- Hardcover: 636 pages
- Publisher: Centipede Press; Slp Ltd edition (28 Oct. 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1613470533
- ISBN-13: 978-1613470534
- Product Dimensions: 29.5 x 20.1 x 6.1 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,335,162 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
A Mountain Walked: Great Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos Hardcover – 28 Oct 2014
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Title: A Mountain Walked( Great Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos) <>Binding: Hardcover <>Author: S.T.Joshi <>Publisher: CentipedePress
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Let's get the bad out of the way, because there is only one minor complaint: the slipcase. As mentioned by the previous reviewer, the book fits a bit too tight, too snug into the slipcase. Inevitably this would (& did) create some scuffing against the dust-jacket, so while going through the tome I actually had to put the dust-jacket aside, only putting it back on once the reading was complete. That's it; no more whining.
Now the gushing: this is an awesome, awesome anthology. It's jam-packed with great yarns, wonderful illustrations, art portfolios, & even Lovecraftian comic strips(!). Basically anything that a) pertains to cosmic horror, & more importantly b) is of high quality, is included in this volume, to serve as an exemplary representation of the influence that Lovecraft & his works have continued to exert upon posterity. The book even includes two short stories by The Man Himself, laden with excellent black-&-white artworks by John K. Mortensen & Thomas Ott near the end. Presentation is impeccable, & I'm not sure if other supporters of Centipede Press have noticed, but I love the *smell* exuded from the pages of a new CP book. No, I'm not crazy.
As alluded to above, the quality of all the works ranges from great to excellent to "Hot damn!" Inevitably, however, one would form personal favourites when going through such an eclectic collection. Mine are as follows:
- The House of the Worm by Merle Prout - wherein death, decay, despair & humanity's will to self-destruction are told through the lens of elegant (yet not too ornate) prose that could only have come from the earlier half of the last century. Not really a cosmic horror piece per se, but really does help the collection open with a bang.
- Black Brat of Dunwich by Stanley C. Sargent - a very clever subversion of Lovecraft's The Dunwich Horror, in which an aching, tragically human perspective is injected into the character of Wilbur Whateley, thus depicting him as an unexpected hero figure instead of the in-your-face jerk everyone is familiar with. Also, Dr Whatshisface who saved the world in the original is the real villain, which is all fine with me. I didn't like his shallow pomposity in the original anyway.
- Virgin's Island by Donald Tyson - in which a manuscript is found detailing a disastrous expedition to a forbidden island in the middle of the ocean, & wherein traces of an old, sadistic alien race are found. Stock standard, but rock-solid stuff. A definite re-read entry.
- John Four by Caitlin Kiernan - in which the Outer Gods have finally settled down on Earth, and wherein time no longer has any meaning. I find writing style & even the titling of the story itself incredibly pretentious; and yet astoundingly, that does not actually rub me the wrong way. Quite odd. It might have to do with the piece reminding me of Dark Souls the game of all things, what with the grim darkness of the far future (past?) and the eternal return of things that should not be. More Dark Soulsy hopelessness is always welcome.
- [Anasazi] by Gemma Files - wherein gay-themed horror (in Miss Files' own words) runs in parallel to what reads like an excerpt from the monumental history of the great race of the [Anasazi], who bear very little connection to the ancient Pueblo peoples. I confess to be rather indifferent towards the gay-themed horror part, & much more enraptured by the [Anasazi]'s prideful & genocidal self-accounting. "Great is the power of the [Anasazi]! (actual quote) Lo & behold! We wrecked the s***of countless lesser races in the aeons before, and we shall wreck the s*** of countless other lesser races like yours in the aeons to come. We are ethereal. We are eternal. We are the wreckers of everyone's s***!" - it basically runs like that, as if Livy's Ab Urbe Condita Libri was written for an empire 1000 times more awesome than Rome. If a full-flung novel-length of this thing actually exists, then my money wouldn't be able to escape my wallet fast enough.
- Finally, comic strips by Julien Bazinet - wherein Cthulhu meets Peanuts. Snoopy is transformed into Mr Octopus Face & the other casts are cultists. The same light & adorable Peanuts humor is sustained for the most part. And thus the collection closes with another, albeit very different, bang.
All in all, this is one of the best literary tributes I've ever purchased, & certainly a textbook example of how these should be done: with love, care & utmost respect to the person to whom the tribute is paid.
The book's Contents:
Introduction, S. T. Joshi
The House of the Worm, Mearle Prout
Far Below, Robert Barbour Johnson
Spawn of the Green Abyss, C. Hall Thompson
The Deep Ones, James Wade
[Art Portfolio], Erlend Mork
The Franklyn Paragraphs, Ramsey Campbell
Where Yidhra Walks, Walter C. DeBill, Jr.
[Art Portfolio], Allen Koszowski
Black Man with a Horn, T. E. D. Klein
The Last Feast of Harlequin, Thomas Ligotti
Only the End of the Word Again, Neil Gaiman
Mandelbrot Moldrot, Lois Gresh
Black Brat of Dunwich, Stanley C. Sargent
[Art Portfolio]. Stanley C. Sargent
The Phantom of Beguilment, W. H. Pugmire
...Hungry...Rats, Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.
Virgin's Island, Donald Tyson
In the Shadow of Swords, Cody Goodfellow
Mobymart After Midnight, Jonathan Thomas
A Gentleman from Mexico, Mark Samuels
Man with No Name, Laird Barron
John Four, Caitlin R. Kiernan
Sigma Octantis, Rhys Hughes
[Anasazi], Gemma Files
The Wreck of the AURORA, Patrick McGrath
Thirteen Hundred Rats, T. C. Boyle
Beneath the Beardmore, Michael Shea
Rupa Worms from Outer Space, Denis Tiani
Pickman's Model, H. P. Lovecraft (illustrated by John Kenn Mortensen)
The Lurking Fear, H. P. Lovecraft (illustrated by Thomas Ott)
Excerpts from a Notebook, Drazen Kozjan
[cartoons] Julien Bazinet
As always with books from Centipede Press, layout is superb, pages is of the highest quality, and artwork is outstanding. The book features a sewn-in silk book ribbon. Most of the stories are reprints, yet difficult to find. There are new original works published here for the first time. The book is large, and thus the art portfolios, published full-page and many in color, look quite excellent. I was especially happy to see the Allen K. artwork reproduced in vivid color--it's quite wild! I confess that the first story I read was H. P. Lovecraft's "The Lurking Fear," featuring amusing and effective artwork by Thomas Ott, who captures expertly the monstrous trees and feverish vegetation of the scene. (Lovecraft was a master at evoking a nameless sense of place). My one complaint is that the slipcase is so tight that when I returned the book into it, the upper corner of the dusk jacket became bent; & so I no longer use the slipcase. The book sold out before publication, but Jerad is considering a reprint edition selling for $60 or so and not including the signatures or slipcase. One is hopeful that Mr Joshi can convince Titan Books to bring the book out in a trade pb edition. What with his superb BLACK WINGS series, the two volumes of THE MADNESS OF CTHULHU, and several other Lovecraft-themed anthologies planned, S. T. Joshi is becoming a leading editor of this peculiar genre. This is all the more remarkable, since Mr Joshi was once violently opposed to the writing of such fiction, as he expressed in his review of CTHULHU'S HEIRS: "I still do not know what would possess anyone to write a 'Cthulhu Mythos' story; surely there must be something better to do with one's time--like staring off into space." How lucky we are that the old grump has had a change of heart.