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8 Lovecraftian Fiction Recommendations

HP Lovecraft is one of the seminal masters of fiction and created works that blended science fiction, fantasy, and horror together into one fantastic blend of the weird. However, his creations are not the end of his legacy and there is now a hundred years of authors influenced by his writings. As the author of works like Cthulhu Armageddon as well as editor of anthologies like Tales of the Al-Azif and Tales of Yog-Sothoth, there are many wonderful books carrying either his monsters or themes. Here’s eight of the books that I really have enjoyed and hope you will check out.

8. The Trials of Obed Marsh by Matt Davenport

Blurb: The Exciting Prequel to Lovecraft’s Shadow Over Innsmouth! Innsmouth was a corrupted and fallen town, consumed by its greed and controlled by the Esoteric Order of Dagon. In 1928, the Federal Government destroyed Innsmouth and the nearby Devil Reef based on claims made by a man who had visited the town.

Four years after the mysterious disappearance of Robert Olmstead, the man who sent the FBI to Innsmouth, his closest friend has discovered new evidence into the reality of what Innsmouth truly was: He has found the Journal of Captain Obed Marsh.

The journal paints an intense scene of a vibrant town and how it takes only one man’s good intentions to pave the way to Hell itself. Or in this case…to Y’ha-nthlei. What can test a man so intensely as to break him from his righteous path? Only the journal can shed light on that. These are the Trials of Obed Marsh.

Review: Obed Marsh remains one of HPL’s more fascinating characters despite the fact he never appears on screen. A sea captain, he sold the entirety of his community’s souls and future to the Deep Ones in exchange for gold as well as fish. However, in any time there is economic despair, it becomes understandable when you might be willing to make a deal with the (Sea) Devil. Matthew Davenport is also the author of the Pulpy fun Andrew Doran novels but this remains my favorite of works.

7. Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff

Blurb: Now an HBO® Series from J.J. Abrams (Executive Producer of Westworld), Misha Green (Creator of Underground) and Jordan Peele (Director of Get Out). The critically acclaimed cult novelist makes visceral the terrors of life in Jim Crow America and its lingering effects in this brilliant and wondrous work of the imagination that melds historical fiction, pulp noir, and Lovecraftian horror and fantasy.

Chicago, 1954. When his father Montrose goes missing, 22-year-old Army veteran Atticus Turner embarks on a road trip to New England to find him, accompanied by his Uncle George—publisher of The Safe Negro Travel Guide—and his childhood friend Letitia. On their journey to the manor of Mr. Braithwhite—heir to the estate that owned one of Atticus’s ancestors—they encounter both mundane terrors of white America and malevolent spirits that seem straight out of the weird tales George devours.

At the manor, Atticus discovers his father in chains, held prisoner by a secret cabal named the Order of the Ancient Dawn—led by Samuel Braithwhite and his son Caleb—which has gathered to orchestrate a ritual that shockingly centers on Atticus. And his one hope of salvation may be the seed of his—and the whole Turner clan’s—destruction. A chimerical blend of magic, power, hope, and freedom that stretches across time, touching diverse members of two black families, Lovecraft Country is a devastating kaleidoscopic portrait of racism—the terrifying specter that continues to haunt us today.

Review: Probably the most famous book on this, Lovecraft Country has already been adapted into a series by HBO that (sadly) only lasted one season. The story of a family of motorist guide writers who find themselves invited to a millionaire occultist’s home only to become involved in a series of fascinating encounters with the supernaturals. The book is, in my opinion,better than the series as well as significantly lighter. Which is impressive given how dark the book can be at times.

6. The Call of Distant Shores by David Niall Wilson

Blurb: Thirteen tales of Elder Gods, Darkness, horror and Lovecraftian madness by Bram Stoker Award Winning author David Niall Wilson. From crazed sculpting tenants, to giant wooden cockroaches, to Tarot cards and a creepy old barber shop, these stories lead through doorways and down corridors that are not of this world. Published for the first time in this volume is the story Anomaly.

