CTHULHU'S HEIRS, edited by Thomas M.K. Stratman

SCROLL OF THOTH, by Richard L. Tierney

CROSSROAD, by Barbara Hambly


CTHULHU'S HEIRS, edited by Thomas M. K. Stratman. Oakland: Chaosium Books, 1994. 270 pp. $9.95. ISBN 1-56882-013-5 (Chaosium Publication # 6003).

[Reviewed by Peter A. Worthy]

When I picked up Cthulhu's Heirs in my local bookshop, I was unaware of just what lay under the cover of the latest trade paperback from Chaosium. I had enjoyed the first two titles in the Cthulhu Cycle series and was delighted to see that this anthology contained new Mythos fiction. Although not nearly of the same stature of Disciples of Cthulhu, I am sure it will attain a position quite like Berglund's anthology.

It contains some really great new stuff and two reprints: 'The Death Watch' by Hugh B. Cave, which has only seen print in Weird Tales and the wonderful Carcosa Press book edited by the late Karl Edward Wagner, Murgunstrumm & Others; and the atmospheric and eerie 'The Franklyn Paragraphs' by Ramsey Campbell.

There is something in this book for everyone, from strange tales like 'Watch the Whiskers Sprout' by D. F. Lewis to the hilarious and brilliant 'Behold, I Stand at the Door and Knock' by the esteemed Robert M. Price; also a well written addition to the King in Yellow canon by Craig Anthony, 'Scene: A Room.' There is also the excellently atmospheric, 'Those of the Air' by Darrell Schweitzer & Jason Van Hollander.

As shown by the mention above not all these tales are 'strictly' Cthulhu Mythos tales. Tales here touch on various pieces of Lovecraft's creations: 'Pickman's Legacy' by Gordon Linzner deals with the influence of a piece of the Boston master's work; Arthur William Lloyd Breach's 'The Return of the White Ship' tells the tale of Basil Elton's grandson, Nathaniel and the mysterious ship.

This should be a definite addition to your collection.


SCROLL OF THOTH, by Richard L. Tierney, edited by Robert M. Price. Oakland: Chaosium Books, 1997. 369 pp. $12.95 (trade paperback). ISBN 1-56882-105-0 (Chaosium Publication
# 6015).

[Reviewed by Peter A. Worthy]

This is a big book -- not as big as Murgunstrumm & Others, granted, but it is the largest in the Cthulhu Cycle series from Chaosium so far (I may be wrong, please feel free to correct me) and is definitely good value for money. H.E. Fassl's distinctive artwork graces the cover and Dave Carson has done his usual good work on the interior art, though I would love to see those great end of story illos that graced the books until a little while ago.

Scroll of Thoth collects together twelve tales of Tierney's Samaritan magician, Simon of Gitta, a figure well known in Western occult traditions and sometimes acknowledged as the heretical father of Gnosticism. Bob Price has written a lengthy introduction dealing with Tierney, but mainly with the author's interpretation of Simon, as well as that of others.

These tales are swords and sorcery in the times of the corrupt Roman Empire; and utilizing the Mythos very well, it is never a crutch to the tales. Tierney has written some good, tight stories but some may be put off by the touch of the romantic as Simon yearns to be reunited with his True Spirit counterpart, Helen. I, though, found this not at all overlaboured and quite helpful in making the already grim Simon a touch more tragic.

Tierney has created some quite memorable characters in these tales too, the dying and vengeful mage, Tages of Rasena, the crow -- Carbo, Simon's one time mentor Dositheus, Meander, the High Priest of Ptah-Menophar, and the Deep One hybrid sorcerer, Daramos. In addition, the secret of True Spirits adds to the continuity of the tales.

Look out also for the cameo appearance of the late Karl Edward Wagner's creation, the cursed swordsman Kane. The Mystic Swordsman was to be in the tale originally, but after consultation with Wagner, who liked the story, Tierney nonetheless decided to change the character so as not to risk any continuity glitches. Since Wagner's unfortunate death there is little likelihood of this, so here for the first time is the original text of 'The Blade of the Slayer.'

This is going to be a book you'll either like or loathe, mainly due to the fact that it is swords and sorcery fiction, even if you are a Cthulhu Mythos collector. I enjoyed the historical settings of the stories and look forward to seeing if his unpublished Simon novel, The Drums of Chaos and 'The Gardens of Lucullus' (this latter in collaboration with Glenn Rahman) see print soon.

Oh yeah, if anyone could find me a copy of The WInds of Zarr and the story, 'The Wedding of Sheila-Na-Gog' I would be eternally grateful...)


