Monday, 5 December 2016

Book Review - World War Cthulhu by Brian M Sammons and Glynn Owen Barrass

I'm a huge fan of Lovecraft and of the Cthulhu mythos in particular. I've also enjoyed many stories that expand upon the theme. This collection of short stories does that with varying success, with a central theme of war to connect them besides the mythos.

On the plus side there is a good variety of stories here, ranging from ancient times and even a space setting in the far future. As well as varied settings there is a solid array of plots, so each tale did feel distinct from the others.

And some of the stories are simply fantastic, and if it had just been them then it would have been a five star read. Unfortunately, as is sometimes the case with collections, the quality is uneven through the book. In fairness I didn't dislike any of them, and was able to finish all of them, but some just stood out noticeably from the rest.

Two stories that shined for me were The Ithiliad by Christine Morgan, and Sea Nymph’s Son by Robert M. Price. In both cases they blended the strengths of the mythos, but also something fresh to them.

As an ensemble I did find it a bit heavy going. You might appreciate the book better if read by dipping in and out over time, rather than in one go. It's worth a look if you enjoy Lovecraft's work, but if you're a newcomer then there are tastier feasts out there.

The world is at war against things that slink and gibber in the darkness, and titans that stride from world to world, sewing madness and death. War has existed in one form or another since the dawn of human civilization, and before then, Elder terrors battled it out across this planet and this known universe in ways unimaginable.

It has always been a losing battle for our side since time began. Incidents like the Innsmouth raid, chronicled by H.P. Lovecraft, mere blips of victory against an insurmountable foe. Still we fight, against these incredible odds, in an unending nightmare, we fight, and why? For victory, for land, for a political ideal? No, mankind fights for survival.

Our authors, John Shirley, Mark Rainey, Wilum Pugmire, William Meikle, Tim Curran, Jeffrey Thomas and many others have gathered here to share war stories from the eternal struggle against the darkness. This book chronicles these desperate battles from across the ages, including Roman Britain, The American Civil War, World War Two, The Vietnam Conflict, and even into the far future.

Table of Contents

Loyalty by John Shirley
The Game Changers by Stephen Mark Rainey
White Feather by T.E. Grau
To Hold Ye White Husk by W.H. Pugmire
Sea Nymph’s Son by Robert M. Price
The Boonieman by Edward M. Erdelac
The Turtle by Neil Baker
The Bullet and the Flesh by David Conyers & David Kernot
Broadsword by William Meikle
The Ithiliad by Christine Morgan
The Sinking City by Konstantine Paradias
Shape of a Snake by Cody Goodfellow
Mysterious Ways by C.J. Henderson
Magna Mater by Edward Morris
Dark Cell by Brian M. Sammons and Glynn Owen Barrass
Cold War, Yellow Fever by Pete Rawlik
Stragglers from Carrhae by Darrell Schweitzer
The Procyon Project by Tim Curran
Wunderwaffe by Jeffrey Thomas
A Feast of Death by Lee Clark Zumpe
Long Island Weird by Charles Christian
The Yoth Protocols by Josh Reynolds

Click here to buy World War Cthulhu from Amazon

Currently Reading - 2034 by Dmitry Glukhovsky

The long-awaited sequel to the cult bestseller Metro 2033, the second volume in the Metro trilogy, Metro 2034 continues the story of survival and struggle that unfolds in the mazes of the Moscow subway after WWIII. As the entire civilization was wiped out by atomic bombs and the surface of the planet is polluted with nuclear fallout, the only place suitable for men to live are shelters and bunkers, the largest of which is the subway system of Moscow, aka the Metro.

The year is 2034. There's no hope for humans to return to the surface of Earth, to repopulate the forsaken cities, and to become once again the masters of the world they used to be. So they rebuild a strange and grotesque civilization in the tunnels and at the stations of the subway. Stations become city-states that wage trade and war on each other. A fragile equilibrium is established. And then all can be ruined in matter of days. A new horrible threat looms that can eradicate the remains of humanity and end our era. It would take three unlikely heroes to face this menace.

The basis of two bestselling computer games Metro 2033 and Metro Last Light, the Metro books have put Dmitry Glukhovsky in the vanguard of Russian speculative fiction. Metro 2034 tells a previously unknown part of the greater Metro saga that some only know from video games. Whether you're new to this series, are a fan of the first novel, or want to explore the world of Metro in depth, Metro 2034 is a perfect read for you! Featuring blistering action, vivid and tough characters, claustrophobic tension and dark satire the Metro books have become bestsellers across the world.

Click here to buy 2034 from Amazon

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Tau Ceti Mission - 01.08.2648 - Swing Low

Image credit:

Seb makes a discovery in his latest report from the Venti probe as it travels deeper in to the Epsilon Indi system:

Cthulhu Chess Set T-shirt from Old Ones Productions

Insanity is your opening move with this Cthulhu chess set t-shirt from Old Ones Productions.

Available in unisex sizes small to XXXL.

Original artwork by Luciana Nedelea.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Book Review - The Mephistophelean House by Benjamin Robert Carrico

I loved the idea for this story, and it's a different take on the Faustian story. It's one of the classic tales of a bargain with hidden dangers, and making it part of the construct of the house worked well. It's told in an immediate and compelling manner, although this isn't even throughout the book.

For certain periods it seems to lose it's way, but that's only for certain parts, it's mostly well written and a solid horror tale. Part of the problem is that the pacing isn't balanced. It starts well, and then dips and rises in an odd fashion. This most notable towards the end.

For me this was the weakest part of the book. The run to the conclusion worked well, with a descent into madness with a dark Alice in Wonderland feel. And then it's over. Without warning it just finishes. The nature of the ending was fine, and made sense in the context of the story. It's handled in such an abrupt manner that it feels hollow.

Which is a shame as it's a decent story, and for the most part well written. A little more development would have elevated it to something much stronger.

The Mephistophelean House is the sort of House you might miss driving by, nondescript, unremarkable, indistinguishable from all the other houses on the block. At the top of the stairs is a grim little room with a curious double hung window, and inside the room is an abnormal closet that leads to a windowless chamber. But when Matthew and Ben find a hole in the flue, upside-down numbers on the wall, and a porcelain angel missing its eyes, they quickly discover the contract they signed has a clause that can never be broken...

Click here to buy The Mephistophelean House from Amazon

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