Introduction by Jim Turner
The Call of Cthulhu, by H. P. Lovecraft
The Return of the Sorcerer, by Clark Ashton Smith
Ubb-Sathla, by Clark Ashton Smith
The Black Stone, by Robert E. Howard
The Hounds of Tindalos, by Frank Belknap Long
The Space-Eaters, by Frank Belknap Long
The Dwellers in Darkness, by August Derleth
Beyond the Threshold, by August Derleth
The Shambler from the Stars, by Robert Bloch
The Haunter of the Dark, by H. P. Lovecraft
The Shadow from the Steeple, by Robert Bloch
Notebook Found in a Deserted House, by Robert Bloch
The Salem Horror, by Henry Kuttner
The Terror from the Depths, by Fritz Leiber
Rising with Surtsey, by Brian Lumley
Cold Print, by Ramsey Campbell
The Return of the Lloigor, by Colin Wilson
My Boat, by Joanna Russ
Sticks, by Karl Edward Wagner
The Freshman, by Philip Jose Farmer
Jerusalem's Lot, by Stephen King
Discovery of the Ghooric Zone, by Richard A. Lupoff
This is the "Golden Anniversary Anthology" edition of this book, edited in 1990 by Jim Turner and originally published by Arkham House. It was Jim's updating of August Derleth's original 1969 edition and it adds new stories and drops stories such as "The Haunter of the Graveyard" by J. Vernon Shea (who was an original member of the Lovecraft Circle and corresponded with HPL) and "The Deep Ones" by James Wade (a magnificent story which will soon be reprinted in a Mythos anthology edited by S. T. Joshi for Mythos Books). Turner's updated version is interesting but not an improvement over Derleth's original, with one exception. That exception is the inclusion of "Sticks," by Karl Edward Wagner, one of the finest Lovecraftian tales ever penned.
The Cthulhu Mythos was, of course,the invention of August Derleth, and with this book he brought readers some of the finest stories of the Mythos written by the original Lovecraft Circle (people who knew HPL and wrote during his lifestime, adding to his cosmic mythology) and those who came after his death (such as Ramsey Campbell and Brian Lumley, both nurtured by Derleth, who published their first books). There are, among these stories (and it is, admittedly, a mixed bag) some very good weird tales. "The Black Stone" shews Robert E. Howard in top form, casting a spell with a story that is haunting and chilling, and so superbly penned. The tales by Frank Belknap Long are among his finest, and "The Space-Eaters" was the first story that featured a character based on H. P. Lovecraft.
Another tale that features Lovecraft as character is "The Shambler from the Stars," a very early story from a very young Robert Bloch. Bloch got Lovecraft's written permission to "kill me off," and the story was dedicated to Lovecraft. Lovecraft was inspired to write a story and dedicate it to Bloch, and that tale is my favorite among Lovecraft's original works, "The Haunter of the Dark." Years later, after Lovecraft's death, Bloch wrote a sequel to Lovecraft's story, and "The Shadow from the Steeple" remains one of the finest tales of Lovecraftian horror, brilliant and inventive and so effective. To have published these three stories together was a stroke of genius.
Derleth's own tales are among his better Mythos stories. I've just written a 14,000 word sequel to "The Dwellers in Darkness" for a collection of my tales of Nyarlathotep, and so I have studied the story in preparation for the writing of my own. I loved this story when I was a young Cthulhu kid, and it is still entertaining; but I find the ending just plain stupid, and I dislike the presentation of Nyarlathotep as he is shewn in this tale, as just another Lovecraftian beastie. Ye Crawling Chaos is far more interesting and enigmatic than that.
Colin Wilson's story is simply one of the best tales of its kind. I believe that Wilson wrote the story for the original version of the book edited by Derleth. Wilson handles the mystique of the Mythos with brilliance, and his bringing it to the British Isles is a fascinating touch and very effective.
All in all, this is a great book for those who love Mythos and Lovecraftian fiction. It was the reading of Derleth's original Arkham House hardcover edition of this book that instill'd within me the ache to become a modern Mythos writer, and thus I owe a lot of my life as a writer to this magnificent anthology.