Sunday, 10 March 2019

Black Wings of Cthulu (1) - S T Joshi (ed)

It's a measure of the influence of H P Lovecraft that so many others have written in homage. This is a substantial collection of 21 stories of varying length and Joshi has gone on to edit nine more to date - and these, of course, are just in reference to the Lovecraft's Cthulu or Elder Gods stories. He wrote plenty more that are more straightforwardly Gothic.

There are no bad stories here. I can only therefore mention my favourites. Caitlin R Kiernan's "Pickman's Other Model" gets the collection off to a flying start. I liked Sam Gafford's "Passing Spirits" and I loved "Inhabitants of Wraithwood" by W H Pugmire, which also develops Lovecraft's story "Pickford's Model", as does Brain Stableford in "The Truth About Pickman".I tend to prefer the longer stories but the one here that stayed in my mind the longest was "Susie" by Jason van Hollander, which closes the collection and only lasts seven pages - seven pages into which he crams several brilliant twists. Van Hollander also did the cover illustration which perfectly captures the theme.

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