Mapping the Terrain of Used and Rare Books
“The Mammoth Book of Cthulhu” is indeed mammoth, but bigger is not always better, as they say. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by S.T. Joshi’s amazing “Black Wings” series, or maybe I’ve just read too much Lovecraftian fiction. Either way, most of these stories come off as being pretty bland.
There are notable exceptions. “The Peddler’s Tale…” by the always wonderful Caitlin R. Kiernan; “An Open Letter to Mr. Edgar Allan Poe…” by the late Michael Shea, just to give two examples. But overall the stories seem self-indulgent. Using the guise of “Mythos Fiction” to just ramble on.
Most Lovecraftion anthologies seem to rely too much on mentions of the honored author’s specific locales or deities: Cthulhu, Azathoth, Shub-Niggurath, Arkham, Dunwich, Innsmouth – Just to name a few.
But for some reason this specific anthology is lacking in such classic Lovecraft references. It feels as if most authors are using the book as a house for their lesser-ramblings and the editor is somewhere in the Other Room.
All in all the book is entertaining enough, but, compared to similar volumes, a bit tedious. There are enough Lovecraftian collections out there, and this one would be low on my list.