World War Cthulhu
Editors Brian M. Sammons and Glynn Owen Barrass bring together a collection of military-themed stories that blend a thorough-going Lovecraftian milieu with hard-core war. World War Chtulhu brings 22 short stories for your delectation and delight. As a new fan of Lovecraft, this was my own first journey outside those works written by H. P. Lovecraft himself. The shorts range from historical events, such as the battle of Troy, given a Lovecraftian twist to futuristic battles with new Great Old Ones and interdimensional horrors. All of which are saturated with Lovecraftian motifs.
Let me start with the one glaring inconsistency in the entire collection: the apparent demotion of Lieutenant-Colonel Longcroft to Corporal and then repromotion to his original rank in the span of a single conversation with the POW Camp Commander, one Oberstleutnant Waldemar von Edelsheim. A Feast of Death was still an enjoyable read, to be sure, but I did have to check back a couple of times to make sure I had not crossed names in my own head.
A few of the stories, such as *Broadsword”, tied in and used common motifs effectively, such as the oft-used Nazi obsession with the occult. Others went into some really creative uses of narrative, such as The Ithiliad. Such was the confusion it wrought in me (I may have been overly fatigued at the time of reading it), I will have to read that one again.
There is something for fans of every type of military period in this book. The regional variances between British and US characters are developed well and convincing. Where these identities were key, the characters were believable and relatable. There was no real getting burdened with overly done internal narratives, but enough that balanced pace with getting to know who they were as people.
In terms of file size, this is a massive ebook, but that is due to the number of highly detailed illustrations. I read mine on a Kobo. This in no way did the illustrations any justice whatsoever. I would recommend viewing them in something capable of colour, as they are wonderful illustrations and worth the look.
My personal favourite was the last story in the collection, Wunderwaffe by Jeffery Thomas. Set in a radically different future in a place called Punktown (my first foray into that city), it was notable for the creative way Thomas envisioned the use of Lovecraftian magic by inter-dimensional beings who are also opposed to the Old Gods and other malevolent beings. I really enjoyed this one. I will never look at tattoos in quite the same way again.
This is a solid collection from Dark Regions Press, and a nice introduction to modern Lovecraftian writing.