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Heroes of Red Hook is a collection of eighteen cosmic horror tales taking place during the Jazz Era with a very specific focus. Our heroes and heroines are the outsiders who are most often blamed (wrongly so) for the actions of various alien horrors of the Mythos. Our heroes and heroines are members of ethnic and religious minorities, immigrants, independent free-thinking Heroes of Red Hook is a collection of eighteen cosmic horror tales taking place during the Jazz Era with a very specific focus. Our heroes and heroines are the outsiders who are most often blamed (wrongly so) for the actions of various alien horrors of the Mythos. Our heroes and heroines are members of ethnic and religious minorities, immigrants, independent free-thinking women, those with special needs, and members of the LGBT community. This collection features people struggling to overcome not only the horrors beyond mankind’s understanding, but an oppressive society seeking to deny them basic human rights. Edited by Brian M. Sammons & Oscar Rios A True Telling of the Terror that Came to Red Hook (William Meikle) Ivan and the Hurting Doll (Mercedes M. Yardley) A Gentleman of Darkness (Wilum Hopfrog Pugmire) Hungry Ghosts (Cody Goodfellow) Tell Me No Lies (Sam Stone) O Friend and Companion of Night (Vincent Kovar) Across a River of Stars (Scott R. Jones) Old Time Religion (Paula R. Stiles) Men and Women (Oscar Rios) The Eye of Infinity (Sam Gafford) Lords of Karma (Glynn Owen Barrass & Juliana Quartaroli) A Ghastly Detestable Pallor (Penelope Love) Crossing the Line (Tom Lynch) The Guilt of Nikki Cotton (Pete Rawlik) Brickwalk Mollies (Christine Morgan) The Backwards Man (Tim Waggoner) Beyond the Black Arcade (Edward M. Erdelac) Shadows Upon the Matanzas (Lee Clark Zumpe)


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Heroes of Red Hook is a collection of eighteen cosmic horror tales taking place during the Jazz Era with a very specific focus. Our heroes and heroines are the outsiders who are most often blamed (wrongly so) for the actions of various alien horrors of the Mythos. Our heroes and heroines are members of ethnic and religious minorities, immigrants, independent free-thinking Heroes of Red Hook is a collection of eighteen cosmic horror tales taking place during the Jazz Era with a very specific focus. Our heroes and heroines are the outsiders who are most often blamed (wrongly so) for the actions of various alien horrors of the Mythos. Our heroes and heroines are members of ethnic and religious minorities, immigrants, independent free-thinking women, those with special needs, and members of the LGBT community. This collection features people struggling to overcome not only the horrors beyond mankind’s understanding, but an oppressive society seeking to deny them basic human rights. Edited by Brian M. Sammons & Oscar Rios A True Telling of the Terror that Came to Red Hook (William Meikle) Ivan and the Hurting Doll (Mercedes M. Yardley) A Gentleman of Darkness (Wilum Hopfrog Pugmire) Hungry Ghosts (Cody Goodfellow) Tell Me No Lies (Sam Stone) O Friend and Companion of Night (Vincent Kovar) Across a River of Stars (Scott R. Jones) Old Time Religion (Paula R. Stiles) Men and Women (Oscar Rios) The Eye of Infinity (Sam Gafford) Lords of Karma (Glynn Owen Barrass & Juliana Quartaroli) A Ghastly Detestable Pallor (Penelope Love) Crossing the Line (Tom Lynch) The Guilt of Nikki Cotton (Pete Rawlik) Brickwalk Mollies (Christine Morgan) The Backwards Man (Tim Waggoner) Beyond the Black Arcade (Edward M. Erdelac) Shadows Upon the Matanzas (Lee Clark Zumpe)

