H.P. Lovecraft

Neil Gaiman’s “A Study in Emerald” to be released by Dark Horse Comics

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Neil Gaiman’s “A Study in Emerald” to be released by Dark Horse Comics

As this is one of my favorite Neil Gaiman stories (in the top 10 at least. Top 20? They’re all good. Don’t make me choose!!) I’m very excited about this release. See below for the official press release from Dark Horse Comics on the Sherlock Holmes/H.P. Lovecraft-inspired graphic novel A Study in Emerald.

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Review: Alien Stars

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Review: Alien Stars

Former boxer and aspiring investigator Harry Stubbs is back in a new adventure, this time in his own novel!

David Hambling’s latest book features a hunt for a mysterious artifact, one that seems to be leaving a trail of bodies in its wake. The artifact is sought after by people from both the lowest and highest rungs of society, involving wealthy cult members chasing after its supernatural power, and thugs hoping to sell it to the highest bidder. Harry will have to figure out who his friends are in a hurry, because there’s someone else involved in the search, someone who’ll happily kill to protect their secrets.

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The Best Books of 2016

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The Best Books of 2016

2016 may not have been the best of years, but it saw the release of some amazing books. And since Elizabeth has been focusing more on her artwork these last few months (check out her Daily Doodles on instagram) this year I get to keep the entire “Best Of” list for myself, myself, you hear?! Mwa ha haaaa!

*Ahem* Sorry, got a little carried away there. Click the jump for a list, in no particular order, of my ten favorite books from 2016.

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Review: Children of Lovecraft

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Review: Children of Lovecraft

Say what you will about H.P. Lovecraft – his elaborate Victorian prose, his cringeworthy racial biases – the man created a sandbox that horror writers love to play in. I’ve reviewed one story by Lovecraft in this column; compare that to, what, three separate posts about Lovecraft-inspired stories? Maybe four? There’s something irresistible about a modern take on the Cthulhu mythos, with just the right creepiness mixed in with the horror. I’m always willing to give a new Lovecraft compilation a try, even when I haven’t read anything by most of the authors included.

I needed something to keep me occupied for a long train ride, and I thought Children of Lovecraft would at least be interesting. And then I had to pace myself to keep myself from reading it too fast. Ellen Datlow’s latest compilation has fourteen stories by authors writing at the top of their game, and I feel like I could have eaten up the entire book in one sitting.

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Review: The Ballad of Black Tom

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Review: The Ballad of Black Tom

To H.P. Lovecraft, with all my conflicted feelings.

The setting is 1920’s New York, in the busy neighborhood of Harlem and the nearby port neighborhood of Red Hook. A good-hearted hustler is drawn into the schemes of the wealthy and eccentric Robert Suydam, who’s plotting to raise an ancient horror from the deeps.

The Ballad of Black Tom…is not by H.P. Lovecraft, but fans of Lovecraft will recognize elements from his novella The Horror at Red Hook. Author Victor LaValle uses Lovecraft’s story as a framework, showing the events from the viewpoint of Tommy Tester, a young black man trying to make a living and support his widowed father. This re-imagining was a way to take Lovecraft’s prejudices and turn them into the driving force behind the new tale, showing how someone might see the end of the world in a tidal wave of horror as a pretty good alternative to the way the world is now.

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Review: “The Elder Ice” and “Broken Meats”

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Review: “The Elder Ice” and “Broken Meats”

Then they saw the trickles of blood running from under his hat. They crowded round and persuaded Waters to stand still while one of the men took off his hat, stiff with blood, to inspect the injury.

The back of Waters’ head came off with it.

Now that October has officially begun, it’s time for another month of horror-themed book reviews. And what better way to start than with two new novellas by David Hambling, author of Shadows from Norwood (first book I ever reviewed for Pixelated Geek!) and many other suitably Lovecraft-themed stories.

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Review: The Shadow Over Innsmouth

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Review: The Shadow Over Innsmouth

It was the end, for whatever remains to me of life on the surface of this earth, of every vestige of mental peace and confidence in the integrity of nature and of the human mind.

There are quite a few different flavors of horror. Some horror stories focus on one particular monster, or a haunting, or some kind of disaster. I’ve never been much for the hack-and-slash type (although strangely enough that one scene from Cabin in the Woods made me happy), and most psychological thrillers only work for me if there’s a supernatural element as well. By far my favorite type of horror is the one that’s hardest to pull off: it has to be clever and creepy. For the most part you never see the monster, since the one you imagine is scarier than the one you see. There’ll be this looming terror of the unknown, of waiting in the darkness hoping you won’t be found by something that you’ll probably never understand. Characters in these stories don’t know if they’ve gone completely out of their minds and made up everything that happened, or if whatever happened has made them go completely out of their minds. Basically I’ll accept any horror recommendation if you use the magic words: Inspired By Lovecraft.

H.P. Lovecraft is famous for creating the Cthulhu Mythos; the concept of a race of godlike beings who are imprisoned/asleep somewhere in the depths of the sea, or in outer space, or just there, in a dimension separated from ours by a thin wall that’s getting thinner all the time. Just seeing The Elder Gods causes people to go insane, and any worship ceremonies for them are filled with odd phrases that try to capture how unknowable they are. (If you watch any  Doctor Who, the phrases that the Ood chant in the episode The Impossible Planet are pure Lovecraft: “He is the heart that beats in the darkness. He is the blood that will never cease. And now he will rise.”)

But Lovecraft wrote stories about other races too, ones a little younger than the Elder Gods, but a whole lot closer.  Lovecraft’s novella The Shadow over Innsmouth tells the story of an entire town taken over, and rotting from within, by a race that’s close enough to be family. 

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