web site hit counter New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird

Availability: Ready to download

For more than eighty years H.P. Lovecraft has inspired writers of supernatural fiction, artists, musicians, filmmakers, and gamers. His themes of cosmic indifference, the utter insignificance of humankind, minds invaded by the alien, and the horrors of history—written with a pervasive atmosphere of unexplainable dread—remain not only viable motifs, but are more relevant th For more than eighty years H.P. Lovecraft has inspired writers of supernatural fiction, artists, musicians, filmmakers, and gamers. His themes of cosmic indifference, the utter insignificance of humankind, minds invaded by the alien, and the horrors of history—written with a pervasive atmosphere of unexplainable dread—remain not only viable motifs, but are more relevant than ever as we explore the mysteries of a universe in which our planet is infinitesimal and climatic change is overwhelming it. In the early twenty-first century the best supernatural writers no longer imitate Lovecraft, but they are profoundly influenced by the genre and the mythos he created. New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird presents some of the best of this new Lovecraftian fiction—bizarre, subtle, atmospheric, metaphysical, psychological, filled with strange creatures and stranger characters—eldritch, unsettling, evocative, and darkly appealing.


Compare

For more than eighty years H.P. Lovecraft has inspired writers of supernatural fiction, artists, musicians, filmmakers, and gamers. His themes of cosmic indifference, the utter insignificance of humankind, minds invaded by the alien, and the horrors of history—written with a pervasive atmosphere of unexplainable dread—remain not only viable motifs, but are more relevant th For more than eighty years H.P. Lovecraft has inspired writers of supernatural fiction, artists, musicians, filmmakers, and gamers. His themes of cosmic indifference, the utter insignificance of humankind, minds invaded by the alien, and the horrors of history—written with a pervasive atmosphere of unexplainable dread—remain not only viable motifs, but are more relevant than ever as we explore the mysteries of a universe in which our planet is infinitesimal and climatic change is overwhelming it. In the early twenty-first century the best supernatural writers no longer imitate Lovecraft, but they are profoundly influenced by the genre and the mythos he created. New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird presents some of the best of this new Lovecraftian fiction—bizarre, subtle, atmospheric, metaphysical, psychological, filled with strange creatures and stranger characters—eldritch, unsettling, evocative, and darkly appealing.

30 review for New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird

  1. 5 out of 5

    Fiona

    The vast majority of these stories are fine, with a smattering of good here and there; it almost didn't warrant a review. But there's a couple of shorts in here that should be sought out, even if you don't want to read the rest. A Study in Emerald, by Neil Gaiman - I'm usually left entirely cold by Gaiman, but this is truly excellent. He pulls Lovecraft and Holmes together into a story that becomes so much more than the sum of it's parts - and managed to surprise me. She was called Victoria, beca The vast majority of these stories are fine, with a smattering of good here and there; it almost didn't warrant a review. But there's a couple of shorts in here that should be sought out, even if you don't want to read the rest. A Study in Emerald, by Neil Gaiman - I'm usually left entirely cold by Gaiman, but this is truly excellent. He pulls Lovecraft and Holmes together into a story that becomes so much more than the sum of it's parts - and managed to surprise me. She was called Victoria, because she had beaten us in battle, seven hundred years before, and she was called Gloriana, because she was glorious, and she was called the Queen, because the human mouth was not shaped to say her true name. The Essayist in the Wilderness, by William Browning Spencer - perfect, honestly, every single word of it, all the way to that spectacular ending that shocked actual - loud - laughter out of me. WBS plays with the concept of an unreliable narrator by introducing us, instead, to an obtuse narrator, self-absorbed and naive, and yet sympathetic and likeable, even as that like is tinged with exasperation and a little pity. Because (and he does this so skillfully) we, the reader, are in on it from the beginning - we see what he doesn't. The whole thing was just so very, very, well done and absolutely enjoyable. I'm definitely going to be looking for more from this author. There's more in there that is definitely worth the read, but it's those two that left their mark this time. Overall it's still a good collection, too, so if you've an interest in our non-euclidean friends, you could do a lot worse than to pick this up.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Heidi Ward

    New Cthulhu: the Recent Weird boasts a mostly stellar array of stories for fans of the Lovecraftian weird. Some require fluency in the master's work; for example "Pickman's Other Model (1929)," by Caitlin R. Kiernan is a sequel and picks up very shortly after the events of the original (one of my favorites, incidentally), and several others play explicitly in the fields of the Elder Gods, so some familiarity with the pantheon helps. (As does Paula Guran's skillful and cogent introduction, which New Cthulhu: the Recent Weird boasts a mostly stellar array of stories for fans of the Lovecraftian weird. Some require fluency in the master's work; for example "Pickman's Other Model (1929)," by Caitlin R. Kiernan is a sequel and picks up very shortly after the events of the original (one of my favorites, incidentally), and several others play explicitly in the fields of the Elder Gods, so some familiarity with the pantheon helps. (As does Paula Guran's skillful and cogent introduction, which offers a solid primer on the man himself, and what it means to be "Lovecraftian" today.) Other stories, such as China Mieville’s grim gem "Details," evoke the same feeling of utterly alien horror without any direct reference at all. (In fact Mieville’s story may literally change the way you look at things for a while.) Other standouts are the evocatively titled "Bad Sushi" by steampunk queen Cherie Priest; the incomparable Neil Gaiman’s Sherlock-meets-the Old Ones tale "A Study in Emerald"; and the core-freezing "Cold Water Survival" by Holly Phillips. Also look out for a virtual version of R'lyeh; the biological study of Shoggoths in the wild; weaponized Old Ones (“Project K-THULHU”); and disturbing ritualistic body-switching a la "The Thing on the Doorstep." Not every story is going to please every reader, and I gather several have been published elsewhere before (the only one I knew going in was Gaiman’s). But in all, this anthology is skillfully put together and the stories are quite varied in style and approach while still maintaining an integrity of influence. I picked it up for my Kindle on a whim based on the inclusion of stories by several favorite authors, and not only could I not put it down, I also discovered several talented writers new to me. In my book, that makes this collection a resounding success.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Gentleman-and-scholar

    I was really excited when I ordered this book and as a Lovecraft fan I expected a lot from it. I didn't get my money's worth though. For me the most distinct problem was the inability of the stories to make me feel this uncertainty and fear of the unknown that make HPL's stories unique. Some stories were exactly the opposite and felt more like B-movies rather than Lovecraftian tales. The best examples are "Bad sushi" (a guy armed with knives conforting a tentacled monster) and "Lesser demons" (a I was really excited when I ordered this book and as a Lovecraft fan I expected a lot from it. I didn't get my money's worth though. For me the most distinct problem was the inability of the stories to make me feel this uncertainty and fear of the unknown that make HPL's stories unique. Some stories were exactly the opposite and felt more like B-movies rather than Lovecraftian tales. The best examples are "Bad sushi" (a guy armed with knives conforting a tentacled monster) and "Lesser demons" (a guy with a shotgun shooting at monsters). Other stories ("Fair exchange" and "Take me to the river") went on without hinting at anything weird/horrific or even interesting for too long and ended up being plain tiresome. The reason I am giving this two stars instead of one is because a few stories really stand out. "The orange county whoosit", the "Fungal stain" and "Pickman's other model" were the best examples. Even though someone may think they were too 'loyal' or similar to original stories, they succeded at immersing me in uncertainty and horror. Finally, "Shoggoths in Bloom" was a worthwhile story not because of the atmosphere it creates (quite the opposite) but because it uses a motive found in the original works of Lovecraft to make a point. For me these are the only ways that Cthulthu Mythos references should be used: Either to recreate the horror present in the original works or to confer something. Just plugging in Dagon or Chtulhu in an average story doesn't make it special or even better, it will still be average.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kevin O'Keeffe

    As someone whose read scores (100+?) of Mythos fiction collections, this is one of the best ones I've ever come across. A few of the stories were rather weak (as is invariably the case), but the best stories were real stand-outs, including "Fair Exchange" by Michael Marshall Smith, "The Oram County Whoosit" by Steve Duffy, "The Disciple" by David Barr Kirtley, "Details" by China Mieville, "A Colder War" by Charles Stross, and certainly one of the very finest (possibly even THE finest) piece of n As someone whose read scores (100+?) of Mythos fiction collections, this is one of the best ones I've ever come across. A few of the stories were rather weak (as is invariably the case), but the best stories were real stand-outs, including "Fair Exchange" by Michael Marshall Smith, "The Oram County Whoosit" by Steve Duffy, "The Disciple" by David Barr Kirtley, "Details" by China Mieville, "A Colder War" by Charles Stross, and certainly one of the very finest (possibly even THE finest) piece of non-Lovecraft, Mythos short fiction, "Tsathoggua" by Michael Shea. If you like Lovecraft, but (like me) have already read all his stories five or more times, and so are constantly in search of new Mythos-related fiction, this is a blasphemous tome you need to acquire.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Oakes

