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Beneath the Moors and Darker Places Hardcover – February 9, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
This volume of workmanlike shorter fiction from Lumley collects nine early, largely Lovecraft-inspired pieces by the British author of the popular Necroscope series (Necroscope IV: Deadspeak, Forecasts, Oct. 29, etc.). Such homages to H.P.L. as "Dagon's Bell," "Rising with Surtsey" and a long-out-of-print short novel, Beneath the Moors, reflect the master's narrative technique and subject matter, though in style they owe more to the plodding pastiches of August Derleth, Arkham House's founding editor and Cthulhu Mythos promoter. Yet one should note that the author is not fixated on the Mythos or purple prose, as witness "The Sun, the Sea, and the Silent Scream," which uses the same Greek islands setting as "There Are No Sharks in the Mediterranean," a tale that appears in a companion story collection, The Whisperer and Other Voices (2001). "The Fairground Horror" is a classic juxtaposition of something grisly with a cozy environment, while "A Thing About Cars" draws on the author's experience as a British army military policeman. If like his mentor Lovecraft, Lumley has only a modest gift for characterization, he also, like the Providence gentleman, exhibits a real, often compelling sense of place. Some of the stories have been available only in versions edited to the point of mutilation, and it's good to see them restored to their proper form. Although this is a distinctly mixed bag, it's definitely worthwhile for its intended portion of the horror audience. (Feb. 15
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
In "The Second Wish," published for the first time with its original ending, a reformed rake discovers the dangers of visiting ancient temples in Eastern Europe, while in "Dagon's Bell," a newlywed couple encounters the darkness that dwells inside their haunted seaside residence. These two tales, along with the short novel Beneath the Moors, until now unavailable in the United States, and six other tales comprise a faithful tribute by veteran fantasist Lumley ("Necroscope" series) to horror author H.P. Lovecraft. A good addition to most libraries' horror collections and a title with special appeal to fans of the Cthulhu mythos. [See also The Children of Cthulhu, reviewed above. Ed.]
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
I *really* appreciate the fact this book is so well-constructed. So many of today's hardbacks have a squishy feel to them; this doesn't. It's solidly put together and I am confident it will survive future readings and re-readings.
Within this collection itself are some highly notable pieces, including the much acclaimed Lovecraftian pieces Dagon's Bell, The Fairground Horror, the Rising of Surtsey, plus the short Novel, Beneath the Moors, and the ones I favor, David's Worm and The Sun, The Sea, and The Silent Scream. This mingle together in a lovely fashion, taking different aspects of horrors that are both physical and psychologial and placing them in a stew that o so well.
Shortly breaking down some of the inclusions and listing the rest at the end, they are:
David's Worm, a story about the lowly planarian worm that David, a scientist's son, sees upon a slide, notices is alive, and lovingly liberates by letting it go into a pond behind his home. Here it feeds and grows, taking on the abilities and mentalities of many of the things it consumes before finally wobbling onto land and confronting David and his family as well. I personally found this story entertaining because it shows why some things make good additions to a slideshow and shouldn't be freed and why I would only play fetch with a cute little blob like Planny if I had a kid to bait it with, plus the ending is wonderfully cruel device that sent a tiny shiver down my entertained spine. As a reader, I truly appreciate that.
Dagon's Bell, is a tale about the wonders of home acquisition and what sometimes lurks beneath our wonderful abodes. Here, a home once possessed by a man thought to be a bit crazed becomes vacant when he, disappearing altogether, can no longer display the wonders of shotgun love to an adoring public and a newly married couple decides that this place, an extensive fixer-upper, would be a dream come true. Little do they know that somewhere beneath the grounds the sounds of a bell, Dagon's Bell, can be heard when the tide is right, and it brings with it things that really don't make good dinner guests. This story has a lovely rendition of manifestation inside it that I enjoyed, plus a bit of background that is pretty tasty, not to mention that the story itself, teeming with a bit of madness that Lovecraft would enjoy, comes across really well.
The Sun, The Sea, and The Silent Scream, is a lovely recount depicting the joys of vacationing in places where the water isn't intestable and where tiny parasites, enjoyable crablike entities that like to get on and in their hosts, infest everything. Besides simply entertaining the reader, it actually works as a textbook of sorts, teaching you the merits of staying at places not considered "out of the way" and also showing you why your food preparers, a sometimes overlooked by the less picky of sorts, should be mistrusted without exception.
The Fairground Horror, deals with the great tentacled one's priests and the mark they bare. It begins by focusing on Hodgson's Funfair and a man named Anderson Tharpe who has recently added a new freak-house frontage called "Tomb Of The Great Old Ones." Within it are the normal oddities that freakshows like to use, the cons that have been sold throughout the ages, but there are also some other things, pieces taken from his younger brother, Hamiliton. Without delving too much into it, this is basically a lesson in why you should try to play with things belonging to the sleeping old one, and why you should never trust anyone wearing a hairpiece.
Also included in this book are The Second Wish, A Thing About Cars, Rising of Surtsey, Big 'C' and Beneath the Moors, all good pieces that deserve attention and will no doubt appeal to the outermost terror because of my careless neglect.
To say that the stories manifesting here are worth reading is, quite simply, an understatement of the foulest sort. With the mistreatment of a child's kindness, the rising of undersea horrors, fairs that have no need of falsified unicorns to have truly unique sideshows, and vile creatures that burrow under one's skin, this collection warms the heart in a way that only the most special of collections can. Personally, it makes me feel like singing Christmas carols.