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The Children of Cthulhu: Chilling New Tales Inspired by H.P. Lovecraft [Hardcover]

John Pelan
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan. 2 2002
Descend to the depths of primal horror with this chilling collection of original stories drawn from H. P. Lovecraft?s shocking, terrifying, and eerily prescient Cthulhu mythos. In twenty-one dark visions, a host of outstanding contemporary writers tap into our innermost fears, with tales set in a misbegotten new world that could have been spawned only by the master of the macabre himself, H. P. Lovecraft. Inside you?ll find

by China Mi?ville: A curious boy discovers that within the splinters of cracked wood or the tangle of tree branches, the devil is in the details.

VISITATION by James Robert Smith: When Edgar Allan Poe arrives, a callow man finally gets what he always wanted?and what he may eternally despise.

by Yvonne Navarro: A couple in love with terror travels beyond their wildest dreams?and into their nightmares.

by Alan Dean Foster: Internet terrorism extends far beyond transmitting threats of evil.

DARK OF THE MOON by James Dorr: A cosmonaut watches helplessly as her husband walks on the surface of the moon?into inescapable horror.

SPECTACLE OF A MAN by Weston Ochse: Crucifixion becomes a seductive maelstrom of madness with this postmodern twist on an ancient torture.

The true horror of Lovecraft?s extraordinary fiction lies in the unknown. He beguiles us with very real worlds filled with sheer terror, which lie just beyond comprehension. Children of Cthulhu features twenty-one modern masters bring who Lovecraft?s original ideas and stark images roaring into the twenty-first century in all their grisly, godless glory.

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Product Description

From Amazon

While H.P. Lovecraft himself encouraged other authors to expand his horrific universe with stories of their own, the Cthulhu mythos has spawned so many slavish imitators that it tends not to seem so scary these days. Editors John Pelan and Benjamin Adams seek to remedy that with The Children of Cthulhu, an anthology of 21 stories by modern macabre masters. Contributors were asked to avoid trotting out old Lovecraftian clichés and instead to write stories that bring the true horror of Cthulhu right into the modern world. The results are mostly terrific. Offerings from Poppy Z. Brite ("Are You Loathsome Tonight?"), Caitlín R. Kiernan ("Nor the Demons Down Under the Sea"), China Miéville ("Details"), and L.H. Maynard and M.P.N. Sims ("A Victorian Pot Dresser") are the best of the bunch. Many of the stories are reminiscent of the Vertigo line of DC Comics, with dark, urban settings and gross-out violence, so the book is more likely to appeal to readers of contemporary horror than to fans of classic Lovecraft. --Therese Littleton

