scholar, S.T. Joshi. I would recommend this book to those who are looking for some new ideas and easy reads revolving around the Cthulhu Mythos. I hope to see some of these authors again, and also hope to see more publications from Ghostwoods Books that resemble this style and format.
Weirdlings who’ve enjoyed Cthulhu Lives!: An Eldritch Tribute to H.P. Lovecraft, or Salomè Jones’s stuff, have also checked out:
If you have checked out Cthulhu Lives!: An Eldritch Tribute to H.P. Lovecraft, let me know what you think by leaving a comment. And if you like all the tasty bits we gibber about here, become a follower or submit to receive email updates with every new post! Check us out on Twitter @UnspkbleGibberr and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/UnspeakableGibberer.
That’s right, the June issue of the Lovecraft eZine is up and out there folks. This months enjoyment includes, of course, the free online edition, the nook/kindle format, a special print edition, and soon the podcast/recorded edition of this issue. Currently at #31, it is hard to believe that this online fiction eZine has made it so long. I have seen many similar sites/mags come and go, yet there is something special that keeps this Lovecraftian train rolling; The people. The community that Mike Davis has gathered is special. They are kind, supportive, and generally interested in each other when given the chance. This is a good place people, and a good environment to breed creativity and generosity to our fellow man in this insignificant universe we live in.
Though video chats, games, contests, and general awesomeness on Mike’s behalf, the Lovecraft eZine has trudged through the primordial soup of the internet that commonly drags down and devours many a man and fiction mags alike. But with a thriving cult… uh I mean community supporting and enjoying what Mike does, there is no end in sight for this… uh… site… yeah.
This months issue includes stories from a few commonly known entities in the Lovecraftian writing milieu; Joseph S. Pulver, Ross E. Lockhart, and Scott Nicolay. And features a few regular columns that everyone thirsts for; Robert M. Price’s Echoes from Cthulhu’s Crypt, and Ronnie Tucker & Maxwell Patterson’s hilarious comic strip, Cthulhu Does Stuff.
Get over to The Lovecraft eZine and share in the weirdness. Enjoy a little horror and maybe gain some perspective through the tales you read or the information you siphon from these texts. While there, do Mike, and presumably every reader and partaker of the site, a plus one and buy the print edition, or simply click on one of the sponsors that endorse the eZine, or click on one of the Amazon portals to access all sorts of Lovecraftian goodness while supporting the site.
Author: Scott R. Jones
Publisher: Martian Migraine Press
Number of Pages: 130
Rating: 3.75 Out of 5 Stars Aligned
ANSWER THE CALL
ENTER THE BLACK GNOSIS
The Great Old Ones: hideous monster-gods that populate the pantheon of weird-fiction writer Howard Pillips Lovecraft’s increasingly popular milieu, his so-called Cthulhu Mythos. Protean, nebulous, unimaginable, and impressively persistent in their psychological and spiritual presence.
In When The Stars Are Right, author Scott R. Jones deftly breaks down the barriers between the bright logic of our daytime intellect and the fearful non-Eucliean symmetries of our darkest dreams, revealing the Black Gnosis: a radical mode of being that anticipates a new appreciation of humanity’s place in an increasingly dire and indifferent cosmos. When The Stars Are Right asks the reader a simple question: “Are you keeping it R’lyeh?” The answers may surprise you.
“When all is madness, there is no madness”
A few months ago I was contacted by publishing company, Martian Migraine Press, and asked to review a fairly new book that explores a new spirituality based potentially off of the works of the late H.P. Lovecraft. Being primarily reviewer of weird fiction, I was a little reticent at first to consent to analyze anything non-fiction, let alone something set in a religious context. However also being a fan of Mr. Lovecraft, I had to see what this was all about.
