Wednesday, November 28, 2012

recent reads; The Taint and Atomic Robo

Well, despite the fact that I seemed exponentially to gain e'books (and a few print books) over the course of November, I haven't got a lot of reading done.

First up, Brian Lumley's The Taint and Other Novellas.  I started this in October, and decided to finish it off.

This book contains seven Cthulhu mythos novellas - mostly from Lumley's early work.  As such, a lot of the flavor is Lovecraft pastiching, but Lumley does manage to bring his own voice, and a couple of the stories stand out on their own.

"The Horror at Oakdeene" -  A writer who moonlights at a sanatorium finds himself drawn into the madness of a patient who dealt a little too closely with the occult.

"Born of the Winds" - This tale, though having a very convenient setup, was a good blend of the Wendigo legend with other Lovecraftian elements.  One of the standouts, and one of Lumley's own favorites.

"The Fairground Horror" - Two carny brothers dabble in the occult until one brother takes things too far.  Fun story, but one of those Lovecraftian pastiches that make it hard to suspend disbelief.  I wouldn't imagine carnies as the types to delve deeply, seriously into occult lore, idols and tomes.

"The Taint" - This tale is the most strongly restrictive.  Lumley was not only writing a mythos story, but one specifically for an Innsmouth anthology.  Yet, he manages to touch on Innsmouth tangentially while providing an original story with the best kind of ending - one I should have seen coming all along, but missed.  The clues were all there.

"Rising with Surtsey" - Again, two brothers dabble in the occult.  Touching on "The Call of Cthulhu" and some good underwater dream scenes.

"Lord of the Worms" -  My first introduction to Titus Crow.  Not surprisingly, I enjoyed this one the most.  It was the most original, with only the lightest Lovecraftian touches.  (though, the villain's machinations do owe something to Lovercraft's "The Thing on the Doorstep.")  It serves as a partial origin tale for Crow.  At least, he finally faces the occult and takes action on all his previously gained knowledge, and the adventure spurs him into becoming an occult investigator of the later stories.  I figured from the linked Black Gate article that I would enjoy Crow, and I did.  I will be hunting down the novels and stories over time.

"The House of the Temple" -  Enjoyable tale of a haunted Scot mansion and the nephew who inherits the estate.

All in all, this is a good mythos collection, though expectedly the early efforts feel somewhat pastiche.  I am not sure I'd want to pay the price of a Subterranean Press hardcover, but as an inexpensive e'book, it's certainly worth having.

Atomic Robo; Volume 2, Atomic Robo and the Dogs of War

Yes, Robo is my newest favorite thing!  This volume focuses on Robo's time during World War II.  It's great romp as he makes new friends with covert Allied agents and new enemies among the Third Reich.  He battles robotic style walker tanks, Wolfenstein style zombie super-soldiers and the like.  This comic is absolutely worth your time and money.

It's FUN!


  1. I picked up the The Taint (ebook version) when it was on sale a few months ago. So far, all I've managed to read is "The Horror at Oakdeene". Definitely good enough to make me want to read the rest. And if you haven't read it yet, Lumley's story in the current issue of Weird Tales is very much worth checking out.

  2. I'll be keeping an eye out for more Lumley and I'll be asking for the Atomic Robo for Christmas.