Lovecraft's Legacy is an anthology in trade paperback from Tor, edited by Robert Weinberg and Martin Greenberg. Original publication was 1990 hardcover, and the Tor paperback that I have was from 1996. I believe these gentlemen also edited Miskatonic University, of which I have a copy that I haven't read yet. LL costs $18.95 from Amazon, with free shipping in the US if you buy more than $25 worth of stuff, no discounts. The cover art is OK, nothing special, showing an ancient tome, a polyhedron and a specimen jar with something noisome in it. In the background is an alien landscape, and a photo of Lovecrat is on the back cover. My copy is showing some faint yellowing at the edges. Page count is 334. I believe all stories were new to this anthology when it first came out in 1990.
An Open Letter to HP Lovecraft (introduction) by Robert Bloch
A Secret of the Heart by Mort Castle
The Other Man by Ray Garton
Will by Graham Masterton
Big "C" by Brian Lumley
Ugly by Gary Brandner
The Blade and the Claw by Hugh B. Cave
Soul Keeper by Joseph Citro
The Papers of Helmut Hecker by Chet Williamson
Meryphillia by Brian McNaughton
Lord of the Land by Gene Wolfe
HPL by Gahan Wilson
The Order of Things Unknown by Ed Gorman
The Barrens by F. Paul Wilson
I'm not sure why I never ordered it years ago. There are some tepid reviews by customers on Amazon; that might have done it. It sure would have been a stunner in 1990, with all the new stories. Now I know I have a lot of them, including my favorites, in other anthologies. I think The Barrens and HPL were both in Cthulhu 2000, and Meryphillia was in McNaughton's The Throne of Bones, being a story that is one of a series
llinked together to form the title novella. It is rather pricey
particularly if you already own Cthulu 2000, hence the 3 star rating.
The premise was that these stories were written, not necessarily to make a mythos collection, but for each author to show some way that Lovecraft influenced or affected him. Robert Bloch's opening introduction is an affectionate description of Lovecraft's place in American horror. At the end of each story an author's note describes how they were affected by Lovecraft. As a consequence of this premise the stories are a kind of mixed bag of subgenres, some mythosian if not overtly invoking Cthulhu et al, some touching on themes central to Lovecraft of looking beyond the veil of reality (like the anthology Horrors Beyond), some not particularly having anything to do with Lovecraft.
By and large I enjoyed them all.
Minor spoilers may follow.
A Secret of the Heart by Mort Castle - A man achieves immortality by bargaining with outre powers. He relates the biography of his younger days and how he managed to live so long. The theme of contacting other entities to achieve power or somesuch is very HPLish, but of course not original to or confined to HPL's worlds. Decent enough read.
The Other Man by Ray Garton - A man suspects his wife is leaving her body at night for the astral plane to meet another man's soul. He follows and discovers a terrible being living in this astral world that devours souls. The love triangle stuff is not really something seen in HPL, but the creature lying in wait in the extrasensory plane, while not a named entity, is very like a mythos being. Again a decent read.
Will by Graham Masterton - ....OK if you read this it will spoil the story!!!
Did you ever wonder where Will Shakespeare get his powers of
inspiration? Well he also used a contact with the Great Old Ones, Yog Sothoth to make a Faustian bargain. The residual of his contact with Yog Sothoth may still be found crawling in the muck in the ruins of the old Globe Theater, waiting to ensnare pesky archeologists. Yet another decent read. Haven't been blown away by any of these stories yet!
Big "C" by Brian Lumley - The Big C refers to cancer, that develops in an astronaut and sort of takes on a life of its own after exposure to alien influences, grows huge and, um, malignant, and sets up housekeeping on earth. Reminded me a lot of the working premise behind Cody Goodfellow's Radiant Dawn, although predating it by a decade. Very Lovecraftian in sensibility altthough not involving conventional mythos entities. This was a great and creepy story I had never seen before.
Ugly by Gary Brandner - So so, about a man who's wife is cheating on him and is a hellion, so he devotes himself to a little lizard in a lump of plastic he finds as a curio at a swapmeet. Results are predictable. This I found to be pedestrian and not Lovecraftian at all.
The Blade and the Claw by Hugh B. Cave - A nicely creepy voodoo novel of possession, although not very HPLish. I thought it was an engaging read however.
Soul Keeper by Joseph Citro - More like Misery, or even Psycho, than like anything by HPL. A not so nice man is injured in a car wreck and is held prisoner by some nutcase. Decent read but not much to do with HPL.
The Papers of Helmut Hecker by Chet Williamson - This was a tribute story, sort of like HPL below. So Lovecraft is still alive in the soul of a cat and another author acquires the cat and starts staying up at night, eating ice cream, using too many polysyllabic words etc. OK concept, fair execution. I generally dislike stories where HPL is a character
Meryphillia by Brian McNaughton - Not Lovecraftian at all but VERY enjoyable. I highly recommend everyone get a copy of McNaughton's Throne of Bones and read this story in its proper sequence with the rest of his ghoul stories.
Lord of the Land by Gene Wolfe - Kind of HPLish as a man investigates the truth behind ancient legends in the old west. Kind of like The Thing with an alien entity stuck here on earth for just needs somewhere to live (some host to live inside). Well written as you might imagine.
HPL by Gahan Wilson - Well known to mythos fans, HPL still lives in this tribute by the incomparable artist/cartoonist Gahan Wilson. And he does!...in Wilson's imagination and memories as spelled out in the very nice author's note. And I just contradicted myslef about disliking stories where HPL is a character!
The Order of Things Unknown by Ed Gorman - only Lovecraftian in the sense that possession stories are one device HPL liked to use. An ancient entity uses people to murder each other for sacrifices or somesuch. Well written and enjoyable.
The Barrens by F. Paul Wilson - To my mind, the best story in the book, very Lovecraftian in sensibility, vividly written. In a remote forest in New Jersey an ex student from Miskatonic University strives to look beyond our perceptions of reality.
So that about does it! Expensive but decent page count, with stories that mostly had at least faint echoes of things Lovecraftian and were mostly decent reads. Some real stunners, and the one klunker wasn't even that bad. I guess if you already have Cthulhu 2000 and a Lumley collection with The Big "C", then you don't miss the most mythosish stories by passing this by. In that case you also need to get The
Throne of Bones by McNaughton. But I also think anyone who gets this anthology will be able to idle away some pleasant hours reading. Maybe not a ringing endorsement but I don't regret spending the money...I guess that's sort of a backhanded compliment too....your call!