CROSSROAD, by Barbara Hambly. New York: Pocket Books, 1994. 274 pp. $5.50 (paperback). ISBN 0-671-79323-3.

[Reviewed by James Ambuehl]

I've never read a Star Trek book before, nor for that matter a book by Hambly, but having heard much about this book I decided to strap on my phaser and beam on into its pages; to boldly go where ...

Anyway, don't get too excited: it's not by any stretch of the imagination a Cthulhu Mythos novel. But in its involving story of time paradoxes gone wrong (the Enterprise crew must save a band of freedom fighters from the future from a much more fascist future Federation -- and a member of Kirk's crew is actually responsible for said fascist Federation!) it includes in its cast of characters a creature called the yagghorth, which might have come from the pages of H. P. Lovecraft (from page 91):

"Past the dark of her shadow something gleamed, too shiny, like wet cellophane or scar tissue: a squamous black hide stretched over uneven slabs of bone, salted with tiny flashes of gold; exposed organs pulsing thickly within the shield of hooked ribs and barbed legs ... dripping masses of tentacles clustered at the front of the huge seahorse head."

And further, on page 92:

"... he could see the creature clearly now, well over two meters tall in its current down-slung position, but able to straighten, he guessed, to nearly twice that height, spiderlike legs tucked, vestigial wings half spread, the three heavy tentacles more closely resembling spinal columns in their bumpy joints than limbs."

What is more, the yagghorths possess the singular ability to create their own space-warps and jump bodily through them -- not too dissimilar to HPL's Outer Ones which he said flew through the aether on membranous wings.

And there is even mention of H. P. Lovecraft in regard to the yagghorth on page 12:

"Lao flinched. As well as he might, Kirk thought. He himself had never seen a yagghorth -- some ascribed the name to some ancient reader of H. P. Lovecraft in Starfleet, but there was disturbing evidence of other origins --"

Most interesting of all, the above quote suggests that even in the far future of Star Trek people are still recognizing the name Lovecraft -- and even reading him!

All in all, this is a fairly good read -- but in Lovecraftian terms, which we are of course concerned with here, it is an interesting curiosity, to be sure, but probably only for the Lovecraft completist.



[Reviewed by James Ambuehl]

Cthulhu has been sighted on the coast of Florida, and is making his way north!

Well, actually, Cthulhu Cultus has been born into the light of day from the vicinity of Florida, and is making its way not only north, but also abroad; contributor's copies of issues 7 and 8 made their way as far as England, Germany and New Zealand!

But what is Cthulhu Cultus? I'm glad you asked. Cthulhu Cultus is a unique magazine of Lovecraftian, or Cthulhu Mythos fiction. At first glance it may not look like much: it is a bare-bones photocopied affair with no uniform print-style ... in short, it looks kind of like those hallowed Mythos zines from the 70's, such as Nyctalops, Spoor Anthology and From Beyond the Dark Gateway (but without the great artwork by Spurgin, Pianfetti, Gelotte and others). But its style limitations are also part of what sets the magazine apart from others of its ilk. As a photocopied publication Cthulhu Cultus stresses story content over style. These stories don't need to be dressed up to look good because they are good! And best of all, again since it is photocopied, issues of Cthulhu Cultus will not go out of print -- ever!

So heed the Call of Cthulhu and try Cthulhu Cultus today! Every issue is a winner, of course, but I think I would have to personally recommend issues 4, 5, 7, 8 and 9 as having the most interesting and varied contents -- and there are some real standout stories to be found here!

You can order copies of Cthulhu Cultus directly from the publisher by sending $10 postpaid to:

Tani Jantsang
2804 West 6th Street
Lehigh Acres, FL 33971

Or you can obtain information for ordering them also from Mythos Books at the following e-mail address:

Or better still, why not get a free contributor's copy? As an ongoing regular magazine Cthulhu Cultus is very open to submissions. You can send a computer disk containing your submitted work to the above Florida address -- or since I have been made somewhat of an associate editor myself, please feel free to e-mail me your questions, comments or submissions (but NO ORDERS, PLEASE!) at:

And for a full list of the contents of the various issues of Cthulhu Cultus, see the Cthulhu Cultus Contents.



© 1998 Edward P. Berglund
All reviews: © 1998 by their respective writers. All rights reserved.
Graphic © 1998 Old Arkham Graphics Design. All rights reserved. Email to: Corey T. Whitworth.

Created: January 31, 1998; Updated: August 9, 2004