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Black Wings of Cthulhu: Tales of Lovecraftian Horror [Paperback]

S. T. Joshi
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

23 Mar 2012
From the depths of R'lyeh come twenty-one brand-new, utterly terrifying, and thoroughly entertaining short stories of horror and the macabre! 

Taking their inspiration from works by Lovecraft himself, prominent writers such as Caitlin R. Kiernan, Brian Stableford, Ramsey Campbell, Michael Shea, Darrell Schweitzer, Donald R. Burleson, and David J. Schow delve deep into the psyche, expanding on concepts H.P. Lovecraft created and taking them in new directions.

The result is stories that are wholly original, some even featuring Lovecraft himself as a character. Black Wings editor S.T. Joshi is the recognized authority on all things Lovecraftian, and is famous for his restorations of Lovecraft's original works. He has assembled a star-studded line-up in a book that is essential for every horror library. 

Pickman's Other Model - Caitlín R. Kiernan 
Desert Dreams - Donald R. Burleson 
Engravings - Joseph S. Pulver, Sr. 
Copping Squid - Michael Shea 
Passing Spirits - Sam Gafford 
The Broadsword - Laird Barron 
Usurped - William Browning Spencer 
Denker's Book - Davd J. Schow 
Inhabitants of Wraithwood - W.H Pugmire 
The Dome - Mollie L. Burleson 
Rotterdam - Nicholas Royle 
Tempting Providence - Jonathan Thomas 
Howling in the Dark - Darrell Schweitzer 
The Truth About Pickman - Brian Stableford 
Tunnells - Philip Haldeman 
The Correspondence of Cameron Thaddeus Nash - Annotated by Ramsey Campbell 
Violence, Child of Trust - Michael Cisco 
Lesser Demons - Norman Partridge 
An Eldritch Matter - Adam Niswander 
Substitutions - Michael Marshall Smith 
Susie - Jason Van Hollander

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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Titan Books; annotated edition edition (23 Mar 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857687824
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857687821
  • Product Dimensions: 20.4 x 13.1 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 348,455 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"The diversity on display in Black Wings is what makes the collection so enticing. Running the gamut from old-fashioned homage to contemporary nail-biter, all the stories smolder with the ghostly essence of Lovecraft." --Bloody Disgusting

"It's damn near perfect. Go get it immediately" --Dread Central

"Likely to be the best read of the year." --Brutal as Hell

"A flawless 10 out of 10." --cthutube

" To say I thoroughly enjoyed this collection would be an understatement of epic proportions. Each story is worthy of the admission fee alone, so collected here in this tome (book seems a wholly inappropriate word when dealing with Cthulhu Mythos) they are entirely worthy of your time! --Geeklore

" These twenty-one stories are diverse enough to offer something for everyone... Those readers wanting dark glimpses of the madness beyond human comprehension will find many shards of illumination in this bulky compendium of cosmic horrors and alien miscegenation.

"A true homage to a master of creepy story-telling." --TG Daily

"Coming in at just over 500 pages, it was S.T. Joshi's name on the cover that made me take the plunge. By the time the book was over, I was craving 500 more pages." --Horror Talk

"This reprint for the masses is a splendid tribute to the spirit of H.P. Lovecraft. With their unique riffs on the man and his literary legacy, the writers gathered in this anthology dream deliciously darkly, indeed." --Hellnotes

The twenty-on stories in Black Wings of Cthulhu are unique, sometimes puzzling, but very successfully manage to remain fresh in their interpretations of the Lovecraftian mood. --Lynne Jamneck

The twenty-on stories in Black Wings of Cthulhu are unique, sometimes puzzling, but very successfully manage to remain fresh in their interpretations of the Lovecraftian mood. --Lynne Jamneck

About the Author

S. T. Joshi is a leading authority on H. P. Lovecraft, Ambrose Bierce, H. L. Mencken, and others. He has edited the definitive restored editions of the works of Lovecraft, several annotated editions of Bierce and Mencken, and has written such critical studies as The Modern Weird Tale. His biography H. P. Lovecraft: A Life won the Horror Writer Association's Stoker Award for best-non fiction.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An Eldritch Feast 27 Nov 2012
The original title of this book, when it was published in hardcover by PS Publishing, was BLACK WINGS. Titan Books decided to add 'OF CTHULHU" to the title, despite the protests of the book's editor--for there is now a silly "vogue" of using the word Cthulhu as a selling gimmick. But it should be made clear to anyone ordering this book that it is NOT a collection of stories of the Cthulhu Mythos.

