Black Wings of Cthulhu–An Incredible Anthology of “Lovecraftian” Horror Stories! Collected by Lovecraft Scholar S. T. Joshi… Here Are the Covers and TOCs for All Six Vols.!

Black Wings of Cthulhu: Tales of Lovecraftian Horror

80C707BA-B805-4D54-88C7-2B397207ADFBTable of Contents
ix • Introduction (Black Wings) • essay by S. T. Joshi
5 • Pickman’s Other Model (1929) • (2008) • novelette by Caitlín R. Kiernan
34 • Desert Dreams • (2010) • short story by Donald R. Burleson
46 • Engravings • short story by Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.
56 • Copping Squid • (2009) • novelette by Michael Shea
78 • Passing Spirits • short story by Sam Gafford
97 • The Broadsword • [The Children of Old Leech] • novella by Laird Barron
142 • Usurped • novelette by William Browning Spencer
163 • Denker’s Book • short story by David J. Schow
172 • Inhabitants of Wraithwood • [Cthulhu Mythos] • novelette by W. H. Pugmire
209 • The Dome • short story by Mollie L. Burleson
218 • Rotterdam • short story by Nicholas Royle
236 • Tempting Providence • novelette by Jonathan Thomas
273 • Howling in the Dark • short story by Darrell Schweitzer
286 • The Truth About Pickman • [Cthulhu Mythos] • short story by Brian Stableford
306 • Tunnels • short story by Philip Haldeman
326 • The Correspondence of Cameron Thaddeus Nash • novelette by Ramsey Campbell
355 • Violence, Child of Trust • short story by Michael Cisco
364 • Lesser Demons • novelette by Norman Partridge
392 • An Eldritch Matter • short story by Adam Niswander
400 • Substitutions • novelette by Michael Marshall Smith
421 • Susie • short story by Jason Van Hollander


Black Wings of Cthulhu 2: 18 Tales of Lovecrafian Horror

2E9CD6FD-A7BC-46C6-8346-5A82D2EEFC68Table of Contents
7 • Introduction: “Black Wings of Cthulhu 2” • (2012) • essay by S. T. Joshi
11 • When Death Wakes Me to Myself • (2012) • novelette by John Shirley
45 • View • (2012) • short story by Tom Fletcher
61 • Houndwife • (2012) • short story by Caitlín R. Kiernan
85 • King of Cat Swamp • (2012) • novelette by Jonathan Thomas
107 • Dead Media • (2012) • short story by Nick Mamatas
125 • The Abject • (2012) • short fiction by Richard Gavin
149 • Dahlias • (2012) • short story by Melanie Tem
159 • Bloom • (2012) • novelette by John Langan
195 • And the Sea Gave Up the Dead • (2012) • short story by Jason C. Eckhardt
213 • Casting Call • (2012) • short story by Don Webb
231 • The Clockwork King, the Queen of Glass, and the Man with the Hundred Knives • (2012) • short story by Darrell Schweitzer
251 • The Other Man • (2012) • short story by Nicholas Royle
263 • Waiting at the Crossroads Motel • (2012) • short story by Steve Rasnic Tem
275 • The Wilcox Remainder • (2012) • short story by Brian Evenson
291 • Correlated Discontents • (2012) • novelette by Rick Dakan
317 • The Skinless Face • (2012) • novelette by Donald Tyson
353 • The History of a Letter • (2012) • short story by Jason V Brock
369 • Appointed • (2012) • short story by Chet Williamson

Volumes 3-6 appear below following A Review of Volume 1


entry_top_03_1

A Review of Volume 1

Source: https://www.geeksofdoom.com/2012/03/20/book-review-black-wings-of-cthulhu-21-tales-of-lovecraftian-horror

Fans of H.P. Lovecraft all know about the Cthulhu Mythos and chances are even if you’re not that familiar with Lovecraft’s tales of terror, you’ve probably heard of “Cthulhu.” That’s because everybody loves Cthulhu (seriously, people love him/it!). So typically when a Lovecraft-inspired anthology is produced, the publisher will go right for more Cthulhu, not only to draw in the average reader, but also because contemporary authors can really make their mark with today’s readers if they offer up a great Cthulhu story.

While slapping a Cthulhu label on a book might be a good marketing strategy, Black Wings of Cthulhu, an anthology of 21 short stories inspired by Lovecraft’s original tales, instead encompasses a lot of aspects of Lovecraft’s writings. Don’t worry, Cthulhu and friends are surely represented and while it’s in the title, it’s not the main focus of this collection — although the big guy is front and center on the book’s gorgeous gold-etched cover.