40 review for Heroes of Red Hook

  1. 5 out of 5

    Dan Schwent

    Heroes of Red Hook is a collection of Lovecraftian tales starring men and women of color, LGBT people, and other people spurned by society in the 1920's. I contributed to the Kickstarter for this so it was high time I read it. Heroes of Red Hook contains eighteen tales, ranging from average to exceptional. Unlike a lot of collections of this type, I didn't consider a single one to be a dud. It started a little rocky, though. Out of the first four, only two contained elements of cosmic horror. Howe Heroes of Red Hook is a collection of Lovecraftian tales starring men and women of color, LGBT people, and other people spurned by society in the 1920's. I contributed to the Kickstarter for this so it was high time I read it. Heroes of Red Hook contains eighteen tales, ranging from average to exceptional. Unlike a lot of collections of this type, I didn't consider a single one to be a dud. It started a little rocky, though. Out of the first four, only two contained elements of cosmic horror. However, things soon kicked into high gear. The tales featured a wide range of Lovecraftian elements, though Shub Niggurath, Dark Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young, made more than its fair share of appearances. Quite a few of the tales feature characters that welcome revisiting. Standouts of the collection include Beyond the Black Arcade by Edward Erdelac, The Backwards Man by Tim Waggoner, Hungry Ghosts by Cody Goodfellow, and Men and Women by Oscar Rios. Heroes of Red Hook is a very well produced anthology of Lovecraftian tales, in content, theme, and presentation. If you're looking for a compelling anthology of cosmic horror, this one shouldn't be missed. Four out of five stars.

