Cthulhu 2000 Paperback – May 25 1999
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Editor Jim Turner has compiled a real page turner in Cthulhu 2000. His anthology of short stories based on the works of horrorist H.P. Lovecraft is a dark gem, and of superior stuff. Although they all have the coppery tang of the eldritch, the tales aren't strictly in the horror mien. Some of them are an alloy of horror with a sci-fi, humor, detective, vampire or even romance slant.
The very best are truly horrible, in the most complimentary sense of that word. "His Mouth Will Taste of Wormwood" (Poppy Z. Brite), "The Adder" (Fred Chappell), "Fat Face" (Michael Shea), "The Unthinkable" (Bruce Sterling), "Love's Eldritch Ichor" (Esther M. Friesner) and "On the Slab" (Harlan Ellison) are the keen standouts, but all the rest, practically, are of almost equal quality. However, there are a couple of tales that do not deserve to be amongst this company, and the tome would have been better and tighter by their absence. Certainly, at 398 pages, there's no lack of material.
In "His Mouth Will Taste of Wormwood," Poppy Z. Brite deftly invokes a vampric flavor to themes of decay and the forbidden, his writing style as ornate and refined as rococo and in the real spirit of the master. Fred Chappell's "The Adder" draws the dangerous and inimical from the ordinary in a tale delightful for its originality. Bruce Sterling also slings some fresh ideas around in "The Unthinkable," melding modernity and necromancy in a brief, effective story.
Horror gourmands will find a good meal here, but Cthulhu 2000 should have a bit of life outside its traditional genre, for the writing is strong, imaginative and entertaining. --Tamara Hladik
From Kirkus Reviews
Anthology of reprints by 18 modern masters of the bizarre to honor horror mandarin Lovecraft's weird-aliens Cthulhu mythos, long mined by HPL followers for gold scatterings. Cosmic fantasist HPL regarded himself, as editor Turner tells us, as an ``indifferentist,'' and any fellow human being as ``only another collection of molecules.'' Thus, this total materialist loved moments of horror that transcended the natural order. As an underpinning to wonder, he placed on earth an alien species called the Cthulhu, superintelligent creatures too hideous even to look at. Appropriately, in T.E.D. Klein's ``Black Man with a Horn,'' they really are out of sight and appear only as something like a scuba diver with flippers who looks in through your midnight window, or perhaps as a black man with a horn, John Coltrane, say, while Klein's narrator is an elderly horror writer on the downslope, nowadays mentioned in print only as a follower of his old friend ``Howard'' (HPL). Kim Newman's immensely amusing spoof of Hollywood private eyes, ``The Big Fish,'' is set three months after Pearl Harbor: ``The Bay City cops were rousting enemy aliens . . . . It was inspirational, the forces of democracy rallying round to protect the United States from vicious oriental grocers, fiendishly intent on selling eggplant to a hapless civilian population.'' The Cthulhu horrors come disguised as a naked (but scaly) movie jungle-queen and her squiddish baby. Other outstanding entries: Poppy Z. Brite's ``His Mouth Will Taste of Wormwood,'' set in New Orleans and something of a satire on Anne Rice; F. Paul Wilson's ``The Barrens,'' in which a monster writhes like a bunch of albino snakes; and Roger Zelazny's ``View of M. Fuji,'' a Japanese death odyssey: a dying woman tries to destroy her husband, whose spirit has entered cosmic cyberspace. The Newman story alone is worth the price. The rest is just a seething mass of obscene gravy. Gobble it up. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Some of the writers have nearly captured the spirit of Lovecraft. Others have blended Lovecraft's ideas with their own writing styles, and it was these tales that I enjoyed the most.
"The Barrens" and "The Big Fish" are probably the best tales in the whole book. Both stories have a modern a H.P.L./Charles Fort feel. "The Barrens" ties together the legend of the Jersey Devil with Lovecraft's ideas to create a story that makes you wonder as well as shiver. "The Big Fish" plays on Lovecraft's taste for mystery, and features those old sea devils, the Deep Ones. "His Mouth Will Taste of Wormwood" is well-written in terms of style, but it is grotesque (two perverse grave-robbers enjoy themselves by sticking femors where the sun don't shine) in a totally non-Lovecraft way by going for cheep, eccentric attempts to catch the reader's attention. "Fat Face" and "Faces in the Pine Dunes" bring back many of Lovecraft's creature characters and Cthulhu mythos with reasonable success.
All in all, this book is worth it if you are a serious follower of Lovecraft's writings and stories, and you want some fresh tales about Cthulhu, the Deep Ones, or the demonic Shoggoths. Just don't expect CALL OF CTHULHU quality here. Remember, it's not Lovecraft writing these stories, and it shows.