    In the introduction to this book, the editor quotes a statement from China Miéville's intro to Lovecraft's The Mountains of Madness: The Definitive Edition, where he notes the following: "Traditional genre horror is concerned with the irruption of dreadful forces into a comforting status quo -- one which the protagonist scrambles to preserve. By contrast, Lovecraft's horror is not one of intrusion, but of realization. The world has always been impeccably bleak; the horror lies in us acknowledgin In the introduction to this book, the editor quotes a statement from China Miéville's intro to Lovecraft's The Mountains of Madness: The Definitive Edition, where he notes the following: "Traditional genre horror is concerned with the irruption of dreadful forces into a comforting status quo -- one which the protagonist scrambles to preserve. By contrast, Lovecraft's horror is not one of intrusion, but of realization. The world has always been impeccably bleak; the horror lies in us acknowledging the fact." And for the most part, that's a great way to describe what's happening in most of the stories in this book, which I'd rate as an above-average collection of cosmic horror tales. Some of the stories are very much geared toward true Lovecraft fans, while some are tinged with eldritch horror and updated for the modern reader. There are others that are not as creepy and some that tend toward the humorous. As I've noted previously, the problem with these sorts of anthologies is that sometimes you read through a number of stories and when all is said and done, there are a few really good ones that stand above the rest, leaving you with some that are okay, and some that you just plain don't like. That also happens in this book. There are some really good ones in here; the ones I like best include Cherie Priest's "Bad Sushi," about an 80 year-old sushi chef who susses out a bad smell and other horrors; John Shirley's "Buried in the Sky" is also very well done, with appeal not only to the classic Lovecraft fan, but also to more modern readers of the weird. "Take Me to the River," by Paul McAuley is set in Bristol, and is delightfully eerie; by far one of the more cerebrally-creepy stories comes from China Miéville in "Details," the story of a young boy who gets caught up in the madness of a woman who will not come out of her room. I also had fun with "A Colder War," by Charles Stross, where the discoveries made in Antarctica in Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness" become the ultimate war technology. "The Oram County Whoosit," by Steve Duffy is also deliciously creepy, a story that takes the reader back to the gold rush days and should teach you not to play with things that are better left alone. Michael Shea's "Tsathoggua" and Caitlin R. Kiernan's "Pickman's Other Model" are very well done, and I also liked Don Webb's "The Great White Bed." Neil Gaiman's "A Study in Emerald" is also found here, a Sherlockian tale that takes place in an alternative Victorian world. And although I liked Langan's "Mr. Gaunt," it seemed a bit out of place in the context of this collection. There are other good ones as well, but there are also some that I could take or leave, among them "The Vicar of R'lyeh," which others will probably love due to its gamer setting; I wasn't all that impressed with Kim Newman's "Another Fish Story" where the Devil meets Charlie Manson and his family, and "Mongoose," by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette didn't do anything for me either. It's your usual collection of yeah!, okay, and no; but within the first two categories, you will find hours of creepy entertainment. If you are a Lovecraft purist, I'd stick with the older stuff, but there is enough cosmic horror and modern weird in here for everyone else. My overall assessment of this book is that it is really good, not great, but as good as you can hope for in such a wide range of authors and stories.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mouldy Squid

