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Dead But Dreaming Paperback – 6 Jun 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 230 pages
  • Publisher: Imprint unknown (6 Jun. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982181809
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982181805
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.2 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,081,340 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Fifteen tales of Lovecraft-inspired Cosmic Horror from Ramsey Campbell, Adam Niswander, Stephen Mark....

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By George Anderson on 11 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The interest in H.P. Lovecraft and his work has exploded over the past couple of decades with many publishers producing anthologies inspired by his creations. The quality of these has varied significantly but "Dead But Dreaming" by Miskatonic River Press is head and shoulders above the crowd. It is an absolute top notch collection of short stories!

A lot of the Lovecraftian stories that I have read just don't have that sense of unease and dread. One of the main features of Lovecraft's writing was the sense of man being but a grain of sand in the infinite cosmos, at the mercy of intelligences and forces far superior to our own limited experiences. This collection of 15 stories addresses that and also does what any good horror story should do, scares the crap out of you.

I would urge you to buy this and "Dead But Dreaming 2" if you have the money. They are very worthy investments of your time and attention and Miskatonic River Press are definitely a small press publisher to watch.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Enrique Velasco on 3 Aug. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Keeping away from the most overused clichés of Lovecraftian fiction, the tales in this volume get back the original horror + sense of awe recipe which gave its grandeur to HPL's tales. Refreshing, specially after the tons of crap that have been perpetrated in Cthulhu's name.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Been a Mythos fan for years. This is not Lovecraft, but a darn good imitation of his writing. Good stories throughout. One or two . . . sort of bored me but other than those two, they were in the first part of the book, the book is good.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 9 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Marvelous! Urgently recommended 14 Nov. 2008
By Matthew T. Carpenter - Published on
Format: Paperback
Dead But Dreaming was originally released in 2002 from Dark Tales Publication. There was an initial print run of 75 copies and then either sales were slow or the publisher tanked. I may have gotten the very last copy sold at the list price back in 2004. Until now, collectors have been paying exorbitant prices for used copies, up to $300. Now Miskatonic River Press has released a new edition of this marvelous anthology. I'll leave it to someone else to figure out what this might do to the value of the first edition copies and whether this edition will ever be a collector's item. I am ecstatic that interested mythos fans can finally see an affordable copy of what may be the finest anthology of Cthulhu mythos fiction in the modern era. I do not yet have my copy of the new book. It lists for $17.99. The new issue has a new afterward and authors' biographies. The original had 194 pages of text; cover art was a mysteriously evocative cephalopod eye; I can't figure out who created it. Editorial chores were performed by Kevin Ross and Keith Herber; they hit a homerun with this one. The book starts with an incisive essay by Kevin Ross that skewers everything wrong with run of the mill mythos pastiches and gives the underlying philosophy of the book. I found myself nodding in agreement with everything he wrote.

Epiphany: A Flying Tiger's Story by Stephen Mark Rainey - In this story a world war II pilot in the Pacific encounters an immense and unfathomable entity deep in the jungle. I believe this is the story Mr. Rainey later expanded into his novel Blue Devil Island (which is clamoring for attention in my to-be-read stack). This was a very well written story; I was pleasantly engaged.

Bangkok Rules by Patrick Lestewka - And now with Bangkok Rules I began to get a glimmer that this was no ordinary anthology. This is a brilliant piece, compulsively readable, creepy and oozing Lovecraftian sensibilities. A hit man perhaps works for a different boss than he thinks. How I wish Mr. Lestewka would write a mythos novel.

Why We Do It by Darrell Schweitzer - I loved this one too! A sort of dorky college student brings a girl back home to observe his family's religious rites.

The Disciple by David Barr Kirtley - Three brilliant stories in a row! Please write some more mythos fiction Mr. Kirtley! At good old Miskatonic University some students come to learn arts other than the humanities.

Salt Air by Mike Minnis - I have always loved the fiction of Mike Minnis. I think there was a planned single author collection from Lindisfarne Press before that worthy company tanked. Salt Air is a wonderfully somber and evocative Yellow Sign story.

Through the Cracks by Walt Jarvis - The anthology moves from strength to strength with this cautionary tale of catching the attention of indescribable things that live in or world beyond our senses.

The Unseen Battle by Brian Scott Hiebert - In Tahiti, an escapee from the carnage of WWI is pursued to the ends of the earth b something noxious from the battlefield. Another good read.

Bayer's Tale by Adam Niswander - Adam Niswander wrote only a few mythos stories, which are in his collection of short fiction, Blurring the Edges of Dream. Bayer's Tale is the best of his work, although it does not stand out in such formidable competition. A detective investigating a strange mass murder is lead to a terrifying reality.

The Call of Cthulhu: The Motion Picture by Lisa Morton - What would happen if someone did make a motion picture The Call of Cthulhu, with an unexpected guest appearance by the title character, and it caused many more people to believe in it? This one also was pretty darned good.

Under an Invisible Shadow by David Bain - This was OK for me, at least in comparison to the stories that have come before. In this zombie apocalypse, the zombie bodies are collected by something indescribable.

