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Shadows Bend: A Novel of the Fantastic and Unspeakable Paperback – October 1, 2000

14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Any fantasy or horror fan simply has to get this book. -- Orlando Sentinel --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

David Barbour works for a law firm. This is his first novel.

Richard Raleigh is a folklorist and translator, as well as a professor of literature and creative writing. Both authors have been fans of H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard since childhood.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 311 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Trade; Ace ed edition (October 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441007651
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441007653
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,510,278 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Chris Jarocha-Ernst on February 22, 2001
Format: Paperback
In short, this is mind candy, no less entertaining than a good fannish Cthulhu Mythos story, but not what I would have expected from people who claim to be HPL/REH fans. The basic idea is a good one: bring the "Three Musketeers of WEIRD TALES" (Howard, Lovecraft, and Clark Ashton Smith) together against creatures of the Mythos. Unfortunately, it's full of missteps (for one, the authors claim Howard created "Red Sonja", actually a 1970s comic-book invention based on a similarly named character from one of REH's historical stories). If you don't know much about REH/HPL, this won't bother you, but then why would you buy this book? Plotwise, it shambles along, like the menaces of the story, fantastic and unspeakable but ultimately disappointing.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Rory Coker on November 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
It's a good idea, marred by inept execution and literary inexperience. The three titans of WEIRD TALES, Lovecraft, Howard and Ashton Smith, accompanied by the Whore with a Heart of Gold that no fanboy fiction is complete without, tackle the invasion of Earth by Lovecraft's own Old Ones. There are a number of problems that distracted me from enjoying the read: (1) Lovecraft and Howard tend to be played for laughs. For instance, Lovecraft lived off cold pork and beans in the privacy of his hovel, but his feelings of social superiority were such that he would never dream of doing such a thing in public. And Howard comes off as singularly obtuse and clueless throughout. (2) Although the real Lovecraft loved to vary his speaking style to suit the audience, the Lovecraft of this book speaks always in a "precious" literary style which the authors' own ignorance of English tends to turn into gibberish in spots. Only Clark Ashton Smith comes over as a fairly well-rounded portrait of a real author.
The main problem is that the book has no plot. If the aim of the transdimensional shadow men is to get someone to place the stone Loveman sent to Lovecraft into a slot in a cave, it beggars even transdimensional reason that they do everything in their transdimensional powers to PREVENT the characters from getting to the slot in the cave! Everything could have been wrapped up in chapter 2, and all else is foot-dragging.
Apart from the red-haired harlot with the heart of gold, there is another terrible cliche in the novel, namely the all-wise Indian shaman, who foresees everything, but like the transdimensional shadow beings, has a singularly back-handed and contraverse way of helping our heroes! I kept expecting him to say, "Try not. Do, or do not!
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Burnett on December 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
Even when two writers write well, collaboration is an itchy thing. Unless the pair is deliberately writing two different voices, they must carefully mesh their styles and dialog into a seamless narrative designed to maintain the illusion that the book you are holding is a cohesive and unified whole. When done well, it can be a beautiful thing; two voices telling the same tale, adding idea to idea and raising the entire project to a sublime place.
If the writers are unqualified hacks, however, the mess resembles the result of a Creative Writing 101 final after the TA trips while carrying the manuscripts.
Can you guess into which category "Shadows Bend" falls?
Unqualified ha...I mean, writers David Barbour and Richard Raleigh have imagined a world in which two famous pulp writers meet in order to drop a coin into the jukebox from Hell in order to prevent the end of the world as we know it. "Oh," you think. "It's going to be that kind of novel."
Though HP Lovecraft and "Conan" creator Robert E. Howard never met, Barbour and Raleigh ask us to imagine that they did. Also, that Cthulhu and the rest of the Old Ones are real and trying to rend the fabric of time and space in order to occupy our universe. Also, that any godlike being would think our universe was worth occupying, but that's another matter completely.
It's an interesting premise, interesting enough to get me to plunk down my money and take my chance. But the result is something less than promised.
Lovecraft and Howard set off on a nostalgia tour down Route 66 in order to destroy "the artifact" that would allow the Old Ones into our parking space.
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By Blue Tyson on March 25, 2008
Format: Paperback
H. P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard vs Cthulhu

What the hell else do you need me to tell you?

If you do, and you are perhaps more familiar with The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril (also featuring Lovecraft), then the aforementioned is very much in the tradition of this book, except Shadows Bend does not suffer from the sometimes tedious diversions in the other book.

Lovecraft, it appears, is in serious need of help, and there are only two men he believes are likely to be of use, or believe him, so:

"Lovecraft turned away and took the three steps down into Cross Plains, Texas, this unwitting way station. It wasn't much of a town, just a place where some roads and power lines seemed to converge for no apparent reason. The few buildings-storefronts and professional addresses-all faced each other, as if to keep the reality of the empty landscape at bay."

"The man's flesh seemed nearly blue against his soiled white clothes, and he seemed to have been out in the storm for quite a while, or perhaps he was terrified of the gun, because he was shivering so violently it seemed unlikely he could keep his hands up. He had an odd expression on his face, but Howard couldn't tell if it was terror or some weird and maniacal amusement. His lips moved hesitantly for a split second, and then, in an entirely unconvincing attempt at a Southern drawl, he said, "Howdy there, Two-Gun Bob."

Howard and his father looked at each other. The Doctor's expression suggested he thought they had an escapee from some asylum, but Howard's eyes suddenly went wide, and his jaw swung open. "Lovecraft!" he said. "How did-What in the Sam Hill are you doin' out here?
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