Having grown slightly weary of working exclusively with dead writers, the adventurous S. T. Joshi is now working, on many levels, as an editor of modern weird fiction. This book was his first anthology of original fiction (he edited an anthology of American weird fiction for Penguin Classics)--it has now been followed by BLACK WINGS II, from PS Publishing, and BLACK WINGS III will be published in 2013. There is a growing group of skilled editors who are bringing forth anthologies of Lovecraftian tales--we have NEW CTHULHU: THE RECENT WEIRD and THE BOOK OF CTHULHU in two volumes--and some of these editors, such as S. T. with this series and Ellen Datlow with LOVECRAFT UNBOUND stress that their books are NOT the usual Mythos thing. As S. T. explains in his Introduction to this book:

"The epigraph from 'Supernatural Norror in Literature' from which I have derived the title of this book was meant by Lovecraft to be the general formula governing the best weird fiction from the dawn of time to his day; but it is clear, from such phrases as 'contact with unknown spheres and powers' and 'the scratching of outside shapes and entities on the known universe's utmost rim,' that the formula applies most particularly to his own work.
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Some very good stories,some that didn't have quite so much appeal(to me,at least).
We're all different,and what I like you may not,but all in all,a pretty good collection of HPL themed material--I must admit,liking HPL so much,any yarn that cleaves to his style,like the opener here,appeals immensely.
Well worth the time and money expended,though,and you can't say fairer than that.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short Story Evil Paradise 25 Mar 2012
By Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
If you're a fan of the horror genre then you'll have at least heard the name of HP Lovecraft, even if you haven't spent time dealing with ancient gods and dodging the ravings of Abdul Al Ashrad's Necronomicon.

Here in this book is a selection of short stories from modern writers "acolytes" as they bring the terror and old world magic to work within your imagination as well as nightmares.

The book is wonderfully detailed with an author for all tastes and a selection of stories that will thrill, disgust and revile the reader in equal measure. It's great fun, top value for money and all in a title worthy of having the Lovecraft name on the cover. Add to this that it's a solid release and one that you can dip into when time allows which makes this an ideal gift for the horror aficionados in your life.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not quite what I was hoping 6 Jun 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
To be honest, I read this book a few of weeks ago now and can only really remember a few of the stories. The one about the house viewing had a nice creepy atmosphere, the lost log of Cook's south seas voyage was a nice homage as was the Lost Letter. The Skinless Face was my favourite story but even then it felt like the set-up for a CoC RPG scenario. I struggled to get vol. one and feel I might have been happier with that.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.8 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb in Every Way 16 Oct 2012
By Wilum Hopfrog Pugmire, Esq. - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The real title of the book is BLACK WINGS--but for some eldritch and absurd reason Titan wanted to add Cthulhu's name to ye title; & this does the book a disservice, for one of the "points" of Sunand's anthology is that it goes beyond the cliches of Cthulhu Mythos fiction, shewing Lovecraft's influence on today's weird writers. As he states in his Introduction, "It is for this reason that I have carefully chosen my subtitle, 'New Tales of LOVECRAFTIAN Horror'." This point seems to have been lost on some of the reviewers here, who continue to call the book a gathering of Mythos fiction. It is NOT such a book. Because of his world-wide renown as the world's leading Lovecraft scholar and editor, S. T. was able to procure tales from authors who are not known as delvers into Lovecraftian horror. Some of the Lovecraftian influences are subtle, but many are delightfully blatant and yet original to ye core. Caitlin R. Kiernan's "Pickman's Other Model 91929)" is told in first-person narrative by Eliot, the bloke to whom Lovecraft's original narrative is related. The story is absolutely Lovecraftian and yet distinctly the work of a writer of astounding originality. In "Copping Squid," we do indeed have a tale that is Cthulhu Mythos, and Michael Shea is perhaps our finest modern author of Cthulhu Mythos fiction who transcends that tradition while yet remaining true to it. It is a wonderful story, excellently told. Laird Barron is now acknowledged as one of the finest writers of the genre, with an imagination as astonishing as his writing ability. Again, Laird Barron is intensely modern and original, and his fiction is completely captivating. Like Caitlin's story, Nicholas Royle's "Rotterdam" reflects on Lovecraft's "Pickman's Model," and it is an extremely weird and mesmerizing tale.

