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on Aug. 11, 2011 :
The connection between Lovecraft and historical fiction seems so obvious, I'm surprised it took anyone this long to make it. With "Historical Lovecraft", it has been firmly and strongly established, and this book is a welcome addition to the ever-growing Mythos.
Lovecraft, for all his strengths, was a bit of a cheat when it came to history, setting his more fantastic stories in times and places supposedly lost to history, when they weren't happening in his own back yard, figuratively speaking. This kept his work safely out of conflict with the facts of history. While the stories do not suffer from the absence of real historical context, it is interesting to wonder about how his creations would have operated within a more familiar context.
The stories in "Historical Lovecraft" provide that context, coming from the pens of writers who seem not only steeped in the legends created by the writer, but also knowledgeable about the times of which they write. These are writers of the finest caliber, telling first-rate stories. Their individual voices are layered ona delicate and subtle balance of historical insight and the kind of cosmic horror for which the sub-genre is rightly famed.
A shining example to me of the quality of this collection lies in the story "Silently, Without Cease" by Daniel Mills. Instead of weaving a narrative from whole cloth and dressing it up in the robes of another Century, the author has taken a historical event that is in itself horrible enough, and filled a few theoretical gaps with the addition of an Elder God. This, along with the judicious use of some graphic description, creates a story that will linger long after the book is closed, as should be the case.
With the recent rise in popularity of Lovecraftian tropes, there are many authors turning their hand to the Mythos, with varying results. "Historical Lovecraft" has to be among the best of them, and the quality of work presented has me looking forward to other books from this publisher, and hoping for a "Historical Lovecraft II".
If you're a fan of either Lovecraft or good historical fiction, get this book. I promise you will not be disappointed.
(reviewed long after purchase)
Tristan J Tarwater
on June 06, 2011 :
Where history's mysteries lay gaping open, there 'Historical Lovecraft' goes, seeing to fill in the holes in time and human knowledge with eldritch horror and terrors from beyond the stars. At least that's what a good portion of the short stories contained within the book admit to using as their inspiration, which is fine by me. As someone who enjoys history and the unexplained, as well as someone who digs H.P. Lovecraft I was very happy with the answers the stories in this anthology had to offer. When I finished this book ( I was dreading finishing it, just because I was enjoying it that much), I vowed to reread it, and soon. I was going to let my spouse read it but he may have to wait while I devour the book again.
My personal faves were 'Black Hill,' an interesting take on an oil operation, 'Deus Ex Machina,' especially as an ex theatre geek, 'Shadows of the Deepest Jade,'...honestly, there wasn't a story that I didn't enjoy, though there were ones I definitely preferred over others. Innsmouth Free Press did a great job picking a wide array of subject matters and time periods. I thought the Modern Era stories would be less interesting but 'Black Hill' is honestly one of my favorites and happens within the last 200 years. Cultures, religions and governments are all fair game and rattled by not only Cthulhu but shoggoths, The Old Ones, Nyarlathotep, The Deep Ones, all answering the questions put forward by the stories. If you are only interested in stories told in the same voice of HP Lovecraft this is probably not the book for you. However, if you can appreciate that fear is eternal and calls out in a variety of voices, as well as have a thing for the ideas that Lovecraft put forth? You need to check this book out.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)