Reviews of dark fiction (Under Construction)

The Taint and Other Novellas by Brian Lumley, narrated by Joshua Saxon

Welcoming the chance to get my Lovecraft on via the excellent narration of Joshua Saxon, I tore into THE TAINT AND OTHER NOVELLAS. What fun!

A collection of 5 novellas which were written back in the mid to late 1900s, these tales do not have the polish of Lumley’s later works, like the Necroscope series. These stories are more the work of a writer starting out, (while serving in the military), a writer bewitched by Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos. The fun parts of the mythos are here, but they lack the racism and other issues of Lovecraft’s work.

My favorites of the 5 were: LORD OF THE WORMS This tale featured Titus Crow, a name I remember from back in the day, though I can’t quite remember the tales in which he featured. In this story, he’s invited to a home under the pretense of cataloging a large book collection at an old estate. Of course nothing is as it appears. Throw in some mesmerizing hypnotism, (see what I did there?!), some maggots and some spiked wine and you have yourself a great time!

THE TAINT was a fun tale involving fish-men. That’s right, fish-men. With all the creepiness inherent in that phrase. It’s not as much a pulp tale as one would think, with just the right mix of horror and perhaps a bit of social commentary, (but that’s just my take.)

Finally, the last story THE TEMPLE HOUSE takes the form of a man inheriting an old estate from his uncle. He takes a friend and goes to Scotland to inspect his inheritance, and soon finds a letter from his uncle asking him to destroy the place. Why? You’ll have to read this to find out!

Regarding the narrator, Joshua Saxon-I’ve only listened to one other performance of his, which was the excellent THE CIPHER by Kathe Koja. In that book he was voicing only one character while in this collection, he voices all kinds of people and he does it quite well. English, American, Scottish, he does them all and never for a moment did I doubt the origins of any of the characters. Well done, sir!

This was a collection full of fun Lovecraftian monsters, fish people, maggots and worms. If these are the things that delight you, then you’ll enjoy the hell out of this volume!

Recommended!

You can get your audio here: THE TAINT AND OTHER NOVELLAS

*I received this audio download free from the narrator, in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

**Originally published on my old blog 5.27.2020**

The Taint and Other Novellas by Brian Lumley Book Cover The Taint and Other Novellas by Brian Lumley
Brian Lumley, author & Joshua Saxon, Narrator
Horror, Cosmic Horror, Dark Fiction
Crossroad Press
11.11.2019
Audible Audio
12 Hours, 14 minutes
Downloaded Audio, provided by narrator

 

Prior to the first American publication of Brian Lumley's ground-breaking, dead-waking, best-selling Necroscope in 1988 - the first novel in a long-lived, much-loved series - this British author had for 20 years been earning himself something of a reputation writing short stories, novellas, and a series of novels set against H. P. Lovecraft's cosmic Cthulhu Mythos backdrop. A soldier in 1967, serving in Berlin with the Royal Military Police, Lumley jump-started his literary career by writing to August Derleth, the then-dean of macabre publishers at his home in Sauk City, Wisconsin, telling of his fascination with the Mythos, and purchasing books by the Old Gentleman of Providence, RI. In addition, he sent a page or two of written work allegedly culled from the various forbidden or black books of the Mythos. Suitably impressed, the master of Arkham House invited Lumley to write something solid in the Mythos as a possible contribution to a new volume he was currently contemplating, to be titled - what else but? - Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos. And as might well be imagined, that set everything in motion. Forty years have passed since then and a good many words of Mythos fiction written, including critically acclaimed and award-nominated work, stories that have appeared in prestigious magazines such as Fantasy & Science Fiction, and hardcover volumes from publishers all over the world from the USA to China and the United Kingdom to Russia. But while Lumley's novels are all currently available, many of them in hardcover format, his Mythos short stories and novellas have until now remained uncollected. Here in this volume are found the novellas; the future companion volume will contain the short stories. And thus the very best of Brian Lumley's works in this sub-genre, including such recent tales as "The Hymn" and "The Taint", are collected and presented for the first time in audio format...

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