The New Lovecraft Circle

H.P. Lovecraft is one of my favorite authors, and his horror has incluenced countless other writers. Many have delved into his mythos of unspeakable, eldritch horrors, and The New Lovecraft Circle, edited by Robert M. Price, collects 25 stories written in the Lovecraftian vein. These stories, largely bringing Lovecraft's New England terror of the 1920s and 1930s into contenporary times, venerate the work and memory of the master.

In his introduction, Robert M. Price ponders whether the critics who claim there is nothing new in Lovecraftian horror are right -- and whether or not that is a bad thing if one enjoys the stories. Certainly there are very familiar elements present here: cursed tomes, ancient and alien entities, mysterious family histories, and italicized final, shocking (!) sentences to end the stories.
Mythos fiction is as much about originality and effect as it is about using the elements begun by Lovecraft, and the authors here bring their originality to this genre. Settings vary from the traditional New England haunts to a beach house in California ("The Horror on the Beach"), a pre-rock show interview ("The Whisperers"), an ancient land ("The Doom of Yakthoob"), an experiment with LSD ("Saucers from Yaddith") and even an English Pub ("I've Come to Talk with You Again.") There are triumphs over evil, a sense of doom and despair, madness and triumph, and two insanely wacky stories: "Lights! Camera! Shub-Niggurath!" mashes together Lovecraftian horror, gung-ho filmmaking and outer space together, while "The Slitherer from the Slime" -- "written" by H.P. Lowcraft and "found" by Lin Carter and Dave Foley" -- will tickle the funnybone of anyone the slightest bit familiar with the actual Lovecraft's work.

The New Lovecraft Circle is a testament to the mythos begun by Lovecraft -- and the freshness and originality than new writers can bring to continue the mythos. These stories are well written, often chilling or scary, and a worthy addition to the library of any horror fan.

Overall Grade: A-

Reviewed by James Lynch

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