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Modern era fiction aka 'Nyarlathotep Now'

Posted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 12:19 am
by Tariq
This thread I'd like to dedicate to modern settings for mythos and otherworldly weirdness... 

For the period 2000 to now and maybe a bit beyond - it includes the Laundry series by Charles Stross (soon to be reviewed) and Delta Green 2.0 which is yet to be fully unveiled - though I seem to recall reading somewhere that whereas DG 1990s tapped into the conspiratoriality of the X Files with secretive government agencies suppressing the truth, 2.0 will be more contemporaneous with big government and bigger business doing what they like with scant regard for exposure - how would Majestic 12 fare in a world with the Patriot Act? Better or worse?

Anyway... on to book review 1 for this time period: Kraken by China Meilville.

This book is complex. Not just the story... no this is more than just *story* complex. Indeed if you were minded to describe Kraken as possessing a rich tapestry of characters, plot points, settings and scenes - you'd be right... though actually you'd be likening it to the sort of tapestry that was woven by an insane genius who was forced to change colour of thread every 16th stitch and needle size every other yard and have to encompass both pointillism cubism and photorealism all at once. 

I found that Kraken was not an easy book to read. The use of language requires of it's readership a level of sophistication that makes you (what I mean is 'me') have to go back and re-read prior chapters when later on you realise you misunderstood what you thought you'd read at the beginning... though this might just be down to my own thickness.

Stick with it though.

Seriously, this book has a great story to tell, with some very clever plot devises and characters that don't so much jump out of the page as carefully catapult themselves when no-one's looking.

That said it did leave me feeling somewhat unsatisfied at (or maybe even *with*) the end, and it is a dark tale of urban fantasy, that might seem a little too far fetched in places (gun farmers... for example), but in terms of original concepts it's overflowing.

The general premise is that a giant squid disappears from the London Natural History Museum... and one of it's curators has to find it before it causes the end of the world. Cue gangs of motorcycle helmeted monsters, a sociopathic Metropolitan Police witch, and a cult of Kraken worshipers... among many others.

If you can get around the syntax, read this story - especially for ideas on modern CoC oddness. It's a useful compendium of npcs cults and organisations that will flesh out any campaign or one shot with just the right level of oddity to keep players very entertained [as you gently lower their sanity roll by roll].

For Kraken I managed to summon 7 nightgaunts out of a possible 10 and those that bothered to manifest themselves enjoyed this book.

Re: Modern era fiction aka 'Nyarlathotep Now'

Posted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 2:30 am
by Dr. Gerard
Cool review! I'm sold again!

Re: Modern era fiction aka 'Nyarlathotep Now'

Posted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 2:25 pm
by KeeperMurph
I read Angel by David Farnell recently and it was pretty good. It isn't actually published but you can find it on their website here. It is worth reading and it a pretty good DG story.

I also read Seamus Cooper's first novel The Mall of Cthulhu, this is more light humor than anything else,but is a good read to put in after some of the darker stories like Angel above.

I also recently finished John Hornor Jacobs novel Southern Gods. This is a good mix of Mythos and Southern noir. It is actually a really good read.

I read some other, but I can't think of them right now for some reason.

Re: Modern era fiction aka 'Nyarlathotep Now'

Posted: Tue May 21, 2013 4:13 am
by Shannon Mac
Thanks for the info, all.

Re: Modern era fiction aka 'Nyarlathotep Now'

Posted: Tue May 28, 2013 7:49 pm
by Koakai
Not particularly lovecraftian in nature, though they do mention him in passing, there is Mur Lafferty's new book out. The Shambling Guide to New York City was released today. It is weird fiction in that the things that go bump in the night are real, and a human gets hired to help write a travel book for them. She is currently podcasting the book, one chapter at a time for a limited period, and is four chapters in as of writing. At least give that a listen since it is free for the moment, though I found the book quite worth my time.

Re: Modern era fiction aka 'Nyarlathotep Now'

Posted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 4:35 am
by Graham
I'm surprised no one has mentioned Caitlín R. Kiernan yet. Daughter of Hounds (2007) is the book of hers I've read most often. There are some interesting ideas about ghouls within, Ithaqua makes a cameo appearance and there is this description of Woonsocket (Note: The second sentence refers to ghoul hybrids...)
"If you gotta put a goddamned name on it, yeah. Things kinda went to hell. It's fucking anarchy up there. Quadroons and octoroons wandering around in broad fucking daylight, buying their crack and crystal and shit right there on the street just like everybody else. The whole town might as well be a goddamn warren-"
Caitlín R. Kiernan, Daughter of Hounds, 2007, p. 161

Re: Modern era fiction aka 'Nyarlathotep Now'

Posted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 12:52 pm
by mrjohnmarchughes
"Relic" by Douglas Preston, and Lincoln Child is extremely "Lovecraftian" in tone and theme. It's set inside (and more importantly in the seemingly endless warren of tunnels and spaces below) the Museum of Natural History in New York. Imagine, if you can, a modern day detective of Holmesian genius, thrown into the middle of an episode of Scooby Doo. This book is compelling, exciting, convincing, and creepy.
Other books have since followed, featuring the same detective; those which I've read have been enjoyable, but none have recaptured the brilliance and fun of the first. ... edir_esc=y