Monday, April 07, 2014

Reading Brian Lumley

  I spent a lot of the weekend reading short stories and novellas by Brian Lumley. This was set in motion when my pal, Paul McNamee, posted on facebook about several Lumley collections being available cheap for the Kindle. I picked up THE COMPLETE CROW (all the short stories about Lumley's occult investigator Titus Crow) THE TAINT AND OTHER NOVELLAS (What it says. Horror novellas) and HAGGOPIAN AND OTHER STORIES (A collection of Cthulhu mythos stories.) I read all the Crow stories and all the short stories and a couple of the novellas.
   It's an uneven bunch, as are most collections of this nature, but for the most part I enjoyed the stories. Lumley, sort of like me, is a guy who often uses Lovecraftian horror as a background for action adventure stories. His heroes tend to fight back, rather than go mad or be eaten like so many of H.P. Lovecraft's protagonists. Yes, there are gibbering, slavering things from the Outer Dark, but they can be fought.
   Some of the other stories though are pure horror and people come to nasty ends. Like I said, a mixed bag. Up until now, most of the stories I'd read by Brian Lumley were in his PRIMAL LANDS or DREAMLANDS series. I have to say I like his take on the Cthulhu mythos. Sometimes he strays a little far into the mindset of his mentor August Derleth, but for the most part he uses the Mythos to tell highly entertaining stories. It ain't Lovecraft but it ain't bad.


Bob R Milne said...

I snagged a bunch of Lumley ebooks lately as well - The Fly-By-Nights, The Mobius Murders, and The Plague-Bearer.

I'd been chasing the paperbacks down forever, but wasn't willing to pay what people wanted for their used Subterranean Press editions.

Anonymous said...

His standalone novel "Khai of Ancient Khem" is also pretty good and well worth reading. Not exactly Lovecraft or REH but still enjoyable.

Paul R. McNamee said...

I enjoyed the stuff in The Taint and want to read more.

I've very curious if the novella, "Born of the Winds," was re-written into the Crow novel, Spawn of the Winds. (Crow wasn't in the short story) Or, if they are just related by being Ithaqua stories.

Weird - Amazon seems to have discovered a cache of paperbacks. They now have The Taint and Haggopian available as paperbacks (Solaris reprints from 2008 & 2009) (new, from Amazon.)

The Wasp said...

House of Doors is a fun sci-fi horror novel and I remember liking Necroscope but it's really his short stories I like best.

Keith West said...

I've not read a great deal of Lumley, and most of that has been his Lovecraftian work, but I've enjoyed what I've read.

Charles R. Rutledge said...

Same here, Bob, so I'm glad to get Kindle copies.

I will check it out, Anon.

Paul, I'll be reading more as well. Lumley wrote a lot of stuff, so we have plenty to go.

Agreed, Wasp. The shorts seem to be his best stuff. Then again I think horror, like sword & sorcery is best in the shorter form.

Keith, yes he has a feel for the Mythos stuff. I think you might like the Titus Crow stories if you've yet to try them.