I can’t imagine that there is a serious reader of SF/F and horror fiction in the English language that does not know Ellen Datlow’s name.
Not only is Datlow a sharp and observant writer, for 30 years she has been one of the ranking editors in the genre. She was the fiction editor at OMNI and is the editor of over 50 anthologies, many of which have been featured somewhere in January Magazine over the years. (Often under my byline. And I’ll admit it: I’m a fan.) So needless to say, when a book with Datlow’s name on the cover enters my world, I sit up and pay attention.
In this case, though, there was more than one reason to take notice. In Lovevcraft’s Monsters (Tachyon), Datlow brings together some of the top SF/F and horror writers working today and has them play in Lovecraft’s bizarre world. And that’s a delight. To see the likes of Neil Gaiman, Joe R. Lansdale, Elizabeth Bear and many others writing what is, in one way, very much like Lovecraftian fanfic is very little short of wonderful.
Nor is this Datlow’s first foray in this sub-sub genre. In 2009 she edited Lovecraft Unbound, a book that contained “mostly new stories inspired by Lovecraft.” In Lovecraft’s Monsters, Datlow says she feels she has pushed “thematic boundaries to the breaking point,” with stories from some authors not known for the type included in the anthology.
The stories are weirdly wonderful. But so, also, is the artwork: spectacularly rendered original illustrations appear throughout John Coulthart.
If you loved Cthulhu, Shoggoths, the Deep Ones and the other monsters that haunted Howard Phillips Lovecraft’s sad and creepy vision, you’ll gobble up Lovecraft’s Monsters.