Monday, 5 December 2016

Book Review - World War Cthulhu by Brian M Sammons and Glynn Owen Barrass

I'm a huge fan of Lovecraft and of the Cthulhu mythos in particular. I've also enjoyed many stories that expand upon the theme. This collection of short stories does that with varying success, with a central theme of war to connect them besides the mythos.

On the plus side there is a good variety of stories here, ranging from ancient times and even a space setting in the far future. As well as varied settings there is a solid array of plots, so each tale did feel distinct from the others.

And some of the stories are simply fantastic, and if it had just been them then it would have been a five star read. Unfortunately, as is sometimes the case with collections, the quality is uneven through the book. In fairness I didn't dislike any of them, and was able to finish all of them, but some just stood out noticeably from the rest.

Two stories that shined for me were The Ithiliad by Christine Morgan, and Sea Nymph’s Son by Robert M. Price. In both cases they blended the strengths of the mythos, but also something fresh to them.

As an ensemble I did find it a bit heavy going. You might appreciate the book better if read by dipping in and out over time, rather than in one go. It's worth a look if you enjoy Lovecraft's work, but if you're a newcomer then there are tastier feasts out there.

The world is at war against things that slink and gibber in the darkness, and titans that stride from world to world, sewing madness and death. War has existed in one form or another since the dawn of human civilization, and before then, Elder terrors battled it out across this planet and this known universe in ways unimaginable.

It has always been a losing battle for our side since time began. Incidents like the Innsmouth raid, chronicled by H.P. Lovecraft, mere blips of victory against an insurmountable foe. Still we fight, against these incredible odds, in an unending nightmare, we fight, and why? For victory, for land, for a political ideal? No, mankind fights for survival.

Our authors, John Shirley, Mark Rainey, Wilum Pugmire, William Meikle, Tim Curran, Jeffrey Thomas and many others have gathered here to share war stories from the eternal struggle against the darkness. This book chronicles these desperate battles from across the ages, including Roman Britain, The American Civil War, World War Two, The Vietnam Conflict, and even into the far future.

Table of Contents

Loyalty by John Shirley
The Game Changers by Stephen Mark Rainey
White Feather by T.E. Grau
To Hold Ye White Husk by W.H. Pugmire
Sea Nymph’s Son by Robert M. Price
The Boonieman by Edward M. Erdelac
The Turtle by Neil Baker
The Bullet and the Flesh by David Conyers & David Kernot
Broadsword by William Meikle
The Ithiliad by Christine Morgan
The Sinking City by Konstantine Paradias
Shape of a Snake by Cody Goodfellow
Mysterious Ways by C.J. Henderson
Magna Mater by Edward Morris
Dark Cell by Brian M. Sammons and Glynn Owen Barrass
Cold War, Yellow Fever by Pete Rawlik
Stragglers from Carrhae by Darrell Schweitzer
The Procyon Project by Tim Curran
Wunderwaffe by Jeffrey Thomas
A Feast of Death by Lee Clark Zumpe
Long Island Weird by Charles Christian
The Yoth Protocols by Josh Reynolds

Click here to buy World War Cthulhu from Amazon

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