Here are some books I’ll be adding to the Mike’s Recommended Lovecraftian Books page sometime in the next few days. As you all know, I do not recommend books that I don’t think are good… period.
Click the titles for more information or to buy the books.
The Void – Brett J. Talley’s second book. A really great Lovecraftian horror science fiction novel… terrifying. Available in hardcover, paperback, and for Kindle. In the deepest reaches of space, on a ship that no longer exists, six travelers stare into the abyss . . . and the abyss stares back. Man has finally mastered the art of space travel and in a few hours passengers can travel light years across the galaxy. But, there’s a catch—the traveler must be asleep for the journey, and with sleep come the dreams. Only the sleeper can know what his dream entails, for each is tailored to his own mind, built from his fears, his secrets, his past . . . and sometimes his future. That the dreams occasionally drive men mad is but the price of technological advance. But when a transport on a routine mission comes upon an abandoned ship, missing for more than a decade, six travelers—each with something to hide—discover that perhaps the dreams are more than just figments of their imagination. Indeed, they may be a window to a reality beyond their own where shadow has substance and the darkness is a thing unto itself, truly worthy of fear.
Heathentown – (You can also buy the digital comic for immediate reading at Comixology.) Written by Corinna Sara Bechko, art by Gabriel Hardman. Corinna, you may remember, wrote an excellent story for issue #7 of The Lovecraft eZine, with illustrations by the same Gabriel Hardman. When Anna travels deep within the Florida Everglades to attend her lover’s funeral, she finds herself in an eerie small town where death is but a horrible beginning! In an attempt to discover the truth, she digs up her lover’s coffin, starting a chain reaction which brings an ancient malevolence into the town – bent on her destruction!
The Eye of Infinity – Written by David Conyers, cover by Mike Dubisch, art by Nick Gucker. Nick sent this to me, and honestly, I thought it wasn’t really wasn’t going to be my cup of tea. Then I started reading a few pages… and it grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. A fast-paced read with a great plot and some DAMN scary shoggoths! At a remote radio telescope facility in New Mexico, an astrophysicist commits suicide after contracting a hideous mutative plague caused by something he saw…and he won’t be the last. Major Harrison Peel has witnessed his share of cosmic atrocities before, but now he faces a threat worse than death and a powerful enemy that hides behind a human face. When a top-secret NASA program refuses to heed his warnings, Peel is catapulted into a nightmarish government conspiracy that takes him from Ft. Meade’s Puzzle Palace to the launchpads of Cape Canaveral; from the desolate Atacama Desert of Chile to the very heart of the universe itself, all in a desperate bid to close… The Eye of Infinity.
Displaced Person – By Lee Harding. Like the reviewer I’m about to quote, I read this as a teenager in the 1980s, and 30 years later, it still stuck with me. Believe me, this is one of the best Lovecraftian books you’ll ever read. The following review is from Theo at Amazon.com: This is one of the books I read during my teenage years that really stuck with me. A quietly but genuinely disturbing work, it is not easily classifiable as science fiction, fantasy, or horror. Indeed, which of the three you choose will likely hinge on how you personally interpret this book. Displaced Person tells the story of a young adult just finishing school who finds himself gradually disappearing from the consciousness of those around him. It is a story that quietly, methodically builds up a kind of nameless cosmic dread with almost Lovecraftian skill. But whereas even Lovecraft has his Cthulhu mythos to offer some kind of explanation for the events that take place in his stories – however alien and unfathomable that explanation may be – what gives this work its special power is very largely the total absence of any explanation at all. The genuine sense of dread it builds is therefore perhaps founded on a bedrock of truth. It reminds us of the old adage that all we know is like a little island of knowledge in a vast sea of unknowing, and that we are, in the greater scheme of things, only very small creatures in an incomprehensibly vast and perhaps ultimately unknowable universe. From what I can gather, this work appears to have lapsed in relative obscurity. This is a pity, because it really is a very fine piece of young adult literature. If the time I have spent writing this review can reverse the current state of affairs in even a small way, I will consider that time extremely well spent.
The Fungal Stain – By W.H. Pugmire. There you go: When I wrote “by W.H. Pugmire”, that’s really all the reason you need to buy this book. But if you need more: The theme of the book, as the author explains it, are “Lovecraftian dreams as thresholds to alien emotion, dimension, salvation, damnation.” Cross the threshold with one of the very few practitioners of Mythos fiction to win accolades from S. T. Joshi. Many and multiform are the pleasures this volume offers to Lovecraftians, including a hotly anticipated novelette set in Pugmire’s trademark locality, Sesqua Valley; a lengthy prose poem sequence; decadent, dreamlike vignettes in the style of Oscar Wilde, and much other new material.
Urban Cthulhu: Nightmare Cities – Short stories. What lurks in the damp recesses of urban existence? These new tales of weird fiction are a blend of urban horror, pulp noir and dark fantasy. Lovecraftian horrors and Cthulhu Mythos monsters have never been this gritty. From haunted Kingsport across the globe to shadowy Berlin and the otherworldly music of Bangalore. From kind, sexy neighbors to cyberpunk paranoia an The King in Yellow. A journalist’s search with unexpected results. What really happened to Walter Gilman, and what is the origin of the witch Keziah Mason? And witness humanity fail against the forces from beyond. From weird sounds to screams of madness. Entropy. Chaos. Disorder. Death. Beneath cities, on the outskirts of ruined, aeon-old cities and INSIDE cities. The stench, the decay, the hopelesness… it is everywhere. Welcome to URBAN CTHULHU: NIGHTMARE CITIES.
