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Cthulhu's Reign Mass Market Paperback – April 6, 2010

3.6 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Darrell Schweitzer is a writer, editor, and critic of speculative fiction. While he has focused in dark fantasy and horror, he also works in science fiction and fantasy. He now lives in the Philadelphia area.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: DAW (April 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0756406161
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756406165
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #802,278 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mike Allen edits the critically-acclaimed anthology series CLOCKWORK PHOENIX and the long-running magazine MYTHIC DELIRIUM. His books include post-apocalyptic dark fantasy novel THE BLACK FIRE CONCERTO and career-spanning poetry collection HUNGRY CONSTELLATIONS. To learn about upcoming book releases and projects, sign up for his newsletter at http://tinyurl.com/abattoir-memos.

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY and LIBRARY JOURNAL gave starred reviews to his first collection of short fiction, UNSEAMING. Laird Barron wrote in the book's introduction that the stories in UNSEAMING "rival anything committed to paper by the likes of contemporary masters such as Clive Barker, Ramsey Campbell, or Caitlín Kiernan." Helen Marshall called Mike's second collection, THE SPIDER TAPESTRIES, "a must-read for fans of weird fiction and dark fantasy."

More of Mike's stories have popped up in places like WEIRD TALES, BENEATH CEASELESS SKIES, and the anthologies CTHULHU'S REIGN, SOLARIS RISING 2 and TOMORROW'S CTHULHU. His poetry has won the Rhysling Award three times, and his fiction has been nominated for the Nebula Award and the Shirley Jackson Award.

By day he works as the arts and culture columnist for the daily newspaper in Roanoke, Va., where he lives with his wife Anita, a goofy dog, and two cats with varying degrees of psychosis. You can follow Mike's exploits as a writer at descentintolight.com, as an editor at mythicdelirium.com, and all at once on Twitter at @mythicdelirium.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
HPL avoided writing his own story on this theme - Old Ones conquer Earth - IMO because the topic offers too little creative possibilities. Old Ones trying to infiltrate Earth = many options for stories, Old Ones ruling Earth = Game Over, humans run around like cockroaches caught when one turns on the light in a Manhattan kitchen at 4 AM, and are crushed like bugs after some futile scurrying. That summary covers maybe 90% of the content herein, so if you read straight through, you will get mighty bored.

Schweitzer's career as editor and author has trod a fine line between the professional horror field and the murkier fanfic realm of some dude in Mom's basement cranking out six page Cthuluian pulp mags on his Mac. Schweitzer knows both kinds of writers and reached out to them for this collection. This collection treads a similar path between writers you probably have never heard of even if you read a lot of horror, and more well-known guys like Langan, Lupoff, & Barron. The split is roughly 50/50 with all the big names towards the rear of the book.

My favorite story is actually probably the worst one in here, Ian Watson's "The Walker in the Cemetery" feels like a classic MST3K episode - "Terror of Mini-Cthulhu" or "I Married an Elder God". Tourists in a Genoan cemetery are isolated in a little time pocket during the Fall of Mankind and are stalked by a 7 foot tall Cthulhu (not the Spawn of Cthulhu mind you, the big kahuna himself). The characters somehow leap to all kinds of inexplicable conclusions involving the CERN particle accelerator and then the lead stereotype.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
The premise of Cthulhu's Reign is simple. What happens to humanity after the rising of R'lyeh? Most Cthulhu mythos fiction is concerned with discovering the existence of humanity's true place in the order of things or about cultists trying to bring back Cthulhu. Cthulhu's Reign takes a different perspective.

The book is a very nice mass market paperback with 309 pages, including a 7 page introduction, and a few pages of authors' biographies. All stores were newly published for this book; I did not see any major typographical errors. The attractive cover art shows immense tentacles rearing up out of the sea but I am not sure who created it, even after going over the book carefully. I was familiar with about half the authors in this volume. I was captivated by the uniformly high quality of the writing; there was not one story that I did not enjoy immensely. I have some beefs of course that I suppose I need to get out of the way. First, as a bibliophile I would have loved a limited edition hardcover, with interior illustrations. In fact, the last mythos anthology I can think of offhand that was published directly as a mmpb was Miskatonic University in 1996! Most such books at least start life as a trade paperback. Perhaps DAW only markets mmpbs? Perhaps it says something about the increasing popularity of fiction inspired by HPL's creations? My second issue is that the title is not listed as volume 1 in DAW's new series of Lovecraftian fiction. Oh, well, I can dream. The introduction by Darrell Schweitzer is, frankly, brilliant. It tells you just about everything you need to know to appreciate where these stories are coming from, and shows off his scholarly credentials to boot.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
All of Lovecraft's stories hint at a time in the future when Cthulhu and other terrible things from beyond space and time will return to bring the earth back under "their dark and terrible sway." The stories in this collection are all versions of what the world is like after this has happened.

I also liked the introduction by the editor and found his insight into the philosophical difference between Lovecraft's work and those of some of his followers really interesting. He mentions how Lovecraft wrote in world where there were things so totally outside of the human sphere of understanding, so totally alien, that not only could we barely understand them, but that we were as unworthy of there notice as some kind of insect larvae would be to us. We do not merit there attention except maybe as food. Some of the authors who went on to write stories in in the Cthulhu Mythos wrote them in terms of good fighting evil. The editor goes so far as to call this "Derlethian heresy" in that it denies the core of Lovecraft's view of the universe as "a vast, impersonal, mindless chaos, in which we exist purely by biological-chemical accident, and on a very small scale. His utterly inhuman monsters are symbols of forces in the cosmos-at-large for which human endeavors have no significance or validity." It is in the realization that the moral order we impose on our universe is just a frail concept and has no meaning to these creatures that descend upon us, that true horror begins. The horror we would feel if we were treated like we treat chickens or cattle or even yeast. All the stories in this anthology follow what the editor would call Lovecraft's philosophy.
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