Nightscapes -- Where the dark of night meets the reality of day


"Codex Arcana: A First Look . . .", by James Ambuehl
CULTS ACROSS AMERICA, designed by Jeff Tidball
THE EARLY CANNON, by Peter H. Cannon
SPAWN OF THE OLD ONES #'s 1 - 3, compiled by Todd H.C. Fischer
AVATARS OF THE OLD ONES, by Jeffrey Thomas
NIGHTMARE'S DISCIPLE, by Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.

CODEX ARCANA: A First Look . . ., by James Ambuehl. Dark Horse Comics. April 1999. $2.95.

This was originally posted in the alt.horror.cthulhu newsgroup.

Cover illustration © Dark Horse Comics, Inc.

I just picked up Dark Horse Presents # 142, Codex Arcana (A Tribute to H.P. Lovecraft) (Whew! That's a mawful!), and thought you all might appreciate some observations upon it.

All right, the first story is Mike Mignola's "The Bookroom Horror," introducing the newest 'Sherlock Holmes of the Mythos' (inheriting the role from Laban Shrewsbury and Titus Crow, one presumes) and it's nice to see that Dr. Coffin (not to be confused with Charlton's Prof. Coffin -- he seems more in the mold of the ultra-cool Dr. Graves, actually) resembles the dearly-departed Jeremy Brett. Unfortunately, the artwork itself is in the scrawled vein of Hellboy -- which I'm guessing you either love or hate, depending on your own preferences. Hellboy: Seed of Destruction had an intriguing storyline, but unfortunately the madly-scrawled semi-simplistic artwork distracted me too much from the full enjoyment of it. Still, this is a shorter story here, so perhaps the chaotic artwork distraction doesn't really have a chance to intrude much? The story, though, now that is very imaginative!

OK, next we have "Worm Song" by Scott Allie, which, again unfortunately, the artwork bugs me. It's more realistic than Ryan Sook's in the first story, but for some reason it fails to impress. The story was nothing special either.

Lastly, we have Welles Hartley's "The Keyhole," which is rightly drawn by Vince Giarrano in the amazing style of simply the best ever Lovecraftian artist and author rolled into one: the one and only Tom Sutton! If you've thrilled to such classics as "Through A Glass, Darkly," "Mountain of Fear" and "Baku the Dream-Eater," you will surely enjoy "The Keyhole." In fact, this story could have come straight from the pages of Charlton's Haunted, Ghostly Tales, Monster Hunters and similar titles -- and that is a compliment indeed, if you've ever had the pleasure to page through a three-foot high stack of those issues combing for the true gems like I have. You know, Dark Horse could do far worse than to give Tom Sutton a contract to reprint some of his classic Lovecraftian horror works -- along with some new ones, of course. They already seem to have a cornerstone spot on such Cthulhoid markets, with such Mythos-influenced (Love)craftsmen as the afore-mentioned Mignola and Kelley Jones, whose The Hammer is surely not to be missed!

But if you are still not convinced to seek out Codex Arcana, then let me tell you about the back cover, which is a beautifully-printed advertisement for Stephen Hickman's Cthulhu statue -- which at the $100 price-tag, let me just say that I am very grateful for the detailed photo thereof. Even more intriguing is a corner photo of Bowen Designs' Lovecraft bust, forthcoming. Very nice stuff, indeed!

Bravo again, Dark Horse -- and kudos to all involved!


Cover illustrations © Strange Aeons

STRANGE AEONS #'s 1 - 5, edited by Calum Iain MacIver. High Land Press, 1997-1998. 28 pp, 24 pp, 28 pp, 28 pp, 28 pp (page counts include covers). 1.50 each.

[Reviewed by Edward P. Berglund]

Calum Iain MacIver, the editor of Strange Aeons, is to be congratulated for producing this Lovecraftian publication. Its main thrust is comic strip adaptations of Lovecraft's stories, ostensibly in sequential order. In the first five issues, we have "Dagon" and "Polaris" (# 1), "The Tomb" (# 2), "Beyond the Wall of Sleep" (# 3), "The Doom That Came to Sarnath" (# 4), and "The Statement of Randolph Carter" (# 5). Strange Aeons may seem a tad slim to some, but the adaptations take up the bulk of the pages.

