So, it’s taken me almost a week to sit down and write this review, and not because I didn’t have time. I’m a big fan of Chaosium’s anthologies of Lovecraft related tales, and I’m a really big fan of Robert W. Chambers’s King in Yellow mythology. And though strides have been made, female voices have been less than plentiful. When I heard Chaosium was putting out a collection of female writers taking on the cursed play, I was jazzed. Unfortunately, this simply isn’t very good. With eighteen stories, I think maybe three or four of them were worth time time it took to read. In fact, outside of single-author volumes like one I read from Frank Belknap Long a while back, I don’t know if I’ve read an anthology with such a low ratio of good to bad.
I don’t particularly enjoy writing bad reviews. But I really can’t recommend this book. The few highlights include: ‘Grave Worms’ by Molly Tanzer, which I think captures the vibe very well, and plays with Ayn Randian pompous idiocy very well; ‘Yellow Bird’ by Lynda E. Rucker; and ‘In the Quad of Project 327’ by Chesya Burke. Frankly, though, these should have been filler stories in a better book.
Having read the King in Yellow inspired anthology Rehearsals for Oblivion a while back, I know there’s talent out there who are doing cool stuff about the subject. Alas Cassilda’s Song isn’t the place to find it.