There is not a poor story in this anthology, although some tales are decidedly more effective than others. The book celebrates that portion of the genre that has been tainted by the genius of H. P. Lovecraft. But it also celebrates the genre of weird fiction, with works by authors who are as equally talented as any from our past. H. P. Lovecraft continues to be a vital force of inspiration among weird fiction writers; my entire oeuvre is the work of one who is a totally obsessed Lovecraft fanboy, writing book after book of fiction in which I try to pay sincere homage to E'ch-Pi-El. I've just finished reading BLACK WINGS II, and it's even better than ye first one! Hooray for S. T. Joshi!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Solid, Diverse Collection Of Cosmic Horror Fiction 13 Mar 2013
By Art Turner - Published on
Stop me if you've heard this one before: weird fiction editor solicts stories for Lovecraftian anthology, telling potential solicitors, "I don't want just Lovecraft pastiches - I want REAL cosmic horror fiction; fiction that honors the SPIRIT of HPL's fiction, not stuff that just apes his style." If you're interested enough in the Lovecraftian horror subgenre to be reading this review, you probably have - in fact you've heard it enough times that you immediately grow quite cynical upon hearing it, and corespondingly are quite skeptical when you hear that used as a pitch to sell the latest Lovecraftian anthology. "Yeah, I've heard that one before", you say. "Why should this one be any different?"

The difference, my friends, is that S.T. Joshi is helming this particular ship. Joshi, as most of you reading this are probably aware, is most likely the world's leading authority on weird fiction; he is also (more importantly, in my mind), a man who knows how to separate the wheat from the chaff, literarily speaking. This skill is on excellent display here. Joshi has gathered a fine collection from today's leading weird fiction authors, with at least two tales (Laird Barron's novella THE BROADSWORD and David J. Schow's "Denker's Book") that are, in my (not-so-)humble opinion, near-masterpieces; even the clunkers (there have to be at least one or two in these sorts of collections - it's like a law) are not so excruciating bad or numerous as to make you want to throw the book against the wall.

Should you buy this? Well, if you're the sort of Mythos fan whose primary pleasure in reading these anthologies is counting the number of references to Yog-Sothoth and the NECRONOMICON... no, probably not, as explicit shout-outs to HPL's artificial mythology are pretty few and far between here. If you're primarily interested in a stylistically strong and diverse collection of Lovecraftian horror fiction... yes, you should.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A nice addition to the Lovecraft genre 26 Sep 2012
By Matthew S Baker - Published on
Format:Paperback me late to the game, but I just read my first H.P. Lovecraft story a while back. I know, I know...don't roll your eyes. I've had people chastise me in the past for not reading his works before. And it's not that I haven't wanted to...I mean, the man has some visionary and iconic horror premises (I hadn't read his work but I knew about it from other friends). I just never took the time to check it out. But I'm glad I did because reading that first story prompted me to look into other works inspired by him. This led me to BLACK WINGS OF CTHULHU, a collection of Lovecraftian horror tales that will chill you to the bone!