Calum, dissatisfied with the professionally produced comic adaptations, is "determined to avoid this [free adaptations in which only the plot device remains - epb] and attempt to use the full impact of Lovecraft's prose, telling the tales more-or-less exactly as originally written. To complement Lovecraft's dense prose style, I have therefore attempted to use an artistic technique as equally packed and dense ..." I think that every Lovecraft reader plays a movie in their head when they read one of his stories, picturing how they think it would look. In reading (and looking) and Calum's adaptations, it's like reading Lovecraft and seeing someone else's movie. The first issue came out in August 1997 and the fifth one in Autumn 1998. Whether Calum had been doing these adaptations for his own enjoyment and then decided to publish them, or he's doing them as each issue comes due, the artwork has steadily gotten better. The artwork for his first adaptation, "Dagon," at times seems to be a little muddy. But this could be the effect of "the primitive reproductive technology at [his] disposal." I, for one, think it's better than some of the professional comic work being done by the major publishers in the US. Keep up the good work, Calum. And we must mention that the storylines themselves are true to the original stories. No free adaptations here! But that doesn't mean that Calum's imagination doesn't come to the fore. Remember, it's his movie were watching.

Along with the adaptations we also find how Calum thinks Lovecraft's works have been treated by the cinema, reviews, a short essay on the Richard Shaver Mystery (which appeared in the 1940's in Amazing Stories), relating it to Lovecraft's work (# 1), a look at the "snuff" films (# 2), the first two chapters of Calum's prose story, "The Haunter of the Glen" (#'s 3 & 4), a look at the Marvel horror anthology comics (# 3), "Cosmicism and Irrationality," an essay on Lovecraft by Robert MacKay (# 4). In the fifth issue, Calum also included a comic strip entitled "Callanish," which is supposed to combine elements of Lovecraft's Mythos and Celtic mythology, coming together "in a ragged comic-strip 'tone poem'. Celtic stylings, inexplicable visions and one word of dialogue."

Seeing the prices of some of the stuff coming out in the small press, Calum's offerings are well worth their asking price and worth the time and effort to acquire them. Recommended.

You may obtain these fanzines from High Land Press, 1 Brookside, Clachamish, Portree, Isle of Skye IV51 9NY, Scotland or contact the editor at Calum Iain MacIver.


CULTS ACROSS AMERICA: The Board Game of Cthulhoid Domination, designed by Jeff Tidball. Box and board illustrations by Toren Atkinson (uncredited). Roseville, MN: Atlas Games, 1998. 16 p. rulebook, game board, 112 cards, 384 counters, and 2 dice. $44/95. ISBN 1-887801-63-4.

Cover illustration © Trident, Inc.

[Reviewed by Edward P. Berglund]

If you have ever played one of the board war games, e.g. Squad Leader, and you are a Lovecraft fan, then you should really enjoy playing Cults Across America, which is subtitled "The Board Game of Cthulhoid Domination." The purpose of the game is to control a bunch of religious fanatics and eventually dominate the entire US of A. There are three different ways to play the game. First, there is the Standard Game, which is "intended for players who don't mind taking a few hours to play a game ..., even if means their painstakingly enacted strategic schemes are occasionally foiled by a player who manages to win the Mythos 500." Second, there is the Strategic Game, similar to the Standard Game, but removing "really weird stuff. It allows more conventional board gamers to concentrate on sane strategies and not get too disturbed by wandering madness." And finally, third, there is the Bloodbath Scenario, described as "Cults Across America on steroids." The victory conditions for the latter are very simple -- "you win by stomping the hell out of anything that's not on your side." Now that's fairly simple, isn't it?

This isn't a really complicated game, for there are only 8 pages of rules (and they're indexed on the back cover of the rule booklet!). They are pretty straight forward, as board game rules go (for a war-type game). There are 1 pages of scenarios, one for each type of game, and two pages of examples of play. The examples are straight forward as well, but I definitely recommend going over the rules before going through the examples.

