Weird Wednesday is a monthly feature about “weird” fiction, which is a combination of science fiction/fantasy and horror, or sometimes pure surrealism.
New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird
Edited by Paula Guran
Source: Ebook from the library (OverDrive)
For this first installment of Weird Wednesday, I chose a book of stories based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft, one of the “fathers” of weird fiction. I’ve read some H.P. Lovecraft, but I don’t like his Cthulhu stories much. I don’t see the universe as inherently frightening and overwhelming.
It took me a long time to get through this book as it was too much of the same thing. A lot of the stories in this were about people stumbling on or discovering the Lovecraftian monsters. My favorites were the ones where the monsters were known to some people but not to others, or the monsters were known to everyone.
My favorite stories were:
“Fair Exchange” by Michael Marshall Smith: A thief in London steals a mysterious artifact from the house of a strange American family.
“A Study in Emerald” by Neil Gaiman: One of my favorite Gaiman stories! In a world taken over by the Elder Gods, a man much like Dr. Watson meets a man much like Sherlock Holmes.
“Bad Sushi” by Cherie Priest: An old Japanese man encounters the monster he fought decades before.
“The Essayist in the Wilderness” by William Browning Spencer: A man decides his life’s work is to write essays about nature. He observes the life cycle of “crawdads,” which are baby Cthulhus.
“The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft” by Nick Mamatas and Tim Pratt: A story where the characters discuss Lovecraft himself.
“Cold Water Survival” by Holly Phillips: An update of sorts to “At the Mountains of Madness.” Explorers in the now melting Arctic find Lovecraftian monsters have adapted to climate change.
“Mongoose” by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette: A science fiction novella about a man who uses a small tame Lovecraftian monster to hunt giant ones in a space station.
So a mixed bag of stories. I might look into the second book, New Cthulhu 2.