    A collection of recent Mythos fiction by divers hands. I will give an overall review when I am finished, but I will also add smaller reviews of each of the stories as I read them. Too long didn't read review: All told, an average anthology that succeeds very well in one thing; collecting new lovecraftian and weird short stories. There have been several of these anthologies in the past two decades and editor Paula Guran has does a decent job of scouring them for the gems. That said, the quality of A collection of recent Mythos fiction by divers hands. I will give an overall review when I am finished, but I will also add smaller reviews of each of the stories as I read them. Too long didn't read review: All told, an average anthology that succeeds very well in one thing; collecting new lovecraftian and weird short stories. There have been several of these anthologies in the past two decades and editor Paula Guran has does a decent job of scouring them for the gems. That said, the quality of the anthology itself is uneven. Guran has certainly collected the very best of recent Lovecraft inspired short fiction from the past decade, but then filled the rest of the book with the mediocre. It's as if the publishers had a word limit for the volume and Guran, having exhausted the cream, needed to make up the rest with whatever she could find. There are only a few real stinkers here, easily outnumbered by the gems, but the gems themselves are overwhelmed by the average. I would have been much more pleased with a smaller anthology of higher quality. Most of the stories here are reprints so expect to encounter familiarity. In some cases this is good thing; getting to re-read some of the best horror of the past ten years is a treasure. I was surprised, however, at the number of authors whose work is usually much better being represented by dull, uninteresting or plainly bad stories. Taste varies, as does milage, but the real standouts are: "Pickman's Other Model (1929)", "Old Virginia", "The Crevasse", "Buried in the Sky", "Shoggoths in Bloom", "Details", "Mongoose" "Another Fish Story" and "A Colder War". The cover price for the anthology is more than justified by having these stories together in one place. I would rather have had an anthology half the size but collecting only the best, but the fact that these stories are together in one volume rather than scattered around anthologies and magazines justifies Guran's uneven choices. "Pickman's Other Model (1929)". A pastiche by Caitlín R. Kiernan, but a well done pastiche. Kiernan rightly keeps from exposing the shocker (something that HPL himself could have benefited from), relying on subtlety and the reader's own intelligence to fill in the blanks. The language and style are solidly period and the plot dovetails nicely with "Pickman's Model". A fair start to the collection. "Fair Exchange". I nice little tale about a theif and some strange possessions he steals. Notable by being set in London rather than the USA, and the voice is authentic. Wraps up nicely. "Mr. Gaunt" is a creepy little story straight out of a childhood fairy tale. This is the kind of thing I really, really enjoy, although many readers will wonder just what it is doing in a collection of Mythos fiction. While the connection to HPL is slight, this story is chock full of some really wonderfully disturbing images and it is atmospherically well within the bound of the anthology's stated goal. A stand out tale. "The Vicar of R'lyeh" is a story about a video game designer who ends up designing the apocalypse promised by the cults of Cthulhu. Full of clever puns and inside jokes about both the video game industry, 19th Century British novels and the Mythos, the story ends with a twist that will bring a snicker to the mouth of English Literature grads. Not particularly horrific, but there are a couple of nicely gruesome images and atmospheric touches. Above average but not great. "The Crevasse". A compact little story of a team of Antarctic explorers. Nicely done and clearly evokes the Antarctic wastes. The depiction of the slow madness of one of the team members and what he thinks he sees in the ice is handled very well and the story itself ends ambiguously, just as it should. I read this in the excellent Lovecraft Unbound from last year and it is nice to see it again. Another standout story. "Bad Sushi" is a bit disappointing. A ageing Japanese sushi chef discovers that what he is serving is not exactly fish. Nothing really interesting or new here, except for some rather well described creepy scenes near the end. The weakest story so far. "Old Virginia". This is a great story despite suffering from the typical Lovecraftian-hero inanity of having a first person narrator who couldn't possibly be able to narrate the story. You'll know what I mean when you get to the end of it. This particular flaw is depressingly common in Lovecraft and Lovecraft pastiche and it never fails to dampen my enthusiasm for the tale. However, Barron does a great job otherwise, creating a nicely rich backstory and a dramatically tense plot. In the same vein as Stross's "A Colder War". "The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft" is a clever riff off of "The Shadow Out of Time", but beyond the basic premise the story is lacking a certain je ne sai quoi. Some times clever is not enough. "The Oram County Whoosit" is a story within a story horror tale positing the survival of ancient monstrosities a la "At the Mountains of Madness". Here two newspaper men, a photographer and a famous writer, investigate a unusual mass of coal excavated in a backwoods town in the 1920s. Along the way the writer tells a disturbing story about another weird thing he found when prospecting in the Yukon during the gold rush. Well told, but not particularly horrific, it seems to go on a little longer than it needs to. "The Fungal Stain". I both liked and disliked this story. Pugmire easily and masterfully grasps the atmosphere of the classic weird tale and he cleverly inserts some lovecraftiana. However the plot is confused, the actions of both the narrator and the secondary characters are obscure or simply nonsensical. The prose is dreamlike and delicate and Pugmire does manage to conjure some disturbing imagery, but as a whole, "The Fungal Stain" is lacking in the most basic foundations of a good story. "A Study in Emerald". Let me get this out of the way: I don't care for Gaiman. I think that the only really interesting thing he's done was Sandman. Heresy, I know. However, I have tried and tried and tried to like his other work, but I just don't. I have also tried to figure out what it is I don't like about his writing, and I have failed at that as well. Now that I have exposed my sins for all to see, let me get back to "A Study in Emerald". I have been told again and again (mostly by Gaiman fans) that I would absolutely love this story. They cite the clever and subtle use of mythos, the spot on diction and style, the perfection of the Doyle pastiche. And they are all correct. On those criteria alone, this is a wonderful story. However, I found dull beyond words. Yes, it is a nice little piece of pastiche; it is even a nice little piece of supernatural alternative history, and the clever twist at the end is sly and funny. But none of these is enough to rescue it from it's Gaimaness. Yawn. If you like Gaiman, you'll adore this story. If you like alternative history, you'll enjoy it. If you are looking for something Lovecraftian but new, look elsewhere. You will not find it here. "Buried in the Sky" is a quirky and fun short story by Jon Shirley (who among other things writes Blue Öyster Cult songs). He is also know as one of the founders of the the cyberpunk movement and he isn't a bad hand at horror either. This story is simply delightful. Plucky young adult protagonists, teen angst, formless eldritch horrors and a good dose of anti-establishmentarianism. It also stands as a critique of gated communities, mindless consumerism and the way that society both ignores and disenfranchises the teen ager. Great stuff. So far, this is the stand out story of the anthology (which I had previously read in an issue of Weird Tales and liked even more the second time around). Perhaps not as horrific as some of the others, but it is certainly more multi-layered and entertaining than anything thus far. "Bringing Back Helena". It doesn't speak well that I had to go back and skim the anthology again to remember just what this story was about. The only things that stick in my mind are a couple of horrific images. The only other thing I can say is that it is derivative; I feel like I have read this story a hundred times. Sarah Monette is usually pretty good, but this isn't. "Take Me to the River" is a rather quiet story, but one that packs a bit of a punch. The mythos element is underplayed, much to the author's credit and there are a couple of nice horrific touches. If I didn't already hate gulls, this story would have inculcated a life long loathing of them. "The Essayist in the Wilderness" shows all of William Browning Spenser's considerable skill at the bizarre and the Lovecraftian. His arrogant narrator's voice is spot on, and what happens to him is both the very definition of weird and somewhat alarming. Expect to be as baffled as the protagonist is, but also expect to have some of the strangest images implanted into your mind. This is probably the weirdest story in the anthology. "The Disciple" is a mercifully short tale of woe. While the ending isn't telegraphed, the twist will come as no surprise. One a single weird scene exists to break up the monotony of this under-achiving student vs. his classmates/professor/world. Is this one weird scene worth the reading? Your milage may vary. "Shoggoths in Bloom". This story is what this anthology is all about. It's new, it's Lovecraftian and it's got a modern sensibility that uses fiction to investigate the nature of man and society. Somehow, I didn't like this the first time I read it in another anthology and I must question why. The second time around it was great. Perhaps it was the flu or the Nyquil. In either case, Elizabeth Hand does a wonderful job questioning what it would be like to be a shoggoth though the eyes of a biologist investigating them. A great little piece of alternate history/lovecraftiana. Highly recommended. "Cold Water Survival" is also set in the Antarctic, well, actually on a massive ice flow that has broken free of the Antarctic. The bleakness and cold is more-than-competantly invoked and the characters are well drawn. The story opens with a grisly but mundane death and the whole tale is told via the viewing screen of a cam-corder. A nice little conceit that at once both distances the reader from the action increasing the sense of isolation, and makes the story far more immediate like the ubiquitous computer displays in our work-a-day world. The central mystery is a bit common, but that is hard to avoid in an anthology such as this one. "The Great White Bed" is definitely a weird story. A teenage boy helps to look after his grandfather and ends up sacrificing more than his time. The imagery is bizarre and the story itself difficult to parse. As a weird tale should be. I won't say I liked it, but there is no doubt that it stands out as weird fiction. "Lesser Demons" is an action packed story of a Sheriff who's town is at the centre of the apocalypse. It's not bad, has some disturbing images and a interesting premise, but it reminded me too much of 28 Days Later. The author is also trying to make a point of some kind at the end, but it seems unfocused and unsure of what he wants the story to say. Worth reading, but keep your expectations low. "Grinding Stone". Dull, dull, dull but mercifully short. It had promise, a volunteer fire trapped in a Californian wildfire sees something horrible and lovecraftian is a great way to start but the ending is something you have read a hundred times before. There isn't even any particularly good imagery to offset the banality of the "horror". Yawn. "Details" is how you write a new Lovecraft story. Mieville has got it all: disturbing imagery, tight plotting, complex philosophical problems, creepy monsters, ambiguous morality and a great big heaping serving of cosmic terror. I liked this even more in reading it a second time (it was previously published in another Lovecraftian anthology). Bravo! "Another Fish Story" is a compelling and creepy look at what might have happened with the Manson Family. One of the best in the collection. It is easy to see why other reviewers have noted it as their favourite. I won't go so far as to say it is the best story in the collection (there are others that work better or fit the editor's stated purpose better), but it certainly is at the top of the heap. "Head Music" is a short and strangely endearing story of a young man driven to seek out the source of mysterious music he hears in his head. Weird, yes, and as I said, strangely endearing. "Tsathoggua" is a not-exactly-great story set in a nicely described San Francisco. Some nice scenes were people get eaten, and a few good weird scenes, but this story about elderly "homeless" people becoming aware of the intrusion of the eldritch into normality doesn't really go anywhere. A bit of a yawn. "Mongoose" This is what a new Lovecraft story should be. A sequel of sorts to "Boojum", this is a dark, creepy science fiction piece with clever in-jokes and sly call-outs to Lovecraft, strange creatures and horrific monsters. It's tightly plotted, low on info-dumps but high on world building, starkly realized. If there is one story in this anthology that epitomizes "new Lovecraft", this is it. I want more of this universe. You will too. "A Colder War" is probably the single best story ("Mongoose" is its only rival) in the anthology. I was a teen in the 1980s so the 'secret history' resonates very well with me; I remember the incidences that Stross cleverly and twists into a horrifying look at what the last days of the Cold War could have been. It's thoroughly depressing by the end. Forget the Gaiman, this is the must read story in the book. To say more about it would be to give out spoilers and that would be an absolute shame for anyone who hasn't already read it. If you've read Stross's Laundry novels, you'll see where they came from. Magnificent.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Reading Reindeer 2021 On Proxima Centauri

    This is an incredibly extensive anthology, raging from the good, to the really good, to the just excellent. Some of the stories I read once; others have stuck post-it notes in my mind to be rereaders. One such is Caitlin Kiernan’s incredible knock-out offering, “Pickman’s Other Model (1929).” Wow! In my mind, essence of Lovecraftian. But don’t stop with that, even if it is the first offering in the anthology. There are many: “The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft” is both in the spirit of the Master, This is an incredibly extensive anthology, raging from the good, to the really good, to the just excellent. Some of the stories I read once; others have stuck post-it notes in my mind to be rereaders. One such is Caitlin Kiernan’s incredible knock-out offering, “Pickman’s Other Model (1929).” Wow! In my mind, essence of Lovecraftian. But don’t stop with that, even if it is the first offering in the anthology. There are many: “The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft” is both in the spirit of the Master, perfectly written-and a treatise on HPL’s social failings (and prejudices). “Old Virginia” is a skin-crawler (I still can’t remember that story without shuddering!) Every story here is worth the read. One really doesn’t have to be Lovecraftian-oriented, or a Lovecraftian aficionado, to enjoy these-just to love and appreciate GOOD horror writing. But if you’re not already a Lovecraft disciple-you just may well be when you’re finished! I’m so thankful I bought this book, so I can go back and savour these stories again and again and again.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Slap Happy

    Mieville doing Cthulhu? Sold.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Marco Vaca