The game materials are well-constructed, as they should be for a game to be played many times. My only complaint is with the game board itself. It is done on a heavy, flexible board and has been folded twice to conform to the size of the box. The only problem is that there is some trouble in getting it to lay flat. You may have to tape it down (I would recommend putting the tape on the back side, depending on the type of tape you use).

After reading all of the various Mythos stories, it is relaxing to play the bad guys and win -- if only for an hour or so. If you're into board games, I would recommend you get this one. It's not as serious as Chaosium's The Arkham Horror, but, then again, it wasn't meant to be serious. The price may be a little high, but then if you want a regularly priced game, buy from Parker Bros. or Milton Bradley -- but I don't think you'll see them pushing cult domination of the country. Recommended.

You may obtain this game from Atlas Games.


THE THING IN THE BATHTUB AND OTHER LOVECRAFTIAN TALES: The Early Cannon Volume One, by Peter H. Cannon. Cover by Jason C. Eckhardt. West Hills, CA: Tsathoggua Press, 1997. 35 pp. $6.00. ISBN 1-887968-03-2.

TALES OF LOVECRAFTIAN HORROR AND HUMOR: The Early Cannon Volume Two, by Peter H. Cannon. Cover by Jason C. Eckhardt. West Hills, CA: Tsathoggua Press, 1997. 53 pp. $6.00. ISBN 1-887968-04-0.

Cover illustrations © Peter H. Cannon.

[Reviewed by Edward P. Berglund]

If you are like most people, you don't just read Cthulhu Mythos stories. In fact, too many at one sitting can be kind of jading. But instead of going to a general horror novel or some other genre or even nonfiction, why not try some humor. The Early Cannon is definitely humorous, but there are some serious moments (in Vol. 2). Well, I guess I shouldn't actually say "humorous," for the items in these two booklets are definitely parodies. (Some critics consider the Lovecraftian pastiche as being a parody.)

The items in Vol. 1 originally appeared in the Esoteric Order of Dagon amateur press association in the late 70's. Peter Cannon created his fictitious author of "Howard Ashton Howard", using the first, second, and third names of the Three Musketeers of Weird Tales (Howard Phillips Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, and Robert E. Howard). In "The Thing in the Bathtub," Cannon has used transparent pseudonyms for members of the EOD, and the narrator is one "P.H. Kanon." The next story, "From Below," is a posthumous collaboration between H.A. Howard and Amos Stark, Howard's self-appointed publisher. (Ring any bells?) Then we have Stark's essay on Howard, "H.A. Howard: His Own Most Mediocre Creation," rounded out by "The Pop Festival," a parody of attendance at the First World Fantasy Convention. What Cannon has done here, is provide a parody of the Lovecraft publishing phenomenon, and a grand job it is.

One item which I wish to note is that in "The Thing in the Bathtub," Cannon mentions that "The Events at the Pyatigorsk Collective Farm" by N.E.D. Cabot appeared in Nyctalops # 8. Of course, this is referring to "The Events at Poroth Farm" by T.E.D. Klein. When it was reprinted in The Year's Best Horror Stories: II it was noted as having been published in Nyctalops; however, it's actual first publication was in From Beyond the Dark Gateway # 1. Even in parody, Cannon perpetuates this mistake. (It makes me wonder whether Klein ever got his contributor's copy!)

Vol. 2 starts out with the introduction to Cannon's "The Madness Out of Space" and the prologue to his Pulptime. The former story is available in Robert M. Price's The New Lovecraft Circle (Fedogan & Bremer). (I'm not sure if the latter is still available or not.) These are followed with two essays, parodying essays originally written by Lovecraft. Cannon's "New York Stories" are fairly serious, but not as serious as the aforementioned "The Madness Out of Time." And the volume is rounded out with Cannon's contributions to two round robins, "Saucers from Yaddith" and "Herbert West: Reanimated." Bob Price started these two round robins in a serious mode. The former became parody with Cannon's concluding segment and the former went downhill as soon as it left Price's hand. In fact, Price rewrote "Saucers" as a serious story (under his own byline) and it was published in Etchings and Odysseys.

The majority of the work here is parody, with a few serious notes now and then. This is work that Cannon will probably not be remembered for, but, then again, it is his "early" work. These two booklets are recommended reading as being examples of a writer's developing style preceding such work as Pulptime, Scream for Jeeves, and his serious stories in some of the Chaosium collections.

