" It is new, indeed for I made it last night in a dream of strange cities: and dreams are older than brooding Tyre, or the
contemplative Sphinx, or garden-girdled Babylon" The Call of Cthulhu

Sunday, March 27, 2016

More New Eldritch Tomes

After offering up my credit card, yet again, still more accounts of the dark deeds and secret histories; that will one day rise to claim, more than just our peace of mind; have appeared.

While I didn't love all of Joshi's choices in the first 3 volumes I enjoyed them enough that I have purchased Volume 4. That said, I loved all four covers, illustration Gregory Nemec, background by Jason Van Hollander. So far I have read two stories, the first was "Black Ships Seen South of Heaven" by Caitlin R Kieran. In this tale we are treated to a post-rising story of the last days of earth, as good as or better that anything in the excellent anthology Cthulhu's Reign edited by Darrell Schweitzer. This story alone was worth the price of this anthology in my mind. But the second story I read was the very good "Half Lost in Shadow" by W.H. Pugmire. His Pickman inspired story " Inhabitants of Writhwood" in Volume 1 was a  powerful story that has certainly stuck with me. In "Half Lost in Shadow" we make a visit to Kingsport and the bottle collection of HPL's "The Terrible Old Man" which I though was a bold choice. Pugmire then infused HPL's ideas with the bleak nihilism of Thomas Ligotti and a bracing touch of a fantastic sea port reminiscent of those found in the work of James P. Blaylock, whose contribution to the mythos, "The Shadow on the Doorstep" appeared in the Arkham house volume, Cthulhu 2000. So two for two so far.

These stories written in 1917 and 1918 feature Professor Arnold Rhymer, an occult detective and doctor, as their protagonist. As a man who invested a hefty sum for the 6 volume, Popular Library set, of the Adventure of Jules de Grandin, by Weird Tales stalwart Seabury Quinn, concerning the adventures of another occult detective and doctor, how could I resist? Warning the author lost a son in World War One and the anti-German rhetoric is certainly strong in one of the two stories I have read so far.

Ralph E. Vaughan maintains the wonderful Book Scribbles blog on genre fiction  see Blogs I Follow. I have only dipped into this volume, but I am glad I did not read "The Woods, The Watcher & The Warding" at night while staying at our cabin with all the trees of the Aspen Parkland drawing branches across the roof and throwing shadows against the curtains.

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