Monday, 19 October 2015

The Madness of Cthulhu (Book Review)

For all its popularity as the granddaddy of cosmic horror stories, the Lovecraft Mythos proves to be a surprisingly difficult subject for some authors to nail. Requiring a very exact blend of unknowable horror, science fiction, fantasy and inevitable doom, many sadly end up simply using the tropes or trace elements over fully embracing the source material. It’s one thing to have Cthulhu in your book, but it’s another entirely to not just turn him into Godzilla. On this from The Madness of Cthulhu – Volume Two is hit and miss. Some nail what’s required for a tale of this mythos, while others try to play around with the source material to mixed effect.


  1. Unfortunately I feel this review falls a bit flat, in most of it you say what/who works with this material and who doesn't without going into the specifics of why (providing examples, saying it "emulated horror" is pretty vague) and not really providing helpful feedback, meaning the review isn't constructive criticism, which is a shame, because being able to to have two authors stories side-by-side should make it very easy to say where one succeeded and the other failed.

    To put it another way, if I was an aspiring author I would be hard pressed to learn from this review, you haven't explained why an informal manner isn't suited to telling this kind of story, whereas a quote from the book could be used to give the reason for you.

    I do get why you're not going into each of the stories in detail, I'm just saying that the reasons you give as to why some fail are lacking, and there's next to no reasons why the ones that succeed are scary, just that they are. Are they immersive? What kind of style helps with telling this kind of tale?

    All this being said, I didn't write this to be mean, I'm just trying to help.

    1. Yeah, i'll admit that I honestly couldn't go into each one in turn because it's an anthology and i've got between a 350-445 word limit on these reviews. Normally i'll try to write these on a case by case basis, covering each tale in turn and giving as much feedback to the author as the writing. The problem in this case is that, I honestly don't have the space. Even if I skipped all else, didn't bother with a synopsis and just stuck to bare points, it'd be lucky to get 25 words per one. As such, I was just trying to give more of a general impression for potential buyers as best I could, which was admittedly lacking sadly.