These two booklets can be ordered through Tsathoggua Press.


CORRELATED CONTENTS, by James Ambuehl. Fan Mythos Series edited by Robert M. Price. Cover and interior illustrations by Jeffrey Thomas. Joplin, MO: Mythos Books, 1998. 97 pp. $7.99. ISBN 0-9659433-2-1.

Cover illustration © Jeffrey Thomas.

[Reviewed by Edward P. Berglund]

This collection of the Cthulhu Mythos work of James Ambuehl is the first volume in "The Fan Mythos Series" edited by Robert M. Price. As such, Price and David Wynn of Mythos Books are to be commended in gathering together the Cthulhu Mythos stories from the fanzines that almost nobody can find a copy of anymore. Future volumes are by W.H. Pugmire, Stanley C. Sargent, and E.P. Berglund.

In my review of From Between the Star-Spaces (NS # 9), I stated about James Ambuehl's work that "He gets an idea for a story -- possibly the ending -- and writes only so much of a story that will get him to the ending." Bob Price, in his introduction, has thought this element of Ambuehl's work through and also provides the reasoning why fan fiction is so neglected. "Since the fanzine or small press writer can be sure he is among friends, at least among those who speak the same language, all attempts at gradually convincing the reader to take seriously the supernatural, or specifically the Mythos, are rendered superfluous and thrown aside." And, later, "They [the writers] disdain to spend more than half the story getting to the fun part. You're already there or you wouldn't be reading a Mythos fanzine, would you?" This would seem to be the downfall of the shared world stories in the small press, wouldn't it? But, no, they continue to be written by new writers under the influence of the master, H.P. Lovecraft.

Whereas Ambuehl's previous collection was mostly work that had been written for the Internet, this collection goes back to his beginnings when he was publishing fiction in the Esoteric Order of Dagon amateur press association [them again?]. But one story has appeared on the Internet and two stories are original to this collection. In his previous collection, there were ten stories, ranging from one page to four and a half pages. This collection only has six stories, but they range from ten to twenty pages in length, making them much meatier and more appetizing.

All but one of the six stories takes place in Ambuehl's Braving, Minnesota, mileiu. The Braving stories expand the folklore of his town to the point where one would not want to live there! But there is more. Ambuehl wasn't content to just create his own mileiu, a la Ramsey Campbell, but he had to create his own books, characters, and beasties that go bump in the night -- what Ambuehl calls the Lu-Kthu Mythos. The fun in these stories, besides the reading of them, is the cross-fertilization from other Mythos writer's creations. (The shared world of the Cthulhu Mythos is, indeed, an incestuous place.)

All of the stories in this collection are well-written and recommended reading. "Sculpture" is about an artist inadvertently bringing his creation to life. Well, not actually his creation, since he was doing a sculpture of Volgna-Gath. "The Snake-Farm" takes place well away from Ambuehl's Braving, MN. "The Stalker in the Snows" is from Ambuehl's days in the EOD and still stands up there nicely. "The Terror of Toad Lake," of course, originally appeared in Nightscapes # 1. "The Deep Lord Awakens" (original to this collection) is about a painting of the same name and how the artist discovers he can use the painting to open a gateway. The final story (also original) in the collection, which is the low point of the collection -- and not really that low, is the title story, "Correlated Contents." It seems that it was heavily influenced by Ramsey Campbell's "Among the pictures are these:" Whereas Campbells "pictures" seemed to interrelate with each other, Ambuehl's "contents" are separate and distinct from each other, with only the molding of the framing letter to cement them together. Still, all in all, a fair representation of the things that are done in the Fan Mythos.

And we mustn't forget the artwork here by Jeffrey Thomas. All of his renditions are good representations of the images evoked by reading Ambuehl's prose. Not necessarily the same images that I see in my mind's eye, but close enough.

As said before, this collection is highly recommended if you are a Fan Mythos enthusiast.

Contact David Wynn at Mythos Books for ordering information.


