Let­ters To Love­craft

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Books -

Es­say- in­spired an­thol­ogy

Re­lease Date: OUT NOW!

280 pages | Pa­per­back Edi­tor: Jesse Bulling­ton Pub­lisher: Stone Skin Press

If your skin crawls at

HP Love­craft pas­tiche or sub- par mythos shenani­gans, don’t be put off read­ing this. The premise is in­tel­li­gent: to en­gage with the au­thor through his 1927 es­say “Su­per­nat­u­ral Hor­ror In Lit­er­a­ture”. Eigh­teen au­thors each picked a quote, then wrote a story in­spired by it. The re­sults are vari­able, but although non- Eu­clidean ge­ome­tries and Deep Ones raise their fish- eyed heads, re­fresh­ingly the ma­jor­ity of the sto­ries are non- mythos, and all are fic­tion of the bet­ter sort.

Chesya Burke’s “The Hor­ror At Cas­tle Of The Cum­ber­nauld” is the most af­fect­ing. This tale of gross injustice shocks with its real- world hor­ror, and is also gen­uinely “weird”. In fact, Burke’s story is so ef­fec­tive it high­lights the prob­lem with mod­ern hor­ror: few of th­ese sto­ries are hor­ri­fy­ing, fright­en­ing, or even that weird. Love­craft’s fic­tion is chill­ing be­cause it came from the real ( if repug­nantly er­ro­neous) ter­ror he felt for the Other. Burke’s story works be­cause it too is pow­ered by strong emo­tion: she is an AfricanAmer­i­can writer di­rectly en­gag­ing with the ter­ri­ble en­gine of Love­craft’s cre­ativ­ity.

Life in the 21st cen­tury is too lack­ing in pain, mad­ness and fear to in­spire ter­ri­fy­ing lit­er­a­ture. Many of us have spare pen­nies to spend on Cthulhu plushies. Let­ters To Love­craft re­flects that. Guy Ha­ley Out 28 Fe­bru­ary: Weirder Shad­ows Over Inns­mouth, a third col­lec­tion in­spired by Love­craft’s “The Shadow Over Inns­mouth”.

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