  2. 4 out of 5

    John Meszaros

    Though H. P. Lovecraft is a beloved writer of Weird horror, to say his writings had some problems with race is putting it mildly. Some fans say argue that he was simply a product of his time. Others say his bigotry went beyond the mainstream level of the era. Regardless of where one stands in this debate, the fact remains that racism is prevalent in many of Lovecraft’s works. While I don’t think it’s fair to dismiss his writing because of this unfortunate aspect, it needs to be acknowledged that Though H. P. Lovecraft is a beloved writer of Weird horror, to say his writings had some problems with race is putting it mildly. Some fans say argue that he was simply a product of his time. Others say his bigotry went beyond the mainstream level of the era. Regardless of where one stands in this debate, the fact remains that racism is prevalent in many of Lovecraft’s works. While I don’t think it’s fair to dismiss his writing because of this unfortunate aspect, it needs to be acknowledged that its presence is hurtful and dehumanizing to some people. Heroes of Red Hook is a response to one of Lovecraft’s more overtly racist stories, “The Horror At Red Hook”, where the diversity of peoples in this New York neighborhood are reduced to devil-worshipping, degenerate mongrel hordes. This anthology is not meant to bash Lovecraft and his stories, however. There is a clear appreciation and enthusiasm for the Mythos and the huge contribution Lovecraft made to horror and Weird fiction. These tales simply attempt to humanize and give voice to the marginalized in American society-People of Color, LGBT folk, immigrants, people with disabilities, etc. Although this anthology was inspired by Lovecraft, few of the tales possess the cosmic, existential horror of the Old Man of Providence. Most of them are pulp adventure, or at the very least adventurous horror in the vein of Titus Crow, Thomas Carnacki or the Call of Cthulhu RPG- which makes sense since the publisher, Golden Goblin Press, also creates adventure scenarios for that game. Here the protagonists often triumph over- or at least temporarily stop- the supernatural horrors around them (though the non-supernatural societal horrors arrayed against them are another matter). There are a lot of stories in this book and while it is great to see such a diversity of characters, the high volume does limit space, resulting in some works feeling rushed. Many a tale has a fantastic, detailed build-up, only to suddenly push the horrors onto the stage and run them past before the word count runs out. Still, I love the set-up for many of these and hope that at least a few authors will return to their creations in the future. Here’s a run-down of the stories A True Telling of the Terror That Came to Red Hook by William Meikle As the title says, this is a matter-of-fact retelling/exploration of what really happened in Lovecraft’s story. It concerns a black jazz musician and his Kurdish friend as they investigate that weird Suyden guy who keeps hanging around the local dancehalls and churches. This story actually does a lot to clarify the original “Red Hook”, the ending of which is a confusing mish-mash of demonic imagery and purple prose that seems to be trying to imitate an Hieronymus Bosch painting. Ivan and the Hunting Doll by Mercedes M. Yardley Ivan emigrated from Russia when he was just a boy and now struggles to survive as an adult in the East Side tenements of New York. One day he receives a gift- an eerie porcelain doll- from his grandmother who stayed behind in the Old Country. Naturally, the doll is more than just an inanimate toy. It is an artifact out of the old myths and fairy tales. Tales that often have a bright, pretty cover hiding dark things beneath. A Gentleman of Darkness by W. H. Pugmire Alma is visiting her artist associate, Carl Pent, to discuss his bizarre dreams and frequent bouts of somnambulism. During her visit, she hears the otherworldly music of Pent’s quiet Egyptian neighbor and learns from him that scraps of darkness may still linger in Red Hook even when the larger horrors have been vanquished. Hungry Ghosts by Cody Goodfellow Dr. Wing Ho is well-versed in matters strange and supernatural, which is why he’s called in to investigate a bizarre murder in San Francisco’s Chinatown. A man has apparently been teleported halfway through a wall in an old alley. What sort of being could have done this? Where did it go? And why do some of the bricks in the alley appear to be made of solid gold? Tell Me No Lies by Sam Stone Adrienne’s lover, Sarah, has been murdered and she’ll do anything to find the killer. Her need for closure eventually leads her to a very unusual spirit medium in New Orleans. O Friend and Companion of Night by Vincent Kovar There are supernatural forces in this story, but the true horror lurking here is the monstrous practice of gay conversion therapy. This is, unfortunately, one of the tales that rushes through the end. Though the slow building dread that permeates the majority of the telling makes up for its too-quick ending. It would have worked well as a longer piece, or even a short novel. Across A River of Stars by Scott R. Jones Brothers Aaron and Micah have been sent to the front lines of World War One, though they are not exactly eager to fight for the Canadian government that has tried so hard to snuff out their Cree heritage in the Mission schools. In war-torn France, they meet a man searching for something supernatural among the mud and ruins. A beast of hunger and cold from the Frozen North of their own home. Old Time Religion by Paula R Stiles In the North Carolina State Archives, there is a short journal that belonged to a woman investigating local folk songs in the 1920s. Though her account is brief, it is clear she encountered something odd in the small town of Cherokee Holler. There’s a song known by all the townsfolk about a mysterious being names Judas Charlie, who a special hold on the community. Men and Women by Oscar Rios One of my favorite stories. John and Danni are investigators of the occult whose experiences have taught them how to see the mythos bubbling up through the cracks of mundane reality. Their latest case leads them to a small isolated community where every woman and girl over the age of 10 has inexplicably become pregnant at the same time as part of a rite for a certain Black Goat of the Woods. The Eye of Infinity by Sam Gafford Two rival gangs of youths in 1920s New York must call a truce and work together to figure out who is stealing kids off their streets and why. Lords of Karma by Glynn Owen Barrass and Juliana Luartaroli Lily Crawford has been having strange dreams ever since she came out of her years-long fugue with complete amnesia. She dreams of working at a huge table in a strange city, recording her life and all her knowledge for being she can’t clearly make out, but who she refers to as the Lords of Karma. While an interesting variation on The Shadow Out of Time, this story has a tendency to focus way too much on setting. Long descriptions of buildings and hallways start to distract from the narrative of a young woman trying to figure out what happened to the missing parts of her life. A Ghostly Detestable Pallor by Penelope Love Beatrice discovers the fate of her missing Zio Pietro when he returns to his shop transformed into a horrid, maggot-like monstrosity. After ending his torment, she follows a trail of clues to a cult of white supremacists attempting to use dark science experiments to eliminate the “undesirables” around them. Crossing the Line by Tom Lynch Jack doesn’t feel like he fits in anywhere. Not with his father’s culture in New York’s Chinatown, nor with his white mother’s American relatives who look at him with disdain. The only people who accept him for who he is are those monks in green robes lead by Brother Eng. They seem kind and benevolent, but something about them just isn’t quite right... The Guilt of Nikki Cotton by Pete Rawlik A mysterious disease is slowly spreading over the world, leaving its victims immobile and locked out from reality. There is no cure, only round-the-clock care in a special hospital ward. Nikki Cotton has been assigned to one such ward, built in the back of a Red Hook theater to house the members of the troupe who have fallen victim to the epidemic. To break up the monotony of the ward, the owner has decorated the room with works of art. Including several busts made of an unearthly fungal white marble. Nikki finds the stone faces deeply unnerving, though she cannot say exactly why. Brickwalk Mollies by Christine Morgan A story about prostitutes and their struggle against a certain “Doctor Jack” who has fled from London to prey on the women of Red Hook. This Ripper, however, is more than just a mortal man. The Backward Man by Tim Waggoner Another one of my favorites. Jacob can’t help counting. Cars, pedestrians, flowers. Always in sets of fives. It’s the only way for him to keep his universe in order. That becomes more than just a metaphor on the day Jacob sees a man walking backward down the street, his boneless mushroom-white fingers writhing like serpents. The Backwards Man is counting too. But his numbers are slowly unmaking reality, leaving cracks of void where order breaks down. And Jacob might be the only one who can do anything about it. Beyond the Black Arcade by Edward M. Erdelac A fictional adventure in the life of Zora Neale Hurston, investigator anthropologist and a major figure of the Harlem Renaissance- perhaps most well known for her novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God”. In this tale, Hurston’s exploration into Hoodoo (a variant of Voodoo practiced in Louisiana) leads her deep into the bayous where she comes across the remains of the site where Inspector LeGrasse fought cultists in “The Call of Cthulhu”. This story also expands on the “black-winged things’ and “a forgotten pool where a white thing dwelt” briefly mentioned in Lovecraft’s original story. Shadows Upon the Matanzas by Lee Clark Zumpe There’s a lot of plot in this one. Almost too much. Ancient Incan emperors, secret societies, colonial Spanish ruins, investigative journalism. So much happening in such a short time that the tale feels like the summary of a full novel. Not quite enough meat to the story. I actually enjoy the depth of detail, I just wish this could have been a longer story or a full-fledged book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas Diak