SPAWN OF THE OLD ONES: A Mythosian Index of the Third Generation of Lovecraftian Initiates, compiled by Todd H.C. Fischer. Front cover by Daniel Alan Ross, back cover by Toreg G. Atkinson. Interior illustrations by John Burridge, Todd H.C. Fischer, D.L. Hutchinson, Dan Ross, Stanley C. Sargent, Gary Thomas, and Jeffrey Thomas. Scarborough, Ontario: Imelod Publications, 1998. 80 pp. $5.25 (US)/$7.00 (CAN).

Cover illustration © Daniel Alan Ross.

SPAWN OF THE OLD ONES 2, compiled by Todd H.C. Fischer. Cover by Dave Carson. Interior illustrations by Todd H.C. Fischer, Dave Carson, Rebecca Kemp, Allen Koszowski, Mike Minnis, and D. Ian Rogers. Scarborough, Ontario: Mythosian, 1999. 80 pp. $3.75 (US)/$5.00 (CAN).

Cover illustration © Dave Carson.

SPAWN OF THE OLD ONES 3, compiled by Todd H.C. Fischer. Cover by Eric York. Interior illustrations by Ben P. Indick, Adrian M. Kleinbergen, Peter A. Worthy and Eric York. Scarborough, Ontario: Mythosian, 1999. 80 pp. $3.75 (US)/$5.00 (CAN).

Cover illustration © Eric York.

[Reviewed by Edward P. Berglund]

Do you know who the people are that are now working in the Cthulhu Mythos genre? Even if you can answer that question with a yes, do you know anything about them, besides their work? And we're not just talking about fiction writers here. We're also talking about poets, musicians, artists, roleplaying gamers, movie makers, bookstore owners, what-have-you. The Cthulhu Mythos has truly become a multimedia shared world, a term that wasn't even in existence when the Lovecraft Circle were writing their tales of old tentacle-face.

Todd Fischer has provided ready reference compilations for the current movers in the Cthulhu Mythos. Not only do you get to find out information about each of the creators, but also a bibliography of where there work appeared, and how you can contact them. And some of the artists have allowed Todd to include examples of the work. The price for each booklet is well worth it, considering the amount of information you get, information directly from the creators themselves.

# 1 includes 26 creators, such as James Ambuehl, Richard Corben, Daniel Harms, Robert M. Price, W.H. Pugmire, Stanley C. Sargent, Franklyn Searight, Michael Tice, and Aaron Vanek. # 2 includes 18 creators, such as Dave Carson, Margaret L. Carter, Don D'Ammassa, Keith Herber, and S.T. Joshi. # 3 includes 21 creators, such as Donald R. Burleson, Walter C. DeBill, Jr., C. J. Henderson, Michael C. LaBossiere, Joseph S. Pulver, Sr., and Ann K. Schwader.

These booklets are high recommended for the Cthulhu Mythos fan, and should be placed up there beside Daniel Harms's Encylcopedia Cthulhiana and Chris Jarocha-Ernst's A Cthulhu Mythos Bibliography & Concordance.

These booklets can be obtained from Todd Fischer, 406-1540 Victoria Pk. Ave., Scarborough, Ontario, M1L 4S1, Canada.


AVATARS OF THE OLD ONES, by Jeffrey Thomas. Cover by Jeffrey Thomas. Interior illustrations by Todd H.C. Fischer. Scarborough, Ontario: Mythosian, 1999. 48 pp. $3.25 (US)/$5.00 (CAN).

Cover illustration © Jeffrey Thomas.

[Reviewed by Edward P. Berglund]

Here we have three Cthulhu Mythos tales by Jeffrey Thomas, with an introduction by W.H. Pugmire. It is only fitting that Pugmire write an introduction to these tales, as the first tale, "Through Obscure Glass," takes place in his own Sesqua Valley. Although Thomas's tale is not in the realm of the shortness of Pugmire's tales, he does seem to have captured the essence of the Sesqua Valley, with its born-there inhabitants not willing to live elsewhere (of if they have moved out, they return) and the visitors that are not really welcomed with open arms. There is a resignation in the characters's makeup, a resignation that this is the way things are and this is how they always will be. The fun is watching them try to change things!