The Thing Beyond the Stars by Robin Morris - For me this story worked pretty well. IN the vastness of space there lurk entities that have less regard for us than we do an ant at a picnic.

Fire Breathing by Mehitobel Wilson - Another thought provoking story, where a dj finds out he is the instrument rather than the musician.

The Other Names by Ramsey Campbell (originally in Interzone Nov 98) - Wow. A simpleton finds a few copied pages of the Necronomicon when he goes into an old house on a dare. He learns how names can affect reality when spoken in the name of Daoloth. Beautifully written and it will make your flesh crawl.

Final Draft by David Annandale - How fitting that this astonishing work closes an astonishing anthology. I do not have the superlatives to do this story justice. It competes with A Colder War by Charlie Stross for the title of the finest Cthulhu mythos story of the modern era.

So, what to say? Most of these stories are brilliant, among the best of contemporary Cthulhu mythos works. All are good and worth your while. I urgently recommend this book to anyone who cares about Lovecraftian fiction and especially to those of you who are skeptical of HPL's mimics. No pastiches here; these writers have embraced Lovecraft's themes and put their own original stamp on them. You are in for a real treat with Dead But Dreaming.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
The single-best Cthulhu/Lovecraft anthology in a long time 22 Aug. 2002
By Jack-O-Lantern - Published on
Format: Paperback
Dead but Dreaming is the finest Lovecraftian/Cthulhu Mythos anthology to see print in a very, very long time (in a strange aeon, if I may...!). Writing in this often-muddled genre gets no better than this. You won't find a lot of "names" herein, but don't let that stop you from buying and reading this amazing tome. Editor Ross set out to collect stories that paid homage to Lovecraft without being trite slaves to his style. This IS, indeed, a collection of Lovecraftian horror, NOT a jumble of pastiches and old-formula Cthulhu Mythos tales. No, this is fresh and enjoyable, with more than a few surprises in store for the reader. Of the fifteen tales presented, there were but a few that didn't "grab" me, and only one that I can actually say I disliked. The majority here are keepers, for sure. As an author, editor, and small press publisher, myself, I have to admit to jealousy on my part: I wish I had been responsible for this book! If you are a fan of H.P. Lovecraft and his Cthulhu Mythos treat yoruself to something very special and buy this book!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Actually delivers on the promise of Lovecraftian horror 28 Feb. 2011
By Michael J. Tresca - Published on
Format: Paperback
Dead But Dreaming has long been out of print, which is why it retails for over $200 in some places. But thanks to Miskatonic River Press it's back and once again affordable those of us less inclined to spend the equivalent of a dollar per page on their fiction.

Edited by the legendary late Keith "Doc" Herber and the prolific Kevin Ross, both have their roots in the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game. The line between fiction and role-playing game has always been blurred for the Call of Cthulhu parent company, Chaosium, so the transition from game author to editor is not unexpected. Dead But Dreaming answers the question: where so many editors have failed, can these two gaming veterans succeed?

EPIPHANY: A FLYING TIGER'S STORY: A fighter pilot ejects into a foreign jungle and we spend each terrifying moment with him as he dangles over the black abyss of a dark forest. Stephen Mark Rainey's tale isn't the strongest of the Mythos-related stories but it is beautifully told. 4 out of 5 stars.

THE AKLO: Loren Macleod pens a story about an archeologist discovering the origins of man are much more malign than he ever imagined. It's written in the traditional form of a Lovecraftian short story, complete with postscript reporting the fate of the hapless narrator. I'm not fond of authors mimicking Lovecraft's style but I can appreciate the effort. 4 out of 5 stars.

BANGKOK RULES: Author Patrick Lestewka has a sick imagination. This is the nastiest, most vile Mythos-tale of the bunch. It is brilliant and disgusting enough that it forces all the other authors to up their game. Just remember: in a game of chance, always look under the tablecloth FIRST. 5 out of 5 stars.

WHY WE DO IT: Veteran Mythos author Darrel Schweitzer pens a short story that manages to make a cultist both selfish and relatable. His opinion of a young woman who could be sacrifice or wife is decided in one fateful moment. All that in just three pages. 5 out of 5 stars.

THE DISCIPLE: David Barr Kirtley manages to do what so many have failed: He creates a story about an arcane professor that is horrific without being cheesy. Too many Mythos authors cast Miskatonic University as a college seething with kooks casting spells, but Kirtley cleverly turns the usual crazy professor plot on its ear. 4 out of 5 stars.

SALT AIR: Michael Minnis combines Kingsport with the King in Yellow while channeling Robert W. Chambers. It's ponderously paced, but that's on purpose. 4 out of 5 stars.

THROUGH THE CRACKS: Walt Jarvis posits that schizophrenics are actually dealing with alien outsiders from other dimensions. He makes the fear of a supernatural contagion deeply personal. 4 out of 5 stars.

THE UNSEEN BATTLE: Brian Scott Hiebert writes a story rich with history. The connection between a young girl and a World War I pilot provides an interesting counterpoint to the creeping intrusion of the Mythos, but the ending falls a little flat. 4 out of 5.

