Overall, this is an excellent anthology of horror stories. That being said, I do have one small bone to pick. The book is definitely what it advertises itself to be: an anthology of Lovecraft’s monsters. But personally, I find the most engaging thing about Lovecraft’s horror stories is the mood or what is often called “cosmic indifference” or “cosmic horror.” Some of these stories definitely fit that model, but others, not so much.
Also, it is highly tenuous whether some of the creatures presented within these stories are really Lovecraftian monsters. “Red Goat Black Goat” by Nadia Bulkin is a great horror story. But is the monster there really Shub-Niggurath? And “Black as the Pit, From Pole to Pole” has only a few scenes or references to “elder things.” So the stories can be a bit shoe-horned into fitting the theme of having Lovecraftian monsters.
Not really a big deal. But I make this point in case you’re looking for an anthology that is purely Lovecraftian — you’ll feel gypped if that’s the case. But if you’re looking for a good horror anthology, one that focuses upon monsters, this one should be right up your alley. I highly recommend it!
New to Lovecraft and his monsters, you say? Ever wonder who Shub-Niggurath, Cthuhlu, or Azathoth are? Ever curious as to what shoggoths, “deep ones,” or the Hounds of Tindalos are? Wonder no longer! There is a helpful “Monster Index” compiled in Lovecraft’s Monsters, by Rachel Fagundes, that introduces all such beasties. Besides identifying which stories within Lovecraft’s Monsters contain these creatures, the index also points to where they are first found in Lovecraft’s original stories.
I should also point out that this is a very attractive book with creepy illustrations throughout provided by John Coulthart. In fact, there is one illustration for each story and poem (Gemma Files provides two poems here). Coulthart’s work provides the cover illustration as well. These are nice little extras not usually offered in anthologies.
Read the rest of McGlothlin’s review at Black Gate.
For more information on Lovecraft’s Monsters, visit the Tachyon site.
Cover and illustration by John Coulthart.