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Shakespeare Vs. Cthulhu Paperback – 2 Aug 2016

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Snowbooks (2 Aug. 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1909679860
  • ISBN-13: 978-1909679863
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 183,577 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

Jonathan Green is a writer of speculative fiction, with more than sixty books to his name. Well known for his contributions to the Fighting Fantasy range of adventure gamebooks, he has also written fiction for such diverse properties as Doctor Who, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Warhammer, Warhammer 40,000, Sonic the Hedgehog, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Moshi Monsters, LEGO and Judge Dredd. He is the creator of the Pax Britannia series for Abaddon Books and has written eight novels set within this steampunk universe, featuring the debonair dandy adventurer Ulysses Quicksilver. He is also the author of an increasing number of non-fiction titles, including the award-winning YOU ARE THE HERO - A History of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks. He has recently taken to editing and compiling short story anthologies, including the critically-acclaimed GAME OVER and SHARKPUNK, published by Snowbooks. To find out more about his current projects visit and follow him on Twitter @jonathangreen. Spawned in 1957, Malcolm Barter studied Illustration & Design at Ipswich School of Art. He has freelanced in Publishing, Editorial & Advertising, notably illustrating Ian Livingstone's classic Fighting Fantasy gamebook The Forest of Doom. He is also a fully qualified Horticulturalist. Now back illustrating, his recent work has included more Fighting Fantasy, having been tracked down and dragged back by French publishers in 2013. He currently resides in Suffolk with his daughter Poppy and a modest bonsai collection. After 15 years designing video games, Kev Crossley turned his hand to illustration, contributing to numerous D20 gaming books alongside work for comics including 2000AD, Mam Tor and Kiss4k. His art and writing have appeared in over twenty art books published by Quarto and Ilex among others, and he is the author and illustrator of three books of his own; Fantasy Clip Art (2006), 101 Top Tops From Professional Fantasy Painters (2011) and Character Design From The Ground Up (2014). Kev writes and illustrates regularly for Imagine FX magazine and affiliated publications, and in 2012 he illustrated Ian Livingstone's 30th Anniversary Fighting Fantasy title, Blood Of The Zombies. In 2015 he produced illustrations for Total Warhammer and Jonathan Green's Alice's Nightmare In Wonderland gamebook. Tony Hough has been a fantasy and SF illustrator since 1987 and a Lovecraft fan for even longer. He studied Macbeth and A Midsummer Night's Dream for English Lit and thought they were "quite good". His eclectic work has featured in many magazines, books and games as well as on a snowboard, which rocks! Russ Nicholson is an illustrator of Fantasy, best known for his contribution to Fantasy Gamebooks, such as the Fighting Fantasy series, including the first such book, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, TSR's Fiend Folio, Games Workshop publications, including White Dwarf Magazine and for the seven books in the Fabled Lands series. Recently he has produced work for Le Grimoire, Dungeon World, Goodman Games, RuneQuest, Kobold Press, Scriptarium, Calific, Tin Man Games and the American folk punk band Blackbird Raum, as well as others. Neil Roberts is a freelance illustrator, sculptor, 3D modeller, writer, lecturer and comic book artist residing in deepest, darkest Lincolnshire, UK. He is responsible for the covers on the New York Times bestselling series, The Horus Heresy, which has sold over one million books. His art also covers 2000AD, Doctor Who, Battletech and much, much more. A classically trained painter, Neil spent many years in the video games industry working on a wide range of games and believes in applying a traditional approach, using modern technology, to create memorable imagery. Tiernen Trevallion has worked as an Illustrator and artist since being convinced to leave school in the early '80s. Most recently his work has included comic strips for 2000AD and Renegade, illustration for the Black Library and cover and promotional art for Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here - Symphonic. Tiernen is also working on several collaborations and projects of his own, which may or may not involve angry puffins.

Customer Reviews

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It’s amazing that after over four centuries people can still find new and interesting ways to reimagine the works of Shakespeare. What’s more, it is a surprise, perhaps, that no one tried this before considering that the nature of some of the material lends itself so well to a dark Lovecraftian ethos.

