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Children of Lovecraft Paperback – September 20, 2016
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About the Author
Ellen Datlow, the editor of Children of Lovecraft, has been editing science fiction, fantasy, and horror short fiction for over thirty years as fiction editor of OMNI Magazine and editor of Event Horizon and SCIFICTION. She currently acquires short fiction for Tor.com. In addition, she has edited more than sixty science fiction, fantasy, and horror anthologies, including the annual The Best Horror of the Year, Lovecraft's Monsters, Fearful Symmetries, Nightmare Carnival, The Cutting Room, and The Doll Collection.
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Ellen Datlow has been editing science fiction, fantasy, and horror short fiction for over thirty years. She has won numerous awards for her work and is certainly one of the best in the business. As a result she attracts some of the best writers when she puts together a new project and Children of Lovecraft is a fine example of this effect.
H.P. Lovecraft is not without his detractors, for numerous reasons, but love him or despise him, Lovecraft was, without a doubt, one of the most influential horror writers of all time. Go anywhere where writers of horror have congregated and sooner or later, you'll hear his name or talk of his work or see Cthulhu on a t-shirt.
"Nesters" by Siobhan Carroll - As if life on the plains wasn't tough enough, the Mackay's are called upon two guide two men from the government to a neighbor's property where a shooting star seems to have crashed. Off to a great start.
"Little Ease" by Gemma Files -Ginevra Cochrane works under the table for a shifty exterminator, A scary proposition from the start. Her current job is at number 33, a run-down tenement. What she finds behind the walls, well, let's just say eating lunch while reading this one may not have been the best idea I ever had. One of the best shorts I've read this year.
"Eternal Troutland" by Stephen Graham Jones - There are creatures out there we can't even guess at. Surreal, esoteric, and entertaining.
"The Supplement" by John Langan - A book of blank pages, an amazing power, but it comes with a cost. I was deeply moved by this story and regardless of the cost, I'd love to own this book.
"Mortensen's Muse" by Orrin Grey - A young ingenue moves to Los Angelos to become an actress. A talented photographer with a eye for the grotesque follows her to the City of Dreams. If HP Lovecraft had written for The Twilight Zone, this could have been the story he would have written.
"Oblivion Mode" by Laird Barron - Talking vampire bats and other animals are just the beginning, When Karl Lochinvar falls into a pit, things really get crazy. If H.P. Lovecraft and Douglas Adams had a love child his name would be Laird Barron and he might be writing stories like this.
"Mr. Doornail" by Maria Dahvana Headley - What would an H.P. Lovecraft inspired anthology be without tentacles? Sharing a house with a man who's heart you've fed to a monster was nothing nice. Another great read in a book where all of the stories are really good.
"The Secrets of Insects" by Richard Kadrey - Another solid tale, this one about a serial killer who would drill holes in his victim's heads and then allow insects to crawl inside.
"Excerpts for An Eschatology Quadrille" by Caitlin R Kiernan - An amazing and visceral story involving an ancient jade statuette. Just when you think it can't get any worse...it get's much worse.
"Jules and Richard" by David Nickle - One of my favorite stories in an anthology where there are no weak links. It's all a matter of taste. This one starts out innocently enough, but just grew darker and darker as the story progressed.
"Glasses" by Brian Evenson - The shortest story in the collection. About a woman who picks up a pair of biofocals (sic) when her new reading glasses break.
"When the Stitches Come Undone" by A.C. Wise - Darkness, cannibals, and more. Ultimately a story of sacrifice.
"On These Blackened Shores of Time" by Brian Hodge - Great story with a terrific opening line. I saw it happen, watched the street open up and swallow my son whole.
"Bright Crown of Joy" by Livia Llewellyn - The anthology ends with a superb story of a world that has moved on.
You don't need to be a fan of H.P. Lovecraft to enjoy the quality storytelling in this book. If you are, though, you might enjoy it even more.
Children of Lovecraft is available in both paperback and e-book formats from Dark Horse Books.
Children of Lovecraft was, of course, no exception. The premise of the anthology is this: the authors were tasked with writing Lovecraft-inspired shorts using, as Datlow states, the best of Lovecraft, while also exploring new themes and horrors. And boy did the authors to just that! From the Dust Bowl to a tale inspired by Boulder's recent epic flood, most of the stories don't explicitly use any Lovecraft specific creations - Cthulu, etc - but instead are imbued with the eerie and terrifying ambiance of Lovecraft. And yes, plenty of bizarre creations and creatures as well!
Here's the full TOC:
"Nesters" by Siobhan Carroll
"Little Ease" by Gemma Files
"Eternal Troutland" by Stephen Graham Jones
"The Supplement" by John Langan
"Mortensen's Muse" by Orrin Grey
"Oblivion Mode" by Laird Barron
"Mr. Doornail" by Maria Dahvana Headley
"The Secrets of Insects" by Richard Kadrey
"Excerpts from An Eschatology Quadrille" by Caitlin R. Kiernan
"Jules and Richard" by David Nickel
"Glasses" by Brian Evenson
"When the Stitches Come Undone" by A. C. Wise
"On These Blackened Shores of Time" by Brian Hodge
"Bright Crown of Joy" by Livia Llewellyn
A few of my personal favorites include Siobhan Carroll's "Nesters" - a truly creepy tale made more so by being set during the desperation of the Dust Bowl, Richard Kadrey's procedural-esque "The Secrets of Insects," A. C. Wise's gory and disturbing "When the Stitches Come Undone," Brian Hodge's "On These Blackened Shores of Time" the aforementioned Boulder flood inspired tale (set in Pennsylvania mining country), and Brian Evenson's "Glasses" - oh, Brian Evenson's "Glasses"! This was kind of a delightful one - a bit of comic relief, so to speak, amidst what could be a quite unsettling collection!
In truth, though, I quite enjoyed the whole anthology. It is a perfect one to treat yourself to if you're craving weird and scary! And probably the best part, you don't have to know Lovecraft at all to enjoy it. You do have to love horror, though.