This new trade paperback edition from Titan Books (a reprint from the hardcover edition published by PS Publishing) contains original stories from authors like Caitlin R. Kiernan, W.H. Pugmire, and Adam Niswander, as well as other writers like Joseph S. Pulver, Jr. and William Browning Spencer who are better known for their Lovecraft expanded-universe fiction. The book’s editor, S. T. Joshi, who was asked by Guillermo del Toro to consult on the filmmaker’s planned big-screen adaptation of Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness, is an authority on the late author who penned the well-received Lovecraft biography, Am Providence: The Life and Times of H.P. Lovecraft. For this anthology, Joshi wanted stories, along with the straightforward Cthulhu Mythos ones, that explored Lovecraft’s theme of cosmicism, where human laws and interests have no bearing in the grand scheme of the universe, and that humans themselves are basically insignificant. With each tale in Black Wings of Cthulhu, the insignificance and helpnessness of humans becomes more frighteningly apparent.

Some of the short stories will fill you with dread, though they are compelling enough to make you keep reading, just to find out how it all will end, like the three entries that revolve around the character Pickman – “Pickman’s Other Model,” “Inhabitants of Wraithwood,” and “The Truth about Pickman,” the first of which opens this anthology. After reading that first story, I immediately felt the need to skip ahead right to the other two. Who knew I’d want to know so much about Pickman, the Bostonian artist whose paintings were brilliant yet disturbingly graphic? But, I did. These entries were some of my favorites in the book, as was “An Eldritch Matter” and “Susie,” both of which had descriptive narratives similar to that of Kafka’s Metamorphosis.

Some stories were just too brutally real for me, like “Violence, Child of Trust,” where the heinous actions of humans against humans would overshadowed the supernatural or alien aspects. Part of what made Lovecraft’s stories so terrifying was what they implied and what they left up the reader’s imagination, so after reading the author’s stories for years and growing up on graphic horror films, I fear that my imagination brings me to places I’d rather not go. Hence, why reading select portions of Black Wings of Cthulhu before bed was not one of my best ideas.

Part of the fun in reading an anthology like this is figuring out which original story is the basis for the new story. There’s lots of references to Lovecraft characters and situations here. In some selections, the inspiration is obvious, like the ones with Pickman; in others, I was left wondering what exactly they were about, but for the most part, the average Lovecraft fan will recognize a lot of what’s going on.

Of the 21 tales, I surprisingly found all of them compelling, which isn’t always the case in an anthology like this. I usually find myself skipping around a lot, trying to find an author’s style that I enjoy, but with this book, I was able to read the stories in the order, except for the times I wanted to skip ahead to a related tale (like I mentioned before with Pickman). All of the stories are very well-written and lovingly steeped in Lovecraft lore – Lovecraft himself even appears in some of the entries! I highly recommend Black Wings of Cthulhu for fans of Lovecraft, and feel that even readers with a passing knowledge of the source material can enjoy the offerings of this 500-page anthology.

Fans of H.P. Lovecraft all know about the Cthulhu Mythos and chances are even if you’re not that familiar with Lovecraft’s tales of terror, you’ve probably heard of “Cthulhu.” That’s because everybody loves Cthulhu (seriously, people love him/it!). So typically when a Lovecraft-inspired anthology is produced, the publisher will go right for more Cthulhu, not only to draw in the average reader, but also because contemporary authors can really make their mark with today’s readers if they offer up a great Cthulhu story.

While slapping a Cthulhu label on a book might be a good marketing strategy, Black Wings of Cthulhu, an anthology of 21 short stories inspired by Lovecraft’s original tales, instead encompasses a lot of aspects of Lovecraft’s writings. Don’t worry, Cthulhu and friends are surely represented and while it’s in the title, it’s not the main focus of this collection — although the big guy is front and center on the book’s gorgeous gold-etched cover.

This new trade paperback edition from Titan Books (a reprint from the hardcover edition published by PS Publishing) contains original stories from authors like Caitlin R. Kiernan, W.H. Pugmire, and Adam Niswander, as well as other writers like Joseph S. Pulver, Jr. and William Browning Spencer who are better known for their Lovecraft expanded-universe fiction. The book’s editor, S. T. Joshi, who was asked by Guillermo del Toro to consult on the filmmaker’s planned big-screen adaptation of Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness, is an authority on the late author who penned the well-received Lovecraft biography, Am Providence: The Life and Times of H.P. Lovecraft. For this anthology, Joshi wanted stories, along with the straightforward Cthulhu Mythos ones, that explored Lovecraft’s theme of cosmicism, where human laws and interests have no bearing in the grand scheme of the universe, and that humans themselves are basically insignificant. With each tale in Black Wings of Cthulhu, the insignificance and helplessness of humans becomes more frighteningly apparent.

