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Shadows Over Innsmouth [Paperback]

Stephen Jones

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21 Aug 1997
Using H.P. Lovecraft's original novella, a variety of authors depict the dreadful decline of the decaying Massachusetts seaport since the late 1920s, through the war years, into the modern scientific age and beyond. Authors include, H.P. Lovecraft, Ramsay Campbell, Neil Gaiman, Brian Lumley, Kim Newman and others.

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About the Author

Stephen Jones is the winner of three World Fantasy Awards, four Horror Writers' Association Bram Stoker Awards and three International Horror Guild Awards. He is a Hugo Award nominee and an unprecedented seventeen-times winner of the British Fantasy Award. One of Britain's most acclaimed film writers and anthologists of horror and dark fantasy, he has nearly 100 books to his credit.

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DURING THE WINTER of 1927-28, officials of the Federal government made a strange and secret investigation of certain conditions in the ancient Massachusetts seaport of lnnsmouth. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There's Always Been Something Fishy About Innsmouth... 11 Aug 2002
By Bruce Rux - Published on Amazon.com
...and it's all right here.
Lovecraft's own inspirational story, "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" - curiously, one of his own least favorite, but one of his best - leads off this terrific collection of clever spin-off tales by contemporary authors on the same theme: namely, that there are isolated seaside places around the world where the inhabitants not only pray to, but interact with, ancient subaqueous demon-gods from other worlds.
Many of the tales are more or less sequels to Lovecraft's seminal story, set in and around Innsmouth itself, the fictional Massachusetts town the author first "sailed" the concept in. Each of these reads very well as its own stand-alone piece, successful entirely independent of Lovecraft's story, but all the more entertaining for being one way or another connected to it. Other tales, such as Ramsey Campbell's "The Church In High Street," are set in other locations, like the decayed, dockside areas of Great Britain, where similar interbreeding with noxious hellspawned water-gods also is occurring. One especially good story, Kim Newman's "The Big Fish," actually reads like a credible direct sequel to Lovecraft's original, and is all the more perfect for essentially performing like a 1930s noir-horror film. Even Neil Gaiman gets in on the act, with a skin-crawling little bit of nastiness about an Innsmouth descendant coming to terms with his gruesome genetic heritage.
One thing you can count on, in this collection: something in it will definitely appeal to your Lovecraftian tastes - so long as that taste is for fish.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Anthology 26 May 2013
By Wilum Hopfrog Pugmire, Esq. - Published on Amazon.com
Editor Stephen Jones has given us a wonderful anthology of tales by British authors that pay homage to H. P. Lovecraft's masterpiece, "The Shadow over Innsmouth." Here's ye Contents:
The Shadow over Innsmouth, H. P. Lovecraft
Beyond the Reef, Basil Copper
The Big Fish, Jack Yeovil
Return to Innsmouth, Guy N. Smith
The Crossing, Adrian Cole
Down to the Boots, D. F. Lewis
The Church in High Street, Ramsey Campbell
Innsmouth Gold, David Sutton
Daoine Domhain, David Sutton
A Quarter to Three, Kim Newman
The Tomb of Priscus, Brian Mooney
The Inssmouth Heritage, Brian Stapleford
The Homecoming, Nicholas Royle
Deepnet, David Langford
To See the Sea, Michael Marshall Smith
Dagon's Bell, Brian Lumley
Only the End of the World Again, Neil Gaiman

I first read Basil Copper's work when I began to collect Arkham House books in the 1970's; his FROM EVIL'S PILLOW is a genre classic and may be obtained here at Amazon. He has a very good sense of Lovecraftian things, and his long story here is superb. Atmosphere is built carefully, He conjures a sense of sinister mystery, events become horrendous, and the tale becomes very weird indeed. The writing is excellent, with a smooth narrative flow.

Although I have read none of his novels, my idea of Guy N. Smith was that he was a "trashy" horror writer and best avoided. Thus I was pleasantly surprised by his story herein, for it is rather good. It makes mention of a character from Lovecraft's original story, a Miss Anna Tilton, and I find such references to characters and icons from HPL's tales delightful fun and often quite effective tools in story telling. The writing of the tale is accomplished and professional, and the story is absolutely engaging. Some portions of the tale are perhaps a bit too similar to Lovecraft's original, but all in all the story is delightful and the ending quite effective.

Brian Mooney's "The Tomb of Priscus" is one of the book's best and strongest entries. He reminds us that the Deep Ones are an immortal race and that their legend is prehistoric. Lovecraft's creation of the Deep Ones is yet another way that he expresses his fascination with the theme of time, of deepest past. This story has a rich sense of menace and mystery. The use of star stones as a form of crucifix troubles me and seems very un-Lovecraftian--but here it is well-handled.

