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edited by Robert M. Price

Tales of the Lovecraft Mythos

Comments:


Tales of the Lovecraft Mythos was a very good book of Lovecraftian short stories. It is Robert Price’s attempt to collect more stories in the same vein as the earlier Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos. It weighs in at 370 pages, and includes such well-known writers of pulp fiction as Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert Bloch, August Derleth, and Fritz Leiber, among others. While maybe not quite as good as Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos, it was nevertheless an enjoying read. Some of these authors had Lovecraft’s style down pat, particularly Donald A. Wollheim. Other than Lovecraft’s four Arkham House books and Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos, I’d recommend this book in the category (along with several others) of most important to have.


"The Thing on the Roof"
By Robert E. Howard
Rating: 9/10
Quote: "Well, sir. You'll say I'm a bit off, I fear, but to tell you the truth, sir, it sounded like a horse stamping around on the roof!"

Comments: This one definitely has the feel of Lovecraft down pat. I liked it a lot in spite of its relatively short length.


"The Fire of Asshurbanipal"
By Robert E. Howard
Rating: 7/10
Quote: "But you know, Ali. I'll admit--it is kind of strange that an adder should happen to be sleepin' in that skull just at that particular time."

Comments: This one isn't really horror, although it does have possible supernatural elements. It was an interesting little tale although not totally what I expected.


"The Seven Geases"
By Clark Ashton Smith
Rating: 7/10
Quote: "May the ordure of demons bemire you from heel to crown!"

Comments: Ralibar Vooz runs into a sorcerer, and his vanity leads to his doom.


"Fane of the Black Pharaoh"
By Robert Bloch
Rating: 8/10
Quote: "It was all familiar."

Comments: I liked the story and its description of The Black Pharaoh, but the ending is really, really telegraphed. Too bad Cartaret didn't see it coming due to the seal of Nephren-Ka...


"The Invaders"
By Henry Kuttner
Rating: 6/10
Quote: "Driven back. As they were once before--back to their own dimension, and the gateway locked."

Comments: Sometimes when presented with the opportunity to do something wondrous, you go too far. And the price you pay is not worth the experience.


"Bells of Horror"
By Henry Kuttner
Rating: 7/10
Quote: "He cometh sometimes within the eclipse."

Comments: Beware the eclipse...and watch your eyes! Zuchequan makes an appearance here.


"The Thing That Walked on the Wind"
By August Derleth
Rating: 7/10
Quote: "Always I have felt strange, horrible, yet invisible eyes looking down at me from above."

Comments: The first Wind-Walker story transforming Blackwood's 'Wendigo' into Ithaqua of the new 'Cthulhu Mythos'.


"Ithaqua"
By August Derleth
Rating: 6/10
Quote: "But, as the world now knows, John Dalhousie did not carry out his plan."

Comments: Another tale of Blackwood's "Wendigo" converted to Derleth's Cthulhu Mythos.


"The Lair of the Star-Spawn"
By August Derleth & Mark Schorer
Rating: 5/10
Quote: "The Ancient Ones themselves have come!"

Comments: This one adds to Derleth’s idea of good forces versus evil forces, not exactly what Lovecraft had in mind. It also contains the Tcho-Tcho people (apparently their first appearance ever), vicious little pygmies who were the creation of evil beings such as Lloigor and Zhar.


"The Lord of Illusion"
By E. Hoffmann Price
Rating: 7/10
Quote: "Then there is change! The angle of cutting changes!"

Comments: I’ve not yet read “The Statement of Randolph Carter, so this one doesn’t make as much sense as it will in the future. Still, I thought it was a pretty good tale.


"The Warder of Knowledge"
By Richard F. Searight
Rating: 6/10
Quote: "Like a dream within a dream he opened his eyes on a vast panorama of cosmic grandeur unfolding with measured sweep before him."

Comments: Gordon Whitney desires omniscience from early childhood on, and is willing to stop at nothing to achieve it. The cost is high, but he fulfills his dream.


“The Scourge of B’Moth”
By Bertram Russell
Rating: 6/10
Quote: “Come…B’Moth…Master, come!”

Comments: The primordial jungle is gathering its forces and waiting for an opportunity to strike. How can mankind possibly stop the attempt?


“The House of the Worm”
By Mearle Prout
Rating: 7/10
Quote: “Dead! Impossible! Why is it dead?”

Comments: This story reminded me a lot of Lovecraft’s “The Colour Out of Space”. Only this time, two ordinary guys take matters into their own hands.


“Spawn of the Green Abyss”
By C. Hall Thompson
Rating: 8/10
Quote: “Think of the child. I am the daughter of Zoth Syra.”

Comments: I really enjoyed this tale of a former sailor turned consort of the sea.


“The Guardian of the Book”
By Henry Hasse
Rating: 7/10
Quote: “Now! Act now, act, act!”

Comments: Hmm. A story about a book that makes the Necronomicon and all the rest seem like children’s bedtime stories? I liked it!


“The Abyss”
By Robert W. Lowndes
Rating: 7/10
Quote: “But more dreadful than these are the seekers which they send out into other worlds and dimensions…”

Comments: Sometimes hypnotism is more than mere hypnotism. It’s best not to challenge near-perfect beings when they say hypnotism is possible.


“Music of the Stars”
By Duane W. Rimel
Rating: 6/10
Quote: “I think I’ve found what I am after—the rhythm of space, the music of the stars and the universe that may be very near or very far.”

Comments: There are several obvious influences from Lovecraft’s short stories, including the mention of Erich Zann. This was an interesting little story about the summoning powers of music.


“The Aquarium”
By Carl Jacobi
Rating: 6/10
Quote: “Yes. A low throbbing as if…well, as if a large hollow shell were placed against the ear and held there….”

Comments: This was a decent tale about the house a conchologist left after he died, and the strange effect it has on the women who bought it a year after he had died.


“The Horror out of Lovecraft”
By Donald A. Wollheim
Rating: 6/10
Quote: “Kichulu—does he mean Cthulhu?”

Comments: This one was definitely a pastiche, even more so than others in the book, right down to the italics at the end. Still, I thought it was a pretty good story, though the ending made me laugh instead of producing chills.


“To Arkham and the Stars”
By Fritz Leiber
Rating: 8/10
Quote: “Sit down, sit down, youngster! I don’t blame you for your hesitation. We call this Emeritus Alcove.”

Comments: I liked this tribute to Lovecraft’s stories. Leiber has a young Professor at Miskatonic University sit in among many senior Professors describing things which have happened to them. These men all appear in Lovecraft’s stories, so it was fun picking out everyone and which story they “belonged” to.


370 pp.

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