Some of the short stories will fill you with dread, though they are compelling enough to make you keep reading, just to find out how it all will end, like the three entries that revolve around the character Pickman – “Pickman’s Other Model,” “Inhabitants of Wraithwood,” and “The Truth about Pickman,” the first of which opens this anthology. After reading that first story, I immediately felt the need to skip ahead right to the other two. Who knew I’d want to know so much about Pickman, the Bostonian artist whose paintings were brilliant yet disturbingly graphic? But, I did. These entries were some of my favorites in the book, as was “An Eldritch Matter” and “Susie,” both of which had descriptive narratives similar to that of Kafka’s Metamorphosis.

Some stories were just too brutally real for me, like “Violence, Child of Trust,” where the heinous actions of humans against humans would overshadowed the supernatural or alien aspects. Part of what made Lovecraft’s stories so terrifying was what they implied and what they left up the reader’s imagination, so after reading the author’s stories for years and growing up on graphic horror films, I fear that my imagination brings me to places I’d rather not go. Hence, why reading select portions of Black Wings of Cthulhu before bed was not one of my best ideas.

Part of the fun in reading an anthology like this is figuring out which original story is the basis for the new story. There’s lots of references to Lovecraft characters and situations here. In some selections, the inspiration is obvious, like the ones with Pickman; in others, I was left wondering what exactly they were about, but for the most part, the average Lovecraft fan will recognize a lot of what’s going on.

Of the 21 tales, I surprisingly found all of them compelling, which isn’t always the case in an anthology like this. I usually find myself skipping around a lot, trying to find an author’s style that I enjoy, but with this book, I was able to read the stories in the order, except for the times I wanted to skip ahead to a related tale (like I mentioned before with Pickman). All of the stories are very well-written and lovingly steeped in Lovecraft lore – Lovecraft himself even appears in some of the entries! I highly recommend Black Wings of Cthulhu for fans of Lovecraft, and feel that even readers with a passing knowledge of the source material can enjoy the offerings of this 500-page anthology.^


Black Wings of Cthulhu 3: 17 Tales of Lovecrafian Horror

32CCDC36-6BB2-46A6-BFC3-716DE1E9F4CBTable of Contents
9 • Introduction (Black Wings of Cthulhu 3) • (2014) • essay by S. T. Joshi
13 • Houdini Fish • (2014) • novelette by Jonathan Thomas
39 • Dimply Dolly Doofy • (2014) • short story by Donald R. Burleson
49 • The Hag Stone • (2014) • novelette by Richard Gavin
73 • Underneath an Arkham Moon • (2014) • short story by Jessica Amanda Salmonson and W. H. Pugmire
85 • Spiderwebs in the Dark • (2014) • novelette by Darrell Schweitzer
107 • One Tree Hill (The World as Cataclysm) • (2013) • short story by Caitlín R. Kiernan
133 • The Man with the Horn • (2014) • short story by Jason V Brock
153 • Hotel del Lago • (2014) • short story by Mollie L. Burleson
163 • Waller • (2014) • novella by Donald Tyson
205 • The Megalith Plague • (2014) • short story by Don Webb
223 • Down Black Staircases • (2014) • novelette by Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.
253 • China Holiday • (2014) • novelette by Peter Cannon
275 • Necrotic Cove • (2014) • short story by Lois H. Gresh [as by Lois Gresh]
293 • The Turn of the Tide • (2014) • short story by Mark Howard Jones
313 • Weltschmerz • (2014) • novelette by Sam Gafford
337 • Thistle’s Find • (2014) • short story by Simon Strantzas
355 • Further Beyond • (2014) • novella by Brian Stableford


