on May 24, 2013 :
I actually picked a copy of 'Future Lovecraft' and in searching for it, came across this little gem. I admit, the cover for 'Space Eldritch' is far more eye catching, which is why I ended up grabbing it as well. What I found inside was quite a mix of stories, which I will try to touch on the ones that had the best or worst impact on me while reading.
“Gods in Darkness” – David J. West was the story I enjoyed the least out of this collection. Not only were the characters one dimentional in my opinion, but the combat on the outside of the station, though handled fairly well, felt like it was still relying on gravity despite there not being any on the outside of the station. And then there was the sudden sex scene out of no where that made absolutely NO sense and felt shoehorned into the story.
“The Shadows of Titan” – Carter Reid and Brad R. Torgersen was an interesting story, containing a definite horror element that was handled with deft hands. The foreshadowing was a bit heavy, so it was easy to figure out what was going to happen, and the ending had a feel of being a bit deus ex machina. But overall, the story was a pleasure to read and I appreciated the horror element being intact.
“The Fury in the Void” – Robert J Defendi gave me mixed feelings. While reading it, I kept seeing huge links to Games Workshop's Warhammer 40k universe. From the cyborgs tech people, to the loss of technology falling to religious rote, to even calling the whirling sawbladed axe a 'power axe'. There were so many of these elements that I found myself being pulled out of the story time and time again, despite the fact that this is actually a good story. I think the religious elements were handled well, I think the way they came to this point was creative as well. I thought so many elements were creative, but had they been handled in a way that perhaps used different terminologies, or had been tweeked a little bit, the story would have read far more as a unique piece rather than feeling tied to something else.
(I am not accusing this of being ripped off of Games Workshop's world, rather, that it had many of the same elements which through my own association, wrecked the story for me. This is no fault of the author, and rather my own. Others, especially those with no exposure to 40k, will most likely enjoy this story for the interesting take on religion that it is)
"The Fury in the Void" did concentrate a bit too much on the rage elements of the storyline, to the point where I felt like I was getting smote in the head over and over again. Yes, the main character is angry, I get it, I don't need to be continually reminded through his rage, how others see his rage, how he acts around people, and people telling him he's the angriest man they know. It quickly became annoying. Still, Defendi created an interesting story that contained a good mix of Lovecraftian elements, and it was interesting to read.
“Flight of the Runewright” – Howard Tayler was easily the top story in this entire collection. Though I found the last part of the story to be a tiny bit muddled, the entire story itself was really well written, had believeable characters, and a twist that worked out really, really well. I think the Lovecraftian elements were beautifully handled, mixing well with the science fiction element to create something unique among the stories in this collection. Easily my favorite story in this collection.
Overall, this collection was pretty good. As others have stated, it's a good mix of fairly good stories, with some gems mixed in. Shumate did a good job bringing together a mix of sci-fi Lovecraftian themes and managed to put together a fairly unique anthology. If you are into sci-fi, or Lovecraft, pick this collection up. I enjoyed most of it, and I am sure you will too.
(reviewed 7 months after purchase)
on Nov. 21, 2012 :
Very exciting! I'm also a Schlock Mercenary fan, but I haven't read this genre before. This was my first experience of it, and I liked it. The stories are sexist, but not blatantly so, just enough to show that they were written by males for males... but are still quite enjoyable by women. I perceive that the ingredients of this genre are strong men, sexy women, space, monsters, and God. A heady combination.
Flight of the Runewright was my favorite, it suggests jewel-tones.
(reviewed 23 days after purchase)
on Nov. 20, 2012 :
Another Schlock Mercenary (Tayler) fan here. I read quite a bit of Lovecraft-style weird fiction (along with sci-fi and fantasy). Flight of the Runewright was great, Gods in Darkness I also liked (I guess I'm a sucker for space-combat), Fury in the Void might have been executed better but I liked the "Space Marine" (Warcraft 40k) style setting. Menace Under Mars I feel a bit conflicted about, at times it's great, at times less so. "Arise" (the first story) does a fine job of weaving different times/dimensions together for the story.
All in all very good collection and not expensive either.
I would also recommend checking out the Arkham Tales (I'm in the middle of the last magazine right now), also curated by Shumate: http://www.coldfusionmedia.us/arkham-tales-1-5-free/
For some truly awesome "Lovecraft in Space" check out Mongoose by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear (http://drabblecast.org has an audio version for free [search for it, the direct url is a mile long]), this is the story that got me hooked on both of the authors: Get Monettes "The Bone Key" -collection for superb classical style horror.
(reviewed 23 days after purchase)
on Nov. 18, 2012 :
An enjoyable read. I'm not much of a horror-reader normally, and really only downloaded this for the story by Howard Tayler. I wouldn't say the collection scared me, but I can't tell if that's because it wasn't scary or just because I lack the imagination to be frightened by good horror fiction.
Style varied a bit from one story to the next, but there are a couple of really great ones. Flight of the Runewright was my favourite and showed the imagination and depth of world you would expect from Tayler. Menace under Mars was also enjoyable, having more of a classic-sci fi feel to it. Space was a really intriguing piece of world building.
Generally speaking the literary quality was very good (only one story felt like a bit of a slog) which is one of the things I have often found suffers with sci fi (can't speak for horror having read little of it).
Overall well worth the cost and the time to read.
(reviewed 21 days after purchase)