    I was looking forward to reading this collection, it proved to be mightier than I initially thought but overall I think it was deserving of 3.5 stars.  It's good, but not great.  As in every H.P.L. Collection, there are gems and there are duds, here is my quick description of all stories Pickman's other model:  So-so. Kind of a boring start for a collection. Fair exchange:  So-so. As a few other stories, seems out of place for me (not "Lovecraftian" enough?) Mr. Gaunt:  Very good. One of my favorit I was looking forward to reading this collection, it proved to be mightier than I initially thought but overall I think it was deserving of 3.5 stars.  It's good, but not great.  As in every H.P.L. Collection, there are gems and there are duds, here is my quick description of all stories Pickman's other model:  So-so. Kind of a boring start for a collection. Fair exchange:  So-so. As a few other stories, seems out of place for me (not "Lovecraftian" enough?) Mr. Gaunt:  Very good. One of my favorites The Vicar of R'Lyeh:  Not good. Very silly concept IMHO The crevasse:  So-so. Generic story Bad sushi:  Good. Fun story (although it is also kind of silly) Old Virginia:  Good. Different paced story that works well The dude who collected Lovecraft:  Good. Straight to the point, short and silly. The Oram County whoosit:  Good. Works very well with the mythos The fungal stain:  Not good. Didn't work for me. Too weird, even for H.P.L. standards A study in emerald:  Very good. Although it seems out of place, the story is cool and well written. A personal favorite. Buried in the sky:  Good. The author did a great work with the Lovecraftian mythos. Cool story Bringing Helena back:  So-so. Another story that didn't really work for my taste Take me to the river:  So-so. Hmm... I have mixed feelings for this one. Read it and comment The essayist in the wilderness:  Good. Captured that "horror in realization" moment perfectly The disciple:  Very good. Short and sweet. Perfect story Shoggoths in bloom:  Very good. Again, this tale captures the craziness of H.P.L.'s universe perfectly. Loved the ending Cold water survival:  Not good. Boring as hell The great white bed:  Good. I liked it a lot. Another "horror in realization" moment of the book. Silly but scary Lesser demons:  So-so. Liked the ending, but it was sort of lacking somewhat Grinding rock:  Good. Another short and sweet tale Details:  Good. An out of place scenario that works very well within the mythos. Liked it a lot Another fish story:  So-so. Confusing and not very rewarding Head music. Very good. Stomach-churning fun! Another favorite Tsathoggua.  Good. The premise and execution were really good. A glimpse of an alien mind typical of the mythos Mongoose. Excellent!  My absolute favorite of the stories. The only one I really wish to know more of, to be realized on its own series (is it done?). If you like Science Fiction, you will really like this one A colder war. Very good. Well placed as is a great way to end the book: bleak as hell!  And the format of the story is really cool too   As you can see, the breakdown follows my initial 3.5 star opinion. If you LOVE H.P.L., you will most certainly disagree with my assessment and probably will think it is better.  However, I honestly think that even if you don't know anything about the Cthullu mythos, you will certainly find something to enjoy here (Mongoose!)

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mags

    H P Lovecraft fest. Don't know what the Ood is doing on the front though. I'm sure all will be revealed Oh my. I don't think I'm ready for this much literary and sci-fi geekery. This book of short stories were all "after" HP Lovecraft. And it is obvious that all the authors have a great affection for his writing. Unfortunately, I also now think that some of them need to get out more. Depending on the story my rating ranged from 1 to 3 stars. What I now know is that I don't want to read any Lovecraft H P Lovecraft fest. Don't know what the Ood is doing on the front though. I'm sure all will be revealed Oh my. I don't think I'm ready for this much literary and sci-fi geekery. This book of short stories were all "after" HP Lovecraft. And it is obvious that all the authors have a great affection for his writing. Unfortunately, I also now think that some of them need to get out more. Depending on the story my rating ranged from 1 to 3 stars. What I now know is that I don't want to read any Lovecraft if it concerns R'helly or Cthulhu. And I know that I got the spelling wrong and that it will upset people who worship at the Lovecraft shrine. Some of the stories were good - usually the ones I enjoyed most didn't have the huge squid-like, shape-shifting entity at its heart. Neil Gaiman and Michael Marshall Smith were both very good (but I am biased towards them because I like their writing elsewhere). The book also seemed to take forever to get through. Mostly due to my reading being restricted to my commute to work - and since handing in my notice I don't go in to work if I can work from home - which isn't enough to get through the book quickly. By the time I got to 70% through, I was skipping the stories if the cthulhu appeared.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Donovan

    What a hoot! Being a fan of Lovecraft, I can easily submerge myself in the murky depths of his stories. But there comes a time when you have read it all to death. I have read a few works that are based in the Cthulhu Mythos but it is great when you get a collection like this, written by some of the best authors of the modern weird-horror genre. New Cthulhu is a collection of short stories all based in the Lovecraftian Mythos. Some are a-typical horror inspired directly. Some are modern socio-poli What a hoot! Being a fan of Lovecraft, I can easily submerge myself in the murky depths of his stories. But there comes a time when you have read it all to death. I have read a few works that are based in the Cthulhu Mythos but it is great when you get a collection like this, written by some of the best authors of the modern weird-horror genre. New Cthulhu is a collection of short stories all based in the Lovecraftian Mythos. Some are a-typical horror inspired directly. Some are modern socio-political views with a kewl mythos bent. And then there are just some plain twisted stories that don't have that direct correlation to the mythis, but are so close that I don't care - they are all great. The stories that make up this compilation are: The Crevasse by Dale Bailey & Nathan Ballingrud Old Virginia by Laird Barron Shoggoths in Bloom by Elizabeth Bear Mongoose by Elizabeth Bear & Sarah Monette The Oram County Whoosit by Steve Duffy Study in Emerald by Neil Gaiman Grinding Rock by Cody Goodfellow Pickman’s Other Model by Caitlin Kiernan The Disciple by David Barr Kirtley The Vicar of R'lyeh by Marc Laidlaw Mr Gaunt by John Langan Take Me to the River by Paul McAuley The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft by Nick Mamatas & Tim Pratt Details by China Mieville Bringing Helena Back by Sarah Monette Another Fish Story by Kim Newman Lesser Demons by Norm Partridge Cold Water Survival by Holly Phillips Head Music by Lon Prater Bad Sushi by Cherie Priest The Fungal Stain by W.H. Pugmire Tsathoggua by Michael Shea Buried in the Sky by John Shirley Fair Exchange by Michael Marshall Smith The Essayist in the Wilderness by William Browning Spencer A Colder War by Charles Stross The Great White Bed by Don Webb Plot ***Spoilers*** Note: There are too many for me to go in to, but here are just a couple of my favourites... Study in Emerald (Neil Gaiman - One of my all-time fav' authors) This is a Sherlock Holmes homage that has been twisted in the best way: The story begins with its (as yet) unnamed narrator, a veteran of a bloody war against the 'gods and men of Afghanistan', where he has been brutally tortured and his arm injured, setting the scene for things to come. Seeking lodgings upon his return to England (or 'Albion', as it is referred to throughout the story), he meets and strikes up a friendship with a man who possesses extraordinary insight and deductive skill, and who puts this ability to use in the service of the police as a 'consulting detective'. Early on in their acquaintance, Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard arrives at their lodgings in Baker Street with a matter of extreme and delicate urgency regarding a brutal murder in a Whitechapel slum, and the detective is to be hired to solve the case. After investigating the murder scene (where the detective correctly deduces that the victim is a German noble, owing to his inhuman appearance and number of limbs), and puzzling over the word Rache scrawled onto the wall in the victim's blood (in a similar manner to "A Study in Scarlet"), they are henceforth taken to the Palace, where the Queen – one of the creatures who defeated humanity 700 years ago and, along with the other Great Old Ones, has ruled over humanity ever since – consults with them about the affair. As payment for his service, the Queen heals the veteran's withered shoulder with a touch. The investigation takes the detective and the veteran to a music-hall show, starring a noted actor called Sherry Vernet, a 'tall, languid' man who stars in the three productions, including a historical narrative depicting the war, 700 years ago, between humanity and the Great Old Ones, who now rule the Earth. Posing as a theatrical agent offering to take the show to the New World, the detective meets Vernet and quickly determines that he – along with another man, with a limp and skill with surgical equipment – was present in the room that the German noble died in, and is one of the murderers. Agreeing to meet the detective in his rooms, Vernet seemingly does not suspect a thing; and the detective promptly summons Lestrade, intending to have Vernet arrested. He reveals what he has deduced; that Vernet is a seditionary 'restorationist', an anarchist who believes that the Old Ones are not the benevolent rulers they are portrayed as, but vicious, soul-destroying monsters feeding on madness and death, and that humanity should be master of its own affairs. Having lured the German noble to the Whitechapel rooms, he then turned the noble over to his accomplice – a limping doctor – who actually murdered the prince. Unfortunately for the detective and Lestrade, Vernet himself possesses considerable deductive skill; having deduced that the detective was not who he claimed to be, he has instead sent a letter to the detective, offering some helpful suggestions for future undercover work and complimenting him on several papers the detective has written, including a paper on the dynamics of an asteroid that Vernet (as 'Sigerson') briefly corresponded with the detective over. Aware of the detective's suspicions, Vernet – or 'Rache', as he signs himself off as – confirms them, justifying his actions by the many horrors he has personally seen committed by the Old Ones, and that it is too high a price to pay for the peace humanity lives in under the Old Ones. As Lestrade rushes off to order a search for Rache and his limping doctor accomplice, tentatively identified as a former military surgeon named John Watson, the detective admits that it is unlikely that Rache has even left the city, having probably elected (as the detective would) to hide in the almost lawless depths of the rookery of St Giles until the heat died down, and requests that the veteran burn Rache's letter, dismissing it as seditionary nonsense. But the veteran does not do so, instead containing a copy of the letter and an account of all that occurred within his bank deposit box, not to be opened until everyone involved in the case is dead – a prospect that, with current (unexplained) events occurring in Russia, seems not too far away... Shoggoths in Bloom: Elizabeth Bear It is about a black college professor who is doing research on an ancient and little known sea creature, the shoggoth, off the coast of Maine. The story is set in 1938, against the backdrop of intensifying terror in Nazi Germany and a looming world war. Mongoose: Elizabeth Bear & Sarah Monette A space station has a nasty infestation – creatures from another dimension sneaking into ours, oozing tentacally things. Izrael Irizarry has the contract to clean out the space station, but what should be fairly routine is clearly far more complicated due to the extent of the infestation, and the implications of that : the risk that even nastier creatures may be seeking their way on the station. Irizarry has Mongoose with him, itself a strange creature from another dimension, more than a pet.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    The creativity of these authors expanding on Lovecraft's mythos is extremely cool. This anthology brought together some well known authors and introduced others that I'm looking forward to reading their works. No, I didn't love every story, but all in all a great read, so long as you are familiar with the mythos. The creativity of these authors expanding on Lovecraft's mythos is extremely cool. This anthology brought together some well known authors and introduced others that I'm looking forward to reading their works. No, I didn't love every story, but all in all a great read, so long as you are familiar with the mythos.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jim Sanderson