Black Wings of Cthulhu 4: 17 Tales of Lovecrafian Horror

405A2282-03B9-4EA2-8223-76D7287B57B3Table of Contents
Contents (view Concise Listing)
9 • Introduction (Black Wings of Cthulhu 4) • essay by S. T. Joshi
13 • Artifact • (2015) • novelette by Fred Chappell
45 • Half Lost in Shadow • (2015) • short story by W. H. Pugmire
55 • The Rasping Absence • (2015) • short fiction by Richard Gavin
79 • Black Ships Seen South of Heaven • (2015) • short fiction by Caitlín R. Kiernan
103 • The Dark Sea Within • (2015) • short story by Jason V Brock
119 • Sealed by the Moon • (2015) • short fiction by Gary Fry
141 • Broken Sleep • (2015) • short fiction by Cody Goodfellow
159 • A Prism of Darkness • (2015) • short fiction by Darrell Schweitzer
171 • Night of the Piper • [Cassie Barrett] • (2015) • short fiction by Ann K. Schwader
211 • We Are Made of Stars • (2015) • short fiction by Jonathan Thomas
235 • Trophy • (2015) • short fiction by Melanie Tem
247 • Revival • (2015) • short fiction by Stephen Woodworth
249 • Contact • (2015) • short fiction by John Pelan and Stephen Mark Rainey
277 • Cult of the Dead • (2015) • short fiction by Lois H. Gresh
295 • Dark Redeemer • (2015) • short fiction by Will Murray
325 • In the Event of Death • (2015) • short fiction by Simon Strantzas
355 • The Wall of Asshur-sin • (2015) • short fiction by Donald Tyson
391 • Fear Lurks Atop Tempest Mount • (2015) • short fiction by Charles Lovecraft

Volumes 5-6 appear below following A Review of Volume 1 and 2…

cropped-cropped-dave_mckean_king_of_staffs21

VERTIGOLOGY

A Review of Volumes 1 and 2

Source: https://vertigology.net/2016/08/21/existential-dread-a-review-of-black-wings-of-cthulhu-vol-1-2/

For any fans of horror literature, especially short fiction, Lovecraft is as alive as ever. In a recent volume of the Year’s Best Horror, they list some key books from the year: top novels, anthologies, themed releases, etc. Lovecraftian books get their own section, one that dominates all the rest, owing to the fact that the themes and styles started with Lovecraft and continued through the Cthulhu Mythos has been ever present up until today. There are many anthologies of Lovecraftian related fiction every year, each with any number of different themes, and the volumes continue to grow. While this has forced many to argue that they are simply tired and repeated tropes, it actually lends to the fact that cosmic horror, the fear of madness, the use of myth and lore, and subconscious dread are continuing features of human paranoia, and there is so much that can be done.

In an effort to avoid the pastiche that is associated with Lovecraftian fiction, many of the New Lovecraftian authors are avoiding strict allegiance to the Cthulhu Mythos and are taking the themes in a whole range of directions. It was this perspective that led S.T. Joshi to begin the new Black Wings of Cthulhu series. Joshi is the most renowned scholar of Lovecraft around, editing or writing over a hundred books on the subject. With this new series he has intended to update the canon by stretching the limits of the New Lovecraftian, moving beyond replications of Lovecraft’s style and characters. In this way the series has gained a great deal of acclaim from both horror fans and those in outside literary circles, with the first volume becoming one of the most celebrated anthology of its type in many years.

The first volume of the Black Wings of Cthulhu: Tales of Lovecraftian Horror is largely regarded by reviewers and fans as the best of the five volumes, avoiding retreading on tired tropes. This is different than my own experience with the volume, which has a large number of period pieces, incidents of taking specific areas and storylines from Lovecraft, and attempts at his style. The stories themselves seem best in line for the “hardcore” Lovecraftian fiction fan, with a lot of subtle stories that are heavy on description and scene setting rather than plot driven prose.

Usurped by William Browning Spencer is one of the real gems of the collection, taking us back into the desert of the Southwest (a lot of stories in this volume do), and revolve around mysterious appearances of phantom insects that lure people into destruction.

Laird Barron expectedly provides possibly the best story in the book, call The Broadsword. Taking a steady pace to set the stage of an older man settling into a romance and a life in an eccentric hotel, which opens up into the darkest reaches of his well-known cosmic horror.

Substitution from Michael Marshall Smith is a great and unique contribution that plays on the strange ways we fantasize about the lives of others. It draws on the uniquely Lovecraftian notion that something evil is growing right in our own lives, something that has been there since long before.

Other stories hit certain notes of tone and style well while feeling hollow at the end. Desert Dreams by Donald R. Burleson takes a perfect Cthulhu inspired story of a professor drawn to the desert, yet does almost nothing with it and instead relies on the “near miss” mentality of early Cthulhu Mythos. Pickman’s Other Model (1929) by Caitlin R. Kiernan will likely appease many Lovecraft fans, but for outsiders it will really drag.

Part of my own personal experience with this book is my lack of background with Lovecraft’s work itself at the time, but as I have begun to go through the original and to get to know the New Lovecraftian movement better I have come to appreciate many of these stories even more so than before. The Copping Squid by Michael Shea is an especially good use of the Elder Gods and Cthulhu motifs in a modern setting, one that will really reward an understanding of Lovecraft’s canonical structure.

Over all, the first volume of Black Wings will set better with deep fans of all things Lovecraft, while it begins to expand its appeal with volume 2. While Volume 2 has seen somewhat less acclaim, yet I found even more stories to stick with. With only seventeen stories (the first had twenty-one) it seems like it is a little more “to the point” and has less exercises in style.

