cover image The Gods of H.P. Lovecraft

The Gods of H.P. Lovecraft

Edited by Aaron J. French. JournalStone, $24.95 trade paper (450p) ISBN 978-1-942712-56-5

French’s concept—12 stories, each focusing on a different horrific god—is an original one, but there isn’t much here to justify yet another anthology of cosmic horror inspired by Lovecraft’s fiction. Despite an impressive roster of contributors, none of the entries is likely to become a classic, or even to resonate for more than a brief time. David Liss demonstrates what a gifted writer can do with a formulaic plot (a man lured into taking a job that seems too good to be true) in the evocative “The Doors That Never Close and the Doors That Are Always Open.” Adam Nevill’s talent for creating atmosphere is manifest from the opening lines of “Call the Name,” as the lead encounters a mysterious “grey mass of lifeless flesh” on a beach, embedded “haphazardly” with “scores of milky eyes that stared at nothing.” But some of the stories are too derivative of the originals, even riffing unsuccessfully on some of Lovecraft’s most memorable lines. Each story is followed by Donald Tyson’s commentary on the deity featured in that work, and his explicit taxonomies undo whatever subtleties the authors employed. (Dec.)