Since H.P. Lovecraft first invited colleagues such as Frank Belknap Long and Robert Bloch (among others) to join in his creation of what has come to be known as “The Cthulhu Mythos” (over Lovecraft’s less invocative name of “Yog-Sothery”), dozens of authors have tried their hand at adding to this vast tapestry with varying degrees of success. Some, like the then teen-aged Ramsey Campbell, used the Mythos as a starting point to his own career while still finding his own authorial voice (The Inhabitant of the Lake and Less Welcome Tenants, Arkham House 1964); others, like Stephen King and Neil Gaiman, did so at the height of their careers, paying homage to an author who had been such a tremendous inspiration to them. But no one, absolutely no one, has contributed such a body of brilliant and profoundly original work to the Mythos as has Caitlín R. Kiernan.
In this remarkable collection the author has selected over two dozen of her best Lovecraftian tales ranging from 2000s “Valentia” to her more recent classic “A Mountain Walked” as well as including the complete Dandridge Cycle, as well as a new story, “M Is for Mars.” In short, this is a cornerstone volume for Kiernan fans and Mythos devotees alike.
The thirty stories in this superior collection are remarkable for showing how harmoniously Kiernan's own visionary weird fiction resonates with the best cosmic horror tales of H.P. Lovecraft. Some selections, such as "Pickman's Other Model (1929)," are ingenious extensions of well-known Lovecraft works. Others, including "From Cabinet 34, Drawer 6" and "The Drowned Geologist (1898)," riff on the cosmic conspiracies rampant in Lovecraft's mythos fiction. In a clutch of tales that includes "So Runs the World Away" and "Love Is Forbidden, We Croak & Howl," Kiernan goes full gothic, elaborating a dark fantasy world populated by ghouls, vampires, and other eldritch beings. No matter how strange or outr the phenomena, Kiernan meticulously builds details into her stories that ground them in a believable reality, such as the paleontological data that evokes vast expanses of time in "A Mountain Walked" and the scientifically credible rendering of an extraterrestrial colony in the book's one new story, "M Is for Mars." This is a must-have for fans of Kiernan's work or the Cthulhu Mythos.