    The xenophobia and racism of H.P. Lovecraft has appeared in quite a few of his writings, such as “Herbert West-Reanimator” and “The Horror at Red Hook,” and has become a point of contention to some of his followers, successor writers, critics, and scholars. Sometimes this racism is overlooked or explained as a product of his time, sometimes it is engaged full on, such as the the changing of the World Fantasy Award. The anthology, The Heroes of Red Hook, seeks to engage this more nefarious attrib The xenophobia and racism of H.P. Lovecraft has appeared in quite a few of his writings, such as “Herbert West-Reanimator” and “The Horror at Red Hook,” and has become a point of contention to some of his followers, successor writers, critics, and scholars. Sometimes this racism is overlooked or explained as a product of his time, sometimes it is engaged full on, such as the the changing of the World Fantasy Award. The anthology, The Heroes of Red Hook, seeks to engage this more nefarious attribute of Lovecraft by collecting various short stories that connect to “Red Hook” in some way (setting, re-appropriated name, coastal urbanization, etc.) and putting marginalized folks as the main protagonists. The collection, the result of a successful Kickstarter, features main characters who are of different sexualities, races, and special needs, all casted into Lovecraftian 1920s prohibition era. The idea here being that Lovecraftian horror can be preserved while being recast with protagonists that one would not see in not just in Lovecraftian writing, but of the period as well. Overall, the anthology is extremely successful in this endeavor. Many of the stories are canon-compatible to each other as well as the the source Lovecraft Cthulhu mythos. The changing protagonists from different marginalized folks give them not only voice, but keeps the stories fresh for the reader while the gin-n-jazz era keeps the stories unified. There’s a few particular highpoints of the anthology. Oscar Rios’ “Men and Women” focuses on a transgendered protagonist, and is action packed as two lovebirds, John and Danni, race to thwart an evil fertility cult. The story reads as an old school “The Call of Cthulhu” RPG module to to life. If anything, the short story should be reworded into a novella, so Rios can add more detective work and build up, since due to the confines of the short story medium, the bulk of the tale focuses on the climatic end. William Meikle’s “A True Telling of the Terror that came to Red Hook” retells the original Lovecraft short story, but via the eyes of a black, southern musician who came to Red Hook to perform. Much like Stanley C. Sargent’s “The Black Brat of Dunwich” which retells “The Dunwich Horror” through a different perspective, Meikle’s tale is fascinating in not only how compatible it is with the original tale, but how adept it is to fill in many of the holes left by Lovecraft. The best story of the anthology is Pete Rawlik’s “The Guilt of Nikki Cotton.” This tale features an extremely capable black woman who is quick on her feet and on her wits as she tries to stave off a ward of sorta-zombie-esque patients in a theater. What makes “The Guilt of Nikki Cotton” so stand out is not only its clearly fleshed out protagonist, but that the story is pure Lovecraftian in that the victory comes as a huge cost to the protagonist. In Lovecraft’s world, characters are rarely victorious, and the cosmic horror they combat is usually only stymied and at great cost (usually their sanity). Most of the stories in The Heroes of Red Hook have a happy ending of sorts, but “The Guilt of Nikki Cotton” truly engaged in the Lovecraftian style dead on and emerges victorious. There are a few missteps in the anthology however. Tim Lynch’s “Crossing the Line,” which focuses on a half-white/half-Chinese protagonist, is guilty of proliferating the mystical-Asian stereotype via his character of Uncle Wu. Wu is one dimensional, seemingly ageless, and full of spells, magical items and martial arts. In a Lovecraft world of magic and cosmic monsters, this would not be a bad thing, its just that without the fleshing out of the character, Wu really only exists as a caricature and a fictional stereotype. This is in stark contrast to Cody Goodfellow’s “Hungry Ghosts” which also features a Chinese character of magical powers, but the difference is that the Dr. Wing from Goodfellow’s story has his character fully fleshed out and is hardly one dimensional. A few of the stories are guilty of “telling not showing,” when it comes to their portrayal of marginalized folks. The irony is that these authors actually nail it when they do “show” their characters and environments. For example, the beginning of Sam Gafford’s “The Eye of Infinity” tells the reader that “When so many people of different ethnic backgrounds are crammed together in such a tight, confined space, conflict was inevitable” and yet the next few paragraphs are Gafford showing this circumstance. The telling part could be omitted from the story and Gafford does an otherwise excellent job describing the Lower East Side of New York in his story. Other stories in The Heroes of Red Hook fall into this trap as well, and it might be attributed to lack of confidence in trying to write these characters. Regardless, The Heroes of Red Hook is an excellent book. By sure virtue of its purpose – to tell 1920s prohibition era Lovecraftian stories starring marginalized folk – it is incredibly different than the slew of other Lovecraft-inspired anthologies on the market today that retread the material. When one seeks to challenge and subvert the source material, wondrous things happen, and The Heroes of Red Hook is certainly that. Hopefully the success of the anthology inspired other authors to try their hand at tackling Lovecraft in a similar fashion.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Josh

