Pyrate Cthulhu Vol. 2 (Cthulhu Anthology #5) ★★★☆☆

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: Pyrate Cthulhu Vol. 2
Series: Cthulhu Anthology #5
Editor: Pyrate Press
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Weird Fiction
Pages: 194
Words: 74K



Synopsis:

Table of Contents

Out of the Jar by Charles R. Tunner (1941)

Bothon by Henry S. Whitehead & H.P. Lovecraft (1946)

Something From Out There by August Derleth (1951)

Confession in Darkness by Gerald W. Page (1979)

Jendick’s Swamp by Joseph Payne Brennan (1987)

The Big Fish by Kim Newman (1993)

The Vicar of R’lyeh by Marc Laidlaw (2007)

Dark Blue by Alan Dean Foster (2007)

Copping Squid by Michael Sea (2009)

Crawlin’ Chaos Blues by Edward M. Erdelac (2010)

The Nyarlathotep Event by Jonathan Wood (2011)

My Thoughts:

After the success I had with Vol. 1 of Pyrate Cthulhu, my expectations were pretty high. You might say I had Great Expectations for this second volume. Sadly, just like Pip, my expectations were completely dashed and oblivionated (that’s what happens in Cthulhu-land).

Nothing was actually bad, but the magic I felt in the first volume was completely lacking. It was like Pyrate Press took all of the best stories and released them in Vol 1 and then all the leftovers they made a cash grab with a second volume.

None of these stories really grabbed me. They kept me entertained, but so does Spongebob. Oh man, wouldn’t a cosmic horror version of Spongebob be awesome? And the franchise already has Squidward too! Sigh, I’m just chockful of good ideas sometimes. So there was a lack of “something” to these stories. I can’t really describe it, but when I read a story with “it”, I know it. It’s like eating a pizza without oregano. The lack of it, once you’ve had it, is more powerful than having it. That’s what I felt like these stories were, a pizza without oregano.

I tried to find out some more about Pyrate Press, but apparently they only edited these 2 collections and that was it. No website, no twitter, no nothing, that I could find in 10minutes of searching on the internet. Even “I’m” easier to find than them (not that I’m trying to hide myself, but you get the idea).

Rating: 3 out of 5.

A Season in Carcosa (The King in Yellow Anthology #4) ★★★★✬

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 by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: A Season in Carcosa
Series: The King in Yellow Anthology #4
Editor: Joseph Pulver
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Cosmic Horror
Pages: 268
Words: 100K



Synopsis:

Table of Contents

This Yellow Madness (introduction) by Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.

My Voice is Dead by Joel Lane

Beyond The Banks of the River Seine by Simon Strantzas

Movie Night at Phil’s by Don Webb

MS Found in a Chicago Hotel Room by Daniel Mills

it sees me when I’m not looking by Gary McMahon

Finale, Act Two by Ann K. Schwader

Yellow Bird Strings by Cate Gardner

The Theatre & Its Double by Edward Morris

The Hymn of the Hyades by Richard Gavin

Slick Black Bones and Soft Black Stars by Gemma Files

Not Enough Hope by Joseph S. Pulver, Sr

Whose Hearts are Pure Gold by Kristin Prevallet

April Dawn by Richard A. Lupoff

King Wolf by Anna Tambour

The White-Face At Dawn by Michael Kelly

Wishing Well by Cody Goodfellow

Sweetums by John Langan

The King Is Yellow by Pearce Hansen

D T by Laird Barron

Salvation In Yellow by Robin Spriggs

The Beat Hotel by Allyson Bird

My Thoughts:

My goodness, these anthologies are going up and down for me like a teetertotter! When they are good, they are REALLY GOOD and when it’s bad, it’s so bad I can’t finish them. Thankfully, this was on the upper part of the seesaw.

I went into this a bit worried since Pulver was the editor and I absolutely hated the previous book which was edited and written by him. Thankfully, he only contributed a small part of this. I did realize that I don’t like his writing, period though. There were 1 or 2 poems, which did nothing for me. But Pulver’s story was the only real let down. Not surprising but it’s what kept this from a full 5star.

But most of the other stories were flipping fantastic if you dig cosmic horror. From slides into madness and horror to the unveiling of horrific powers, these ran the gamut from shiver your backbone to a chill of deliciousness running down your spine to the completely inexplicably weird.

I really can’t say that any of these were “better” than the others, but the 2 I do remember are Yellow Bird Strings and Wishing Well. YBS was about a former puppeteer who by the end of the story has become the puppet himself. It was hard to tell if he was going mad or if it was all real. Exactly the right tone for a King in Yellow Story. WW on the other hand, had real IT (by Stephen King) vibes with 2 storylines about kids and them now as adults. A twisted tv show created by a cult of the KIY was the focus and the ending where the main character who appears to be a loser the whole time is revealed to be the son of the King in Yellow, or something like that. It was deliciously spine tingling.

Another absolute winner of a read and I’m pretty happy. These books are definitely not for everyone, in fact I’d say that the majority of readers wouldn’t go for The King in Yellow, but they fit me like a glove, so I’m going to revel in them while I can.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Madness of Cthulhu Vol. 1 ★★★✬☆

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. 1
Series: Cthulhu Anthology #3
Editor: ST Joshi
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Weird Fiction
Pages: 274
Words: 114K



Synopsis:

Table of Contents

Foreword by Jonathan Maberry

Introduction by S. T. Joshi

At the Mountains of Murkiness by Arthur C. Clarke

The Fillmore Shoggoth by Harry Turtledove

Devil’s Bathtub by Lois H. Gresh

The Witness in Darkness by John Shirley

How the Gods Bargain by William Browning Spencer

A Mountain Walked by Caitlín R. Kiernan

Diana of the Hundred Breasts by Robert Silverberg

Under the Shelf by Michael Shea

Cantata by Melanie Tem

Cthulhu Rising by Heather Graham

The Warm by Darrell Schweitzer

Last Rites by K. M. Tonso

Little Lady by J. C. Koch

White Fire by Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.

A Quirk of the Mistral by Jonathan Thomas

The Dog Handler’s Tale by Donald Tyson

My Thoughts:

Well, the collections by Salome Jones were definitely Cosmic Horror and were creepy and scary and thrilling. This collection by Joshi was not cosmic horror so much as it was Weird Fiction. Now, Lovecraft’s work can be classified as both but after reading this collection, I find that I much prefer the cosmic horror over the weird fiction.

One thing that didn’t work so much for me was that this had bits of humor interlaced with it and nothing about Cthulhu is humorous nor should it be. The opening story, At the Mountains of Murkiness, while an absolute genius piece of parody, set the tone for the whole collection and that was not what I was looking for. The second thing that bothered me was that in a couple of stories Cthulhu or his elder god brethren actually helped humanity. That is NOT how this mythology is supposed to work and the writers who did that should not only be ashamed of themselves but should jump off a cliff to expiate for their literary sins. Or I’d gladly chop their heads off as their bodies are torn apart by a tentacled monstrosity from the depths of utter darkness. But either way, somebody’s gotta pay for that optimism.

I enjoyed this but not as much as I was hoping. I’ll be prepared for the next volume so we’ll see if expectations played as big a part as I think it did. Weird Fiction, here I come!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.