The Madness of Cthulhu Anthology by S.T. Joshi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Lovecraftian anthologies tend to be uneven, especially earlier ones, where the stable of writers was fuller.
This is a later and smoother version, albeit with the work of some older and/or completely unexpected scribes. The level of craftsmanship is very high, and everyone clearly knows the material, which is another common issue.
I enjoyed it. Caitlin Kiernan’s story was the best, I thought (and think).
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Riding the Centipede by John Claude Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Terrance Blake is the best man in his world and would be a good man in most worlds. Rudolf is a mutant villain without a shred of decency, but still disciplined and purposeful. They are on a collision course, and don’t know it. Jane and Marlon Teagarden are only the twin rails that the story rolls along on, and only one of them is Riding the Centipede.
I get the sense that a lot of the actual journey was cut. The scenes of experience don’t seem as protracted as they might be. And that may be for the best.
The setting and denouement are determinedly Burroughsian, though there’s not as much of the old up and out and more of the Burgessian ultraviolence as Chernobyl performs his version of art. Though Jane Teagarden could use a little more fleshing-out of character, that would probably detract from the hold-your-breath movement of the narrative, which comes to an explosive climax.
Background-5;plotting-5;characters-4;style-5. Round up to 5.
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This satisfying story starts with a question that every successful scribbler of fiction has been asked—and then pushes us straight into the terrible Void where one writer’s answer resides.
“Where do you get your ideas from?”
The question came from somewhere out in the audience. Sam squinted but couldn’t see past the stage lights. A bead of sweat tickled his hairline and threatened to roll down his face, smearing his pancake makeup. Those lights were so hot. He struggled with a feeling of irritation and pushed it down, then smiled.
“My ideas? I have a muse trapped in my closet.”
Cue laughter, next question.
Brown Jenkins part three
by Duane Pesice
soundtrack here Continue reading
This is an example of my poetry. If memory serves, it was published in an issue of Cthulhu Cultus, but I don’t have any of those contributor’s copies any more, so I’m not 100% sure. 99%, yes. It was inspired by a painting I did, a neon nightmare on black velvet. This photo by Marcin Stawiarz isn’t it, but it’s very cool: