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Steampunk Cthuhu Review!

 

CHA6054.main__89806.1403591315.380.500Steampunk Cthulhu is another Lovecraftian horror anthology from Chaosium edited by Brian Sammons and Glynn Owen Barrass. Like most the title might imply this anthology is centered around the mythos in the age of steam. I was very excited to finally get this book in as I am a huge fan of steampunk and the mythos so blending the genres together seems like a no brainer. The settings and styles of the stories vary greatly from the slightly changed historical fiction with the mad steam scientist to the full on world of steam in a dystopian future past.

There are seventeen stories in all listed below and they are each absolutely fantastic. The overall theme of the book is not derailed by a lone story that doesn’t quite fit by being slightly below quality. This and the fact that so many diverse themes can come together even in a mish-mash genre are both testaments to the editors.

If you are a fan of the other anthologies from Mr. Sammons, a fan of Lovecraftian horror, or a steampunk fan looking to see how the setting can be re-imagined in seventeen different ways then you should really pick this book up!

  • Those Above by Jeffrey Thomas
    • Something has obviously gone horribly awry during the age of steam here. The tech that was created was tainted and led to the enslavement of the human race. But all of that pales in comparison to the massive conspiracy discovered by the protagonist.
  • The Blackwold Horror by Adam Bolivar
    • This has the typical Lovecraftian protagonist on a scholarly quest that meets with a very old English aristocracy that is into some rather unpleasant life sustaining technology. Think Frankenstein in Victorian Steampunk England.
  • No Hand to Turn the Key by Carrie Cuinn
    • Imagine if just the clockwork servitors of our own creation was all that was left. Humanity is gone and only they are there to try and preserve the knowledge that might save themselves, and might have damned humanity.
  • The Reverend Mr. Goodworks & the Yeggs of Yig by Edward M. Erdelac
    • Fans of Mr. Erdelac will no doubt recognize the protagonist, The Reverend Mister Goodworks, from the last book of the Merkahbah Rider Series Once Upon A Time In The Weird West. The story finds the reverend after the end of the novel where he encounters am evil cult that might know something more of his creation. It’s weird west mythosy steampunk, What’s not to love?
  • Carnacki – The Island of Doctor Munroe by William Meikle
    • Carnacki is a wonderful story retelling the Dr. Monroe tale with a twist. The protagonist is a very Lovecraftian occult investigator who is forced to make some demanding choices for all of mankind.
  • Pain Wears No Mask by John Goodrich
    • A very good story centered around airships. But Britain is ruled by a poet not a king, oh and Oscar Wilde wrote the King in Yellow. Yeah things get crazy good really fast.
  • Before the Least of These Stars by Lee Clark Zumpe
    • Imagine a Yankee in King Arthur’s court but instead of slipping into the past you slip into a parallel reality slightly different from your own. Now imagine this all happens in post Civil War antebellum south and you can imagine how dire the protagonist wants to return home. There wasn’t airships and giant juggernaut soldiers in the war was there?
  • The Promised Messiah by D.J. Tyrer
    • The protagonist here could have been ripped from one of my recent Call of Cthulhu games, a paranormal investigator working for the for Psychial Research. He goes to follow up on the claims of a man who has invented a mechanical poet. Want to guess where it’s sense of style comes from?
  • Unfathomable by Christine Morgan
    • This is possibly my favorite on the list mainly because it was from an author hitherto unknown to me. Mrs. Morgan has a blinding wit a a flair for conversation that is obvious in her protagonist, Chantal Noir – Paranormalist – Troubleshooter – Adventuress, she had cards made. This is a really fun story and you should all read it.
  • The Flower by Christopher M. Geeson
    • Imagine you are in the Civil War, now imagine it with more crazed steam tech than you can shake a stick at. This is a great story by Mr. Geeson that basically shows us that war is not always the answer, and can be something of a Pandora’s Box once tapped.
  • Tentacular Spectacular by Thana Niveau
    • Corsets are all the rage  in Victorian England. I wonder what would happen if some enterprising young seamtress used an ancient ghastly book to create her newest line of corsets? Would London swoon over the teeny tiny waistlines?
  • Fall of an Empire by Glynn Owen Barrass & Brian M. Sammons
    • I have yet to read a story by Sammons and Barrass that I have disliked. In fact, I haven’t read a story from either of them individually that I haven’t liked. And this one is no different. This is Victorian adventure in high form, a must read.
  • The Baying of the Hounds by Leigh Kimmel
    • This is another one I liked. What would it take for the two most renowned Victorian scientists, who happen to hate each other with a passion,  join forces to battle an eldritch threat? You should read the story to find out.
  • Mr Brass & the City of Devils by Josh Reynolds
    • Another great story! I would love to read some more of the mysterious Mr. Brass! A great little story following a rather unique Pinkerton Detective in his globe-trotting pursuit of the infamous Enoch Bowen.
  • The Source by D.L. Snell
    • Mr. Snell’s The Source is a beautifully put together piece about the perils of obsession and thrill of scientific breakthroughs at any cost. While not strictly occurring the the Victorian era, instead it is set in the Georgian era before and during the American Revolutionary war.
  • Happy Birthday, Dear Cthulhu by Robert Neilson
    • A Punch and Judy Victorian birthday gone awry thanks things best left untouched. This is a great story from another writer that I was not familiar with. I’ll be looking for more from him I hope!
  • The Strange Company by Pete Rawlik
    • What is not to love about Pete Rawlik and his preternatural obsession with reanimators of all sorts. This is a brilliant story that left me wanting more. More of the previous happenings of the crew of The Strange Company and the fantastic Captain Edward Norris. I’ve come to expect nothing less from Mr. Rawlik and have come away this time wanting much much more.

 

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