Bookshots: 'Lovecraft's Monsters' edited by Ellen Datlow
Bookshots: Pumping new life into the corpse of the book review
Who wrote it?
Many people, but it was edited by veteran horror editor, Ellen Datlow.
Plot in a Box:
An anthology inspired by H. P. Lovecraft’s stories, particularly his monsters.
Invent a new title for this book:
Modern Lovecraftian Stories (That Aren’t Pastiches)
Read this if you like:
Lovecraft’s works, Ellen Datlow’s previous anthology Lovecraft Unbound, or any of the other numerous Lovecraft-inspired works.
Meet the book’s lead(s):
The leads in the stories vary — from werewolves to Pinkerton agents, to animal whisperers to nannies.
Said lead(s) would be portrayed in a movie by:
A varied cast, though all of them with a dark edge and a touch of madness.
Setting: would you want to live there?
Not one bit. I am happier in a world without the hidden presence of Elder Gods, without the town of Innsmouth, without bulging-eyed amphibian servitors and scaled, saurian creatures.
What was your favorite sentence?
Soon she felt the pull of tides, the tug of currents, the cold wet draw of gravity luring down, down, down to greater depths, then the equipoise of pressure, and where once it might’ve crushed, now it comforted, a cold cocoon that was both a blanket and a world, tingling along her skin with news coming from a thousand leagues in every direction
— from “The Same Deep Waters As You” by Brian Hodge
What makes this anthology work is what Datlow mentions in her introduction — this isn’t a book of Lovecraft pastiches or an attempt to write in the same vein. These stories use Lovecraft as a starting point, some of them using the Mythos in new and interesting ways, others merely inspired by Lovecraft and his monsters. The stories are a varied bunch, from stories set in Lovecraft’s Innsmouth to a western, to a story set in Indonesia. The Innsmouth stories tend to hew more closely to Lovecraft, but all of them add something new to the mix.
In “The Same Deep Waters As You,” Brian Hodge tells the story of Kerry Larimer, an animal whisperer who is called in to communicate with a group of people who have…regressed, for lack of a better word, to a more primitive state. Of course in order to communicate, she must learn to understand, thereby uncovering some dark truths.
“Bleeding Shadows” by Joe R. Lansdale blends Lovecraftian influences with noir, the blues, and the legend of Robert Johnson to great effect. Nadia Bulkin transports us to Indonesia with “Red Goat Black Goat,” about a nanny whose charges are looked after by a spirit, the Goat-Nurse, whose intentions aren’t completely altruistic. And “Children of the Fang” by John Langan showcases a brother and sister uncovering their grandfather’s secrets which involve a secret city discovered in the Middle East and what he brought back from there. Other authors in the anthology include Laird Barron, Elizabeth Bear, Caitlin R. Kiernan, and Neil Gaiman (as well as two poems from Gemma Files).
Lovecraft’s Monsters will appeal to fans of Lovecraft’s work, particularly his Mythos stories, and to readers of dark fiction everywhere. Datlow is an experienced and keen editor of dark fiction and has assembled a truly impressive list of stories.
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