Review: David Niall Wilson is the former Horror Writer Association (HWA)’s chief, a multiple Stoker Award winner, and a guy who gave me my big break so I’m horribly biased in this recommendation. However, this collection of HPL-inspired fiction really appealed to me. It’s an assemblage of eldritch stories and weirdness from multiple other publications over the years and I really enjoyed it. My favorite story being “Cockroach Suckers” that is what happens when redneck hustlers find magical power than your typical New England atheist scholar. I recommend the audiobook version of this over the book because the performance by Eric Dove is excellent.

5. Awoken by Serra Elisen (Pen Name)

Blurb: In his house at R’lyeh, great Cthulhu lies dreaming… of her.

What would you do if you discovered you were the only one in the world with the hidden power to keep it from being utterly annihilated?

What if you had no idea what that power might even be?

Andromeda Slate, the self-proclaimed most ordinary girl in America, can’t figure out why the gorgeous but mysterious new boy at high school seems to hate her so much. It couldn’t have anything to do with the strange dream she had the night before he first showed up in class, could it? The dream where the very same boy rescued her from a giant, green, tentacled sea monster?

And it couldn’t have anything to do with that time she read aloud from that ancient tome of eldritch magic, the Necronomicon… could it?

Andi Slate never imagined she’d find herself in a situation where somehow she was the key to saving the world.

Her life is about to get a whole lot less ordinary.

Review: Making fun of Twilight is low-hanging fruit and a craze that has long since died down anyway. However, this book was written with Elisa Hansen (Vampire Reviews), Lindsay Ellis (The Nostalgia Chick), and Antonella Insera (Nella) from the former Channel Awesome crowd as a the kind of parody that I am greatly fond of. Specifically, the kind that is both a good example of the fiction its parodying as well as a send-up. Young Adult romance fiction, now with eldritch abominations! Basically, the story is of a young teenage girl Andromeda Slate (which is a parody on the fact Andromeda was meant to be sacrificed to a sea monster), is in love with the teenage boy avatar of Cthulhu. He starts killing the people who annoy her and driving insane others, which only makes the attraction stronger. But is she worth not destroying the world?

4. Summoned by Anne M. Pillsworth

Blurb: While browsing in a rare book store in Arkham, Sean finds an occult book with an ad seeking an apprentice sorcerer, from a newspaper dated March 21, 1895. Even more intriguing, the ad specifically requests applicants reply by email.

Sean’s always been interested in magic, particularly the Lovecraftian dark mythology. Against his best friend Edna’s (“call-me-Eddy-or-else”) advice, he decides to answer the ad, figuring it’s a clever hoax, but hoping that it won’t be. The advertiser, Reverend Redemption Orne, claims to be a master of the occult born more than 300 years ago. To prove his legitimacy, Orne gives Sean instructions to summon a harmless but useful familiar—but Sean’s ceremony takes a dark turn, and he instead accidentally beckons a bloodthirsty servant to the Cthulhu Mythos god Nyarlathotep. The ritual is preemptively broken, and now Sean must find and bind the servitor, before it grows too strong to contain. But strange things are already happening in the town of Arkham….

Welcome to the darker side of New England in the first of a new series from Anne Pillsworth.

Review: The idea of a YA Cthulhu Mythos boy’s adventure is only slightly less ridiculous than a YA romance novel like Awoken. Anna M. Pillsworth combines Harry Potter with the haunted witch country of HPL by having a young boy discover he is a descendant of one of the cursed bloodlines that dwell in haunted New England. His fishy friend and the girl he likes have their own connections to Lovecraft’s mythos. I enjoyed both of the current stories released and hope the author (who reviews Cthulhu Mythos stories on the Tor website) creates more.

3. Cthulhusattva: Tales of the Black Gnosis by Various

Blurb: When all is madness… there is no madness.

Is there wisdom in insanity? Enlightenment in blackest despair? Higher consciousness in the depths of chaos? These are the stories of the men and women who choose to cast off from the shores of our placid island of ignorance and sail the black seas of infinity beyond. Those who would dive into primeval consciousness in search of dark treasures. Thos who would risk the Deadly Light for one reason: it is still light.

