Review – Home from the Sea

Home From The Sea

Home From The Sea by William Meikle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Home from the Sea
by William Meikle

This is a collection of stories in a “Lovecraftian” vein, and all are connected to the sea/water in some way.

Overall, the collection is quite fun. It bounces between exciting novelty, and a somewhat telling repetition of ideas and even sentences. The whole seems to create an almost original branch of the mythos that is all Meikle’s, particularly the influence of music and rhythm on the mind and the “others.”

Some of my particular favorites among these stories are perhaps “Inquisitor,” pitting a shoggoth against a member of the Spanish Inquisition (bet you weren’t expecting that!); and the title story, in which whalers are faced with something horrific from the depths. They both take some basic familiar ideas and use them in novel ways to create something very interesting.

The book does have some minor little editing issues (one story had a bunch of commas replaced by the 3/4 symbol. What?) but is generally very well done and quite readable.

Definitely worth a read for horror and Lovecraft fans.

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Review – A Pretty Mouth

A Pretty Mouth

A Pretty Mouth by Molly Tanzer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Pretty Mouth by Molly Tanzer

This collection is a reverse chronological exploration of the nefarious Calipash family, a bloodline cursed to depravity, transformation, and dissolution. It is also a masterful exercise in parody, as it lampoons Gothic horror, novels of manners, Lovecraft, and the history of Roman Britain.

The title story, a novella of twists and turns set in a private school in faux-English civil war Oxford, and it genderbends, challenges reader assumption, and sexes things up a lot.

I drive it hard to describe exactly what I looked about this book, but I looked it a lot. The writing is pitch-perfect, adopting the voice and style of each period cleverly, and it twists the tries of the styles in just the right way to keep things interesting.

A real pleasure!

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Review – The Stars Were Right

The Stars Were Right

The Stars Were Right by K.M. Alexander

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Stars Were Right by K. M. Alexander
Reviewed of a TBRindr copy from the author.

This is a noirish murder mystery in a post-Lovecraftian apocalypse city, when “the stars aligned” and various nefarious beasties arose to send the world into chaos. Now, however, things are overall OK, and the world seems at peace. It just happens to be populated by various non-human sentient races in addition to traditional humanity.

The story follows a caravan master named Mal Bell who returns from a voyage only to end up accused of an increasing number of murders–all the victims being people connected to his life. He goes on the run from police as well as the murderers he tries to clear his name and survive to the next day.

This was a fun little noir in the classic “fugitive” tradition. The characters were well built and natural, and the dialog was very smooth. I was eager to follow Mal’s story to the end, and I was satisfied when I got there. This book kept the tension up and paced it right, and stuck a solid ending.

The Lovecraftian trappings, though, often struck me as just that: trappings. There are references galore to the mythos, and to other elements of classic weird literature, but in many cases they don’t really impact the story. The fundamental conflict centers around a reference to Arthur Machen’s work, but in many ways this same story could have been told about a cult in New York. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I think a lot of fans of the Mythos works will feel slightly unfulfilled.

Apart from that, there are certain structural elements of the story that don’t work for me. The opening flashback strikes me as mildly confusing, because it’s actually a flashforward to something that happens in the first quarter of the book. However the book had no typos that I noticed, and the overall structure was pretty tight.

I enjoyed the book, and I was satisfied in the end.
That’s all you can ask for, in the end!

I’d like to thank the author for the opportunity to read and review!

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