I have to tell you: Lovecraftian stories are one of my new favorite horror fiction genres. After reading "At the Mountains of Madness" a while back, I'm astonished at the depth contained within Lovecraft's works, not to mention those stories that are inspired by them. The tales within BLACK WINGS OF CTHULHU are a perfect example of this. I read concepts in some of them that literally made me stop and think.

These twenty-one stories in BLACK WINGS OF CTHULHU are all written very well and there is a nice diversity of prose between the various authors. Editor S. T. Joshi is to be commended for his selections; aside from the eclectic selection of storytellers, each story itself boasts a bold new voice that harmonizes nicely with the rest of the participants in the Lovecraftian canon.

One of my favorite stories in the book is titled "Copping Squid" by Michael Shea. In this tale, a late-night market clerk named Ricky is caught up with a stranger that introduces him to something older than the earth itself. Ricky, forever changed by his ordeal, then faces the tough choice of what to do with his newfound knowledge. Author Shea does an amazing job of bringing this character and his story to life and then plunging him into a surrealistic chaos.

Another favorite of mine is "An Eldritch Matter" by Adam Niswander. This short but potent story tells of a man who finds a strange coin on the ground and pockets it. Unfortunately, the coin is something not of this world and changes the man in ways he cannot even begin to fathom.

BLACK WINGS OF CTHULHU is an excellent collection of stories and I highly recommend them, not just to fans of Lovecraft, but to anyone looking for a higher class of horror. The book was released a few months ago, so be sure and pick it up soon. Just don't forget to wear your CTHULHU RULES t-shirt when you do.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heavens to Azathoth! (An Editor's Review) 22 Nov 2013
By Ashley Davis - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've come to expect greatness from S.T. Joshi, and he just continues to outdo himself. Incredible group of work here by some very talented people. Haunting, vivid, visceral, and scary as hell, BLACK WINGS is a masterwork of the genre.

Among many great stories, Laird Barron's "The Broadsword" really stands out. It's one of those unforgettable pieces that stick with you for life, eventually coming to define part of your personal horror experience. The story infiltrates your mind and lodges itself in the crevices only to peek its head out whenever you feel frightened or are alone in the dark. The classic chills and atmospheric horror show off Barron's talent at its very best.

Other notable pieces include Michael Shea's "Copping Squid" (but then again, you can't really go wrong with Shea), and Sam Gafford's "Passing Spirits" (which has a lovely, touching melancholy of a type not often seen in Lovecraftian fiction), as well as "Pickman's Other Model," "Usurped," "Tunnels," and "Lesser Demons."

Some lackluster inclusions are "Desert Dreams" and "Engravings," and a couple entries ("Howling in the Dark" and "Denker's Book") don't seem to go anywhere, content to directionlessly philosophize the reader into oblivion, and not the good kind (no Azathoth or Nyarlathotep here!). Some entries don't seem very Lovecraftian ("Rotterdam"), but nonetheless mix with the others quite well. I'm personally not a huge fan of Pickman stories--why people continually try to write endless Pickman stories in a genre of infinite options is beyond me--and "The Truth About Pickman" was predictably tired and slow, easily outmatched by Kiernan's fantastic entry. "The Dome" I enjoyed, but it is a bit more simplistic than the rest. Wonderful ending, though. "An Eldritch Matter" had a good story, but also some technical problems, writing-wise. Most entries ("Inhabitants of Wraithwood," "Tempting Providence," "Corresp. of Cameron Thaddeus Nash," "Substitution," "Susie") are good, solid choices, blending well with the others for a sturdy anthology. Only one entry ("Violence, Child of Trust") has poor writing.

Overall, this is easily one of the best (if not the best) modern Lovecraftian anthologies available, and without it no horror library is truly complete. Joshi is considered a Lovecraftian staple for a reason, and this collection cements his stellar reputation.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nothing Fancy- Just good, solid Mythos writing 11 Sep 2012
By T. Dominy - Published on
One of the better compilations of Mythos short stories I've read in a while. Don't have time to do a full length review, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and I've read just about all of them, including all of Howard Phillips' stuff I can find. Check it out, I think you'll enjoy it.
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