Britain's First Cthulhean Author

COLD PRINT by Ramsey Campbell, 1987 “Cold Print” is a collection of short stories by British horror master, Ramsey Campbell, all on Lovecraftian themes. About half of them are his early stories from the 60s, one is from 1976, and the rest come from the 80s. As I had already read the two best stories in this volume, the collection seemed like Campbell's second best work. But that's hardly fair. All the stories are good; “The Tugging” and “Cold Print” are exceptionally good and the most original. Lovecraft's stories might come across as quaint bits of New England in the 1920s, but Campbell's world is very modern and very grimy. He takes the commonplace events in our world and makes them si

Stolen by Steel

ROGUE by Danielle Steel, 2008 As I recall, the conversation with one of my more literate friends went like this: Mike: "Have you ever read Danielle Steel?" Me: "I... don't think so. She writes romances." Mike: "No. She writes literature. Her books cover the gamut of human experience. She's the best selling author in the world today." Me: "Oh. OK, I'l have to give her a try." Soon after, I came across one of Steel's books, "Rogue". Always willing to have my assumptions proved wrong and anxious to find another great storyteller, I dove in. Wow. Talk about bad. The reader is told that the title character is a great guy but something of a Peter Pan—he refuses to grow up. Told, mind you, not show

The Doctor is In

John Silence, Physician Extraordinary by Algernon Blackwood, 1908 While the John Silence stories might be the victim of the writing style of the Edwardian era, the character of John Silence is not. As a hero he is admirable. He uses his brain and his psychic abilities, not his fists and not a gun. I can't help but compare "Ancient Sorceries" to HP Lovecraft's "Shadow Over Innsmouth". As Lovecraft was a fan of Blackwood's, I have no doubt that "Innsmouth" was a redo or updating of "Sorceries". It's all there, the realization that the town is filled with cultists in animal form, the nocturnal rituals, even the escape. But Lovecraft wisely realized that seafood is scarier than cats! But don

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