I picked this anthology up at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival last year. I’ve come to take it on faith that if Ross has a booth set up any given year at the festival, my bank account is going to be sad. Word Horde is a consistently amazing small press, and have put out many of my favorite anthologies and novels of the past few years (Review of John Langan’s The Fisherman coming soon because holy shit.). Cthulhu Fhtagn! is no different.
Cthulhu Fhtagn! Continues the tradition that Word Horde’s The Book of Cthulhu vols. 1 & 2 started. Cosmic terror in literature has gone through a long evolution through the tales of the likes of Lovecraft, Machen, Dunsany, and Blackwood, currently cumulating in Weird Fiction as we have it today. Cthulhu Fhtagn! presents nineteen stories from some of today’s most talented purveyors of the weird, taking inspiration from their whackjob literary forebears and providing a contemporary vision of the disturbing. My personal favorites include:
"Delirium Sings in the Maelstrom" by Mike Griffin- "The Music of Erich Zann" is one of my favorite Lovecraft stories, and Griffin’s contribution is a fantastic, off-kilter homage to the story.
"The Insectivore" by Orrin Grey- A bizarre approach to affecting time-lines that will make you dislike cockroaches even more.
"On a Kansas Plain" by Michael J. Martinez- In case you weren’t aware, cultists are worse than tax collectors.
"The Prince of Lyghes" by Anya Martin- This was hands down my favorite story in the anthology. There are multiple levels of horror driving through this story, some made too impactful by being too real.
"Aerkheim’s Horror" by Christine Morgan- Viking cosmic horror! There are some great Easter eggs in the story if you look carefully.
"The Long Dark" by Wendy N. Wagner- Wagner’s contribution is a great post-apocalyptic/sci-fi/horror piece that has a great world-building for the brevity of the story. I would love to see more stories written in the world she created for it.
"The Green Revolution" by Cody Goodfellow- A strong eco-horror story, leaving it up for debate as to what the actual source of the horror is.
These are but a few of the stories in an anthology that is made up pretty much completely of standouts. It’s not a particularly quick read due to the number of stories, so you’ll have a lot to enjoy for a long time.
Cthulhu Fhtagn! can be purchased at Word Horde or Amazon.