The LainiBop Challenge
NEW TALES OF THE CTHULHU MYTHOS
EDITOR – RAMSEY CAMPBELL
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The Cthulhu Mythos is a universe created by H.P. Lovecraft and which has been used in many novels, films and even computer games. The main idea in this universe is that there were once a race of deities known as The Old Ones who ruled over the world, however they have been asleep for a long long time. Some of these Gods are still worshipped by cults on Earth, and some don’t even dwell on our planet. The theory is that these Old Ones will one day awaken from their sleep and destroy humanity.
With this in mind, this collection of short stories is written by some well-known horror fiction authors. Stephen King is the first author in this collection and anyone who knows me will know that I adore King, mostly his older work. As this book was first published in 1980, I am glad to say I was very happy with his contribution. In my opinion, King’s great strength is his creation of atmosphere, he can also be very gruesome in his descriptions, but what always impacts me the most in his works is the not knowing, the fear of what is around the corner and when a writer can drag you so far into his world that you start to wonder what is real and what is imaginary, they have done their job well.
Crouch End, King’s story which opens this collection does exactly this. A frightened American woman arrives at a police station in a small English town, with a horrible story to tell. The police listen to her story, and after her statement is taken, the youngest of them recalls it with disbelief. However the older one reassures him that this won’t be the last story of this type he will hear. She tells of her husboand’s disappearance, and how she became lost in what seemed to be a strange world unlike our own, we never truly discover the why’s and where’s of her husband’s disappearance and again, this is what makes this story truly chilling to the bone.
There are many other stories contained within, one which describe an Old One taking over someone’s body in an attempt to call himself forth and another where a man uses dark magic to try to attain a level close to an old one.My favourites though are the ones like Crouch End, where you, the reader is left to wonder about the hidden depths of our world, and if all is really as it seems.
All in all, I think it has sparked my interest in all things Lovecraft, but would be more likely to go back to his original novels rather than stories inspired by his universe.