Hey all! The smaller Matt here! I haven’t posted in a while, instead lurking in the background, enveloped in cloaks of darkness.
Yeah, that’s what I was doing…
Anyway! My anthology Tales of the Al-Azif, with authors CT Phipps, David Hambling, David West, and David Niall Wilson just came out on Audible narrated by Joshua Saxon! It’s absolutely wonderful! Give it a read! Just in time for SPOOKY MONTH!!!
This review is for two books, as I read them back to back, got swamped with packing up a house, and have finally found time to put together a proper review.
The Arkham Detective series follows a no-name pulp detective in the city of Arkham, Massachusetts. While most of the residents have heard rumors and stories regarding all of Lovecraft’s beasties doing their dirty work in the town, most of them don’t believe them, and neither does our protagonist until a gory encounter and a witness who claims some rather horrendous things.
Cthulhu’s Minions is a great primer to the world of the Arkham Detective in that it’s a great origin story for the guy who makes it his job to hunt down the weird stuff while also being a short read to get you psyched about the bigger stories in the series.
The action doesn’t stop with Minions, though, and my intrigue kept me going straight from the last page of Cthulhu’s Minions and directly into the sequel, The Innsmouth Look.
Depending on the day, my favorite story from the Lovecraft Mythos is Shadow Over Innsmouth. The dark tale of a city cursed by it’s fortune in more ways than one makes for a great setting for some pulpy adventure (as myself and other authors have noted). Unlike those other authors, and even myself, the adventure here is nonstop pulpy goodness that only Byron Craft could have put together. On the trail of a murderer and kidnapper from that doomed city, the Arkham Detective takes grit to a new level as he interrogates the town and puts his best detective shoe forward, stumbling upon Government spies, trapped locals, and, of course, a dark ritual that the town wants to happen while the rest of the world obviously doesn’t.
Craft knows his Mythos and weaves that into a series of books that reads like a great Lovecraftian story, but with more adventure and less fainting. I give both of these books 5 out of 5 stars for just being great and fun reads.
To be entirely honest, when I first picked up my audio copy of Meddling Kids, by Edgar Cantero, I had no idea that I would be writing a review for Shoggoth.net. As a matter of fact, I only picked it up because I remembered reading somewhere that it’s an adult parody of Scooby Doo. To that point, it absolutely is a 100% homage to Scooby Doo, but it is also an homage to Lovecraft, the mythos, and the other players in the mythos.
Normally, I have mixed feelings when it comes to anthologies. It’s not that I don’t like them, my problem is quite the opposite. I love them, but once I get to the point in an anthology story where I want it continue divulging the secrets it’s only just now begun to show me is when the story ends and we shift gears into an entirely different story.
I feared that would happen with The Gods of H.P. Lovecraft, but I wanted to give it a try anyway because I’m a huge fan of Donald Tyson’s Necronomicon books and knew that he had written the descriptors of the gods between each of the individual stories.
I was pleasantly surprised to find every story in this anthology pleasant to some degree. I still suffered, especially at the end of tales such as A Dying of the Light by Rachel Caine.
Reanimatrix is the third in a series of books written by Peter Rawlik that focuses on a world that Peter has built out of H.P. Lovecraft’s works focused around the story Herbert West: Reanimator. In the previous stories in Rawlik’s world, he’s introduced his own reanimators and several other characters, but weaves them into the Lovecraft mythos flawlessly so that you can see exactly where these characters are even when you’re just reading Lovecraft’s stories. He fills the gaps, so to say, and he’s very good at it.
Our modest hero, Harry Stubbs, returns in another great adventure!
He’s still reading his science fiction novels, working the jobs only an ex-boxer can get, and working on a correspondence course in investigations that has me super excited for future installments.
In this book, he’s investigating a weird type of meteorite that might have abstract properties, making it dangerous for the owner.
My favorite parts of this book were the parts that define any Harry Stubbs adventure. Specifically, the investigation into the museum, the library research, and the very interesting characters, specifically, his employer in this book and the sultry American visitor.
Harry Stubbs is one of my favorite characters and always a great adventure. David fails to disappoint, bringing an intelligent and intrigue-driven story to a character that could so easily be written as a dumb stereotype. Instead, he’s a smart man, who I would describe as more wise than intelligent, in that he’s always seeking to learn and better himself.
Even if those efforts and his current line of work might drive him mad.
5 out of 5!
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!!!”
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.
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.