Twenty-One New Tales of Lovecraftian Horror, Edited by S.T. Joshi
“Satiety”, by Jason V Brock ~ A strange story about a Lord Vanderbulle, superstar horror writer and Mary Sue extraordinaire, who has taken a beautiful young fan named Anastasia as a lover, and brought her to his exclusive high-rise condominium in Dubai to take part in an annual gastronomical “Festival” of his own design. Most of this tale is taken up by a tone deaf and unfortunate political dialogue between the two, with Anastasia playing the part of the petulant and accusatory young “SJW” stereotype who thinks that defending Lovecraft and Roald Dahl makes one a white supremacist, and Lord, that of the worldly, wise, exasperated older liberal who argues that Lovecraft’s racism couldn’t be THAT bad if the subcontinental academic S.T. Joshi (yes, the editor of this collection) thinks so highly of him. Anyway, the argument soon dies down and the story goes in one of the three directions that it could possibly go from that point on. A so-so entry.
“Provenance Unknown”, by Stephen Woodworth ~ Now this is more like it! The final story of this anthology features rarities broker Erin Vance getting a chance to acquire the legendary Aldon-Bennington Object, a cursed item found by explorers during a doomed, all but forgotten early 20th century voyage to the Antarctic. One of Erin’s clients has been trying to get their hands on this object for a long time, and now, at last, an associate in the world of elite procurement (Aram) has laid hands upon it, along with all the proper documentation, and he’s willing to sell. But he won’t be letting it go for cheap.
Erin asks for, and receives, permission to take photographs of the item—which appears to be a pyramidal chunk of meteorite with a partially exposed, cat-sized sculpture of a beetle/lobster looking thing embedded in the center—and a holding period of two days, to examine the documentation for herself and discuss the purchase with her client. Pretty soon, however, her dreams take on a weird cast, and she decides that she wants the item for herself. Lucky for her, she gets a call from Aram, who has suddenly become desperate to be rid of the thing, causing him to cut his asking price in half. Erin arranges for the funds, rushes over and takes possession of the item… but then, disturbing coincidences begin to take place, causing Erin to enlist the aid of a chemist friend, to help fully authenticate the item.
And that’s all I’m going to say about that, aside from declaring “Provenance Unknown” to be one of the best stories of this collection.
“The Well”, by D L Myers ~ While I’m not a fan of horror poetry, this one was quite lovely, and it served as a more than fitting coda to the collection… right down to its final line.
And that’s it for Black Wings of Cthulhu Volume 6! I’ve reviewed every story and poem in this book, and now, I’m ready to move on to something completely different… i.e., a novel, most likely Matthew Stokoe’s COWS, a cult novel that I’ve heard is among the most disturbing works of fiction in recent years. I’m really looking forward to it! Also, I’ll be continuing to update this media diary with quick announcements of any movies or TV shows of note that I watch, and of course, graphic novels and comic books.
yer old pal Jerky