cover image Visions


Richard A. Lupoff. Hippocampus (, $20 trade paper%C2%A0(268p) ISBN 978-1-61498-038-4

The prolific Lupoff isn't shown to best advantage in this collection of 13 short stories. Things get off to a sluggish start with five entries from the Ben Zaccheus Case Files. These occult adventures featuring an uninvolving Holmes-and-Watson%E2%80%93like team are hampered by the clich%C3%A9-laden narrator, John O'Leary, an Irishman who ends up in 1905 San Francisco. O'Leary finds work as an assistant to investigator Abraham ben Zacceus, who had placed a newspaper ad seeking help because "Something is happening in the Earth. Something is going to happen." The pair confronts cosmic Lovecraftian creatures, but few readers will be remotely scared by any of their encounters. The stand-alones are marginally better, with the best of the bunch, "Simeon Dimsby's Workshop," deftly spelling out every horror writer's nightmare. Civil servant Regis Hardy manages to get published, only to find success placing him in danger. But even in this tale, genre fans will find the resolution too familiar to be memorable. (July)