Novella Review – The Shadow over Innsmouth by H.P. Lovecraft

Necronomicon

The Shadow over Innsmouth is a horror novella written by H.P. Lovecraft. It is part of the Cthulhu Mythos for which the author is famous, making numerous references to recurring places, creatures, and other shared elements. It was originally written in late 1931, though the story did not see publication until April 1936 as a complete book by Visionary Publishing Company. It was first rejected by the magazine Weird Tales for being too long to publish in its entirety yet structured in such a way that it could not be cleanly cut into two parts. I read this story in the Necronomicon published by Gollancz in 2008, which is an extensive collection of the author’s “Best Weird Tales.”

The story follows a student taking a tour through New England to see the sights and appreciate the architecture of some of its older towns. The nearby town of Innsmouth is suggested to him as a curiosity and a cheaper stop on his journey. Upon arrival he learns of some locations of interest, witnesses and interacts with strange people, and eventually bears witness to the horrifying truth of the town’s dark and sordid history.Read More »

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Short Story Review – Laurie by Stephen King

Laurie

“Laurie” is a new short story by Stephen King, published for free via direct download on the author’s website this past May 17th. You can access the story in PDF form here.

The story follows Lloyd Sunderland, an old man whose wife Marian has passed away after 40 years of marriage. With no children and lacking immediate companionship, his retired life has diminished to monotony and grieving depression. He doesn’t get out much, nor does he eat often or well. Six months after Marian’s passing his older sister Beth pays him a visit, bringing with her a dark gray puppy. Beth pretty much forces the puppy on Lloyd, saying it will be for his own good, and a reluctant relationship begins between master and pup.Read More »

Short Story Review – Komodo by Jeff VanderMeer

Summary

Meet your cast of characters: Angels and ghost frogs, transdimensional komodo dragons and secret forces using luna moths for surveillance. Want to traverse space and time to avoid the komodos tracking your scent? All you have to do let yourself be devoured by a giant undead bear. Confused yet? You should be. But this is the secret world our nameless narrator has stumbled into, ever since being rescued by the angels from an exploding airplane. And she’ll make sense of it for you, or die trying.

Komodo

“Komodo” is my first foray into the writing of Jeff VanderMeer, known for his Southern Reach trilogy. It was while I was looking up those books that this digital “novelette” first came to my attention. This is one of those situations where the title and cover hooked drew me in significantly. I’m a sucker for reptiles. The promise of a weird science fiction story involving “transdimensional komodo dragons” sold me completely.Read More »

Podcast Series Review – It Makes A Sound Season One

Summary

When was the last time you were struck by the EXTRAORDINARY in your life? What wonders are you forgetting to look for? Do you remember how things used to sound? Do you remember the music that first cracked you open and revealed to you the infinite possibilities of the universe?

Do you remember Wim Faros?

Deirdre Gardner remembers. She knows that the extraordinary once tread upon the green fairways of this now abandoned Golf Course Community, and she is determined to make Rosemary Hills come back to life with the sound of music.

It Makes A Sound is a nine-episode serialized fiction podcast about the quest to restore what is missing, and to revive the sound of a generation.

ItMakesASoundLogo

It Makes A Sound is a fiction podcast produced by Night Vale Presents. It is written and co-directed by Jacquelyn Landgraf, and co-directed by Anya Saffir. The show features Landgraf as Deirdre Gardner along with the voices of Annie Golden, Nate Weida, Melissa Mahoney, and Siobhan Fallon. The story follows Deirdre, who has found a cassette tape in the attic of her childhood home, which has recorded on it the first ever concert performed by Wim Faros, a young musician she idolized in her youth. Inspired by the wave of nostalgia from her discovery, she begins broadcasting an amateur radio show to inspire everyone else to remember Whim Faros and — once she manages to find a working tape player — share the music of “The Attic Tape” itself.Read More »

Podcast Series Review – Within the Wires Season Two

Summary

The hit audio drama Within the Wires returns with a new story told through found audio from an alternate universe. Season two, “Museum Audio Tours,” tells its story in the guise of ten audio museum guides. Over the course of a decade of worldwide exhibitions, these walkthroughs unravel the complex story of a mysterious disappearance of an artist’s mentor.

WithinTheWiresS2

Within the Wires season two is a fiction podcast produced by Night Vale Presents, written by Jeffrey Cranor and Janina Matthewson, and starring Rima Te Wiata as Roimata Mangakāhia. The first episode of this season released on September 5, 2017, and concluded with episode 10 on January 9, 2018. I may not write about fiction podcasts very often, but I continue to be a big fan of the medium. I love that audio-only storytelling is returning in such a way, distinct from audio books, their creators doing much more with the format to tell their stories.Read More »

Podcast Series Review – Within the Wires Season One

Print

Within the Wires is a podcast production by Night Vale Presents, written by Jeffrey Cranor and Janina Matthewson. It features the voice work of Janina Matthewson and music by Mary Epworth. Set in a world with an alternate history from our own, each episode is presented as a cassette tape recording — divided by Side A and Side B — that plays instructions for visualization and relaxation exercises. These are dictated by a woman with a soothing voice coupled with ambient music. The intended listener of these tapes is a nameless medical inmate kept in a place referred to only as “The Institute.”Read More »

Short Story Review – The Dunwich Horror by H.P. Lovecraft

Summary from Goodreads

In the degenerate, unliked backwater of Dunwich, Wilbur Whately, a most unusual child, is born. Of unnatural parentage, he grows at an uncanny pace to an unsettling height, but the boy’s arrival simply precedes that of a true horror: one of the Old Ones, that forces the people of the town to hole up by night.

necronomiconcover

“The Dunwich Horror” is a short story by H. P. Lovecraft first published in 1929. I read this story in Necronomicon, a large collection of Lovecraft’s “Best Weird Tales” including the complete Cthulhu Mythos cycle. I’ve always liked the idea of Lovecraft’s horror, telling of otherworldly monstrosities too terrible to behold or comprehend, but I’d never gotten around to reading any. I chose “The Dunwich Horror” because unlike other well known stories like “The Call of Cthulhu” or “At the Mountains of Madness,” which I’m intent on reading, I’d heard of this story but knew nothing of what it’s about.Read More »

Short Story Review – Something Happened Here, But We’re Not Quite Sure What It Was by Paul McAuley

Summary

“Something Happened Here, But We’re Not Quite Sure What It Was” by Paul McAuley is a complex sf story about politics and xenophobia when human colonists on an Earth-like planet are faced with the possibility of reaching out to alien cultures, especially when a big organization that has previously done harm is in charge of the operation.

somethinghappened_full

While a little long-winded, I have to admit it was the title of this story that grabbed me more than anything else. While I was aware it was a science fiction story, I love the more terrifying implications of a title like this. I love obscurity I can wrack my brain over, even if I won’t get clear answers. This is easier said than done, however, and unfortunately this story did not quite hit the mark.Read More »

First Impressions: Alice Isn’t Dead

AliceIsntDead

Alice Isn’t Dead is a new serial fiction podcast written by Joseph Fink of Welcome to Night Vale, and narrated by Jasika Nicole. The podcast is part of the new Night Vale Presents network. March 8, 2016 saw the release of the first episode, “Part 1, Chapter 1: Omelet.” Episodes are set to be released every two weeks. The story follows a truck driver, the narrator yet to be named, who is travelling the country in search of her wife Alice. During her travels we can expect her to encounter strange people, places, and phenomena.Read More »