    A good collection of stories I really enjoyed most of these; oddly, the story that led me to this book left me rather cold. This was a good sample of weird fiction.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    No one can deny that HP Lovecraft is one of the most influential horror authors of all time. In his works he created a new view of the universe, one filled with the unnerving and the strange, a view of the universe where humanity is insignificant in the face of vast incomprehensible forces, a universe which many many horror authors base their works from to this day. This latest short story collection, New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird is a collection containing 26 works written after the year 2000, No one can deny that HP Lovecraft is one of the most influential horror authors of all time. In his works he created a new view of the universe, one filled with the unnerving and the strange, a view of the universe where humanity is insignificant in the face of vast incomprehensible forces, a universe which many many horror authors base their works from to this day. This latest short story collection, New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird is a collection containing 26 works written after the year 2000, by contemporary authors of science fiction and horror. The stories are, by and large, quality. Of particular note are the stories Buried in the Sky, Take Me to the River, Details, and A Colder War. Buried in the Sky is the story of two teenagers surviving as the entity Yog-Sothoth encroaches into their world through the apartment complex they both live in. Take Me to the River is the story of a group of druggies getting possessed into sacrificing themselves to a trapped creature in a nearby river. Details is the story of a woman who literally sees “the devil in the details”. A Colder War tells the story of how the Cold War may have played out if the warring groups had access to eldritch entities. However, there are some distinctly poorly written stories contained within, such as The Vicar of R'yleh, which seemingly attempts to tell the story of a game designer forced to simulate the rising of R'yleh but in the process will more likely leave you scratching your head than feeling whatever the story's intended emotions were. The authors in this book have an excellent ability for evocative description, such as seen in this excerpt from Buried in the Sky: “Something slipped across the space between flights about four steps down- a transparent dull-red flipper...feeler...tentacle? She couldn't get a clear visual picture of it from where she stood. But it was big-maybe three feet across and very long. Slipping by, like a giant boa constrictor.” Or the description of the ghosts from Take Me to the River: “They were like tadpoles grown to the size of late-term human embryos. They were pale and faintly luminous, with heavy heads and large, black, lidless eyes and small pursed mouths. Skinny arms folded over pulsing gill slits. Snakey, finned tails. They hung in the black water at different levels.” Overall, I would recommend the book to fans of cosmic horror, but I would be more hesitant to recommend it to more diehard fans of Lovecraft, though they tend to avoid spinoff stories in the first place so that will probably not be difficult. If you are a fan of cosmic horror and/or any of the advertised authors, you should read this collection.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    This dire tome avoids the pitfalls of being squamous, rugose and antediluvian. That is because the anthologist succeeds brilliantly at reaching her announced goal of presenting a collection of stories that capture essential Lovecraftian themes in modern language and idiom. Absent are tired efforts to immitate Lovecraft's purple prose (though memorable it was), or to perpetuate outdated hints of bigotry. What is kept are Lovecraft's fictional New England, his eldrich beings and forbidden tomes, a This dire tome avoids the pitfalls of being squamous, rugose and antediluvian. That is because the anthologist succeeds brilliantly at reaching her announced goal of presenting a collection of stories that capture essential Lovecraftian themes in modern language and idiom. Absent are tired efforts to immitate Lovecraft's purple prose (though memorable it was), or to perpetuate outdated hints of bigotry. What is kept are Lovecraft's fictional New England, his eldrich beings and forbidden tomes, and the pervading sense of human insignificance in a universe beyond human comprehension. These themes appear in settings and language familiar to modern readers. Several stories are worth note. "Mr. Gaunt" is downright scary. "The Dude who Collected Lovecraft" and "A Study in Emerald" are both quite humorous, the latter being a Sherlock Holmes spoof by the brilliant Neil Gaiman. "Old Virginia" and "A Cold War" tell us somethinga bout what the Cold War might have been like in a Lovecraftian world. "The Vicar of R'Lyeh" tells us things about working in game design you might not learn from watching X-Play. "Lessor Demons" is something of a zombie apocalypse fueled by the Great Old Ones. In "Another Fish Story" the Manson family and the Esoteric Order of Dagon cross paths. Even the introduction is noteworthy, presenting as good of a thimble sized biography of Lovecraft and his legacy as I've ever seen. The only fault keeping me from giving this book five stars is that too many of the stories require a familiarity with Lovecraft's work to fully appreciate them. It is not collection to teach a Lovecraft virgin why so many die hard fans love this stuff. A newby will still have to wade throought he original purple prose for that understanding. This is not a shortcut in modern language. Still, for a true fan the stories within stand above the more common earlier efforts of authors to simply ape the dark bard's purple prose and mood-setting style.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Simo

    New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird is a collection of almost 30 short stories of current authors take on Cthulhu mythos. My reason for reading it was interest in how the work of Lovecraft and his contemporaries can be used in modern storytelling. This collection was an excellent tool for this purpose, as the settings and themes used in the stories had great variation. Reading the collection took long time and it is impossible for me to review each story. The strongest ones were Pickman's Other Model b New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird is a collection of almost 30 short stories of current authors take on Cthulhu mythos. My reason for reading it was interest in how the work of Lovecraft and his contemporaries can be used in modern storytelling. This collection was an excellent tool for this purpose, as the settings and themes used in the stories had great variation. Reading the collection took long time and it is impossible for me to review each story. The strongest ones were Pickman's Other Model by Kaitlin Kiernan, which was wery close to the Lovecraftian storytelling. Laid Barrow offered an entertaining and well written X Files / Delta Green type of action story called Old Virginia. In a sense similar adventure take on genre was taken by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette in their science fiction adventure Mongoose. One of the reasons I liked Mongoose was also its thought experiments on what the world would look like if the creatures and methaphysics suggested by Lovecraftian horror were real. The writers offered a glimpse of what the future could look like in alternative universe. Alternative history was also explored in excellent stories by Neil Gaiman and Charless Stross. I had read Gaiman's A Study in Emerald earlier and this reread of his Sherlock Holmes story was again enjoyable. Maybe the most enertaining story in the collection was Stross's crossover of Cthulhu and cold war genres. Two futher stories made to my list of favourites are The Disciple by David Barr Kirtley and The Fungal Stain by W.H. Pugmire. Former offered intersting ideas about what it could mean if there were actually evil sorcerers working their magic. The latter was perhaps the most frightening story in the collection. It had an eerie atmosphere all along, and the writer was able to paint vivid and powerfull pictures with words. After reading it, I knew I must read more stories by Pugmire.

  17. 5 out of 5

    H. Anne Stoj

    In truth, I probably would've given this collection a two save that it had stories from some favorite authors and China Mieville's Details which is no doubt my favorite Lovecraft-influenced tale. However, that said, I didn't find many of the story memorable. Or I did remember them from other collections and hadn't felt particularly drawn to them then. I'm not sure if that's because some of the authors tried to stay too much to Lovecraft rather than branching out to influence rather than mimicry. In truth, I probably would've given this collection a two save that it had stories from some favorite authors and China Mieville's Details which is no doubt my favorite Lovecraft-influenced tale. However, that said, I didn't find many of the story memorable. Or I did remember them from other collections and hadn't felt particularly drawn to them then. I'm not sure if that's because some of the authors tried to stay too much to Lovecraft rather than branching out to influence rather than mimicry. My first disappointment was I've come across nearly all of them before and the ones I hadn't, I don't even recall now. The second thing was the book's production. I haven't had issues with other Prime books, but this was just typos, dropped letters, the marvelous line of all capitals galore. I couldn't say if they were rushed to make their release date, but maybe so.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Colleen

