Intimations of Unreality: Weird Fiction and Poetry

Alan Gullette, Author, Denis Tiani, Illustrator
Alan Gullette. Hippocampus (www.hippocampuspress.com), $20 trade paper (386p) ISBN 978-1-61498-040-7
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Of the Lovecraftian pastiches that dominate this collection, editor Robert Price states in his introduction that if they seem "largely familiar," that's only because readers like it that way. That judgment is certainly open to question, as horror fans whose palates have developed beyond mere imitation will likely be disappointed by rehashes of the original Cthulhu Mythos tales that rarely offer new ideas, vibrant prose, or, most fatally, genuine chills. The absence of these essential ingredients is not made up for by a surplus of exclamation points ("I saw—or thought I saw—the black, feathery claws of the Minions of Hastur… reach down and clutch poor Cartley!"). In-joke references to other horror writers, such as to Lovecraft biographer S.T. Joshi, will leave newcomers unenlightened and may strike devotees as self-indulgent. Price is right that the stories resemble August Derleth's pastiches, but on the evidence, Gullette lacks the writing chops to stand out in a crowded field. (Oct.)
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