Jack Vs. the Fungi From Yuggoth: T.E. Grau’s “The Truffle Pig”

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s sandbox, from those who inspired him to those who were inspired in turn.

Today we’re looking at T. E. Grau’s “The Truffle Pig,” first published 2013 in Ross E. Lockhart’s Tales of Jack the Ripper anthology. Spoilers ahead.

Our narrator is many things: a ghost, a whisper, the shadow of a thing that casts none. Oh, and also saboteur, tracker, and killer of men and women. Especially women. Reviled, hated, yet the only thing that stands between our world and its fall into “the soundless crush of the eternal abyss.”

Narrator would kill every one of them if it were possible, but the order’s learned to keep its numbers low, hence secret. In the 7th century, “drunk on hubris and…righteousness,” it attempted eradication of the enemy and was nearly eradicated ...

Special Effects From Hell: Mira Grant’s “Rolling in the Deep”

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s sandbox, from those who inspired him to those who were inspired in turn.

Today we’re looking at Mira Grant’s (a.k.a. Seanan McGuire’s) Rolling in the Deep, first published as a standalone novella by Subterranean Press in 2015. Spoilers ahead.

“We may never know how much of the footage from the SS Atargatis was faked, or how much of it was real.”

Summary

The Imagine Network built a core audience with B-movies, SF classics and well-received original series. Then it launched a block of “hyper-reality programming,” documentaries that judiciously blended fiction and fact. After initial skepticism, Imagine’s ratings climbed. Then came the Atargatis affair.

In May 2015, the cruise ship Atargatis launches for isolated waters above the Mariana Trench. Anne Stewart, Imagine correspondent, describes its mission as the ...

Name-Dropping Nzoorl: Lin Carter’s “Something in the Moonlight”

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s sandbox, from those who inspired him to those who were inspired in turn.

Today we’re looking at Lin Carter’s “Something in the Moonlight,” first published in the December 1980 issue of Weird Tales. You can find it in the Cthulhu Mythos Megapack (Wildside Press, 2012) or in The Xothic Legend Cycle (Chaosium Inc., 2006).

Spoilers ahead.

“Through the use of the Ritual of the Silver Key I have been in communion with the fungoid intelligences of Nzoorl, and obtained precious glimpses of S’glhuo and Ymar. But nothing avails me…”

Summary

The statement of Charles Winslow Curtis, MD is intercut with the notes of his patient Uriah Horby, documenting the latter’s shocking death.

In 1949, Curtis leaves Miskatonic University for the Dunhill Sanitarium in Santiago, California. He gets a cordial reception ...

Never Mess With the Trees, Part 2: Nathan Carson and Sam Ford’s “The Willows”

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s sandbox, from those who inspired him to those who were inspired in turn.

Today we’re looking at Nathan Carson and Sam Ford’s adaptation of Algernon Blackwood’s “The Willows”. Issue 1 came out in November 2017, and #2 will be out in February (not June as originally reported). Spoilers ahead, but minimal for #2.

“We had ‘strayed’, as Hala put it, into some region where the risks were great, yet unintelligible to us; where the frontiers of some unknown world lay close about. It was a spot held by the dwellers in some outer space, a sort of peep-hole whence they could spy upon the earth, themselves unseen, a point where the veil between had worn a little thin.”

Carson and Ford’s take on Blackwood’s classic is remarkably close to the ...

We Warned You Not to Trust the Mushrooms: Marc Laidlaw’s “Leng”

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s sandbox, from those who inspired him to those who were inspired in turn.

Today we’re looking at Marc Laidlaw’s “Leng,” first published in Ellen Datlow’s Lovecraft Unbound anthology in 2009. Spoilers ahead.

“No adventurer has ever followed lightly in the footsteps of a missing survey team, and today’s encounter in the Amari Café did little to relieve my anxiety.”

Summary

Being a selection from the “Expeditionary Notes of the Second Mycological Survey of the Leng Plateau Region,” a rather grandiose title given that Unnamed Narrator is a fungus enthusiast rather than a mycologist and his expedition consists of himself and guide Phupten. The “First Mycological Survey” consisted of Drs. (and spouses) Danielle Schurr and Heinrich Perry, who’ve gone missing.

In Thangyal, Tibet, narrator and Phupten visit Mr. Zhang, ...

Against Plushies: J. R. Hamantaschen’s “Cthulhu, Zombies, Ninjas and Robots!”

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s sandbox, from those who inspired him to those who were inspired in turn.

Today we’re looking at J.R. Hamantaschen’s “Cthulhu, Zombies, Ninjas and Robots!: or, a Special Snowflake in an Endless Scorching Universe,” first published (we think) in his 2015 collection, With a Voice That is Often Still Confused But is Becoming Ever LOUDER and Clearer. Spoilers ahead.

“The words and wisdom of H.P. Lovecraft are best enjoyed alone. Nay, they can only be savored when alone.”

Summary

Did Malcolm really think he would find kindred spirits at a gathering called the Con of Cthulhu? And by kindred spirits, he means people who appreciate the true genius of H. P. Lovecraft, which shone forth less his fictional “Yog-Sothery” than in the dour yet courageous musing of his ...

Delirious Stars and Fungous Scarecrows: Thomas Ligotti’s “The Shadow at the Bottom of the World”

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s sandbox, from those who inspired him to those who were inspired in turn.

Today we’re looking at Thomas Ligotti’s “The Shadow at the Bottom of the World,” first published in his 1991 collection Grimscribe: His Lives and Works. Spoilers ahead.

“On the calendars which hung in so many of our homes, the monthly photograph illustrated the spirit of the numbered days below it: sheaves of cornstalks standing brownish and brittle in a newly harvested field, a narrow house and wide barn in the background, a sky of empty light above, and fiery leafage frolicking about the edges of the scene. But something dark, something abysmal always finds its way into the bland beauty of such pictures…”

Summary

In a certain small town, this autumn is not the calendar-perfect month of fruitfulness ...