Night Shift – Short stories by Stephen King. WHAT is this book doing here, you may ask? Well, I’ll tell you. King has written several very good Lovecraftian short stories, and this book contains one of them: I Am the Doorway. It won’t cost you much to pick it up at a used bookstore or at Amazon, so if you haven’t read it, you should. Besides, if you’re a Lovecraftian then you’re also a fan of general horror, and these are some great horror stories. I particularly enjoyed Night Surf, The Boogeyman, and One For the Road. In addition, King’s forward to this book is fantastic — it made me feel like I was right there with King on a rainy night. It begins: “Let’s talk, you and I. Let’s talk about fear. The house is empty as I write this; a cold February rain is falling outside. It’s night…” and ends with: “Where I am, it’s still dark and raining. We’ve got a fine night for it. There’s something I want to show you, something I want you to touch. It’s in a room not far from here — in fact, it’s almost as close as the next page. Shall we go?”
Skeleton Crew – Short stories by Stephen King. There are two Lovecraftian short stories in this one — The Mist, and Mrs. Todd’s Shortcut. Everyone knows about the former, but Mrs. Todd’s Shortcut doesn’t seem to be as well known, and that’s a shame. It’s one of King’s best stories, very Lovecraftian, and very nostalgic. In terms of general horror, I also enjoyed The Jaunt quite a lot.
The Book of Cthulhu II – Available in Kindle and paperback. I enjoyed this one even more than the first. There are some reprints, but the originals alone are worth the price, and if you haven’t read the reprints, this is a good anthology to add to your Lovecraftian collection. As I said, I’m really enjoying this one. Last year, Night Shade Books unleashed The Book of Cthulhu onto an unsuspecting world. Critically acclaimed as “the ultimate Cthulhu anthology” and “a ‘must read’ for fans of Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos,” The Book of Cthulhu went where no collection of mythos tales had gone before: to the very edge of madness… and beyond. For nearly a century, H. P. Lovecraft’s tales of malevolent Great Old Ones existing beyond the dimensions of this world, beyond the borders of sanity, have captured and held the imaginations of writers and aficionados of the dark, the macabre, the fantastic, and the horrible. Now, because you demanded more, anthologist Ross E. Lockhart has risked all to dive back into the Cthulhu canon, combing through mind-shattering manuscripts and moldering tomes to bring you The Book of Cthulhu 2, with even more tales of tentacles, terror, and madness. Featuring monstrous stories by many of weird fiction’s brightest lights, The Book of Cthulhu 2 brings you even more tales inspired by H. P. Lovecraft’s greatest creation: The Cthulhu mythos. This year, the stars are right… Iä! Iä! Cthulhu Fhtagn!
A Season in Carcosa – Edited by Joseph S. Pulver, Sr. When Joe Pulver approached S. T. Joshi about doing an anthology like his now-famous tome Black Wings, only for Robert Chambers’ King in Yellow, Joshi had only one thing to say: “You do it, Joe.” So he did. And here it is: A Season In Carcosa. H.P. Lovecraft. Karl Edgar Wagner. Peter Straub. Those are a few of the names that stand tall in our genre and when it comes to Robert W. Chambers and his King in Yellow they agree, Chambers’ beguiling tales of the King In Yellow and Carcosa are among the best in “weird” fiction. Miskatonic River Press and Joseph S. Pulver, Sr. are proud and delighted to present an anthology of all new tales inspired by Chambers… In A Season In Carcosa readers will find the strange and mysterious places of heart and mind that spring from madness, and those minds and the places touched by it are the realms that are mined. Chambers’ legacy of the worms and soft decay that spring from reading the King In Yellow play stir both new and established talents in the world of weird fiction and horror to contribute all new tales that pay homage to these eerie nightmares. In Carcosa twilight comes and minds lost in the mirrors of lust and fear, are awash in legacies of shadows, not mercy. . .
The Shadow of the Unknown – Edited by A.J. French. Madness and the Mythos, the Surreal and the Sinister. Editor A.J. French has collected 29 tales of horror inspired by H. P. Lovecraft and the element of the unknown in supernatural fiction. Featuring stories by Gary A. Braunbeck, Gene O’Neill, Michael Bailey, Glynn Barrass, P.S. Gifford, Lee Clark Zumpe, James S. Dorr, Geoffrey H. Goodwin, Erik T. Johnson, R.B. Payne, and Ran Cartwright. Warning: Once you open the pages of this book, you willingly unleash a whirlwind of delirium and insanity that will creep into your mind. Think your sanity can withstand the assault…?
Soft From All the Blood – Edited by S.R. Jones. I really enjoyed this one, and you can’t go wrong for only $2.99. “Some horror is meant to scare you, some to gross you out, yet Jones’ horror is meant to engage you, upset you, unsettle you. Cage-rattling horror … crawls under your skin, and lays eggs.” — Jordan Stratford, author of ‘Mechanicals’ 4.3 / 5 STARS “… a unique, modern and blood red gem of a book.” Martian Migraine Press is pleased to present S R Jones’ new collection SOFT FROM ALL THE BLOOD. Seven tales of surreal terror, ranging from the darkly comedic to the Lovecraftian and beyond…
The Further Adventures of Batman – Edited by Martin H. Greenberg. BATMAN? Seriously? Yep. Actually, though I’m a Batman fan, I didn’t care for most of these short stories. There’s one, though, that’s worth the price all by itself: Subway Jack, by Joe R. Lansdale. It’s truly a Lovecraftian Batman story, and it’s a great one (well, what else would you expect from Joe R. Lansdale?) I’ve returned to this story many times over the years. Well worth a read.