For years I have been familiar with the H.P.L’s work, and for those years I have been submerged in minor research dealing with Lovecraft’s nihilistic world views, and how they influenced his writing. His outlook on human life as being meaningless paved the way for giant aliens, monsters, and deities that break our sanity only to put to scale how insignificant we humans really are in this vast universe. Though we might be able to stop these creatures from taking over our realm, there is always that underlying theme that beyond the veil of reality, there are always hellish entities scratching at the membrane of our dimension to break a passage through and reign supreme. But something that may be forgotten is that most of the time there are people behind these nightmarish creatures whose life’s purpose is to open the gates to let these things in. Cthulhu cults, worshipers of Yog-Sothoth, Witches of Azathoth all are bent on assisting their deities on ruling the universe, whether it be through some occult magic, or sacrifice. But that is not what Scott R. Jones preaches in his new book, When the Stars are Right: Toward an Authentic R’lyehian Spirituality.
What Mr. Jones has accomplished is beyond any Cult of Cthulhu, or Esoteric Order of Dagon. It is not so much a practice of occultism, but rather a philosophical approach to what Lovecraft may have been hinting at in his writings. Taking a more poignant stance behind Shub-Niggurath, Nyarlathotep, and Dagon and unveiling a study in character of each of the gods, taking into account what they stand for and what teachings they have in store for those who are enlightened by what Jones identifies as, The Black Gnosis.
“The Black Gnosis is madness, yes, and that madness is infinite and all engulfing and will consume a mind in order to free it, but the R’lyehian recognizes that there is nothing there to be consumed in the first place.”
This is technically the Zen of the R’lyehian. The knowledge and understanding, of what it means to truly believe the dreams that Cthulhu is broadcasting, and the acknowledgment that Nyarlathotep lies behind every message, both heard and unheard. But this is a level of clarity that is not reached through meditation, but rather through Divinely inspired Madness. It’s that moment, Jones explains, when the protagonist catches the merest glimpse of Dagon’s form as it embraces the white monolith and is plunged into a madness. The moment when Danforth peaks out side of the escaping plane in Mountains of Madness and sees the Plateau of Leng. That is the Black Gnosis.
Amid the teachings and direction induced by Jones, are personal events that endeavored the author to write such a tome. It is through these shared experiences that we begin to see a partial biography that guides the reader down the path Jones took toward finding his own R’lyehian spirituality.
I say his own, because this book does not possess a formatted practice for each follower. Rather asserts each reader to discover their own path, create their own altar, and write their own tome/Necronomicon to follow. There are no gods to worship, yet through the teachings that are presented through Cthulhu, Yog-Sothoth, Shub-Niggurath, and Dagon, one can find the advice and guidance needed to creating their own path. This outlook on religion being about philosophies and not consistent worship is a method of spirituality that allows the practitioners of it’s faith to find inner strength and peace of mind – or lack of it through the Black Gnosis – *wink wink.*
I myself am not very religious and don’t find much significance in the daily worship, but rather in the ideas that religions have to teach and be used toward humanity. Though Jones may have a darker outlook, it is a structure that is more appealing in today’s environment. I admit I did not agree with every theory he has to share, yet I felt a connection to this book that alone says good things.
In the beginning of the book, Jones immediately attempts, though respectfully, to dismiss Lovecraft’s doing in this spirituality. But what I think readers might not understand right away is that the dismissal is toward what the public has done with Lovecraft’s creations, and not what the man himself created. By which I mean, when reading this book, for the love of Cthulhu, don’t think of tentacle face slippers, Nyarlathotep plushies, or cutesy anime cartoon adaptations of any of Lovecraftian creations. Those things aren’t in the nature of Keeping it R’lyeh.
While reading this book I experienced some issues with my heart, which inevitably scared the hell out of me and my family. With doctors unable to explain what was happening, I was left with a mind full of anxious fear. Temporarily forgetting about the book in the midst of all the excitement, I found myself in a very negative frame of mind, and one day decided to pick it back up. Full of fear, and anger I found a new hope and acceptance in Jones’s words. Though, as I said, the book may have some darker spots than I needed at that time, it was all about the message that can be found within. No, I am not a R’lyehian, at least not yet, but I did take something away from my reading. And I believe there is something in there for anyone who may be looking for a sense of identity, or searching for a purpose in their life. You don’t have to pray to Cthulhu (though it might help,) nor do you have to partake in any occult worship. Just listen to your dreams and don’t be afraid of what they have to show you, and what messeges they might convey.
