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Arkham Tales: Stories of the Legend Haunted City Paperback – July 7, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

William Jones is a writer and editor who has worked across genres, including mystery, horror, science fiction, dark fiction, historical and young adult, and non-fiction. He has edited several fiction anthologies. His writing also reaches into the role-playing industry, where he has published articles and gaming supplements for a variety of publishers. When not writing fiction, he teaches English at a university in Michigan.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Chaosium Inc. (July 7, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568821859
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568821856
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #751,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Matthew T. Carpenter on August 14, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Arkham Tales is perhaps the beginning of a new venture for Chaosium, all original fiction set in the world of their Role Playing Game, Call of Cthulhu. Back in the day, before the internet, I was unaware of the small and (semi) thriving of small press mythos magazines. The only access to modern Lovecraftian fiction I knew about was through the cycle books, trade paperbacks by Chaosium. The most recent example of these was The Tsathoggia Cycle. Generally, these books featured reprinted stories gleaned and selected, usually by Robert Price, from these various magazines (Cthulhu Codex, Crypt of Cthulhu, Midnight Shambler etc). These were a definite mixed bag, with the books often containing a few winners, much mediocrity and a fair number of dogs. Alas, this was all that was available, except for an occasional fine quality hardback like Cthulhu 2000 (and even that had reprints). Lately, with improved on line connections and facilitation of book production by small presses the amount of books containing almost all new published mythos fiction has sky rocketed. Also, maybe it's only my imagination but this new generation of authors (not that the last one has moved off the scene) (maybe the 4th or 5th Lovecraft Circle?) is immensely talented so most of these collections have highly superior fiction. I always say we are in a golden age of mythos fiction, and point to books like Dead But Dreaming, Hardboiled Cthulhu, Horrors Beyond and the Delta Green books. And there is so much more in the pipeline, it is almost an embarrassment of riches. GW Thomas is set to release Cthulhu Express soon, and Rainfall Books has some titles in the offing, while Pagan Publishing has a new trade paperback collection of DG chapbooks planned.Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By E. Sander on April 19, 2008
Format: Paperback
I have read many, many of Chaosium's Cthulhu Mythos anthologies and have always loved the thematic approach and Robert M. Price's introductions to the stories. Sure, his lengthy background analyses often were a bit over the top and seem to force religious subjects into the context but a collection edited by Price was always a guarantee for classic and often rare material. With "Arkham Tales" Chaosium have taken a different approach and it started to dawn on me after reading a couple of stories. I started noticing that with the exception of James Ambuehl and C.J. Henderson none of the other authors really rang a bell. An I noticed how most of the stories seemed to have exactly 18 pages. A quick google search confirmed my suspicion that this collection was a series of commissioned pieces. Chaosium had invited writers to write 5000 word stories based on the "shared world" of Lovecraft's Arkham. Writers were asked to base their material on Chaosium's Arkham guidebook and use different time settings instead of just Lovecraft's twenties. Payment: 2 copies.

Well, that explains the rather dodgy quality of most of these stories. Rarely have I read a collection of Mythos tales that was - on average - so poorly written both stylistically as well as plot-wise, so full of typos, so enormously predicatble, downright silly (a Mythos entity called Hasad the Horrible?!) and in some cases so incredibly forcefully inserted in the Arkham surroundings. I mean, come on ... a Japanese deligation holding a weird tea ritual at the Miskatonic University? Can things get any sillier?
Most of the writers seem to be rather inexperienced, using quite a few pages for character and athmosphere building only to find out that they haven't got enough words left for a decent plot development and interesting twists.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By S. Potter on May 30, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Once when I visiting H.P.'s grave, I found a maunscript left by a fan. The enclosed letter said that the author knew his work was poor, but he was leaving it as a fan, and hoped it was appreciated. I read it, sitting by that grave. And he was correct; the work had promise, but needed a lot of work.

That's what this collection reminded me of. A bunch of works left at the grave of H.P.L. with very little to encourage them. There is a certain amount of promise in this work, but it is quickly buried under stories that never seem to go anywhere. The writing is cliched in most of the tales, and sometimes the mythos seems to be an afterthought to what's going on.

Poor editing contributed to the poor effect, but really, the quality of the stories does not match most of the "fan work" that has come before. It reads like a bunch of adventure intros for the "Call of Cthulhu" RPG, and not like a series of genre stories.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By IAN BRUCE-DOUGLAS VINE VOICE on May 7, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I couldn't believe how bad this book was on so many different levels...especially after reading the glowing customer reviews, here!

First, there were unintentional bad syntax and misspellings throughout...which was both irritating and distracting. Did anyone even proofread or edit this collection before it went to press? I really wonder!

Second, most of the stories...with (if I remember correctly!) only two notable exceptions...were simply poor. The plots and writing "styles" reminded me of something straight out of a high-school campus magazine...and most were too predictable and not at all frightening. The rich imagery of Lovecraft and his best inheritors was totally absent. The results were, mostly, dull and unimaginative.

Third, too many of the stories dealt with different private detectives dealing with Arkham horrors...and these were written in a very corny, dated style that read like bad Mickey Spillane. I think that the Old Master, Lovecraft, would have cringed at some crap!

If you are a true Lovecraft Mythos fan who has enjoyed some of the really good spinoffs from some of the first generation of Lovecraft's inheritors, I would recommend that you bypass this book altogether.
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