Martian Migraine Press presents fifteen diverse tales of enlightenment and horror from some of the best new voices working in Weird Fiction today. Cthulhusattva: Tales of the Black Gnosis features poetry from Bryan Thao Worra, stories by Gord Sellar, Kristi DeMeester, Jayaprakash Satyamurthy, and the groundbreaking Mythos novella from Ruthanna Emrys, The Litany of Earth. With cover art by Alix Branwyn, interior illustrations by Michael Lee Macdonald, and an introduction by editor Scott R Jones (author of When The Stars Are Right: Towards An Authentic R’lyehian Spirituality), Cthulhusattva: Tales of the Black Gnosis will plunge readers into a seriously entertaining contemplation of the mysticism and magic inherent to Lovecraft’s fantastical world of cosmic horror and dread. Take the Cthulhusattva Vow! Enter the Black Gnosis!

Review: Cthulhu is a figure who has since moved from the page to New Age occultism, albeit with the heavy tongue and cheek awareness that most people either use him as a metaphor for the supernatural or are deeply stupid. However, the metaphor of an all-seeing yet uncaring embodiment of extraterrestrial forces may not be a terrible one. Indeed, some people believe Lovecraft actually created the Big C as a stealth parody of Christianity. He is, after all, a dead yet living God that will return to destroy the world. A day for which his followers will rejoice and be transformed into immortal beings who live in his holy city no less. The authors here play with Mythos spirituality and create quite a few fascinating tales. Oh and the cover for this is the bomb.

2. The Fear (Cthulhu Attacks! #1) by Sean Hoade

Blurb: For half a billion years, Cthulhu has lain trapped in R’lyeh, dead but dreaming. But now the stars are right, and the Old One is rising. Instant death for hundreds of millions, insanity for many more. And he hasn’t even gotten out of the water yet.

World governments and a desperate and frightened populace scramble to understand, survive, and ultimately fight back against an enemy so powerful his presence could kill every human on Earth without him even noticing we are here.

Buckle up for apocalyptic suspense as you witness what happens when Cthulhu Attacks!

Review: Cthulhu is always rising, ready to destroy the world, but rarely does he ever get to succeed in doing so. The exception being Into the Mouth of Madness, my own Cthulhu Armageddon series, and Cthulhu Attacks! by Sean Hoade. Cthulhu Attacks! follows a group of people in a The Stand-esque story about watching the end of the world from the front lines. Sadly, Sean Hoade suffered a severe medical impairment that prevented him from continuing the series. Thankfully, fellow Neo-Lovecraftian Byron Craft and he have since managed to get the second book out together. Both of them are solid fans and great writers who deserve all the support they can get.

1. The Shadows over Baker Street by Various

Blurb: The terrifyingly surreal universe of horror master H. P. Lovecraft bleeds into the logical world of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s champion of rational deduction, in these stories by twenty top horror, mystery, fantasy, and science fiction writers.

Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes is among the most famous literary figures of all time. For more than a hundred years, his adventures have stood as imperishable monuments to the ability of human reason to penetrate every mystery, solve every puzzle, and punish every crime.

For nearly as long, the macabre tales of H. P. Lovecraft have haunted readers with their nightmarish glimpses into realms of cosmic chaos and undying evil. But what would happen if Conan Doyle’s peerless detective and his allies were to find themselves faced with mysteries whose solutions lay not only beyond the grasp of logic, but of sanity itself?

In this collection of all-new, all-original tales, twenty of today’s most cutting-edge writers provide their answers to that burning question.

Review: Combining Sherlock Holmes and H.P. Lovecraft’s creations seems like a questionable fit. Sherlock Holmes is the triumph of the rationalist and just against a chaotic disorderly force. Cthulhu is the triumph of the irrational superstition over a rational delusion. Yet, not only did they make a video game about Sherlock Holmes investigating the Mythos but this anthology and a number of other series were created around the Great Detective encountering the Lord of R’lyeh’s minions. “A Study in Emerald” by Neil Gaiman is the standout work here for the reasons that he explains in his introduction.

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