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Review: The Tower of Zhaal by CT Phipps

The Tower of Zhaal by CT Phipps

Post-Apocalyptic fiction is fun, but Post-Apocalyptic Lovecraft fiction is even better.

That kind of fun led me to C.T. Phipps’ “The Tower of Zhaal.”

The Tower of Zhaal is the sequel to Phipps’ first successful foray into Lovecraftian fiction, Cthulhu Armageddon. In that first book, the world has been ravaged by the long ago (but still in our current future) rise of the Great Old Ones. The hero of the first book, John Henry Booth is back, and the taint of the world has eeked it’s way into his own flesh. With Nyarlahotep whispering in his ear, and the threat of the end of the human race on the brink of happening, John has to risk everything with a team that he can’t trust in order to save the few parts of the hellish world that mean something to him.

While traveling to and with some very Mythos specific names, as well as some that are a treat for readers of contemporary Mythos fiction (ie: the Ghoul priest being named Hoade as an obvious reference to fellow contemporary Mythos writer, Sean Hoade). The explanations of Magic, the Science of the Mind, and the different Alien races make it an epic adventure on par with Lord of the Rings or Star Wars, but within the Mythos elements that bring us back.

The world has ended, Alien Gods are everywhere, and the question of humanities survival is a complex one. Can Humanity survive? Should Humanity survive? Would the Humanity that survives even be recognizable as Human?

Phipps weaves a great tale, that makes for an exciting read.

5 out of 5 Stars!

Minor Potential Spoiler: There’s a scene in this book that made me laugh out loud, but not because it was funny. The moment I read it, I wanted to shout, “Ah! He’s been Rick and Morty’d!!!”

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REVIEW: HPLHS’s The Call of Cthulhu

“The Call of Cthulhu,” a new film by the H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society, has been one of the most anticipated releases of the last year, and the Shoggoth Network is proud to bring you this complete review…

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REVIEW: Plush Cthulhu

When the package containing my latest order finally arrived in the mailbox I immediately ripped open the box to find a green plush likeness of our favorite Great Old One, The Mighty Cthulhu himself (only smaller).

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The Grand Grimoire of Cthulhu Mythos Magic

Book cover featuring silver embossed tenticaled things, looks to be an ancient grimoire

The Grand Grimoire of Cthulhu Mythos Magic

I was immediately deeply impressed with the cover art. It is complex and stunningly beautiful. This will look great on a retailer’s shelf and, subsequently, on the gaming table. The interior art maintains this level of quality.

The layout is clean and concise, without the unnecessary clutter some publications have in an effort to look cool. I need a reference book to make it easy to reference the material, and this book delivers. The chapter headers and the topic headers and sub-headers are very easy to distinguish and the font is elegant. The chapter title pages also have simulated “big red bookmark ribbons” which I think look really cool. Continue reading »

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The Two-Headed Serpent by Chaosium

a book cover featuring 3 faces along each side and a gold and black snake wrapped around eachother in the center. The title is Two Headed Serpent

The newest Campaign book for Pulp Cthulhu

This was my first foray into the Pulp Cthulhu setting. At first I wasn’t sure about the idea, having played the standard “we investigators who are about to die” style Call of Cthulhu for years. What I got was a cross between Indiana Jones and Hellboy. So, in short, awesome action movie fun with a beautifully realized Lovecraftian back drop.
The Two-Headed Serpent is sure to please your players, but is written for you, the keeper. The staff at Chaosium have put together a marvelous globe trotting tale of monster filled, paranoia inducing, world ending mayhem. Continue reading »

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Review: Cult of the Dead and Other Weird and Lovecraftian Tales by Lois Gresh

Cult of the Dead by Lois Gresh

Cult of the Dead by Lois Gresh

Years ago when I read Clive Barker’s Books of Blood, I was amazed at how original his horror stories were. They were new and unique, with takes on the horror genre I had not seen before. It was not until I read Lois Gresh’s Cult of the Dead did I feel the same way about an anthology of horror stories.

Cult of the Dead is a collection of 20 “weird and Lovecraftian tales” by veteran horror author Lois H. Gresh. The stories are self-contained, having been published over the course of the author’s career and collected into this work. Each story is excellently written and transports the reader into the world Gresh creates. Her writing style is as unique as her stories, which takes a little bit to get used to, but works well with the tales she unfolds for the reader.

