Lovecraft’s work oozes with sinister Americana, yet rarely have I seen authors delve too deeply into America’s past when exploring Cosmic Horror. In this book from Chaosium, we see Vikings, cowboys, colonists, and Indigenous People all facing off against things beyond Human understanding. There’s nothing like exploring new (old) lands to give authors opportunities to reveal new horrors.
Editor William Jones has assembled a nice roster of talent with a varied take on the theme. Perhaps few will be remembered as great classics in the Mythos canon, but they are all worthy additions. My favorite story was probably Ahiga and the Machine by Robert J. Santa, which reminded me a bit of a “New World” War of the Worlds. I find myself missing the contextual introductions. I didn’t always agree with Robert M. Price’s interpretations of the Mythos, but I often found his insight into the stories and why they were picked to be fascinating. These stories are good on their own, but without an overall introduction, or thoughts on individual stories, it feels a bit impersonal. Still, it’s a good bunch of tales.
With so much history and mystery in America’s past, I think there’s plenty of room to explore more in this vein. I’d love to see a follow-up anthology. My own story The Valley of Unceasing Life takes place on the edges of civilization, sometime in the late 1800s, and I suspect I’m going to write a couple more related tales in the nearish future.
For fans of H.P. Lovecraft and his ever expanding circles of Cosmic Horror creators, Chaosium’s anthologies are a must. Frontier Cthulhu is no exception.
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