Casting Call by Don Webb has been one of the favorites for all reviewers, and that is because it is a standout success. Taking a modern look at Pickman’s Other Model, it brings us into Los Angeles and a world of Central American mythology. This turn towards expanding mythology has been true throughout this volume (and the subsequent ones).

The Skinless Face by Donald Tyson plays with this fear/attraction to ancient pre-Christian myth when they discover a statue who appears as whoever is viewing it. This leads towards madness and destruction, drawing on the fears that all people hold of their true self being openly revealed.

The final story, Appointed by Chet Williamson does something that is common to New Lovecraftian fiction, which is to use Lovecraft’s work consciously in the story. Here it follows an aging actor who is following the horror/comic book convention circuit, making money on a classic appearance in a Lovecraft film adaptation. Here a demonic fan appears, bringing the horror into his real life.

Bloom by John Lagan is another one of the more celebrated contributions, and it mostly lives up to that reputation, bringing a group of people to the edge of a cliff only to watch one member tempted to walk off the edge and into a distant reef in the sea. This touches perfectly on the actual hallmarks of Lovecraft’s stories, while using them as tools to discuss very human experiences of the fear of failing relationships, abuse, and depression.

Both volumes have a number of moderate successes that should keep readers interested, and since they are modestly priced and feature many popular writers like Laird Barron and Neil Gaiman, these are a great choice to get to know this popular style of short horror fiction.^


Black Wings of Cthulhu 5: 20 Tales of Lovecrafian Horror

C0662B7C-8EFF-4933-8F6D-F0971844292BTable of Contents
9 • Introduction (Black Wings V) • (2016) • essay by S. T. Joshi
15 • Plenty of Irem • (2016) • short story by Jonathan Thomas
37 • Diary of a Sane Man • (2016) • short story by Nicole Cushing
57 • The Woman in the Attic • (2016) • short story by Robert H. Waugh
69 • Far from Any Shore • (2016) • short story by Caitlín R. Kiernan
91 • In Blackness Etched, My Name • (2016) • short story by W. H. Pugmire
99 • Snakeladder • (2016) • novelette by Cody Goodfellow
129 • The Walker in the Night • (2016) • short story by Jason C. Eckhardt
149 • In Bloom • (2016) • short story by Lynne Jamneck
157 • The Black Abbess • (2016) • novelette by John Reppion
185 • The Quest • (2016) • short story by Mollie L. Burleson
197 • A Question of Blood • (2016) • novelette by David Hambling
225 • Red Walls • (2016) • short story by Mark Howard Jones
237 • The Organ of Chaos • (2016) • novelette by Donald Tyson
269 • Seed of the Gods • (2016) • short story by Donald R. Burleson
283 • Fire Breeders • (2016) • short story by Sunni K Brock
297 • Casting Fractals • (2016) • short story by Sam Gafford
321 • The Red Witch of Chorazin • (2016) • short story by Darrell Schweitzer
337 • The Oldies • (2016) • short story by Nancy Kilpatrick
359 • Voodoo • (2016) • short story by Stephen Woodworth
377 • Lore • (2016) • poem by Wade German


Black Wings of Cthulhu 6: 22 Tales of Lovecrafian Horror

F2E35EC1-843D-48BE-8152-F8AC65DD264CTable of Contents
Introduction (Black Wings VI) • essay by S. T. Joshi
Pothunters • novelette by Ann K. Schwader
The Girl in the Attic • short story by Darrell Schweitzer
The Once and Future Waite • novelette by Jonathan Thomas
Oude Goden • short story by Lynne Jamneck
Carnivorous • short story by William F. Nolan
On a Dreamland’s Moon • (2017) • poem by Ashley Dioses
Teshtigo Creek • short story by Aaron Bittner
Ex Libris • (2012) • novelette by Caitlín R. Kiernan
You Shadows That in Darkness Dwell • short story by Mark Howard Jones
The Ballad of Asenath Waite • poem by Adam Bolivar
The Visitor • short story by Nancy Kilpatrick
The Gaunt • short story by Tom Lynch
Missing at the Morgue • short story by Donald Tyson
The Shard • short story by Don Webb
The Mystery of the Cursed Cottage • short story by David Hambling
To Court the Night • poem by K. A. Opperman
To Move Beneath Autumnal Oaks • short story by W. H. Pugmire
Mister Ainsley • short story by Steve Rasnic Tem
Satiety • short story by Jason V Brock
Provenance Unknown • novelette by Stephen Woodworth
The Well • poem by D. L. Myers

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