Friday, September 19, 2008

Disappointment from the Depths of Hell

Recently, I've got into me HP Lovecraft. I always thought he was a nutter read by nutters, and have never really recovered from my date with a Satanist. But I finally started reading some earlier this year, and he is hilarious - Stephen King crossed with Jane Austen. Nothing can top the genteel wit of Charles Dexter Ward, where an entire town politely ignores the raising of the dead.

Raced through it, and then discovered "Shadows Over Baker Street", an anthology of Sherlock Holmes meets Cthulhu. How brilliant - the mixture of drawing room deduction with the madness of the plains of Leng.

Of course, the book itself is rubbish. Yes, there's a story by Neil Gaiman that's worth the price alone (what if Cthulhu's forces ruled the Empire?), but the rest are jubble. Holmes and Watson wander uncomfortably past exploding priestesses and socially awkward tentacles before hurrying back to the safety of 221B.

I guess I shouldn't have expected more. But the great thing about Lovecraft is that he never says exactly what is going on, whereas Doyle deals in complete discovery. Perhaps I was hoping that at some point Holmes would just say "Well, my dear Watson, aeons ago the world was occupied by cunning squids and magic beetles..."

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