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[Anthology Review] Lovecraft’s Monsters Edited By Ellen Datlow & Boca Java Spiced Vanilla Bean Coffee

Lovecraft's MonstersTitle: Lovecraft’s Monsters
Series/Universe: Standalone
Authors: Ellen Datlow, Stefan Dziemianowicz, Neil Gaiman, Joe R. Lansdale, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Laird Barron, Kim Newman, Elizabeth Bear, Nick Mamatas, Nadia Bulkin, Gemma Files, Howard Waldrop, Steven Utley, Karl Edward Wagner, Thomas Ligotti, William Browning Spencer, Brian Hodge, Fred Chappel, Steve Rasnic Tem, and John Langan
Editor: Ellen Datlow
Publisher: Tachyon Publications
Publication date: April 15th 2014
Page Count: 432 pages
Age Rating: NA & Up (blood, gore, violence, disturbing imagery, mild sexual references)
How I got my hot little hands on it: Received a copy to review
Publisher’s page: Lovecraft’s Monsters

Prepare to meet the wicked progeny of the master of modern horror. In Lovecraft’s Monsters, H. P. Lovecraft’s most famous creations—Cthulhu, Shoggoths, Deep Ones, Elder Things, Yog-Sothoth, and more, appear in all their terrifying glory. Each story is a gripping new take on a classic Lovecraftian creature, and each is accompanied by a spectacular original illustration that captures the monsters’ unique visage.

Contributors include such literary luminaries as Neil Gaiman, Joe R. Lansdale, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Karl Edward Wagner, Elizabeth Bear, and Nick Mamatas. The monsters are lovingly rendered in spectacular original art by World Fantasy Award–winning artist John Coulthart (The Steampunk Bible).

Legions of Lovecraft fans continue to visit his bizarre landscapes and encounter his unrelenting monsters. Now join them in their journey…if you dare.

My Review

I’ve only ever been a casual fan of Lovecraft, having never delved much into his work or Mythos, but I love his monsters – their intense otherness, the fear of the unknowable they strike in the heart of readers. An anthology paying homage to these monsters, kicked off with the work of Neil Gaiman, was a perfect fit for me.

First off, this is a monster of a collection (pun not intended, but I like it so it stays 😉 ) with 16 full stories and 2 poems (all with some fantastically done original artwork that really helps you visualize these sometimes unfathomable creatures), plus a very useful Monster Index in the back.

The stories range in size from a few pages to several chapters long and take place in a range of locations (mostly American locations, but a few notable others) and even different time periods. The one thing all the works have in common is the presence of at least one of Lovecraft’s monsters and the madness and mayhem they bring with them.

This was a very entertaining collection, full of well-written works. The good amount of variety being presented in this collection should allow most everyone to find something they like – I was partial to the works featuring Innsmouth and the “Deep Ones” and was moved to go read the original tale which inspired them: “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” (which is brilliant FYI).

A great choice for fans of H. P. Lovecraft, those who are simply just fans of his incredible monsters, or those who have little to no familiarity with either and would like to get a taste of the infamous Cthulhu Mythos.

My favorite story in this collection was the last one, “Children of the Fang” by John Logan, – a story about a brother and sister and a strange locked freezer their grandfather keeps in the basement that gives off smells of cinnamon, vanilla, and… brine (dun dun dun). Putting aside the scent of brine, the repeated mentioning of cinnamon and vanilla got me craving Boca Java Spiced Vanilla Bean Coffee – a fairly light medium roast coffee flavored with sweet, creamy vanilla and spiced up with a little cinnamon.

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