New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird

Paula Guran et al.

For more than eighty years H.P. Lovecraft has inspired writers of supernatural fiction, artists, musicians, filmmakers, and gaming. His themes of cosmic indifference, the utter insignificance of humankind, minds invaded by the alien, and the horrors of history — written with a pervasive atmosphere of unexplainable dread — today remain not only viable motifs, but are more relevant than ever as we explore the mysteries of a universe in which our planet is infinitesimal and climatic change is overwhelming it.

In the first decade of the twenty-first century the best supernatural writers no longer imitate Lovecraft, but they are profoundly influenced by the genre and the mythos he created. New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird presents some of the best of this new Lovecraftian fiction — bizarre, subtle, atmospheric, metaphysical, psychological, filled with strange creatures and stranger characters — eldritch, unsettling, evocative, and darkly appealing . . .

Contributors in Alphabetical Order

  • The Crevasse, Dale Bailey & Nathan Ballingrud
  • Old Virginia, Laird Barron
  • Shoggoths in Bloom, Elizabeth Bear
  • Mongoose, Elizabeth Bear & Sarah Monette
  • The Oram County Whoosit, Steve Duffy
  • Study in Emerald, Neil Gaiman
  • Grinding Rock, Cody Goodfellow
  • Pickman’s Other Model (1929), Caitlin Kiernan
  • The Disciple, David Barr Kirtley
  • The Vicar of R’lyeh, Marc Laidlaw
  • Mr Gaunt, John Langan
  • Take Me to the River, Paul McAuley
  • The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft, Nick Mamatas & Tim Pratt
  • Details, China Mieville
  • Bringing Helena Back, Sarah Monette
  • Another Fish Story, Kim Newman
  • Lesser Demons, Norm Partridge
  • Cold Water Survival, Holly Phillips
  • Head Music, Lon Prater
  • Bad Sushi, Cherie Priest
  • The Fungal Stain, W.H. Pugmire
  • Tsathoggua, Michael Shea
  • Buried in the Sky, John Shirley
  • Fair Exchange, Michael Marshall Smith
  • The Essayist in the Wilderness, William Browning Spencer
  • A Colder War, Charles Stross
  • The Great White Bed, Don Webb


Horror writer H.P. Lovecraft has long inspired a wide range of authors. This latest anthology features 27 Lovecraftian tales published between 2000 and 2010. A father’s death and a tape recording force a young man to confront a horrible family secret in John Langan’s subtly revelatory tale, “Mr. Gaunt.” In a twist on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Neil Gaiman’s “A Study in Emerald” features a famous consulting
detective who investigates a royal murder in a Victorian England ruled by beings from beyond the stars. The contributors’ list consists of a who’s who in contemporary sf and dark fantasy, including China Miéville, Elizabeth Bear, Sarah Monette, Charles Stross, Caitlín R. Kiernan, and John Shirley. VERDICT For fans of Lovecraftian fiction and well-wrought horror—Library Journal,starred

The lore underlying H.P. Lovecraft’s tales of cosmic horror has inspired some of the best talents in fantastic fiction, and Prime editor Guran’s latest anthology puts 27 exemplars on tentacle-wreathed display. Both Laird Barron in “Old Virginia” and Charles Stross in “A Colder War” speculate on the horrors that might ensue if government research teams were allowed to explore Lovecraftian monsters as potential weapons. In Cherie Priest’s “Bad Sushi,” a chef uncovers a cosmic conspiracy involving supernaturally corrupted seafood. Sherlock Holmes foils worshipers of Lovecraft’s Great Old Ones in Neil Gaiman’s “A Study in Emerald,” while in Elizabeth Bear’s “Shoggoths in Bloom,” an African-American scientist finds himself sympathizing with enslaved creations of those eldritch entities. Comic riffs on Lovecraftian themes include “The Essayist in the Wilderness,” William Browning Spencer’s hilarious account of a navel-gazing writer oblivious to his wife’s transformation. Guran (The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror) smartly selects stories that evoke the spirit of Lovecraft’s work without mimicking its style.—Publishers Weekly

. . . It’s a pretty impressive line-up, with nary a clunker to be found. . . . You don’t have to be a Lovecraft fan to enjoy this collection. Heck, you don’t even have to be that well-versed in the Cthulhu Mythos to appreciate the stories. Sure, it helps if you know your shoggoths from your Nyarlathotep, but most of these stories are accessible nonetheless. You’ll find alienation, inhumanity, desperation, cruelty, insanity, hopelessness and despair, all set against the backdrop of a vast, unknowable universe filled with vile, indifferent monstrosities. You’ll also find beauty, hope, redemption, and the struggle for survival. What more can you ask for?—

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