Review: Crawling Chaos – Volume Two / Author: H.P. Lovecraft / Publisher: Creation Oneiros / Release Date: Out Now
H.P. Lovecraft is one of those authors who is quoted much more than he is read. It’s almost impossible to be a fan of sci-fi, fantasy or horror without knowing what Cthulhu is, and over the last decade of so this iconic monster has become a figure of fun, a running gag amongst the geek community. Crawling Chaos Volume Two takes us back to the source by offering us a printing (in chronological order) of Lovecraft’s better works.
This collection includes The Dunwich Horror, a tale of degeneration and isolation, which also features the extra-dimensional horror Yog-Sothoth. It’s a delightfully creepy story and very typical of the author's overly florid style. The book also features the seldom seen Medusa’s Coil. This under-rated short suffers from being very much of its time; the ideas in it are clichés now, and this does reduce its shock value. However it is very different from most of the author’s works and is deliciously unsettling.
Other highlights include Shadow over Innsmouth and Haunter of the Dark. These two stories helped build the cornerstone of what horror fans refer to as The Cthulhu Mythos. Shadow over Innsmouth is still as spooky and disturbing as it ever has been. For an 82-year old horror story, that’s pretty good going. Those who aren’t familiar with Lovecraft may find a lot of it unsurprising; it is the work that inspired an entire subgenre after all, and thus has been copied and improved upon many times.
If you don’t have a collection of H.P. Lovecraft’s work, and you'd prefer a slim volume that will fit in your trench coat pocket, you may want to consider this edition. It also features a nice foreword from Colin Wilson, in which he talks about the lasting mark these sorts of stories have left upon him. If you’re looking for a book to give a gift to someone who’d never heard of H.P. Lovecraft (but has a Cthulhu Mythos T-shirt), then this will fit the bill.