Monday, 27 January 2014

Weird Shadows Over Innsmouth by H.P. Lovecraft and Others

Edited by Stephen Jones

After thoroughly enjoying Stephen Jones’s first collection of Innsmouth inspired stories, Shadows Over Innsmouth, I was very pleased to get the chance to review the second anthology, Weird Shadows Over Innsmouth.

If you haven’t heard of Innsmouth (where have you been?) it is the setting of H.P. Lovecraft’s eerie story The Shadow over Innsmouth. Written in 1931, his short story helped spawn the legend that is Cthulhu and other nightmarish creatures that come from the sea.

The first anthology, edited by Stephen Jones brought together seventeen authors to celebrate and create works inspired by the original. This second collection brings eleven authors forward with their own versions of the Innsmouth tale, set both home and abroad, adding deeper twists and myths to the legend.

The authors are John Glasby, Richard A. Lupoff, Basil Copper, Kim Newman, Paul McAuley, Hugh B. Cave, Steve Rasnic Tem, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Ramsey Campbell, Michael Marshall Smith and Brian Lumley. There is also the discarded draft of H.P. Lovecraft’s The Shadow Over Innsmouth, which is a great inclusion for the diehard fans.

Where in the first anthology, a lot of the stories were based in the original setting of Innsmouth, New England, this collection takes the theme further afield and it seems no place where water is a natural feature is safe!

Each author really puts their stamp on the Innsmouth mythology and each story is creepy and unnerving in its own right, displaying not only effective storytelling, but proving that the myth of Cthulhu is fantastic enough to stand the test of time and be adaptable for horror writers past and present.

I think my favourite stories from this collection featured the terrifying Innsmouth creatures in more modern settings. In one story, Fair Exchange by Michael Marshall Smith, an opportunist robber discovers a monstrous secret in a seemingly normal suburban house. The mix of modern and monster was truly creepy and I loved it!

This is another awesome collection of Innsmouth short stories, creepy and compelling, sitting alongside some remarkable artwork illustrating the weird and wonderful Cthulhu creatures.

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