An extensive knowledge of neither Shakespeare nor Lovecraft is required to enjoy these stories and for the most part they are in prose; rather than iambic pentameter. Obviously the more familiar you are with either author the more you will probably get out of this though.

Things are obviously tilted more towards the tragedies rather than the comedies but both are reasonably well covered. There’s a good mix of stories here ranging from those that rework/retell a Shakespearian play with a Lovecraft influence, those that feature Shakespeare and/or his contemporaries as characters and others set in the modern day that feature characters acting in or studying his works. Some are more successful than others but they amount to a varied and somewhat eclectic mix.

Interestingly there are a few times when the collection endeavours to explain or improve on some of the more dubious occurrences in Shakespeare’s catalogue. The naivety of Lear to attempt to divide his kingdom between his three daughters is given a more logical reasoning with the inference that he knows exactly what he is doing by this act. The random spontaneity of the actions of Leontes in ‘A Winter’s Tale’ also seem to make a lot more sense and this is even an effort to try a make sense of the worst stage direction ever – ‘exit pursued by a bear’.

Despite the title the stories included are not all concerned only with Cthulhu.
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Format: Hardcover
Now something of a dab-hand at Kickstarter-funded anthologies, Green, with the help of Snowbooks, has reached out and recruited many of his literary peers to put together something rather special.
"Imagine," we are asked, "if it had been William Shakespeare, England’s greatest playwright, who had discovered the truth about the Great Old Ones and the cosmic entity we know as Cthulhu, rather than the American horror writer H P Lovecraft."
It's an intriguing idea, and one which presents us with two types of response. One through a loosely connected trilogy of tales involving the bard himself, and the other through a series of alternate versions of the Shakespearian plays themselves.

I'll cover the stories individually, avoiding mention of the Lovecraftian twists involved, to give readers at least a little mystery:

Jonathan Oliver's Star-Crossed kicks things off, giving us a bloody modern tale in which a performance of Romeo and Juliet is corrupted by the a sorcerer's grimoire.

Michael Carroll's A Madness Most Discreet takes us to Verona for another tale inspired by Romeo and Juliet.

Adrian Tchaikovsky's Something Rotten sees Hamlet visit the tombs of Denmark, uncovering the real reason for his madness.

C L Werner's Once More Unto the Breach gives us a Henry V whose truck with wizardry brings him to a very different kind of breach, and a very different battle on St Crispin's Day.

Josh Reynolds' A Tiger's Heart, A Player's Hide is the first of three stories involving Shakespeare himself, here at the end of his 'lost years' as his career, set against the backdrop of a plague ravaging London, is about to launch.

NImue Brown's What Dreams May Come provides us with the first of two Lovecraftian sonnets.
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Format: Paperback
I rarely support book kickstarters as I usually prefer just buying the book once it's available, however this seemed like a fun idea so I backed it. And I'm glad I did. The concept is a good one to base an anthology of short stories around. The premise is what if Shakespeare rather than Lovecraft had discovered the Great Old Ones and in particular Cthulhu. So the book is based on stories written by the great bard, but all with a Lovecraftian bent.

I enjoyed reading the book, but it also one I was pleased to enjoy in hard copy rather than in Kindle form, and that's down to the format and the typesetting. The design is taken from play manuscripts of the time and adds a sense of visual aesthetic to the read. It also helps ground the stories it contains.

The stories themselves are a bit of a mixed bag. None of them were rubbish, but a few did stand out above the others. The story about Henry V really shined for me. It was also interesting to see how the different authors tackled the blend in stories. Some were more explicit than others, while some simply took inspiration and followed their own path. The Twitter sonnet at the end was a nice construct.

While the variance in quality can be expected in an anthology like this, it's strength also stems from that variety. The range of stories from Shakespeare is impressive, as is how they were handled. There's some lovely craft here.

So I liked this a lot, it was a fun concept, that delivered on its premise. Highly recommended.
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