Written by: Drake Morgan
Lovecraft is a much-emulated, much-borrowed from writer and I often pause when I see “Lovecraft-inspired” or such similar phrases attached to a work. It too often means an overly heavy hand in “borrowing” and little in the way of creativity. The Book of Cthulhu 2 defies that stereotype in spades. This is a stunning collection of Lovecraft inspired tales all centered around the infamous Cthulhu myth. The stories in this collection vary greatly in theme, tone, and atmosphere, but all pay homage to the great master of storytelling and world-building without falling victim to that heavy hand.
Some, like Neil Gaiman’s selection “Shoggoth’s Old Peculiar,” make direct reference to Lovecraft while at the same time resurrecting the Cthulhu mythos in a modern setting off the English coast. Others, such as “Nor the Demons Down Under the Sea” by Caitlin R. Kiernan, allude to the mysteries of the master with just as much skill and craft. William Browning Spencer’s “The Ocean and All Its Devices” gives us the possible origins of such creatures in his heartbreaking tale of loss. Kim Newman even gives us Lovecraft noir in her excellent story “The Big Fish.” There are two dozen stories here from some of the biggest names in horror. Laird Barron, Neil Gaiman, Jonathon Wood, W. H. Pugmire, and more serve up a fantastic selection of monsters.
The only catch– you must be a Lovecraft fan. Without that, many of the stories will be a little too odd as they rely on an understanding of the original story. I haven’t read the grand original in some time and I took pause to dig it up. I then went back into the stories and they were far richer thematically and symbolically. There are very few weak moments in this one and worth every slithery scale!
Pick up your copy of The Book of Cthulhu 2 right here.