Howard Phillips Lovecraft was one of the most influential American authors of horror and speculative fiction. Ironically, he is more popular now than he ever was during his lifetime. Lovecraftian fiction has become is own subgenre and many contemporary writers have chosen to continue the Mythos with their own contributions. This is a list of five of the best tales in that vein!
Carnival by Jacob Prytherch
Set during WWII, a British journalist is in Venice to write about a new bridge being built to make travel to the old city more accessible. What he finds, however, is a dark undercurrent just below the surface; the reader is left wondering what it is exactly until the end.
Although not billed as a Lovecraftian tale, it is possibly one of the best of the genre to come out in recent years. The author uses subtlety quite effectively to accomplish this feeling. It should also be noted that Prytherch does not borrow any of the usual Lovecraft deities, but instead creates a whole new interpretation of the traditional Venetian boogeyman, the Babau.
Choosing to set the tale in Venice is nothing less than genius. Most have never thought of the ancient canal laden city in this way, but Carnival brings out the hidden dark side that could be lurking beneath the waters.
All of the characters are well-developed and interesting. They all feel very real and very human—until the conclusion anyway. The ending is surprisingly unexpected; although you think you know what it’s leading up to, and you are mostly correct, the real twist does not come until the very last pages.
This is a great novella all around and is well worth reading. We hope Mr. Prytherch writes more in this vein!
Carnival is availible at Amazon.com
You will also want to check out his selections on Smashwords.com!
And the Sea Called Her Name by Joe Hart
The shores of Maine are the setting for this one. After his young wife becomes pregnant, things start to get strange for a young lobster fisherman. Are her new cravings and odd behavior just the result of the pregnancy? Unfortunately, they might be.
This is a slower moving story, but well written and suspenseful even though we know basically where the story is headed from the beginning.
And the Sea Called Her Name can be found at Amazon.com and Smashwords.com
Madness Under the Tracks by William Vitka
Madness Under the Tracks is a Lovecraftian tale set in the subways of Brooklyn; it is a good short story and should keep you enthralled for the time it takes to read it (for me I read the entire story in two sittings and about two hours total).
The story follows Felipe, a subway maintenance worker, as he discovers some of the darker secrets of the tunnels and begins to lose his sanity in the process. Anyone who has at least visited New York City and taken the subway, especially at night or from one of the less traveled terminals, should appreciate this one.
Madness Under the Tracks can be found at Amazon.com and Smashwords.com
ICHTHYS by Arinn Dembo
Ichthys is a short story set in the ancient catacombs beneath Rome. It starts out strong and catches your attention right away; the characters are fairly well developed for such a short piece. I particularly liked the setting and the buildup. The main character is Father Macchi, a Jesuit archaeologist, who meets a random construction worker during a new excavation.
ICHTHYS can be found at Amazon.com
Shaggoth!: A Tale of Lovecraftian Lust by Raine Roka
A pretty British journalist journeys to Innsmouth to see if the bizarre tales spread by Lovecraft about the place are true. What she finds is quite a bit more than she expected!
Overall, Shaggoth! Is pretty good short book that treads the line between humor, horror, and smut; most fans of Lovecraft should enjoy this take on the Mythos. The author thankfully does not attempt to copy Lovecraft’s style, but rather used his realm as the setting for her own story. This made for a more interesting and more original book that does not take itself too seriously.
Shaggoth! A Tale of Lovecraftian Lust is available on Amazon.com