    I really wanted to like this book. I contributed to the Kickstarter to help it get published. After reading, "The Ballad of Black Tom" by Victor La Valle I was eager to see more diverse voices and stories set against the backdrop of the Cthulhu Mythos. Unfortunately, the writing in most of these stories is amateurish at best. I slogged through it, in hopes that I would find some value, but the best of these stories is still not good. Read the aforementioned La Valle tale, or "Lovecraft Country" b I really wanted to like this book. I contributed to the Kickstarter to help it get published. After reading, "The Ballad of Black Tom" by Victor La Valle I was eager to see more diverse voices and stories set against the backdrop of the Cthulhu Mythos. Unfortunately, the writing in most of these stories is amateurish at best. I slogged through it, in hopes that I would find some value, but the best of these stories is still not good. Read the aforementioned La Valle tale, or "Lovecraft Country" by Matt Ruff instead.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Seth J Bradley

    I have read quite a few Lovecraftian anthologies. Usually a few good stories, a few fair ones, the rest I skip. This was pretty much the only modern anthology where I truly enjoyed every story. All good plots, none of what you often see in anthologies, with some trying (badly) to be funny, others trying to be edgy in 'New Weird' fashion. Just a thoroughly enjoyable selection, one after the other. The editor is to be commended. I have read quite a few Lovecraftian anthologies. Usually a few good stories, a few fair ones, the rest I skip. This was pretty much the only modern anthology where I truly enjoyed every story. All good plots, none of what you often see in anthologies, with some trying (badly) to be funny, others trying to be edgy in 'New Weird' fashion. Just a thoroughly enjoyable selection, one after the other. The editor is to be commended.

  6. 4 out of 5

    David Nadolny

    I don't have good luck with anthologies, but more than half the stories in this one are great Cthulhu shorts. I don't have good luck with anthologies, but more than half the stories in this one are great Cthulhu shorts.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kyle Forgit

  8. 5 out of 5

    James Anthony

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mathias

  10. 5 out of 5

    Brett Burkhardt

  11. 5 out of 5

    Caleb.Lives

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sean

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jason Williams

  14. 5 out of 5

    Scott R Jones

  15. 4 out of 5

    OTIS

  16. 5 out of 5

    C Bradley

  17. 4 out of 5

    jennet wheatstonelllsl

  18. 5 out of 5

    Robert Vigliotti

  19. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy Hochhalter

  21. 5 out of 5

    Reading Reindeer 2021 On Proxima Centauri

  22. 4 out of 5

    Michael Fierce

  23. 5 out of 5

    pookie

  24. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

  25. 4 out of 5

    Eric

  26. 5 out of 5

    Olivia

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

  28. 5 out of 5

    Shadowdenizen

  29. 5 out of 5

    Christopher

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

  31. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Clayton

  32. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

  33. 5 out of 5

    Alshimaa

  34. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

  35. 4 out of 5

    Andyhat

  36. 4 out of 5

    Franklin Hummel

  37. 4 out of 5

    SHUiZMZ

  38. 5 out of 5

    William DuFour

  39. 5 out of 5

    Darren Mitton

  40. 5 out of 5

    Suki St Charles

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