Review: Shoggoth 2: The Rise of the Elders, Byron Craft, 2018.
Yep, it’s a sequel to Shoggoth, and, yes, the Elder Beings aka the Yith do play a prominent role.
It’s been a few months since the events of Shoggoth. Jason Riggs and Gwen Gilhooey have married and are expecting a child, and Jason’s nephew Noah has come to live with them. Computer genius Cac survived being shot up. Thomas Ironwood and his former housekeeper, Amy Murchison, have become lovers.
Besides Noah, there are two other major characters, a mysterious scarred man who proves his professional monster killing metal in some opening chapters, and Pemba, a psychic empath from England. (Recommended by Professor David Hambling, no less!). Ironwood wants help in investigating some strange dreams and visions the locals of Darwin are having. He thinks the vast underground complex of the Yith exerts some kind of psychic influence.
And Senator Neville Stream is still around, still determined to get his hands on Yith technology and weaponize shoggoths for political ends.
Admiral Hawkins, unable to directly confront Stream, a master of political and media manipulation, directly, forms a conspiracy of our heroes to stop the senator.
I thought the first two two-thirds of the novel were all right. I did like the explorations of the underground Yith complex by the scarred man and Pemba, but the novel got a lot more interesting in the third part. I liked Craft’s plausible and satiric takes on the Deep State media manipulation, historical revisionism, and the West’s disturbing modern tendency to xenophilia. And I appreciated a character from the series past showing up to lend a hand. However, I did find the plan executed by the Hawkins’ group somewhat implausible.
If you liked the preceding novels in the Mythos Project series, there’s no reason you shouldn’t read this one though I found it the least satisfying so far.
About That Final Third (with Spoilers)
The shoggoths escape. Stream’s band of coerced and bribed henchman manage to come across Yiths in suspended animation and force them to work for him.
Since the shoggoths were originally intended to be solar powered servants, not ravenous devourers of organic life – which they had to be to survive underground – they don’t pose an immediate threat. Stream wants the Yith to create shoggoths he controls.
The relative placidity of the shoggoths means no danger for would-be dictator of America, Stream, to fight. Another strategy is needed. Being the spider at the center of a media web, Stream puts it out that Hawkins and Ironwood are treasonously freed the shoggoths deliberately in a coup attempt. However, “the civilized world [should] welcome the diversity their culture brings.” There should be no “Elderphobia, no “anti-Great Race sentiments”. Cults worshipping “Star Gods” spring up. “Shoggoth towers” appear in various places of the world. Global stock markets crash. Anti-Great Race factions show up.
The man with the scar infiltrates the Great Race Ascension area around Darwin and gets video footage of them eating humans. Though it’s broadcast, the pathological apologies for the Great Race continue.
Representatives of the religious sect ‘Star Children’ released a statement to this network affirming their resolve to ‘combat society’s prejudices against cannibalism.’ They have additionally laid claims to all sources of knowledge as the way to a peaceful soul.
It’s also discovered that the complex of the Great Race has transmitted a message into space to bring others of their species here.
The Yith, of course, being the curious creatures they are, have tapped into the internet, and thus Hawkins’ group comes up with a plan enabled by the computer wizardry of Cac and Noah. I found their plan accomplished too easily, but it is an interesting idea: a counter propaganda campaign of blatant disinformation. Specifically, to convince the Yith that the imprisoned Ancient One on Earth, Yath Notep from The Cry of Cthulhu, has risen. The plan is facilitated by none other than Faren Church. Neither he nor his wife Janet died at the end of the latter novel. Ironwood and Miskatonic University’s Mythos Department got them new identities. So, ultimately, the alien menace of the Great Race is defeated not by magic or weapons but something I’ve never seen before in a Mythos story: disinformation. That makes this novel unique.