cover image The Unorthodox Dr. Draper and Other Stories

The Unorthodox Dr. Draper and Other Stories

William Browning Spencer. Subterranean, $40 (288p) ISBN 978-1-59606-831-5

Lovecraft aficionado Spencer collects nine reprints and a poem that will appeal to those who like their horror with a literary flair. Among the highlights is “Come Lurk with Me and Be My Love,” about a man who falls in love with a beautiful, dangerous woman named Flower. An alcoholic father unwittingly strikes a bargain with a mysterious man who may not be human in the chilling “Penguins of the Apocalypse.” In the title tale, an unscrupulous therapist’s new patient takes dissociative identity disorder to new and terrifying levels. In “The Tenth Muse,” author Marshal Harrison is offered the opportunity to interview literary genius Morton Sky, who was also Harrison’s neighbor as a child until Harrison’s house burned down. Unfortunately, Sky will do anything to write another book, and he has more in store for Harrison than just an interview. “How the Gods Bargain” and “The Love Song of A. Alhazred Azathoth” get back to the author’s Lovecraftian roots, and the delicious “The Indelible Dark” is about an author whose science-fictional visions begin intruding into real life. Spencer’s tales twist the mundane into something altogether eerie, and relatable characters and a firm grasp of the uncanny elevate this highly entertaining collection. (Aug.)