THE BOOK OF HYPERBOREA, by Clark Ashton Smith, edited by Will Murray

SHADOWS OVER INNSMOUTH, edited by Stephen Jones


MYTHOS TALES AND OTHERS, edited by David Wynn


"A Brief Overview of the Necronomicon Press Magazines Series", by James Ambuehl

THE BOOK OF HYPERBOREA, by Clark Ashton Smith, edited by Will Murray. West Warwick: Necronomicon Press, 1996. 173 pp. $9.95. ISBN 0-940884-87-9.

[Reviewed by Peter A. Worthy]

Bound in a lurid green cover this book is certainly eye catching; the cover illustration is a usual good job by Robert H. Knox. Necronomicon Press has collected together all of Smith's fiction about Hyperborea in this small edition, but I heartily recommend it to anyone who likes Clark Ashton Smith's work and has so far not read any of these tales. Actually, I'd recommend it to any fantasy fan.

His Hyperborean tales contain Smith's sardonic humor and are the closest tales to Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos, although imbued with that something that is distinctly Smith. Will Murray also contributes a well written and highly informative introduction to the collection which comprises the 10 stories, 1 prose poem, and 1 poem that make up the cycle, as well as a fragment Smith never finished. Also, the book includes the usual abridged version of 'The Coming of the White Worm' in an appendix so you can compare it with the unexpurgated copy nearer the front of the book. The closing postscript is again informative and interesting, providing the plots for tales called 'The Ancient Shadow' or 'The Shadow from the Sarcophagus' , 'The House of Haon Dor' and 'The Hyperborean City'.

I must admit that the Hyperborean stories are a favourite of mine, and Tsathoggua is my favourite among the ranks of the Great Old Ones. All the tales are entertaining and original manuscripts were referred to for the material included, making this a very comprehensive collection. Among the best stories included are 'The Seven Geases', the amusing 'Weird of Avoosl Wuthoqquan' and the impressive 'Testament of Athammaus'. My other favourites are 'The Door to Saturn', the unabridged 'The Coming of the White Worm', and highly atmospheric 'Ubbo-Sathla'.

Although a slim volume, I urge any fan of fiction to get their copy for their collections. The worlds created by Clark Ashton Smith are opulent jewels, and to me Hyperborea is the brightest of them all.


SHADOWS OVER INNSMOUTH, edited by Stephen Jones. Minneapolis: Fedogan & Bremer, 1994. 339 pp. Trade Edition $27.00, Limited Edition $95.00. ISBN 1-878252-18-6 (trade), 1-878252-19-4 (limited).

[Reviewed by Peter A. Worthy]

Shadows Over Innsmouth is a collection of tales concerning the dread ex-seaport Lovecraft invented in his highly atmospheric tale 'The Shadow Over Innsmouth' which is included here as the first tale for anyone -- is there anyone? -- who hasn't read it.

The contributors to this collection are all British authors among them the usual suspects, Basil Copper and Brian Lumley; unexpected appearances, Peter Tremayne, Brian Stableford and Guy N. Smith; as well as new timers, Neil Gaiman, Nicholas Royle and Kim Newman. As a whole I was quite impressed with this book, though why Ramsey Campbell's 'The Church in High Street' is in here baffled me. Also, the assertion that it depicts the decline of Innsmouth seems rather inaccurate, reading through it the stories are either good or very bad, cf. 'Down to the Boots' by D. F. Lewis.

Some of the ideas behind the stories are quite innovative, i.e., the computer industry coming to Innsmouth in Dave Langford's 'Deepnet', though I found the story itself short and unsatisfying. Stories I found entertaining were Tremayne's 'Daoine Domhain', Newman's 'The Big Fish' (listed as by Jack Yeovil) and Cole's 'The Crossing'; Gaiman's 'Only the End of the World Again' has become an especial favourite of mine, but then I have an affinity for Mythos oddities. I was surprisingly disappointed with Copper's 'Beyond the Reef'.

All the stories, save -- again -- for Lewis', are atmospheric and this collection is very pleasing and a must for any Mythos collector out there.


IN SEARCH OF LOVECRAFT, by J. Vernon Shea. West Warwick: Necronomicon Press, 1991. 42 pp. $5.95. ISBN 0-940884-39-9.

[Reviewed by Peter A. Worthy]

Marc A. Michaud, S. T. Joshi and Shea were planning this book together when Vernon's sudden death in 1981 of natural causes happened. About ten years later and this little booklet is the result, containing an introduction by Robert Bloch and an afterword by Donald Wandrei. It contains essays, fiction and mostly poetry.