"Corpse Candles" relates the antagonism between two brothers, overlaid with the Mythos. The only saving grace for this story is Detective Grange, who investigates the death of one of the brothers. By the end of the story he doesn't seem to know much more than he did when he started his investigation.

The title story, "Avatars of the Old Ones," is a sequel to "Bones of the Old Ones," which appeared in a previous collection by Jeffrey. It has been a couple of years since I read the first story, and I decided to give this story a chance to stand on its own. It does so admirably.

Whereas the interior illustrations by Todd Fischer seem amateurish and could have been left out of this booklet, the cover illustration by Jeffrey Thomas is quite a piece! Just looking at the different elements of it, I can envisage a story forming using this illustation as inspiration.

Overall, this collection is recommended for Jeffrey's first and third stories and his cover illustration. His tales are not your normal Mythos tales.

This booklet can be obtained from Todd Fischer, 406-1540 Victoria Pk. Ave., Scarborough, Ontario, M1L 4S1, Canada.


STRANGE REVELATIONS, by Todd H.C. Fischer. Cover and interior artwork by Larry Dickison. Scarborough, Ontario: Mythosian, 1999. 56 pp. $3.25 (US)/$5.00 (CAN).

Cover illustration © Larry Dickison.

[Reviewed by Edward P. Berglund]

This collection is subtitled "Mythosia and Lovecraftiana." Which is which is a completely subjective interpretation. However, the first story, "The Revelations of Alexander Dyer," is a science fiction story and, at the same time, a Mythos story to end all Mythos stories. If after reading this one, you were to find yourself in a Mythos story, you would probably rather just roll over and play dead!

"The Maleficent Seven (Or, Cthulhu and the Indians)" and "A Drink at Shub's" are, obviously, parodies, but worth reading. "Eviserous Emanations" is a tale of a writer's creations becoming reality. "Arkham" is a short tale in which the narrator finds out that Lovecraft's stories are closer to truth than fiction, at least some of them.

The last story in the collection, "Old Idols," is a very iffy one. It's definitely science fiction, but whether it is Mythos or just Lovecraftian is hard to say. Overall it is a good story, told from viewpoints of the members of two different races.

There are also four Mythos-related poems and two other stories, one Lovecraftian and one a fantasy.

Larry Dickison's artwork is nice, if not as crisp-looking as it should be. Compared with the cover illustration, the interiors seem to have been done by somebody else. Possibly Todd had the cover in hand and the rest were sent via the Internet?

Overall, a nicely done booklet which will give you a hour or so of reading pleasure, as Todd's prose reads nicely. Recommended.

This booklet can be obtained from Todd Fischer, 406-1540 Victoria Pk. Ave., Scarborough, Ontario, M1L 4S1, Canada.


NIGHTMARE'S DISCIPLE, by Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.. Cover by Lissanne Lake. Interior illustrations by Thomas Brown and Dave Carson. Oakland: Chaosium Books, 1999. 400 pp. $14.95. ISBN 1-56882-118-2.

Cover illustration © Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.

[Reviewed by Edward P. Berglund]

And, finally, Chaosium has published their first Cthulhu Mythos novel, and a hefty one at that. We can only hope that this sells well so that they will consider other novels for publication, not necessarily just by Pulver.

Somebody way back when decided that if you write a Cthulhu Mythos story that your protagonist and/or antagonist must have a first name, a middle name, and a last name. Pulver has gone along with this convention. He starts out his novel with letting us know that his villain is Gregory Bradshaw Marsh. And then we find that the protagonist, a police detective, is called Christopher James Stewart.

What Pulver has done is married the novel of a serial killer to the Cthulhu Mythos. At first I thought I was going to be reading an imitation of Ghoul by Michael Slade, whose serial killer was obsessed with the works of H.P. Lovecraft. But there the similarity to Slade's novel ends. The novel slides back and forth between the viewpoints of the detective and the killer, one based in seeming reality and the other in dark fantasy, with never a jarring note in the transitions. We are never sure until very late in the novel whether Marsh's obsession with Lovecraft is delusional or if it is truly reality.

