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.