From the Starry Wisdom Library: A Review of ‘Winter Tide’

One of the best bits of Lovecraftian lore I’ve read in the last 5 years was Ruthanna Emrys’ ‘The Legacy of Earth’. A novella about a Innsmouth Marsh who is living in San Francisco after World War II. Now anyone who’s read or talked to me any great degree knows I’m rather pro Deep One. Those last few paragraphs where Robert Olmsted talks of the wonder and glory of those living under the sea…it’s always had a special place in my swim bladder. So a story from the point of view of an Innsmouth native, I’m sold. I’ve sung the praises of this story before, so when I heard the author had a novel of the future adventures of Aphra Marsh, well I may have happy danced a bit.

Skip ahead to last Cthulhumas, and said author said ‘Hey I have ARCs, tell me about your Winter Solstice Traditions, and you may win one’. So I posted, and guess what, I won one. Yay for pre-reading preordered books. So, in thanks here is my quick review of ‘Winter Tide’.

After the events of ‘The Legacy of Earth’, Aphra is asked to return to Massachusetts to look into possible use of Aeonist magic by foreign powers. Shockingly, it’s at Miskatonic U, which is where most of the contents of the libraries of Innsmouth ended up. There is wild library usage, visited to relatives under the sea, flashbacks to life behind the wire, accidental magic usage by stupid college kids, Yithians being pissy, and the wild world of early Cold War spycraft. Yes, it sounds like it’s confusing and muddled from the above, but seriously it works together.

Now, if you think the Canon of Grandpa Theobald is the measure to all other tales, you’ll have issues. This isn’t Zadok Allen’s Innsmouth. To give you a non-spoiler, people in Innsmouth call the rocky island offshore ‘Union Reef’ not ‘Devil Reef’. The lead character is female and Innsmouthian, and spunky. The other characters in her investigation party are not classic Lovecraft W.A.S.P.s either. There’s no flinching at how sexism and racism was in 40’s New England, especially in universities. The worship of the Great Old Ones is basically no different than any other religion. Including that some people are just like everyone else, except their god has tentacles, and that others are complete maniacs and kill people. Pretty much like any religion I can mention… Belief isn’t evil, knowledge isn’t evil. Evil is what you choose to do with both.

Long paragraph short, if you want your deep ones evil, pass on this book. If you want to see things from a different point of view, give it a read. 4 out of 5 tentacles up. Winter Tide is due out on April 4th, 2017, for Kindle and Hardcover.

P.S. I preordered both the hardback and the kindle edition before I was sent the ARC. I still have them preordered, yes I enjoyed it enough to buy it when I got it for free.

From the Starry Wisdom Library: Return of the Old Ones

Adding a new feature of my blog, ‘From the Starry Wisdom Library’ aka where I talk about my favorite things in the world, books. So get your reading glasses and get into your favorite chair, and lets look at a book.

Cthulhu rises, the Deep Ones come ashore, the Whatleys finally let the Old Ones back into our world. So what happens next? This has been a question for the Mythos fandom for years, and a number of authors have taken a stab at it. Latest, from Dark Regions Press, is ‘Return of the Old Ones’. 19 stories in 3 sections, pre-apocalypse, as the tentacles hit, and life after the world as we know it ends.

First though, some disclaimers. One, Brian M. Sammons, the editor of the collection sent me an eARC in exchange for a fair review. Second, I’m not the biggest fan of post-apocalypse fiction, Cthulhu or no Cthulhu. I find the afterward of the end of the world to be kind of depressing, and I read Mythos as escapist fiction. (and yes, I know what kind of nut I sound like saying that).

But when I read the ToC, I knew I’d enjoy this collection. Favorites like Jeffrey Thomas, Tim Curran, and William Meikle, among many others. Honestly, even the authors that aren’t my ‘favorites’ are still ones I cheerfully will read in any collection. And you get all kinds of stories, from apartments full of cultists, and why conspiracy theorists might lead us to the apocalypse, to zombies from beyond space-time and DARPA vs Deep ones, to finally we go true post Cthulhu Singularity, with colonies hiding underground, or in the swamps, or even a truly bizarre story that is equal bits ‘Star Trek’, trans-humanistic, and bizarro. No matter how you view the Mythos, there will be stories you love, and others you enjoy. I did find this to be a collection I read in sections, as some of the stories were dark in a way that Mythos doesn’t generally hit for me.

Currently Dark Regions Press is doing an Indiegogo for this as well as two other collections, ‘You, Human’ which is dark scifi, and ‘The Children of Gla’aki’, a tribute to Ramsey Campbell. They will be released in retail format after the Indiegogo is complete, and the backers have gotten their goodies. I’ve backed a number of their crowdfundings in the past, and I’ve always enjoyed what I received. So if you like your Mythos dark, and your human meat-snacks on the run, I’d recommend ‘Return of the Old Ones’.

Oh, and while I don’t recommend judging a book by it’s cover, but check out the cover…

RotOO Cover