Pulver dedicated his novel, in part, to Robert Bloch, Lin Carter, and Brian Lumley. But he also took a page from Jack the Ripper. After a recent murder, Marsh sends a letter to a reporter, who passes it on to the police. Embedded in the letter is Alhazred's mystic couplet (you all know what that is!). Someone makes the connection to Lovecraft and it is up to Stewart to get up to speed.

Now at the time, he is only trying to understand the motivations of the serial killer -- a psychological profile. Understanding how a killer thinks can be one step toward capturing him. And through the auspices of the owners of The Horror Corner, Stewart is brought up to speed fast. Another reviewer referred to this as asking about something concerning the Mythos and getting a data dump for an answer. The Mythos is a major part of this novel, but the information about the Mythos is not forced upon the reader by the omniscient narrator, but through conversations about a fictional mythology that somebody -- the serial killer -- takes very seriously.

Overall, I will quote Pulver: "Fact or fiction? Truth or delusion? Of course, the reader is kept in suspense." And Pulver does an admirable job in this regard, protracting the duel between the detective and the killer, while maintaining a fine sense of pace, knowing just when to change the narrative viewpoint.

I highly recommend this novel to all readers of the Cthulhu Mythos, or even to readers of serial-killer novels. There have been mystery novels about comic books and postage stamps, and the background has to be given to the reader or s/he won't know what the big deal is. Buy this one! Robert M. Price has been doing Mythos readers a great service with his theme anthologies, but let's hope that Chaosium Books decides to do more novels of this calibre.

You can obtain this at Buy the Book Today!, Buy the Book Today!, Buy the Book Today!.


A CTHULHU MYTHOS BIBLIOGRAPHY & CONCORDANCE, by Chris Jarocha-Ernst. Cover by John T. Synder. Seattle: Armitage House, 1999. 466 pp. $27.95. ISBN 1-887797-01-7.

Cover illustration © John T. Synder.

[Reviewed by Edward P. Berglund]

This one has been a lo-o-o-ng time a-comin'. But it's finally here. Previous versions of Chris' bibliography have been circulating on the Internet for quite some time. But we now have the updated version, along with a concordance of all of the Mythos terms that appear in the material dealing with the Cthulhu Mythos. Chris has only included fiction, poetry, and some nonfiction material (pseudofactual material and letters) and he only includes the first place of publication. Even so, this small-print trade paperback book comes out at a whopping 466 pages!

No bibliography of the Cthulhu Mythos can be completely objective in scope. And Chris' bibliography is no exception. It is completely subjective, but at least he lays down the ground rules for what's included herein. You know where he's coming from. In some instances, he varies from using the first place of publication, when a later place of publication is more obtainable. And he has also included numerous entries that have only appeared on the Internet, but he does give the URL for their location. Unfortunately, we all know that URLs change at the speed of light. Here today and gone tomorrow.

Along with the bibliography, Chris has included a concordance of the entries, so that you can find every story that has used a particular Mythos element. Unfortunately, there is no way of telling whether a particular item in a story is just mentioned in passing or is germaine to the plot of the story. Possibly in the next edition we could get Chris to put those items that are germaine to the story in bold print. A lot of work, I realize, but it would really be useful. How many stories do you know that mention "Cthulhu" is passing? But, then again, you can make note of all of the appearances of a particular Mythos element, put them in chronological order, and see how the element has been developed over the years.

In case you happen to remember the name of the story, but not the author, Chris also provides a listing of the stories by title. And there is a listing of writers who have done Mythos material under pseudonyms (where known) or in collaboration with another writer. In other words, if you were to look up Edward Paul Berglund's work (that's me!) under my name, you wouldn't find all of the Mythos material I have worked on. You would also have to look under the listings for James Ambuehl, Crispin Burnham, Boyd E. Pearson, and Peter A. Worthy.

I highly recommend that you get a copy of this bibliography/concordance. This is truly a labor of love and one no self-respecting Mythos fan should be without.

You can obtain this at Buy the Book Today!, Buy the Book Today!.



© 1999 Edward P. Berglund
All reviews: © 1999 by their respective writers. All rights reserved.
Graphics © 1999 Erebus Graphic Design. All rights reserved. Email to: James V. Kracht.

Created: August 17, 1999; Updated: August 9, 2004