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.