BAYER'S TALE: Adam Niswander tells a Cthulhu tale from the point of view of a police detective on the trail of a cultist. This is a perfectly serviceable story but it doesn't bring anything new to the genre. 3 out of 5.

THE CALL OF CTHULHU: THE MOTION PICTURE: Lisa Morton intentionally mimics the structure of H.P. Lovecraft's Call of Cthulhu in a modern retelling of the iconic horror story, cleverly building on the popularity of the Big C himself. 5 out of 5.

UNDER AN INVISIBLE SHADOW: David Bain summarizes a zombie apocalypse, skips the good parts, and jumps to the creation of colloquially named "Lovecraftian Terror." And that's it. Nothing happens. The weakest of the collection. 2 out of 5.

THE THING BEYOND THE STARS: A futuristic tale by Robin Morris continues a theme throughout Dead But Dreaming that the Great Old Ones are infinitely vast. Only a science fiction story can encompass the inconceivable dimensions of a being beyond human comprehension. Lovecraftian futures are often conceived as a dodge around the promise of humanity's destruction, but Morris definitely refutes that theory here. 5 out of 5.

FIRE BREATHING: I saw the movie Dead Air the same night I read Mehitobel Wilson's tale of an ill-fated DJ who crosses paths with a cultist. It's a nihilistic story of dread and terror. 5 out of 5.

THE OTHER NAMES: I met both Darrel Schweitzer and Ramsey Campbell in one day, but before I had read any of their fiction, which is the sole reason my head didn't explode from the Mythos-y goodness. Campbell has had a love/hate relationship with his horror roots that launched his career, alternately embracing and rejecting the Mythos circle. It's clear he's reconciled with this latest story, in which a young boy in Brichester crosses paths with Daoloth. I'm just happy to have another Severn Valley installment! 5 out of 5.

FINAL DRAFT: David Annandale shoulders the burden of concluding the collection. The editors wisely wrap things up by none other than the stars coming right, told with creeping dread through the joint efforts of an architect and his geologist wife. We all know how it ends, but Annandale conveys the horror through a new medium: architecture. My father's an architect so the imagery stuck with me. 5 out of 5.

Overall, these stories rate a little over 4 out of 5 stars, so I'm rounding the collection up to 5. With only one weak installment in the entire book this is a superior collection of Lovecraftian horror that actually delivers on its promise.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
High Quality Collection 5 May 2014
By Stephen Mann - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is hard to write Lovecraftian cosmic horror in the short form these days because so many have done so that the paths through the stories are obvious and the pit can be seen a mile away.

So what we are looking for is a story that takes us somewhere obvious in a novel and scary way, or manages to distract us with the novel and scary scenery so much that we don't see the unexpected twist.

Hard. Very hard to do.

And not every author collected in these pages manages to pull off the trick.

But enough of them do that I can honestly say, as a reader and collector of this sort of thing with over 35 years history and I don't know how many shelf feet dedicated to That Which Should Not Be that this collection is worth owning and reading from. A number of the authors caught me completely off guard, and those that didn't did a credible job of making me enjoy the ride anyway, for the most part.

There are a couple of clunkers, but since this is entirely a matter of subjective taste and since the reader may be just starting his or her journey down the path to Innsmouth, Arkham, Kingsport and places far less savory, I won't say which they are.

The quality of the paperback is extremely high. The paper is of a nice semi-gloss formulation that gives good contrast with the print, important since you may be reading by the light of an old oil lamp as the wind off the storm-tossed Atlantic hammers at the eaves of the old house you rented, an unwholesome dwelling spoken of in whispers by the villagers with eyes too ... wide set for your liking.


I recommend this book to all fans of the so-called Cthulhu Mythos, and to curious seekers after the genuinely horrifying.

Splatterpunk addicts and Torture Porn fans will need to look elsewhere.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Surprisingly good! 20 Mar. 2013
By Peter Olafson - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The best present-day Mythos collection I've seen.

Most of the stories are written at a high level. They are decidedly varied in thrust and tone. They are never overtly imitative. They are rarely predictable. (Stories that I expected to take me to one destination -- the first two in particular -- routinely deposited me at another.)

And the best of them are genuinely spooky -- and I do not spook easily. Ramsay Campbell's "The Other Names," at once blithe and twisted, thoroughly creeped me out and David Annandale's "Final Draft" reminded me obliquely of Lovecraft's own "The Haunter in the Dark."

There's a real "dread" factor here -- and that's something often sought but rarely seen in horror fiction and supremely difficult to do well.

Granted, there are a few duds, or what seem like duds in this elevated context. The rather plodding "Bayer's Tale" just never captured my interest at all. It seemed stacked rather than written and it's the only one I thought of dropping before I finished. I've heard the affected voice in "Salt Air" before and it's just too familiar a device. While artful, "Fire Breathing" never quite builds the necessary bridge between its protagonist and the reader.

That said, I was richly entertained throughout. And I'm buying the second volume sight unseen.
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