cover image Monstrous Aftermath: Stories in the Lovecraftian Tradition

Monstrous Aftermath: Stories in the Lovecraftian Tradition

W.H. Pugmire. Hippocampus, $20 trade paper (270p) ISBN 978-1-61498-133-6

Horror fans fond of baroque prose should enjoy the 15 stories in this Lovecraft-inspired collection from Pugmire (Bohemians of Sesqua Valley). "To entertain myself, I sucked at my cylinder of narcotica and exhaled," says the narrator of the opening story, "Within Your Unholy Pit of Shoggoths," referring to smoking a cigarette. Pugmire also has a knack for injecting gallows humor into his accounts of otherworldly horror. For example, in "An Ecstasy of Fear," Sarah Paget-Lowe visits her friend, the poet Akiva Loveman, who has been researching a legendary dark god in the odd little town of Sesqua. The pair come across a strange black statue, prompting Akiva to observe, "I don't know what's going to happen when I evoke the Crawling Chaos," and Sarah to quip in response, "Then it will be a learning experience for both of us." Those looking for memorable plots and vivid characterizations, however, will have to look elsewhere. (July)