September 5th, 2010

breaking bad

Lovecraft Unbound

I keep looking for good modern horror writing but I don't often find it. I just picked up a short story anthology, edited by Ellen Datlow, called Lovecraft Unbound. It's much better than I expected, and hopefully it will point me towards some writers who are doing good work in the genre.

I thought it would be a bunch of modern stories within or reinterpreting the Cthulhu mythos. It's better than that. The stories all reflect some of the principles that underlay HPL's work - that there are forces that are more powerful than us, but not well disposed to us, that horrors may be glimpsed but not understood, that insanity and knowing the truth are quite similar to each other - and many use Lovecraftian tropes such as an Antarctic setting. However they do not have the HPL prose style (some may think that a mercy) or the detailed mythos.

There are stories by Michael Chabon, nihilistic_kid and Joyce Carol Oates, but most of the writers I don't know - mostly work in American dark fiction I guess. The quality of writing is high, so these are some writers whose work I will now chase up. I might do a story by story review in a bit.

Prior to this, I think the best modern Lovecraft spinoff I have read is A Colder War by Charles Stross. That's well worth a read.