I think "The Crossing" is my introduction to Adrian Cole, unless I am forgetting some tale that I have read in another anthology. This story is dead good, eerie and captivating. The first person narrative makes the events of the story keenly personal, which adds to the very strange atmosphere. As with all of the stories in this book, the writing is splendid.

D. F. Lewis has a richly poetic writing style that I have long admired, and this is one of his finest tales. The prose is pure music: "The fen stank of fish. The moonlit puddles stretched as far as her eyes could see, as she shuffled ponderously from her shanty house at the sodden side of the sea-strained lands." A very wee tale, aye, and entirely entertaining.

"The Church in High Street" was written by Ramsey Campbell when he was but a teenaged laddie. The story is great, for it captures that youthful zeal by which youngsters become enthrall'd of Lovecraft's weird fiction. This delightful story overflows with Lovecraftian references, and yet for such an early work it holds its plot and totally engages the reader. Young Ramsey evokes his haunted, unholy localities most effectively, and the story is a complete success.

I am a huge admirer of Brian Stableford, and "The Innsmouth Heritage" is my personal favourite of ye stories in this book. His imagination is wild and stunningly original, and his writing exceedingly fine. His characters are fully realised and you come to care about them and the events into which they stagger. In rich Lovecraftian fashion, we come to the topic of dreams, visions that are shared genetically. The scientific aspect of the tale, also in true Lovecraftian fasion, seems totally sound and convincing--yet we know it is incredible. Mr. Stableford has a wonderful collection offer'd here at Amazon, THE LEGACY OF ERICH ZANN, that is one of the finest, moft original Cthulhu Mythos collections I have ever read.

The rest of the stories are delicious, and the book is fully and finely illustrated. A sequel has been edited by Jones, and is forthcoming.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The master would be pleased... 30 Sep 2001
By Lane Haygood - Published on Amazon.com
Well this was certainly a pleasant surprise. I saw a new HP Lovecraft-inspired collection on the shelf, and I was thrilled. I think my friend is still seeing a chiropractor for the injuries I inflicted on her with my bear-hug.
First, for fans of Lovecraft, this is a great book filled with chilling reimaginings of the Innsmouth legends. Second, fans of authors like Neil Gaiman will TREASURE the stories contained in this book. Last, it's written in BRITISH PROSE, which, myself being an uncultured American slob, is a refreshing new way to tell the old stories. I recommend buying it. Heck, I recommend memorizing the thing. May the memory of Lovecraft live on for ages to come!
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars British "fish and chips" 13 Dec 2004
By Alexander Scott - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'd like to point out that all of these authors (excepting only HPL himself) are British. Others have pointed this out, but it bears repeating. Most of these stories are set in England, which produces a different interpretation on Innsmouth than American writers. I suspect that the British simply have a different way of viewing things.

Most of the writing was excellent, and the rest was at least innovative. "Deepnet" suggests that as far as Deep Ones taking over humanity, there is more than one way to skin a cat. "Dagon's Bell" by Lumley is one of the most Lovecraftian stories in this collection and "Beyond the Reef", while a little hard to follow, drew in many elements from Lovecraft's Massachusetts.

Some of the writing I found very difficult to appreciate; "Down to the Boots" and "Only the End of the World Again". Maybe the British write in a less concrete way than American authors, but I really had no idea what these stories were about - they seemed more like fragments. Maybe I'm too uncultured to appreciate writing like this, but I felt it brought down the quality of the collection.

There were also a number of stories that I wondered why they used the Innsmouth device. As far as I could tell, they would have been good stories on their own and then had the Innsmouth/Deep Ones jammed in. It makes a poor ad hoc plot device - why not just develop your own ideas? "Homecoming" was the absolute worst offender - it's about going home to Romania after the end of communism only to find nothing has changed. The only connection to Innsmouth was calling the secret police "Deep Ones". I suppose metaphorically it is how the non-collaborators of Innsmouth might feel about their icthyic oppressors, but it's a real stretch to say it belongs.

Well, the stories themselves have been well reviewed below, so I'll leave them alone. It's a decent collection of interesting writing, sometimes loosely connected to the Lovecraftian canon. My only concern is that many stories seem to have had the plot device forcibly inserted.
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovecraft history pastiche 12 July 2013
By Dave Booker - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Great selection of tales; great fun for all the Lovecraft fans. A good mix of tales from various British authors filling out the
history of the titled city.
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