5 of Livia Llewellyn’s favorite Lovecraftian short stories


Livia Llewellyn

Welcome to the fifth entry in this series!

Mike Davis here.  Recently, I asked Lovecraftian authors, editors, and reviewers to send me a list of five of their favorite Lovecraftian short stories (that are not written by HPL himself).

It’s important to note that these lists are not our “top five” Lovecraftian short stories — for most of us, that would be next to impossible to determine. It’s simply a list of five stories that we love, and that we feel are important to Lovecraftian fiction.

This is a great way to discover some Lovecraftian tales you might not have known about. Enjoy!

The rest of this post is by author Livia Llewellyn — here is her list. Click the story title if you want to purchase the book in which each short story appears:

  • The Livejournal of Zachary Marsh, by Matthew Baldwin. (Available to read online: At The Morning News.) A once-ultra-modern and now somewhat quaint – but still charming! – retelling of The Shadow over Innsmouth, from out of the bloggy and lugubrious depths of the Internet in 2004.
  • Pickman’s Other Model, by Caitlin R. Kiernan. (In Black Wings: Tales of Lovecraftian Horror.) A detailed, marvelous wunderkammer of a story, whose dark center revolves around the mysteries behind the artistic and occult activities of an enigmatic actress of the silent film era.
  • A Colder War, by Charles Stross. (In New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird.) An brilliant alternate-history war story in which the results of the expedition discoveries of At the Mountains of Madness has led to a world in which peace is kept and war is fought by Lovecraftian weaponry and means.
  • The Infernal History of the Ivybridge Twins, by Molly Tanzer. (In Historical Lovecraft: Tales of Horror Through Time.) A extremely clever story that seamlessly blends the history of an 18th century English aristocratic family with both Lovecraftian and gothic themes.
  • The Forest, by Laird Barron. (In Occultation And Other Stories.) A novelette that takes John Clute’s definition of “vastation” (from his book The Darkening Garden) to a stupendously cosmic yet intimate conclusion. This is the story that would have made Lovecraft push away from his writing desk, plop his cat in his lap, and say “fuck it, I quit”. Needless to say, it’s one of my favorite stories, of any genre.

(Previous lists: Laird Barron — Mike Davis — Rick Lai — John Langan)

7 responses to “5 of Livia Llewellyn’s favorite Lovecraftian short stories

  1. This is another fascinating entry in a great series of articles. For once, I did not care for one of the listed stories, but chacun a son gout, etc.

    I most appreciated the listing of The LiveJournal of Zachary Marsh, as I had never heard of it before. The content is completely old hat, some might say pastiche-ish, but the formatting was completely innovative and modern, which made it a delight to read.

    I think The Forest, A Colder War and Pickman’s Other Model are superb examples of the genre.

    Alas, I just do not connect with the fiction of Molly Tanzer. I find it to be a bit precious, particularly the naughtier bits. I have had A Pretty Mouth sitting on my nightstand for months now but am having difficulty getting the gumption to essay it.

    Interestingly, I *just* received Ms. Llewellyn’s collection in the mail and I am looking forward to it, as the next title in my TBR stack.


  2. I have read the first story and I have the second one, but not yet read. I must get the other three. The Forest sounds fantastic! Looking forward to reading it!


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