If you have checked out When The Stars Are Right: Towards An Authentic R’lyehian Spirituality, let me know what you think by leaving a comment. And if you like all the tasty bits we gibber about here, become a follower or submit to receive email updates with every new post! Check us out on Twitter @UnspkbleGibberr and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/UnspeakableGibberer.
Editor: Dan Lockwood
Publisher: Self Made Hero
Number of Pages: 128
Rating: 4.75 Out of 5 Stars Aligned
“That is not dead which can eternal lie…” Out of the uncharted places of the world and the prodigious imagination of Howard Phillips Lovecraft, renowned master of the eerie, come nine nightmarish tales of terror. From the dreaded remnants of long-dead civilisations to unhallowed monstrosities scheming in the darkness, Lovecraft’s stories have never lost their power to astound and unsettle. This graphic anthology breathes new life into classic works of weird fiction. “…and with strange aeons even death may die.”
Self Made Hero has done it again. like its predecessor, The Lovecraft Anthology: Volume 1, Dan Lockwood has ushered into this realm a beautifully illustrated hoard of horror. I am of coarse talking about The Lovecraft Anthology: Volume 2, incase you didn’t realize already.
Looking back on my review for The Lovecraft Anthology: Volume 1, I have reflected on some of my comments. To this day, I still visit the pages of volume 1, and have to disagree with some of those late comments. Though I still believe the illustrated panels are what make up an efficient comic/graphic novel, it is the words we rely on when our eyes get ahead of us and we need to read whats happening to interpret the image. After all, we’re readers not viewers of these works. That said, most of these works are illustrated so brilliantly that my eyes hardly touched a word. I am very familiar with Lovecraft’s work, and know a few of his tales like old songs. So for a lot of these addaptations I was fortunate enough to know what was happening and only needed the images to carry me through.
In the tradition of how I formatted the review for Volume 1, I have listed each adaptation and have a small something to say about each.
Pickman’s Model, adapted by Jamie Delano, illustrated by Steve Pugh, Staging by Jon Haward: Right out the gate Dan Lockwood enlists one of his best choices for this collection. Delano, Pugh, and Haward have worked magic into bringing this piece to life. Every panel, every phrase took me down into the cellar with Thurber and Pickman and had me filling in the blanks as to what damnable creations Pickman was responsible for. Great stuff!
The Temple, adapted by Chris Lackey, illustrated by Adrian Salmon: Everything about this entry is spot on. The hard shapes, thick lines, and heavy shading are appropriately placed for the era this story is set in. You can tell Lackey has a fondness for the tale and does what he can to capture the images meanings.
From Beyond, adapted by David Camus, illustrated by Nicolas Fructus: Another grandslam for this graphic collection. Great accompaniment by Camus, but anyone can tell, Nicolas Fructus gets what this story is about. Amazing fuscia/violet panels that has set my pineal gland a fire!
He, adapted by Dwight L. MacPherson, illustrated by Paul Peart Smith: I really dislike Lovecraft’s original story, however I believe MacPherson and Smith have done and excellent job with a crappy tale. The illustrations weren’t my favorite but I did enjoy the protagonist looking just like H.P.L.
The Hound, adapted by Chad Fifer, illustrated by Bryan Baugh: I feel this adaptation took on a bit of the Harley Warren/Randolph Carter archetype, St John being the dominant male figure. Baugh’s sepia skinned panels stand out from the other adaptations in this book, while Fifer adds a comedic style to the dread he portrays.
The Nameless City, adapted by Pat Mills, illustrated by Attila Futaki, Colored by Greg Guilhaumond: A clever recreation of a fundamental Lovecraft piece. The ending was unfamiliar, though it may have hinted to a possible “origins” tale of the Terrible Old Man…Maybe…
The Picture in the House, adapted by Benjamin Dickson, illustrated by Mick McMahon: To me the story is best told as a literary tale, maybe even a short film. Unfortunately the backwater dialogue is pretty hard to follow panel to panel, and McMahon’s illustrations did not captivate my attention.
The Festival, adapted by Simon Spurrier, illustrated by Matt Timson: This is my favorite adaptation in this collection. Changing up the format a little to more of a picture book quality, Spurrier and Timson have portrayed a horrifying experience that leaves the reader still wanting to visit Kingsport again and again. I only wish this was the closer in the collection.