Why did I only give it three stars? The editor is willing to do this book a disservice, by giving it a cover that tries way to hard and assumes we're gullible and stupid. Why should I reward that type of behavior?
Lets look at the cover, what do we see? Well, the first thing your eye is drawn to is the large, bright white text that says "H.P. LOVECRAFT", a quarter inch taller then the more subdued green title, drowning out the fine print like "A spine tingling collection of the macabre inspired by".
Some of the stories in this book are about as "inspired by" as the Evil Dead trilogy. The only thing in them that is inspired by the Cthulhu Mythos was the name for the evil book that people are foolish enough to read out loud from. (In fact, from what I've read, Sam Raimi hardly knows/remembers who Lovecraft is or what he wrote...If Sam remembers that HPL wrote anything at all.) Does that make them bad movies? No! Does the fact that the connection is tenuous at best mean that if you like old school mythos you won't like these movies? Heck no!
This is a collection, each of the 18 stories is by a different writer, do not expect consistency in the level of Lovecraftianess. (If it wasn't a word before, it is now.)
Some of them make a valiant effort to write in the style and voice of the original Mythos writers. ("The Last Feast of Harlequin" and "I had vacantly crumpled it into my pocket...")
Some try to bring the old school into the present day.Read more ›
First of all, this is not Cthulhu. It lacks the rich Lovecraftian vocabulary (the only few words the authors picked up from Lovecraft's writing seem to be "eldritch" and "foetor") that allowed the original Cthulhu books to become such dark, sophisticated masterpieces. Second of all, few of the stories in this volume actually tie in with the Cthulhu mythos. Yes, there is plenty of voodoo, witchcraft, and forbidden magics, but it rarely goes beyond that to tap into the mysteries of the Elder Gods and the Ones Who Fell from the Stars. And that is quite sad, because the topics that these authors do use have long since become hackneyed and cliche. Thirdly, and most important of all, the stories in Cthulhu 2000 all diverge from Lovecraftian ideology to become standard blood/ichor/sex-filled stuff of modern "horror". Whereas Lovecraft above all desired to let humankind take notice that there are secrets innumerable and forces unfathomable beyond the stars, Cthulhu 2000 is simple horror, easily classifiable and as easily forgotten.
I have not yet read all of the stories in this collection, but standouts thus far are "His Mouth Will Taste of Wormwood," "Fat Face," "Black Man with a Horn," and "The Barrens." The latter tale has the nice feature of adding the New Jersey pine barrens and the Jersey Devil to the Cthulhu Mythos! This is a welcome bit of local color for Philadelphians like me, who have driven through the pine barrens year after year on the way to the South Jersey shore points. Now you don't have to go to New England to be in Cthulhu country! "Fat Face" has a ~very~ frightening look at what the ~shoggoths~ have been up to lately.
The book includes some stories I'd read before in other collections, like "Black Man With a Horn," and "Shaft Number 247," but since they are excellent tales it is nice to have them all together.
This book would make excellent beach reading for the Jersey shore... but you may not want to drive through the pine barrens on your way back.
Most recent customer reviews
this collection contains some stories that are almost good (wolfe, copper, wilson, campbell) but in the end are not good enough. i like good pulp. it's not here. Read morePublished on April 8 2003 by jan erik storebø
The stories in this book were in general rather dissappointing. There were a few good ones, but for the majority of stories were average at best. Read morePublished on April 5 2003 by Mark Peake
To my intense surprise and delight, Cthulhu 2000 proved to be a pretty good collection of highly diverse tales, a fair number of them good-humored send-ups that I was almost... Read morePublished on Aug. 11 2002 by Bruce Rux
first of all, this is NOT HP Lovecraft material. its more the conventional [stuff] that passes for horror today, each story a thoroughly forgettable stain on the genre. Read morePublished on March 29 2002 by J from NY
This is a solid collection for Lovecraft fans. Although there are some real terrors in this book, many of the stories are written with tongue firmly placed in cheek, which is... Read morePublished on July 3 2001 by Amazon Customer
Cthulhu 2000 is an excellent compilation of stories related to the works of H.P. Lovecraft. My Favorite is the "Barrens" by F.Paul Wilson. Read morePublished on March 26 2001 by Rafik
If you are going to buy this book because you think the stories even come close to Lovercraft, do not buy this book! Read morePublished on Aug. 26 2000 by Aaron Plath
As a collection of supernatural horror stories Cthulhu 2000 succeeds quite well. But the "Cthulhu" in the title is something of a mistake. Read morePublished on May 20 2000 by Alex
Almost all the stories in CTHULHU 2000 are widely available in other publications, but to have them put in one package is very convenient and makes for a strong overall collection. Read morePublished on March 23 2000 by Mark Rainey
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