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Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos: Volume 2 (1971)

by August Derleth (Editor)

Other authors: Robert Bloch (Contributor), J. Ramsey Campbell (Contributor), John Holmes (Cover artist), H. P. Lovecraft (Contributor), Brian Lumley (Contributor)2 more, James Wade (Contributor), Colin Wilson (Contributor)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos (2)

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» See also 6 mentions

The weakest of the lot here are two by Brian Lumley: "The Sister City" and "Cement Surroundings". As usual, one part of your mind, while reading, is noting which Lovecraft stories and ideas Lumley is recombining this time -- and he believes in reusing all of Lovecraft. Yes, these are pale imitations of his model and provide only a tiny bit of Lovecraft's cosmic paranoia, but they're still more engaging than August Derleth's work.

Plotwise, the teenaged Robert Bloch's 1934 effort, "The Shambler from the Stars", doesn't have much to offer. However, there is the fun of a thinly disguised Lovecraft who meets a grisly end. The master returned the favor with his last story, "The Haunter of the Dark", which has one Robert Blake meeting a horrible end after uncovering a fearsome alien artifact in a Providence church. Bloch's 1951 story "The Shadow from the Steeple" completes the trilogy and shows how much Bloch developed as a writer in those 17 years. There's no imitation of Lovecraft's style here, but Lovecraft and his characters from "The Haunter of the Dark" show up and Cthulhuian horrors are effectively moved to the atomic age. Bloch also makes nice use of Lovecraft's poem "Nyarlathotep". Another Bloch work, "Notebook Found in a Deserted House", uses an old Lovecraftian standby -- a journal desperately documenting horrors closing in on its writer. But here the narrator is a type Lovecraft never used: a twelve year old boy telling us about the monsters in the woods around his aunt and uncle's farm.

J. Ramsey Campbell aka Ramsey Campbell started out with Lovecraft pastiches set in England, but the style of his "Cold Print" isn't Lovecraftian nor is its unseemly, vague linking of sexual taboos with Cthulhu entities. Here a teacher is lead to a mysterious London bookstore where something a mite stronger than the bondage and discipline porn is offered.

James Wade's "The Deep Ones" brings Lovecraft into the sixties with a John Lily-like researcher studying some decidely sinister dolphins, a Timothy Leary-like professor warning against it, and a telepath with some family ties to Innsmouth. It's quite good.

Surprsingly an even better story is Colin Wilson's "The Return of the Lloigor". Surprising because Wilson's earlier attempt at writing a Mythos story, _The Mind Parasites_, was so bad. Wilson uses his erudition to create a plot melange of Welsh crime, Mu, Arthur Machen, H. P. Lovecraft, the Voynich Manuscript, the Kabbala, Aleister Crowley, and Charles Fort. Mixed in is some delightfully absurd metaphysics about the sinister and congenitally pessimistic Lloigor. This clever story may use some of the themes and furniture from Lovecraft and his work, but it's no accident that the hero is a Poe scholar because the tone is that of the latter author in his hoaxer mode. ( )
  RandyStafford | Dec 19, 2011 |
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Derleth, AugustEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bloch, RobertContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Campbell, J. RamseyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Holmes, JohnCover artistsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lovecraft, H. P.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lumley, BrianContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wade, JamesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wilson, ColinContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pennington, BruceCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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There are various editions of "Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos", many without a volume number.

Far as I can tell, any marked as Volume 1 will have been published between 1971 and 1975 and feature exactly ten stories proper (leaving aside essays, forewords and the like) by six authors:  The Call of Cthulhu, The Return of the Sorcerer, Ubbo-Sathla, The Black Stone, The Hounds of Tyndalos, The Space-Eaters, The Dweller in Darkness, Beyond the Threshold, The Salem Horror and The Haunter of the Graveyard. 

The 1971 edition lacks an ISBN; all the other four, from 1973-1975, have them.

Volumeness editions, including the original 1969 edition, will feature more tales besides these ten.  In the 1969 edition those were Robert Bloch's "The Shambler from the Stars", "The Shadow from the Steeple", "Notebook Found in a Deserted House"; HPL's "The Haunter of the Dark"; J. Ramsey Campbell's "Cold Print"; Brian Lumley's "The Sister City" and "Cement Surroundings"; James Wade's "The Deep Ones" and Colin Wilson's "The Return of the Lloigor".

Several editions of Volume 2 exist, all published between 1971 and 1975.  They all seem to include those exact nine tales and sometimes a few biographies.
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