    It's no secret that I love reading horror. But I really gravitate toward weird happenings, rather than just blood-n-guts. This collection is great. - Neil Gaiman offers up a Sherlock Holmes story in an alternate Cthulu universe. How awesome is THAT? - Cherie Priest gives us a Cthulu myth starting in your local sushi bar. It took a couple months for me to work up to eat sushi again, frankly. - Elizabeth Bear treats Cthulu like it's already here and just in need of further research. The collect It's no secret that I love reading horror. But I really gravitate toward weird happenings, rather than just blood-n-guts. This collection is great. - Neil Gaiman offers up a Sherlock Holmes story in an alternate Cthulu universe. How awesome is THAT? - Cherie Priest gives us a Cthulu myth starting in your local sushi bar. It took a couple months for me to work up to eat sushi again, frankly. - Elizabeth Bear treats Cthulu like it's already here and just in need of further research. The collection is filled with authors I know and love, and a few of whom I've never heard. Each brings his or her own queer twist to an already weird mythos. And the stories are short and sweet - in and out of the alternate universe without disturbing so much as a mote of dust.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Todd

    A very solid collection of weird tales and modern Mythos stories. Details,The Oram County Whoosit,Tsathoggua,A Study in Emerald are standouts. I think this volume, more than other recent entries in the Lovecraftian/Mythos genre I've read, points out how the current resurgence of Lovecraftian fiction has risen through the veil of 'new weird fiction'. Controversial as that pseudo-genre label is, it fits perfectly with the modern pursuits of what began as, and helped define, pulp-era weird fiction. A very solid collection of weird tales and modern Mythos stories. Details,The Oram County Whoosit,Tsathoggua,A Study in Emerald are standouts. I think this volume, more than other recent entries in the Lovecraftian/Mythos genre I've read, points out how the current resurgence of Lovecraftian fiction has risen through the veil of 'new weird fiction'. Controversial as that pseudo-genre label is, it fits perfectly with the modern pursuits of what began as, and helped define, pulp-era weird fiction. The China Miéville and Neil Gaiman stories included only serve to underline that facet of the current resurgence.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    This book had a lot of stories in it, and every single one of them was at least good. You'll know what I mean when I tell you that the Caitlin Kiernan story was probably the worst of them. There was more copying of the Lovecraft style than I expected, given that he is noted for being a very bad writer. That takes away some of the glory from this book. But still, there isn't a terrible story in the entire collection, and I couldn't even say that about the anthology collecting short works of my fa This book had a lot of stories in it, and every single one of them was at least good. You'll know what I mean when I tell you that the Caitlin Kiernan story was probably the worst of them. There was more copying of the Lovecraft style than I expected, given that he is noted for being a very bad writer. That takes away some of the glory from this book. But still, there isn't a terrible story in the entire collection, and I couldn't even say that about the anthology collecting short works of my favorite writer of fiction. So, I say that you should read this excellently selected collection if you have any interest at all in weird tales.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jendi

    All of the stories were beautifully written and took the Cthulhu mythos into a creative variety of settings, including the Iran-Contra scandal and the Manson Family murders. Several of the best stories, such as Elizabeth Hand's gorgeous "Shoggoths in Bloom", used Lovecraftian themes to confront the racism that sullied his own work. All of the stories were beautifully written and took the Cthulhu mythos into a creative variety of settings, including the Iran-Contra scandal and the Manson Family murders. Several of the best stories, such as Elizabeth Hand's gorgeous "Shoggoths in Bloom", used Lovecraftian themes to confront the racism that sullied his own work.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mrs Giggles