The Statement of Randolph Carter, adapted by Dan Lockwood, illustrated by Warwick Johnson Cadwell: I don’t have much to say about this adaptation. Closing out the collection and with one of H.P. Lovecraft’s best known short works, I thought this would have been done better. Didn’t care for the illustrations, and the writing did little to keep me interested.
All in all, I would recommend this volume over the first. Both are a must if you are an H.P. Lovecraft fan, and just necessary to have to stimulate ones imagination. Again, Dan Lockwood has done an amazing job gathering these brilliant artists and writers to collaborate in creating such great work. This is what feeds the Lovcraftian community and what grows the population of new readers of the late mans legacy. As I said while closing my review for volume 1, I really hope that these volumes continue to be made. I know there are only so many short stories that one can adapt (We’ll leave the larger adaptaions to I.N.J. Culbard!) but maybe new artist can give their take on a tale and give us some new perspective. This review took me a pathetic one year to complete, and in a way I am happy it did. I read it in a white heat, immediately following The Lovecraft Anthology: Volume 1, and didn’t have the best opinions of the work. After a year of continuous viewing of volume 2 I have come to the conclusions you have already read. My thoughts on volume 1 have changed as well, however I must leave my initial thoughts on the piece as they are. Either way I hope you enjoy both volumes as I have and continue to do. Cheers.
People, who’ve enjoyed The Lovecraft Anthology: Volume 2, also enjoyed:
If you have checked out The Lovecraft Anthology: Volume 2, let me know what you think by leaving a comment. And if you like all the tasty bits we gibber about here, become a follower or submit to receive email updates with every new post! Check us out on Twitter @UnspkbleGibberr and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/UnspeakableGibberer.
You know the works of H.P. Lovecraft have permeated society when the number one name choice at, NameMyDaughter.com, is Cthulhu All-Spark. That’s right folks, as I write this post, those are the most popular first and middle name ranked. There is a big 50% chance she will either be the coolest kid in school, due to the growing popularity of Lovecraft’s works, or the most picked on (I know, I went to school with a girl whose name was Sunshine Bear… Yeah.) But of coarse the Dad is behind this one, and has been cleaning up the absolutely ridiculous suggestions such as, WackyTaco692, stating: “We will ultimately be making the final decision, Alas my daughter shall not be named WackyTaco692. Sorry guys the wife wouldn’t go for a free for all.”
Some of the other crazy suggestions in the top 15 are: Laquisha, Megatron, Zelda, Not Zelda – Seriously…, Slagathor, and Streetlamp. Yes I said Streetlamp.
*UPDATE* As I type I see that the game has changed and Cthulhu has been bumped for Amelia All-Spark McLaughlin! Some glitch must have happened because I see Amelia has the number of votes Cthulhu had, and Cthulhu is down about 900 votes. The runner-up for middle name is Mae. Everyone gets one vote, per name, per household, per day until April 2nd, which is the due date, so hurry over to NameMyDaughter.com to place your vote or new name suggestion.
Though it is crazy to let the internet name your child, I do find this pretty funny. I remember attempting to convince my wife that our daughter, Dylan’s middle name should be Lovecraft. She didn’t buy it.
**UPDATE #2** As of 5:39 am this morning, (the day after this was originally posted) Cthulhu All-Spark McLaughlin is in the lead. Numbers have jumped over 50,000 votes alone in the last 24hours. Will this get interesting, or be a landslide?
Title: My Name is Dee
Author: Robin Wyatt Dunn
Publisher: John Ott, San Diego (August 28, 2013)
Number of Pages: 230
Format: Print (Paperback)
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars aligned
John Dee is a magician in Los Angeles. He is going Insane.
That single sentence captured my interest. It is also that sentence that begins the blurb on the back of the book. I have always found stories with mad magicians/wizards to be fairly destructive and entertaining, so I was sold, but the rest of the description is laced with plot outline and intriguing sentences such as, “…a novel for the educated reader who enjoys noir action, intrigue and dark romance, for the child in all of us who wants to go on adventures, and for the fearful adult who marvels at the terrifying scale of the universe.” With those words I felt a challenge, as if I was supposed to say, “Yes, yes I am an educated reader who, for the child in me, likes adventures and as an adult am fearful and marvels at the scale of the universe!”