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Review of Shoggoth

Shoggoth by Bryan Craft

Shoggoth by Bryan Craft

An accepted theory exists that millions of years ago a celestial catastrophic occurrence wiped out every living thing on the planet. This theory may be flawed. Fast-forward to the 21st century. A handful of scientists, allied with the military, discover a massive network of tunnels beneath the Mojave Desert. Below, lies an ancient survivor, waiting…and it’s hungry!

Once again Byron Craft drags us by his tentacles into a masterful mix of Lovecraftian science fiction, mystery, fantasy and horror. (From the book cover)

Bio of Author from his Amazon Page: Byron Craft started out writing screenplays, moved on to authoring articles for several magazines and finally evolved his writing style into exciting, sci-fi, fantasy, horror novels. “SHOGGOTH” is Craft’s second novel of a planned five novel mythos series that reflects the influence of H.P Lovecraft. Byron Craft’s first novel “The CRY of CTHULHU,” initially released under the title “The Alchemist’s Notebook,” was the reincarnation and expansion of one of his most memorable screenplays. Craft demonstrates he is as capable a novelist as scriptwriter. Craft’s novels have all the ingredients of a classic Lovecraft tale, with some imaginative additions. Continue reading »

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Review of Cthulhu Armaggeddon

Cthulhu Armageddon by C.T. Phipps

Cthulhu Armageddon by C.T. Phipps

I first came across the writings of C.T. Phipps while reading his Rules of Supervillainy series. I thoroughly enjoyed those books, so when I heard that C.T. was coming out with an almost Cthulhu Western that takes place after the world has been overrun by every work of Mr. Lovecraft’s, I had to read it.

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Review of Ashes by Philip Hemplow

Scary house on a hill with storm clouds behind and a scary path in front.

Ashes by Philip Hemplow

Great fiction makes readers feel what their characters are going through. When an author can reach into a reader’s heart and pull at the same strings that his or her characters are going through, an author has done their job and done it well.

Philip Hemplow does just that with Ashes.

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Hooked Up

GuttedGutted by Doug Murano
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was fortunate enough to be advanced a copy of this book prior to publication. And I mean fortunate. This book is destined to generate strong sales, firstly on the strength of the names involved (Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, Ramsey Campbell), and then on the strength of the poem and stories included.
Stephanie M. Wytovich leads off with an effective piece of verse, which leads into what I think is the best story in the book: Brian Kirk’s “Picking Splinters From a Sex Slave.”
That story illustrates what lengths a person might go to to accomodate a loved one, in exquisite detail. The actual tableau is revolting, but the internal logic is inescapable. The tone is perfect.
“Splinters” is followed by Lisa Mannetti and then Neil Gaiman. Both stories are good — not pedestrian, but are overshadowed by the excellence of Kirk’s piece. Christopher Cooke’s “Dominion” levels up one from those and leads into a tetralogy of really effective horror tales by Mercedes M. Yardley, Paul Tremblay, Damien Angelica Walters, and Richard Thomas, before Clive Barker takes center stage with his “Coming To Grief”. I’m not going to say that this story is as good as “classic Barker” pieces like “In the Hills, the Cities”, but it is a Barker story, and has a certain resonance.
The second-best story, John F.D. Taff’s “Cards for His Spokes, Coins for His Fare”, which has distinct Kingian undertones, is set in the early 70s of my own childhood and morphs into a fairly classic ghost yarn. Cheers for the setting and characters.
Amanda Gowin contributes a decent piece, “Cellar’s Dog”, with a good portrait of po’ white trash, and Kevin Lucia adds “When We All Met at the Ofrenda”, which again hits me especially, as I live in the Southwest and am familiar with the lore that contributes to the setting and setup.
That’s followed by good pieces from Maria Alexander and Josh Malerman, before the capstone, Ramsey Campbell’s “The Place of Revelation”, which does not disappoint.
Strong, strong, strong. Pieces that find beauty in grotesquerie, love amid the ruins, that entice you with beauty and magic and then hang you on a meathook, still wanting more.
Gutted will have out your liver and lights in an instant, after you give your heart willingly.
An easy five stars.

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