Bloch's intro is full of emotion, while Wandrei's afterword is brief and more critical. The essays are interesting for anyone who is into literary criticism, and there is his description of attending the Fifth World Fantasy Convention that is very to the point, but full of his humour. He may sound unhappy, but underneath I bet he was glad to be there with friends, after all his was a lonely life.

The two pieces of fiction are 'Dead Giveaway' and the posthumous collaboration with HPL, 'The Snouted Thing' and I would certainly urge people to read them both. They are highly entertaining and only make you wonder why Shea never found publication save for that one tale in Arkham Houses 'Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos'. ["Dead Giveaway" was original included in the submission of The Disciples of Cthulhu, but DAW Books rejected the story as not being of professional calibre. -- epb] I believe Bob Price is going to be reprinting them soon.

There are 13 poems here, including 'So Little Time Beneath the Stars', 'H. P. L.'s Gravestone' and 'A Walk in Providence' among them.

This is a good all-round collection of Shea's work and also provides a view of the man that was Shea, but is still not as good as knowing the man or speaking with people who did. At least, before he passed away, he had the warm knowledge that he was finally going to get into print.


MYTHO TALES AND OTHERS, edited by David Wynn. Poplar Bluff: Mythos Books, 1996. 94 pp. $6.00 . No ISBN.

[Reviewed by James Ambuehl]

Whether you're an old hand at Lovecraft and the Cthulhu Mythos, or a new convert to this fascinating world-wide cult, this booklet has something for you! Having the flavor of something of a tribute to the weird fiction master, the Cthulhu Mythos is shown to very good effect in stories by Jeffrey Thomas (a Shub-Niggurath tale with the intriguing title "The Face of Baphomet"), Wilum Pugmire ("Candlewax," a Sesqua Valley tale: see following review!), Gary Lovisi ("That Which is Waiting"), Allen Mackey ("The Orb from Outside") and myself ("The Advent of Uvhash"). In addition, there is an evocative prose-poem by David Barker, poems by such as Chad Hensley, Stanley C. Sargent and Don Webb, and even some less overtly-Mythos tales by the likes of German Lovecraft fan Michael Siefener (3 of them!), Jason Kuhl and Daniel del Valle. There are even a few Lovecraftian articles to be found here, including one by Lovecraft scholar extraordinaire S. T. Joshi, "The Cthulhu Mythos: Lovecraft vs. Derleth" (now you can find out what the controversy is all about)! At any rate, coming in at just under a hundred pages, Mythos Tales and Others is a sure bargain, to be had for $6 plus $1 postage and handling from:

Mythos Books
218 Hickory Meadow Lane
Poplar Bluff, MO 63901-2160

or on the Net at: Mythos Books

But hurry, there's less than 50 copies left! -- and be sure to ask for a copy of their giant book catalog! And ask about the Lovecraft Tarot Cards, illustrated by Daryl Hutchinson!


TALES OF SESQUA VALLEY, by W.H. Pugmire. Westborough: Necropolitan Press, 1997. pp. $ . . ISBN: .

[Reviewed by James Ambuehl]

Wilum Pugmire is a true Lovecraftian master of the weird fiction form, practicing his craft today. And having just written and published an overview of the author's Lovecraftian work myself, in Fungi #15 (Spring 1997), I feel qualified to state this unequivocally.

Unfortunately, most of the author's Mythosian material has just appeared in the small press (and The Dunwich Cycle, of course!) -- until now!

Yes, this is his first collection of his wonderful Sesqua Valley stories to be distributed stateside (he had one in England -- but it's long out of print!), and as such it is a real gem! Here's a list of the contents ... see if these titles don't intrigue you!:

Another Flesh
Beneath The Deepest Wound
Born In Strange Shadow
An Image in Chalk
The Imp of Aether
Immortal Remains
The Million-Shadowed One
The Child of Dark Mania
The Balm of Nepenthe

Need another reason to buy this incredible publication? All right, what if I told you that even though these stories of the Sesqua Valley oeuvre are highly original, several of the tales printed here were written in tribute to the author's weird fiction heroes: Bloch, Derleth, Long, etc.? And should I mention that these are also full-fledged Cthulhu Mythos stories, featuring the likes of such awesome entities as Shub-Niggurath, Cthugha and Chaugnar Faugn? Convinced? OK, I'll tell you, too, that the cover is by Chaosium artist extraordinaire Earl Geier! Only one thing remains for me to say -- order this collection for the measly price of just $5 post-paid from:

Jeffrey Thomas (make checks to him, NOT Necropolitan Press!)
65 South Street
Westborough, MA 01581-1628

(And I should briefly mention that the publisher also has A Vampire Bestiary available as well for $4 post-paid, which includes a whole host of blood-sucking tales by the likes of Scott Thomas, J. M. Rozanski, Jeff Dennis, and one by the aforementioned Wilum Pugmire (these are NOT your run-of-the-mill vampire stories, folks!), and even one Cthulhoid tale, my own dark fantasy tale "The Bane of Byagoona.")