    Despite the presence of the word "New" in the title, the stories in the anthology New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird aren't new. Editor Paula Guran had picked and compiled stories that were originally published in various magazines and anthologies from the last few years. Not that I'm complaining, as I sort of expected this after reading the blurb at the back cover, but I'm just letting you guys know. If you have read anthologies of similar nature that came out in the last ten years, however, do take Despite the presence of the word "New" in the title, the stories in the anthology New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird aren't new. Editor Paula Guran had picked and compiled stories that were originally published in various magazines and anthologies from the last few years. Not that I'm complaining, as I sort of expected this after reading the blurb at the back cover, but I'm just letting you guys know. If you have read anthologies of similar nature that came out in the last ten years, however, do take a peek at the last few pages that listed the origins of the stories, if you can, as a considerable number of these stories first showed up in those anthologies. Also, I should point out that the editing of this anthology can sometimes be rather... lacking, let's just say. There are various instances where there are spelling errors, missing words, and even wrong words that just happen to sound similar to those words that should be used instead. It is as if I had edited this anthology while drunk. I managed to overlook these boo-boos, but I don't know about you or anyone else. Okay, this anthology is all about stories with elements either inspired by or, in some cases, could be passed off as elements from HP Lovecraft's "Cthulhu mythos". That man loved writing about fiendish otherworldly eldritch beings, usually awakened from their slumber over countless millennia, terrorizing people for reasons that are rarely fathomable to the mortal mind. His stories rarely offered a coherent insight into why things happened the way they did in those stories, but this didn't matter as those stories were genuinely creepy and atmospheric. Emulating him would be like trying to successfully petition the Pope to approve one's application for sainthood, and the authors of the stories here wisely attempt instead to put their own spin on everything slimy, eldritch, and pseudopoidal. Well, other than Caitlin R Kiernan, anyway. She tries her best to write like HP Lovecraft in the opening story, Pickman's Other Model (1929). The protagonist of this story is fascinated by a mysterious actress, and as he diligently attempts to learn more about her, discovers that she has secrets that are far more disturbing than he could ever imagine. Because this story shows up in this anthology, it is easy to see the twist coming, so after all the build-up, the revelation - if I can call it that - feels like an anticlimax. I can't help feeling that the vibe of this story is akin to Cthulhu deciding to star in his own version of John Carpenter's Masters Of Horror episode called Cigarette Burns. Michael Marshall Smith's Fair Exchange starts out as an interesting tale of a burglar finding himself in hot slime, er, soup when he breaks into the wrong house, but things get ridiculous when the catalyst for the more unpleasant events of this story is a stupid piece of rock. Despite some pretty writing, the author can't get me to overlook the fact that the stone - a shiny stone - is actually quite ridiculous. John Langan's Mr. Gaunt is about a man leaving behind a very detailed warning to his son about an evil uncle and that uncle's disquieting butler. This one is a pretty decent horror story, although it's a homage to the non-Cthulhu stories of HP Lovecraft instead of an "Ooh, tentacles!" thing. Mark Laidlaw presents a video game spin of Cthulhu's coming in The Vicar Of R'Lyeh. Unfortunately, the twist is practically given away in the title alone, so there isn't much suspense or surprise to be had here. A video game programmer is roped in to make a Cthulhu video game... gee, what would happen in the denouement of the story, you think? Dale Bailey and Nathan Ballingrud go all "What if the Thing in that movie is a Cthulhu thing?" in The Crevasse, as some unlucky sods doing their usual stuff in Antarctica tumble into a crevasse and learn that there is something disturbing stirring in there. This one does a great job in portraying a sense of helplessness and bleak despair, but I can't help comparing it to that movie and figure that I like the movie better. Cherie Priest's Bad Sushi has an 80-year old Japanese sushi chef taking on some zombie-like beings after they have eaten sushi made from fish that isn't as wonderful as fish should be. It's all a plot of some slimy jelly-fish like thing (hence, the story being included in this anthology), and this story is awesome in an action-packed B-grade horror movie manner, made even better with its unconventional main character. Old Virginia by Laird Barron is what I will get if Cthulhu meets The Predator. Only this time, the predators are replaced by a creepy old woman with ties to Dear Mr Cthulhu-thing. Again, not bad, but the twist can be seen coming a mile away. I roll up my eyes at the predictable and so clichéd "we humans are destroying the world!" message that the author just has to slip in. Then again, I guess every anthology needs at least one story with such message these days. Nick Mamatas and Tim Pratt present The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft, which starts out really good as an urban nudge-wink playful take on some people's rather extreme obsession on everything related to HP Lovecraft, but events soon unravel into an unimaginative manner that is a complete 180 from its first half or so. Still, this one has its moments. The main character makes me smile. In Steve Duffy's The Oran County Whoosit, we have two men who meet in the 1920s when they travel to a mining town to examine what seems to be a fossil that had been unearthed by the miners. The fossil turns out to be not-quite dead after all, and it sends the narrator into an adventure that is harrowing for him and deliciously fun in an edge-of-the-seat way for me. WH Pugmire's The Fungal Stain is what happens when a fungal Cthulhu-wannabe decides to write gloomy poetry after one too many reading of Anne Rice's vampire books. Despite the intriguing premise, this story is dull, written in a self-indulgent manner that requires a considerable degree of humoring on my part for the author's navel gazing. With so many stories here to read, I can't be bothered to even muster the effort. I have read Neil Gaiman's A Study In Emerald before, but still, it's nice to come across it again here. This one is set in an alternate time in British history, when the Old Ones have awakened and ruled mankind. Our narrator is a John Watson-like fellow who lives with a Sherlock Holmes-like fellow, and his housemate ropes him in as that fellow investigates the murder of an aristocrat (who isn't human but rather an Old One). There's a nice twist to this entertaining romp that never gets old even when I'm reading it again. John Shirley's Buried In The Sky has a brilliant concept: it combines the more sinister aspects of urbanity with the Cthulhu mythos. Our heroine, a teenage girl, is still reeling from the fact that her mother was raped and murdered, and she is convinced that the man responsible is the same one that constantly hovers nearby in what seems to be a sinister manner. Her father decide to move the family to a new place... that isn't what it seems to be. As I've said, this one has a great set-up, but events in the story unravel in a rather standard "monsters are coming" manner, and I feel that the execution isn't as good as it could have been. The final scene involving the heroine and the man that haunted her all this while is cool, though. Sarah Monette's Bringing Helena Back is written in a style that reminds me more of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's more horror-tinged stories than HP Lovercraft's. It's not exactly Cthulhu-like at all, so I'm not sure why it is here. Our narrator is wildly jealous when his best friend falls for a woman, and the one-sided bromance gets more complicated when this woman dies and the best friend wants to cast a spell to bring her back. Our narrator is asked to help, and bad things happen. This one is short, forgettable, and the protagonist is so annoying. Paul McAuley's Take Me To The River is like a hippie-dipstick interpretation of the Dagon stories, only this Dagon-wannabe deals drugs instead of trying to knock up human women. This one has a set of interesting characters and an interesting take-home philosophy to keep the story readable even as it wades to a predictable denouement. William Browning Spencer creates the most hilariously snobby and stiff-lipped English professor ever and transplant this stereotype into a literal garden of nightmares in The Essayist In The Wilderness. This one functions better as a homage to HP Lovecraft's stories rather than being an actual story in its own right, since much of its charm comes from the reader getting the injokes and recognizing the tropes. Still, it has its moments. David Barr Kirtley's The Disciple is a quaint yet dark story of a cult that prepares its members to be the Disciples of Cthulhu's best friend the Traveler on Ocean of Night. The cult operates openly in a New England college, much to the surprise of our gloomy emo protagonist. Cult members are trained by a professor, and graduation day involves summoning the big guy so that the Disciples can ascend to a higher state and become a part of the big guy as he travels across the universe. Can our protagonist graduate with flying colors? I really like this one, mostly because I actually didn't see the events at the climax of the story coming, and I have a great time reading this one. It's short, simple, but oh so satisfying. Elizabeth Bear's Shoggoths In Bloom is actually... friendly, so to speak, and the jellyfish things here aren't as bad as the slimy creeps from the previous stories at all, as our hero learns while trying to figure out these jellyfish. He is hoping that discovering their secrets would secure his tenure at his university, but what he learns shakes him to the core. Wonderfully written and flavored with atmosphere, historical color, and human emotions, this story is just fabulous. It's one of my favorite stories in this anthology. Holly Phillips presents Cold Water Survival, another "Cthulhu in ice" story that sees five hapless sods trapped in a giant floating iceberg (called "Atlantis" for some reason), and of course, these guys aren't alone. This one is a standard "cardboard characters are all going to suffer in the hands of flat stock monsters" story - nothing much to see or care about here. In Don Webb's The Great White Bed, a poor kid discovers that his sinister grandfather is BFF with something evil. This one is a well-written story about... something. I have no idea what happened here, or why things happened, but I guess the point of this story is that when grown-ups really suck, the kids are the ones that suffer. Norman Patridge lets his hair down and goes all "zombies, meet Cthulhu" in Lesser Demons. A sheriff takes on zombie-like things that came out to plague the living. He doesn't care about why they show up or how they become what they are, because he is too manly for that kind of sensitive crap. He is happy to just keep killing them, but his deputy believes that they have found some spellbooks that contain arcane solutions to end this zombie festival. Our hero has his doubts about whether this is a wise thing to do, and as things progress in this story, it turns out that he's right. This one is fabulously brainless and fun, and it's a nice change of pace after the more solemn stories in this anthology. Cody Goodfellow's Grinding Rock has a firefighter fighting a losing battle with a wildfire when he comes across a druid-like fellow that insists upon sacrificing a few lives to some blob-like thing (the blob connection being the only reason I can think of to explain why this story is in this anthology) to save the world. This is a pretty mundane story - it's not scary or interesting, and it just fizzles out shortly once it starts, into a lame ending. China Miéville's Details has the narrator reminiscing about an odd woman that he constantly brought food to as a young boy. That woman refused to leave her room, claiming that she is haunted by something unfathomably old and sinister that is using her eyes to get into this world. This one shows some very deft building up of tension and suspense to a unbearable degree by the author, and the tragic denouement is both terrifying and heartbreaking. In Kim Newman's Another Fish Story, our narrator meets Charles Manson and his happy helter-skelter family, Interesting premise, but the pacing of this story is all over the place and it's too easy to lose interest after a while. Lon Pater's Head Music has some fellow becoming an impromptu midwife for a huge jelly-like blob thing, and it's all gross and slimy and slippery, and I end up wondering what the point of this story is, other than to gross me out. I'm all for gross-out stories if they are done right, but this one doesn't have much of a beginning or an ending, just an expulsion of gross-out moments. I feel like someone who just happens to be standing right under the spot where someone decides to tip a bucket of dung out the window. Michael Shea presents a pretty unusual tale of two women - one ending up being part of a group aware of the existence of Cthulhu's happy family, while another joining that happy family - in Tsathoggua. It's an interesting story worth a read, but there's not much to it once the novelty wears off. Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette join forces for Mongoose. Think Cthulhu-meets-Aliens. In a distant part of the universe, guys like our hero use a mongoose-like pet/companion to destroy blob-jelly bad aliens that breed in various parts of man-made stations. If left to their own devices, these aliens can create very serious problems and even invite worse aliens to show up and join the fun. And our hero discovers that he may have been summoned to do a "clean-out" job way too late and the menace has grown too big to be contained by him alone. This one is a no-nonsense action-packed kick-ass in space story, and it's another great diversion after the last few solemn stories in this anthology. It's not a very Cthulhu-like story, though. Finally, Charles Stross ends the anthology with A Colder War, where our protagonist, an officer in the most top secret body in the USA, witness various countries in this world trying to control gateways to Cthulhu's home and use his family members to win various wars. Eventually, some country tries to bite off more than it can chew, and it's pseudopod apocalypse time. This one is a ho-hum. There's nothing awful about it, but there's nothing amazing about it either. It's an odd choice to close this anthology. As you can probably tell by now, New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird is a mixed bag. It's an overall very entertaining mixed bag, though, and the better stories can really deliver. Not to mention, this is a really big anthology, well worth the hefty cover price. As long as you don't already have similar anthologies published in the last ten years (or you don't mind finding a repeat story or two in this one), and you are looking for an occasionally creepy, sometimes suspenseful, and an odd unexpected moment of poignancy or two with disturbing jelly blobs from hell, this one is worth a peek.

