Lovecraft Unbound – Dead Reckonings Review
Ellen Datlow sent along the text of a review of Lovecraft Unbound. It is will appear in a forthcoming Dead Reckonings. We’re permitted to use excerpts, so I’ve dug out some that relate to my story:
More Than Just Tentacles
HENRIK SANDBECK HARKSEN, ed. Eldritch Horrors: Dark Tales. Odense, Denmark: H. Harksen Productions, 2008. iv, 306 pp. €19.60 ($25.30) tpb.
ELLEN DATLOW, ed. Lovecraft Unbound. New York: Dark Horse, 2009. 421 pp. $19.95 tpb.
The two present volumes are among the latest additions to the jewels in Cthulhu’s treasury. Both anthologies share the ambition of highlighting the “Lovecraftian”—the nebulous quality of weirdness and mood that is so much more than monsters from Outside and strange little New England towns. Marc Laidlaw puts it best when, in his comment on his story in Lovecraft Unbound, he writes, “Learning from Lovecraft, without leaning on him, is the challenge.” And in this, both anthologies succeed remarkably well.
An adventurous mycologist looking for a missing expedition visits a certain Asian plateau in Marc Laidlaw’s “Leng.” This is one of the more subtly disturbing stories of the book in its depiction of bodily invasion and the subversion of self; certain properties of the unique fungus located by the mycologist remind me of Clark Ashton Smith’s “The Seed from the Sepulcher.” It is also a good example of how names from Lovecraft’s mythos can be dropped as part of the background for a story, not taking centre stage as in some pastiches of doubtful quality.