BOOK REVIEW: BLACK WINGS OF CTHULHU VOLUME 3 / AUTHOR: VARIOUS / EDITOR: S.T. JOSHI / PUBLISHER: TITAN BOOKS / RELEASE DATE: MARCH 6TH
S. T. Joshi, adored by fans of H.P Lovecraft for his continual efforts to uncover rising authors in the genre of weird fiction, has returned with the third instalment in the Black Wings of Cthulhu series. He is known as a leading figure in the editing and revisions of Lovecraft’s work, and the Black Wings of Cthulhu series has been critically acclaimed for gathering well written stories inspired by Lovecraft.
The third instalment contains seventeen stories written by a variety of authors. This is less than the previous instalments, but is still worth the purchase for any Lovecraft fan. Joshi has ensured that he picks the correct tales to enable themes within Lovecraft’s work to still be a crucial part of the story, including the insignificance of humans and the terror that is minutes away from awakening. Many of the tales pay homage to Lovecraft by being set within Rhode Island. Perhaps the most important reason Lovecraft fans are so enthralled by the Black Wings series is the way characters can now be explored for the modern audience. The distinguishing feature of Lovecraft’s work was the absence of character building, which was completely effective and defined his stories. However, modern audiences want a loveable character that they can follow throughout a story, and S.T Joshi has allowed this to be accomplished.
The stories, like Lovecraft’s original work, vary in variety and setting and bring more to the story than previous neo- lovecraftian writers have achieved. Black Wings of Cthulhu Volume 3 has enabled writers to showcase their passion for Lovecraft’s work through the use of original ideas and placing them within Lovecraft’s distinctive themes. Highlights of the book include the stories Dimply Doll Doofy, a short story that explores a truly psychologically terrifying situation, and Hotel Del Lago, in which a stop in a hotel is a truly mysterious situation.
This entry into the Black Wings series is just as good as its predecessors. However, although the publisher has included ‘Cthulhu’ within the title due to its wide popularity and distinctive name, the book is unlikely to attract any readers other than diehard Lovecraft fans. S. T. Joshi, has, however, managed to gather and edit stories that will thrill Lovecraft fans and enable a modern audience to see the relevance that Lovecraft’s themes have in modern literature. All the stories have distinguishing features and truly reflect Lovecraft’s themes.
A superb entry into a series that is leading the way for writers of weird fiction. The Black Wings of Cthulhu series is likely to go on for many more years as it grows in popularity, and we eagerly await more neo- Lovecraftian tales of terrifying cosmic horror in 2016.
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