Book description

Book info

eBook formatMass Market Paperback, (torrent)En
PublisherCarroll & Graf Publishers, Inc
File size2.4 Mb
Release date 02.05.1997
Pages count243
Book rating4.42 (136 votes)
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As with the HORROR IN THE MUSEUM anthology, this is a collection of weird tales that Lovecraft worked on, to a greater or lesser degree. Ultimately, with such a collection there’s going to be a variety of the good and the bad, and the tone is going to be broad, but for the most part this works nicely.

Adolphe de Castro’s THE LAST TEST opens the volume, and it’s a slightly muddled outing. A story about an outbreak of the black death works on its own right, and the addition of Cthuloid elements doesn’t really gel. Pulp fans may get a little fun from it, however. Similarly, Zealia Bishop’s MEDUSA’S COIL left me a little cold, mainly because her other work, THE MOUND, is one of my favourite reads of all time. COIL is terribly clichéd (another ‘traveller spends the night in a haunted mansion’ outing) and dated badly in terms of racist attitudes, but it does have an incredible set-piece to recommend it.

Hazel Heald wrote THE HORROR IN THE MUSEUM which is another favourite, but once again, THE MAN OF STONE is a lesser work. There’s a little atmosphere from the obvious narrative, and the return of the old favourite ‘diary extract’ plot device, but not a lot else. Still, her second contribution, OUT OF THE AEONS, makes up for this: AEONS is superb! This is vintage pulp entertainment at its best, full of Lovecraftian references and an engaging story involving a strange mummy in a museum that is somehow still alive.

THE HORROR AT MARTIN’S BEACH by Sonia H. Greene is another strong contender, a well-described nightmare written on the page, full of creepy squid monsters and vivid action. Then there’s C. M. Eddy Jr.’s ASHES, a short, short mad scientist effort, full of the usual, fun ingredients.

Eddy also contributes THE GHOST-EATER, a very good variant on the classic werewolf story, as well as THE LOVED DEAD, his horrifically disturbing, once-banned story about a ghoul living in dank crypts and filthy hovels. But his DEAF, DUMB AND BLIND is annoyingly wishy-washy and pretty boring, despite a neat concept.

Henry S. Whitehead is one of my favourite pulp authors, but THE TRAP isn’t one of his best: the story of a haunted mirror is fairly interesting, but much of the tale is pretty boring. Duane W. Rimel’s THE TREE ON THE HILL is even worse, a too-subtle outing which needs more Lovecraft and less, well, student-style ponderings. Rimel’s THE DISINTERMENT is a little better, a genuinely macabre retelling of the old story about a guy planning to fake his own death, only everything doesn’t go according to plan.

Finally, there’s a double bill from R. H. Barlow. “TILL A’ THE SEAS” is a bleak science fiction tale, heavily written and apocalyptic, but not too distinctive. THE NIGHT OCEAN is loved by some fans, but I didn’t care for the slow-going narration and unresolved tension; I’m no big fan of abstract writing a la Charles L. Grant and this is just that.

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