James Ambuehl

Go to Necronomicon Press to view their catalog full contents lists and ordering information)

Cthulhu Codex:

#7 (May 1996): "From Darker Heavens" by Stanley C. Sargent is a truly amazing Lovecraftian tale blending the legends of Yig with Greek mythology. Wilum Pugmire's "The Baleful God" features that most intriguing of Mythos entities, Tsathoggua. My own story, "The Star-Seed" features a Severn Valley setting and a new Great Old One, the Plant-Thing known as Ei'lor.

#8 (August 1996): Gregory Luce's excellent "Return of the Shoggoth" shaould have been in DAW's recent anthology It Came from the Drive-In (which did feature an excellent Shub-Niggurath tale by Nancy A. Collins, by the way!). Franklyn Searight's "The Guardian of the Pit" installs the often-too-prolific Deep Ones with an often-lacking air of menace. And I trust lovers of sword and sorcery and charnel grue will not be disappointed by my own "The Bane of Byagoona."

#9 (November 1996): "In The Language of Earth" by Mark Francis is an intriguing tale of an ill-fated expedition. Stanley C. Sargent's "Live Bait" again treats of HPL's Deep Ones in a very novel and thought-provoking way. Gary Myers, who is of course known for his unmatched Dreamlands fiction, contributes "Mother of Serpents," the first of his modern tales, which concerns a priestess of the snake-god Yig.

#10 (March/April 1997): "Pazuzu's Children" by Jeffrey Thomas is a very impressive story which features Cthulhoid themes in Operation: Desert Storm. "The Stalker in the Snows" by myself weds the legend of the werewolf to Mythos themes. Stanley C. Sargent's "The Black Brat of Dunwich" is a very worthwhle re-telling of HPL's "The Dunwich Horror."

Midnight Shambler:

#3 (July 1996): "Mlan-Mar" by Donald R. Burleson is a very atmospheric Dreamlands-type tale. The very mysterious "Xa Shao" by Steven G. Mitchell concerns an ancient ruined citadel. Rod Heather's classically pulp-styled "The Crawling Kingdom" once again features the toad-god Tsathoggua.

#4 (November 1996): The Great Old Ones begin to take over the corporate world at large in "Conglomerate" by Jeffrey Thomas. "In The Lake at Garlock's Bend" by David Kaufman is a very atmospheric rural-type Lovecraftian tale. My own "Lord of Lizards" is another of my Mythos sword and sorcery tales.

#5 (March/April 1997): Peter Cannon's "It Was The Day of the Deep One" is a humorous tale rife with background information on that race's society and organization. "I Married a Shoggoth" by Jeffrey Thomas is, despite its nostalgic title, one of the freshest, most original tales you'll encounter in these publications (as are ALL of his, and Stanley Sargent's as well)! "Lovecraft's Sentence" by Joseph S. Pulver Sr. is a must-read for all of you who like to dabble in Mythos fiction (it should have been titled "Lovecraft's Revenge"!). Leon D. Wild's "U666" is a very intriguing moody piece concerning Nazi Germany in the closing days of WWII attempting to wield the power of the Great Old Ones.

Tales of Lovecraftian Horror:

#4 (November 1996): Stephen Mark Rainey's excellent "The Devil's Eye" is a sequel to his likewise fine "Fugue Devil" (from the collection bearing that title), but it stands on its own very well. Gerard Daniel Houarner's "The Yellow Play" is a tale of the King in Yellow. "The Reservoir" by Mollie L. Burleson takes its cue from HPL's "The Colour Out of Space."

#5 (March/April 1997): David Barker's "The Stone of Ubbo-Sathla" is an intriguing and exceptionally well-written tale. "Off-Season" by J. J. Travis is a very long and very Lovecraftian novellette. N. R. Bharathae's "Spirits in the Clay" is also very good, concerning eldritch family legacies.

There you have it, a brief overview of the series so far. And although they are all Mythos-oriented, most of the stories display a rich variety in theme -- as did HPL in his own stories, of course -- and all are still in print and well worth the money! And of course, each magazine features much more than what I've mentioned here: more stories and poetry, by the likes of Chad Hensley, Ann K. Schwader and Darrell Schweitzer.



© 1997 Edward P. Berglund
All reviews: © 1997 by their respective writers.
Graphics © 1997 Old Arkham Graphics Design. All rights reserved. Email to: Corey T. Whitworth.

Created: August 11, 1997; Current Update: August 9, 2004