Review: The Gods of H. P. Lovecraft, ed. Aaron J. French, 2015.
There are a lot of different tones and registers you can chose when picking the voices for a collection of Cthulhu Mythos stories.
But, if you’re going to pull off the promise inherent in the title The Gods of H. P. Lovecraft, that tone better be one of mystery, awe, reverence, and a de-privileging of human values and concerns.
Largely it does.
First off, it has 12 nice black and white illustrations, one for each god, done by Paul Carrick, Steve Santiago, and John Coulthart, so you might want to pick up the print edition rather than e-book. Even more singular are Donald Tyson’s pieces on each god. Together, they read like a primer you’d find in the pocket of a new acolyte in one of those dark cults of Lovecraft.
The stories …
Well, the stories mostly work in providing the promised tone and affect.
There are a couple that go astray because they are entries in series that shoehorned Lovecraft into their plots.
One is Martha Wells’ “The Dark Gates” which has Yog-Sothoth showing up in a story of detection in her Ile-Rein series. The other is from Jonathan Maberry. “Dream a Little Dream of Me”, a Sam Hunter story. He’s a vulgar, tough talking, werewolf private eye turned lose in an overstuffed narrative with an Etruscan god, the Thule Society (beloved by occult-minded Nazis), and Lovecraft’s nightgaunts. There’s a whole lot more comedic mashup than mystery, real danger, or grandeur, dark or otherwise.
There’s a couple of other stories with odd tones that still carry off the title premise. Continue reading