The Madness of Cthulhu Vol. 2 (Cthulhu Anthology #6) ★★★✬☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Madness of Cthulhu Vol. 2
Series: Cthulhu Anthology #6
Editor: S.T. Joshi
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Cosmic Horror
Pages: 194
Words: 74K

The Table of Contents will be under the Details arrow, click if you want to expand it.

20,000 Years Under the Sea by Kevin J. Anderson

Tsathoggua’s Breath by Brian Stableford

The Door Beneath by Alan Dean Foster

Dead Man Walking by William F. Nolan

A Crazy Mistake by Nancy Kilpatrick

The Anatomy Lesson by Cody Goodfellow

The Hollow Sky by Jason C. Eckhardt

The Last Ones by Mark Howard Jones

A Footnote in the Black Budget by Jonathan Maberry

Deep Fracture by Steve Rasnic Tem

The Dream Stones by Donald Tyson

The Blood in My Mouth by Laird Barron

On the Shores of Destruction by Karen Haber

Object 00922UU by Erik Bear and Greg Bear

With this collection, Joshi steers the boat back into the Cosmic Horror side of Cthulhu instead of the Weird Fiction stream he entered with Madness Vol 1. I much prefer Cosmic Horror (as I’ve said before and I’m sure I’ll say again).

I’m realizing, as I read more of these anthologies, that a good grounding in both classic literature AND the original Cthulhu Mythos by Lovecraft make for a much richer, fuller read. The first story, 20,000 Years Under the Sea is about Captain Nemo and the Nautilus, from Jules Verne’s story 20,000 Leagues under the Sea. While Anderson does a good job (I’m surprised I’m saying that about him, as I usually think he does slip shod and crappy work) of giving us all the details we need to know for this particular story, if you know the original story it adds some depth to the characters, etc. In the same way, A Footnote in the Black Budget deals with the shoggoth and the fallout from Lovecraft’s story The Mountains of Madness. Again, you are given everything you need for this particular story, but knowing the history just adds more to your enjoyment.

I also find that the horrible works better than the strictly weird. The Dream Stones is a perfect example. That is an interview at a police station with a person who appears to have gone insane after murdering 6 couples. But if you believe in the mythos, you see that they have been driven insane by something so vast that it simply broke their mind. Why does that appeal to me? I have no idea.

Overall, I was pretty pleased with this collection. There was no snobbery or pretentiousness to ruin the stories and we went from the time of the Vikings to the Far Future, so it wasn’t all the same setting. At the same time, I gave this the same rating as Vol 1 because none of these stories quite rose to the occasion. So while I enjoyed the Cosmic Horror, it wasn’t as good as I was hoping for.


14 thoughts on “The Madness of Cthulhu Vol. 2 (Cthulhu Anthology #6) ★★★✬☆

    1. I don’t know if there is a Vol 3. I think after this the editor changed the title to Black Wings of Cthulhu? But there are a lot of those. I think I saw at least 4 volumes, maybe more? So you’re all set for your Cthulhu fix for the next couple of years, hehehehehe…

      Liked by 1 person

          1. I think of cosmic horror being a subset of weird fiction. As you note, there is some humorous weird fiction. There’s also weird fiction with nothing supernatural in it. Just finished a collection of French weird fiction which, following Poe, had a lot of stories where maybe something weird went on — or the protagonist was just crazy.

            Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s