I was contacted by Robin Wyatt Dunn back in March in regards to reviewing his forthcoming novel, My Name is Dee. I didn’t even hesitate in answering his query by telling him I would love to do so. It took a couple of weeks to receive the review copy, and a little longer before I was able to read it. But as I waited to dive into the book I looked up Mr. Dunn and his previous work. Robin Wyatt Dunn lives within Echo Park located in Los Angeles, California. The 33 year old writer has been a very busy the last couple years, publishing over 40 short stories, poems, and flash fiction in a number of places, such as Phantasmacore, and The Blue Hour. He also has contributed stories in anthologies from West Pigeon Press, Echelon Press, and Postscripts to Darkness. Robin was kind enough to send me a free version of his prose poem, Son and Woman, published with Smashwords. Dunn’s style is like nothing I have seen before. Which is good. Though sometimes a little difficult to follow, he always manages to punch the reader in the chest with strong emotion, giving his pieces a mood that helps carry the reader along. This pre reading of the authors work made me more excited to enjoy his book. Unfortunately I was not as impressed with the novel as I had been with his shorter works.
As I began My Name is Dee, I noticed a series of breaks on the pages that jumped from scene to scene. I thought it might only last through the first few pages, like a series of flashbacks that feed the story, but it turns out that that’s how the book is formatted. Along with the jumps I found some of the character dialogue to be awkward and hard to follow at times. Time has become muddled through some rift, I think, causing the breaks. Or is everything so out of place because the main character has gone insane? I don’t know. Finding the book hard to follow lead me to reading it out loud to myself. Somehow that made things a little easier to put together, though with the constant setting and character shifts I felt like I was putting together a complex puzzle. Each new scene representing a disassociated piece of info that is intended to fit with another piece of the story, ending with all the bits falling together, if you can remember them all.
The plot itself was an interesting concept. The reveal of an opposing force, the Foo, a.k.a. aliens, and the greater reveal of Chai, the powerful presence that Dee has gotten the attention of, were nice highlights. I especially enjoyed the idea of writers being this profession that needs protecting. As I read I kept waiting for some Lovecraftian reference to the John Dee copy of the Necronomicon, as mentioned in H.P. Lovecraft’s, “The Dunwich Horror“. Unfortunately no mention of that, at least that I saw, but a small mention of Cthulhu in regards to the Children of the Corn movie.
Overall I found reading the book to be more work than pleasure. The effort it took to stay focused on the bits and pieces needed to build the story was exhausting at times and caused me to do a lot of back tracking to previous scenes. Maybe after all I’m not the educated reader I thought I was, or I just couldn’t find the right setting to read it. Either way it just didn’t jibe with me. I cant say I recommend the book, but I urge readers to take a look at Dunn’s other works. A list of them can be found here.
If you have checked out My Name is Dee, let me know what you think by leaving a comment. And if you like all the tasty bits we gibber about here, become a follower or submit to receive email updates with every new post! Check us out on Twitter @UnspkbleGibberr and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/UnspeakableGibberer.
That’s right! Some exciting news for Lovecraftians as our favorite Great Old One gets some recognition times two. The recently discovered digestive microbes, found in termites, are indeed inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu and Brian Lumley’s Cthylla- Cthulhu’s daughter, created by Bryan Lumley and introduced in his novel, The Transition of Titus Crow. Both Cthulhu macrofasciculumque, and little Cthylla microfasciculumque are exciting discoveries. Most commonly known as protists, the tiny microorganisms help researchers learn more about our evolution, and how some protists cause disease, or in the case of these new discoveries, prevent disease, Below are a couple of photos of father and daughter; on the left is Cthulhu macrofasciculumque and on the right is Cthylla microfasciculumque.
To get the facts and learn something cool check out the whole original article by Megan Gannon over at Live Science: http://www.livescience.com/28426-lovecraft-monster-cthulhu-microbe.html
But if that wasn’t enough mind shattering news concerning good ol’ Cthulhu, then check out the Piomoa Cthulhu spider. Primarily found in California, this beast has some long legs and loves to hang out in hollowed redwoods. Click on the photo to get some more info.