Monday, June 10, 2013

Review: Future Lovecraft

I'm probably the wrong person to review this book - I've never really "done" Lovecraft. The heart of the problem is simple: The mythos doesn't scare me. I think part of it is that I'm so steeped in gamer culture, in which Cthulhu is more often a source of humor than fear (Maybe that's the only way to really deal with ultimate, alien evil).

If you want to scare me, don't wave tentacles in my direction. Point at a stone angel and yell "Don't Blink." That'll get me every time. So I'm not immune to monsters.

I do a lot better with non-mythos Lovecraft and, fortunately, there were quite a few non-mythos stories in this volume. Most of the stories editors Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Paula R. Stiles have chosen are short and there are a few poems. Lovecraft lends itself to being treated in poetry.

So, I found the mythos-based stories weaker, but that might be my personal bias. Some of them had the problem of being bleak, but not frightening or interesting and a couple left my suspension of disbelief at the door. Peter Rawlik's "In the Hall of the Yellow King" was definitely not one of my favorites...for just that reason. Lovecraftian horrors ruling the future doesn't work for me. What worked better was Ada Hoffman's "Harmony Among The Stars." That was actually one of my favorites.

The soviets on Mars story had the issue of feeling dated in the post Soviet world, but was very well done ("Trajectory of a Cursed Spirit" Meddy Ligner).

In all honesty - if you love Lovecraft, get it. There's some interesting material here. If you don't like Lovecraft, don't bother.

Three and a half stars.

(Review copy obtained at Balticon).