The Black Wings of Cthulhu has returned with its fourth instalment. S.T Joshi, who many people see as the leading modern authority on H.P Lovecraft, edits this series. He is known for editing and contributing to Lovecraft inspired horror anthologies, as well as writing essays on the importance of Lovecraft. However, with the Black Wings of Cthulhu series, S.T Joshi has been able to bring together different short tales of cosmic horror, inspired by Lovecraft, and collect them into a beautiful series of books.
The book starts with an introduction by Joshi, which discusses the importance of the setting in a Lovecraft story as well as the suitability of applying the Lovecraft mythology to wider genres. This introduction especially shows how much Joshi respects Lovecraft’s work, whilst also building further on the Lovecraftian mythos.
There are many highlights within this collection. Our personal favourites have to include Artifact by Fred Chappell. This short story explores a key theme in Lovecraft’s novels, by focusing on an object discovered by explorers and building up the tension over a series of pages. The Black Wings of Cthulhu series is able to capture key things in Lovecraft’s stories and turn them into short condensed tales, and this is made evidently clear in this particular short story.
Another key favourite of ours was W.H Pugmire’s Half Lost in Shadow. This story returns to Kingsport, where a phantom mysteriously watches a man. This short story was especially great to read as it captured the feel of Kingsport in Lovecraft’s tales. Lovecraft always focused on creating stories concentrating on a specific location and developing characters from that. Half Lost in Shadow focuses on many themes central to a Lovecraft story.
The Black Wings of Cthulhu series seems to get stronger with every new book in the series. This fourth edition especially creates a sense of tension and suspense that allows readers to grow slightly more apprehensive when reading the next story in the collection. This is not just a series of collected fan fiction, rather its accomplished authors showing what they can add to the Lovecraftian Mythos. The Black Wings of Cthulhu series has some of the best neo-Lovecraftian tales and S.T Joshi has been able to create the most popular short story collections inspired by Lovecraft. A truly special addition to this fourth collection is Charles Lovecraft’s Fear Lurks Atop Tempest Mount, a creepily eerie poem and a weird read which captures the meaning of Lovecraft in a few pages.
BLACK WINGS OF CTHULHU VOLUME 4 / EDITOR: S.T. JOSHI / PUBLISHER: TITAN BOOKS / RELEASE DATE: 18TH MARCH