From Publishers Weekly

If the 23 contributors to this uneven anthology avoid the obvious Cthulhu Mythos clich‚s, none comes close to emulating Lovecraft's trademark cosmic horror. Typical is the two editors' collaborative "That's the Story of My Life." Set in Arkham with "its aged, gambrel-roofed neighborhoods," this brisk tale relies for its effect on a twist out of Damon Knight, not on any Lovecraftian atmosphere. Richard Laymon's "The Cabin in the Woods," a tribute to H.P.L.'s "The Whisperer in Darkness," shares a rural Vermont setting, but its action-oriented, dialogue-laden plot is the antithesis of the master's. "A Victorian Pot Dresser," by L.H. Maynard and M.P.N. Sims, in which an old piece of furniture hungers for sacrificial virgins, seems to be inspired by Lovecraft at his more ludicrous. The better stories deal with the Lovecraftian theme of outsideness, in particular Poppy Z. Brite's grotesque portrait of Elvis Presley's last days, "Are You Loathsome Tonight?" (the book's one reprint). Steve Rasnic Tem's homage to "The Shadow Over Innsmouth," "Outside," with its aquatic horror and decayed seaport, nicely evokes some of the brooding menace of Lovecraft's classic tale. And Caitl¡n R. Kiernan, in her stylish "Nor the Demons Down Under the Sea," does a turn on the lure of oceanic terrors with a bow to Lewis Carroll. To be preferred to most Lovecraft imitations, these 21 tales will likely please mainstream horror fans more than H.P.L. purists. Agent, Jennifer Jackson at Donald Maass Literary Agency. (Jan. 2)Forecast: Like the amphibious Deep Ones who threaten to expand beyond Innsmouth, Lovecraft-inspired fiction is starting to invade the genre mainstream. If this and similar anthologies take a beating in the larger marketplace, expect a hasty retreat into the shadowy recesses of the small press realm.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Mostly not really Lovecraftian, but decent enough. March 18 2004
Most of the stories in this anthology adopt the trappings of Lovecraft's tales, but none of the style. The most loyal of the bunch is China Mieville's entry. The remainder of the tales drop names or refer to classic tales to remind the reader of the nature of the anthology. A few of the tales, such as "A Victorian Pot Dresser," begin well, but soon decend into stadard horror cliches, with tight little endings that follow standard movie logic. What's missing, what's forgotten, is that most of the dread that Lovecraft evoked in his stories came not from the events in themselves, but from the greater implications of those events -- the knowledge that humanity is supremely insignificant is the wider world and, despite the realization of this horror, we can never understand why, the very nature of reality being invisible to our inferior biology and intellect. Most of these stories skip such implications and head straight for the gruesome monsters and the spattering blood with a near-complete lack of subtlety.
Best to skip this one and stick with older material, if not Lovecraft himself. Most of the anthologies published by Chaosium are far superior.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superior Mythos Anthology March 2 2002
This new anthology is one of the best of recent Cthulhu Mythos literature, 21 exceptional stories that are fresh, imaginative and most of them quite witty. These are not run of the mill pastiches. The writers attempt to provide a different approach to the material, and for the most part are quite successful. Among the best ones are: "The Cabin in the Woods" by Richard Laymon, "Sour Places" by Mark Chadbourn, "The Firebrand Symphony" by Brian Hodge, "Princpals and Parameters" by Meredith L. Patterson and (if you like a good "joke" story) "Are you Loathsome Tonight?" by Poppy Z. Brite. The last one is an Elvis Presley Mythos tale. The recent, exceptionasl new book "The Complete H. P. Lovecraft Filmography" has a chapter on mythos tales that could be successfully adapted to the screen. Well some of the tales in this new anthology could also apply to this category as well. "Children of Cthulhu" clearly shows that the Cthulhu Mythos is not moribund, but is continuing to grow in new directions. Recommended!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fans will love this Jan. 2 2002
THE CHILDREN OF CTHULHU is an engaging horror anthology written by many of the more popular genre authors of the last decade. The twenty-three contributors provide entertaining tales that would not turn HP Lovecraft over in his grave as many Cthulu "experts" do. However, though the stories engage the audience and are fun to read, they don't feel like a visit to that weird Lovecraft mythverse. As an aside to the editors: "if it ain't broke", cost it anyway because you still may find a bigger payback. This short story collection provides a big payback to horror fans, but Lovecraft fanatics will feel another let down as the original remains undisputedly the best even after seven decades of "fixing it".

Harriet Klausner
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lovecraft's themes, not his prose style Feb. 17 2002
The authors of this collection do an excellent job of using Lovecraft's themes (alienation, atavism, family secrets, the true horrific nature of the cosmos) and his influences (Dunsany, Machen, Poe) while for the most part avoiding cliched devices and plots.
While there are stories set in Arkham or involving Shub-Niggurath (to cite two examples), the stories are interesting in their own right, rather than being excuses to add new lore. Horror is a constant element, with some stories sliding over into science-fiction or fantasy, and there's variation in how the narrative is structured, in the voice of the narrator and the prose styling.
This is going to be the anthology to beat in the field of Mythos fiction.
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5.0 out of 5 stars he may be dead but his "brain children" live June 28 2002
Lovecraft may be dead for sometime now but he manages to live on through other authors who have taken his work to a whole other level. I had purchased this book as I had others just knowing that I would enjoy it. I certainly did and the stories relate in one way or another to Lovecrafts works. Sometimes you have to know what Lovecraft wrote about,others you do not so it can be for a Lovecraft fan or a horror fan. There are a few that have nothing to do with Lovecrafts work but I wont hold it against them. Ultamitly it is up to you to decide if you really like or dislike the scary, strange world that Lovecraft has opened up for us all to see.
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