  23. 4 out of 5

    JJ

    Anthologies are always a mixed bag: depending on the tastes and predilections of any given reader, any anthology will contain stories that will be more enjoyable, that will resonate more deeply, will be more memorable, than others. I am very pleased that, for me, New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird houses within its pages more enjoyable stories than I am accustomed to encountering in an anthology. Looking back over the table of contents, there are some stories that I didn't care for, some that I don't Anthologies are always a mixed bag: depending on the tastes and predilections of any given reader, any anthology will contain stories that will be more enjoyable, that will resonate more deeply, will be more memorable, than others. I am very pleased that, for me, New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird houses within its pages more enjoyable stories than I am accustomed to encountering in an anthology. Looking back over the table of contents, there are some stories that I didn't care for, some that I don't remember (even though I've only been two weeks reading this book), and quite a few that I really liked. Many of the stories, using a favorite device of Lovecraft himself, were told in first-person. This is not a favorite device of mine: it needs to be used particularly well, or the writing needs to be particularly engaging, or it needs to be eminently clear that the narrator is unreliable or that a recording device of some sort is being used, otherwise, the narration can lift me right out of the story. Such as in "The Oram County Whoosit" by Steve Duffy. It's a decent enough story, but the narrator recounts a conversation, a five-page-long conversation, as I recall, verbatim, from memory. I'm not buying it. But over in the excellent "Cold Water Survival" by Holly Phillips, the narrator is reviewing video-camera footage and audio, and, for me that's one very good way to do first-person. It helps that Phillips' writing and story are very good, deeply engaging. This is one of the best stories in the book. So now, let me do that: let me get away from my nitpicking and mention the highlights of this anthology. In addition to "Cold Water Survival," my other favorites are "The Fungal Stain" by W.H. Pugmire; very weird and wonderful. "A Study In Emerald" by Neil Gaiman is brilliant; I don't always enjoy Gaiman's writing (I tend to enjoy his comics more than his prose, which sometimes seems very flat and bland) but this story is subtle, well-wrought, simply excellent. "Take Me To The River" by Paul McAuley for me was a just-OK story, but I really liked all the pop-culture references the writer tossed into the mix. "The Essayist In The Wilderness" by Browning Spencer is quite good and filled with fun literary references. "Head Music" by Lon Prater is very well done and delightfully disgusting. "Shoggoths In Bloom" by Elizabeth Bear is brilliant; a compelling, well-written story with a naturalist slant. "Another Fish Story" by Kim Newman is well-wrought genius; set in 1968 it is a very clever story blending elements from Lovecraft and the Manson Family. Surprisingly, for me, "A Colder War" by Charles Stross is one of the best stories in the book; surprising because I'm not a big fan of political thrillers and spy stories. But this is a briskly written, amazing story that deftly blends Cold War tensions and Lovecraftian horrors. For me, the absolute hands-down best story in the collection is "Mongoose" by Elizabeth Bear & Sarah Monette. The writing is sublime, the story is ingenious, and there are fabulous elements of Lewis Carroll and a bit of Rudyard Kipling amid the Lovecraftiana, all within a well-realized science-fiction setting. I love this story. So, yeah: some stories I don't remember (very few), some were good but not great, but there were a lot more great tales in this tome than I am accustomed to encountering. This is the most enthusiastic about an anthology that I've been in quite a while.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    "A fun and interesting idea, to see what other authors do with the Lovecraft Mythos but overall, by the end of it all, it was a disappointment." Pros: Entertaining to see many different authors take on Lovecraft and his Mythos/A handful of stories were truly eerie and unsettling. Cons: After awhile it all turned into the same old thing, throw in a reference to Cthlhu here, dabble in a bit of Shoggoths there, it got boring and old and honestly by the end of it, I was glad to be done. Full Review: "A fun and interesting idea, to see what other authors do with the Lovecraft Mythos but overall, by the end of it all, it was a disappointment." Pros: Entertaining to see many different authors take on Lovecraft and his Mythos/A handful of stories were truly eerie and unsettling. Cons: After awhile it all turned into the same old thing, throw in a reference to Cthlhu here, dabble in a bit of Shoggoths there, it got boring and old and honestly by the end of it, I was glad to be done. Full Review: H.P. Lovecraft is a staple of horror fiction and his mythos, Cthulhu and all the Elder Gods, are a Pantheon well known in Science Fiction/Fantasy. He is more or less the Father of Horror fiction and so I was eager to see how other authors handled "Lovecraftian" fiction. Unfortunately, for the most part, it was a disappointment. There were a few stand out stories that really had that Lovecraft feel. The atmosphere of a chilly air off a New England pier, sinister fog creeping in, the distinct feeling of someone or "something" watching you and waiting. Bad Sushi, Old Virginia, The Oram County Whoosit and The Disciple, were all big wins in this area. They left me feeling unsettled, unnerved and like I had to look over my shoulder to make sure that nothing was going to crawl out of the darkness. Other stories like The Vicar of R'yleh, Head Music, Mongoose and A Colder War were either just plain confusing or a struggle to get through. The authors took the Lovecraft Mythos and ran with it but in a disappointing, confusing way. Then there were a choice few that were more middle of the road, not terrible but not great, that had potential but weren't absolute page turners like, Mr. Gaunt, Bringing Helena Back, The Essayist in the Wilderness and Shoggoths in Bloom were just a few. Overall though, the collection of short stories fell into the middle character. Only a few were really entertaining, the rest were just there to fill up the pages. I'd recommend this book, or at least a few of the stories to any fan of Lovecraft and anyone who's looking for something a little outside of the box and unsettling.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Riju Ganguly

    This massive tome was truly representative of the various ways by which present-day authors of speculative fiction have absorbed the mythos in all its glory or infamy. Like every other anthology, it contained hits and misses. The hits, in my opinion, were: 1. "Pickman's Other Model" by Caitlin R. Kiernan 2. "Bad Sushi" by Cherie Priest 3. "Old Virginia" by Laird Barron 4. "The Oram County Whoosit" by Steve Duffy 5. "A Study in Emarald" by Neil Gaiman 6. Sarah Monette's "Bringing Helena Back" 7. "Shoggo This massive tome was truly representative of the various ways by which present-day authors of speculative fiction have absorbed the mythos in all its glory or infamy. Like every other anthology, it contained hits and misses. The hits, in my opinion, were: 1. "Pickman's Other Model" by Caitlin R. Kiernan 2. "Bad Sushi" by Cherie Priest 3. "Old Virginia" by Laird Barron 4. "The Oram County Whoosit" by Steve Duffy 5. "A Study in Emarald" by Neil Gaiman 6. Sarah Monette's "Bringing Helena Back" 7. "Shoggoths in Bloom" by Elizabeth Bear 8. "Another Fish Story" by Kim Newman 9. "Mongoose" by Elizabeth Bear & Sarah Monette 10. "A Colder War" by Charles Stross There were several stories that didn't appeal to me at all. But out of a collection of twenty seven stories, finding ten memorable stories ought to be considered as a very good percentage, according to Stephen King's advice. So, a good collection in my opinion, with extra points for Gaiman, Kiernan, Bear, Monette, and Stross's works.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Blackbird

    Like any group of short stories, some are better, some are ok. My favorite sounds like the set up to a joke, and it is! "An English professor wins the lottery and buys a house in the country." The guy dresses up in safari gear to go sit out by the pond near his house and be inspired; flashlight, waders, the whole get up. He is so self absorbed and oblivious that when the place is falling down around his ears, he's still worried about his literary career. When beings from beyond come to my house, Like any group of short stories, some are better, some are ok. My favorite sounds like the set up to a joke, and it is! "An English professor wins the lottery and buys a house in the country." The guy dresses up in safari gear to go sit out by the pond near his house and be inspired; flashlight, waders, the whole get up. He is so self absorbed and oblivious that when the place is falling down around his ears, he's still worried about his literary career. When beings from beyond come to my house, I hope I have the good sense to panic about things other than grammar. Unfortunately, didn't finish. Several good stories in here, some I wanted to explore more, but you can't judge ebooks' length easily, and Ken Burns Vietnam took up a lot of my reading time. There is a sequel which I hope to get a hold of, so looking forward to that.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ben Lund

    Reading an anthology is always a risk. There will probably be some stories that you really like, but what will you have to slog through to get to them? I know about Lovecraft and how his writings has spawned a whole genre. A close cousin to horror, but with more mythical elements and a strong otherworldy feel to them. Like the world just beneath the one we live in, that is always there, but we don't notice unless we walk home on a different route then usual, or go through the wrong doorway in a Reading an anthology is always a risk. There will probably be some stories that you really like, but what will you have to slog through to get to them? I know about Lovecraft and how his writings has spawned a whole genre. A close cousin to horror, but with more mythical elements and a strong otherworldy feel to them. Like the world just beneath the one we live in, that is always there, but we don't notice unless we walk home on a different route then usual, or go through the wrong doorway in a place we don't recognize. In that respect this book did a good job of giving me that feeling. There were still some stories that were not great but overall the little peeks behind that curtain were overall satisfying.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Chuck

    The Neil Gaiman story (A Study in Emerald) and a few others were exceptional. For the most part though, this collection is bogged down by a lot of second-rate scifi/contemporary stuff that thinks it can import the weighty sense of awe and terror that Lovecraft builds by association; too many of these stories horribly fail at being "Lovecraftian" and sadly many more fail to be effective in their own right. The Neil Gaiman story (A Study in Emerald) and a few others were exceptional. For the most part though, this collection is bogged down by a lot of second-rate scifi/contemporary stuff that thinks it can import the weighty sense of awe and terror that Lovecraft builds by association; too many of these stories horribly fail at being "Lovecraftian" and sadly many more fail to be effective in their own right.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Dan Johnson

    A wonderful variety of styles, bringing eldritch horror to life in new and fascinating ways. Short stories and novellas here have appeared elsewhere, but Paula Guran has made excellent choices for this anthology. Lovecraftian fans should enjoy the new looks at old horrors, and those new to the Mythos won't be left floundering. A wonderful variety of styles, bringing eldritch horror to life in new and fascinating ways. Short stories and novellas here have appeared elsewhere, but Paula Guran has made excellent choices for this anthology. Lovecraftian fans should enjoy the new looks at old horrors, and those new to the Mythos won't be left floundering.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Ehinger

    I liked some sorry stories more than others. I had a hard time getting through the book, largely because each setting was so short I never really engaged with the characters to draw me into the story. The genre content is neat in the not quite seen horror aspect, but I'm not engaged enough to love it without a good supporting story underneath it. I liked some sorry stories more than others. I had a hard time getting through the book, largely because each setting was so short I never really engaged with the characters to draw me into the story. The genre content is neat in the not quite seen horror aspect, but I'm not engaged enough to love it without a good supporting story underneath it.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...