Acolytes of Cthulhu: Short Stories Inspired by H. P. Lovecraft by Robert M. Price

beer_matt's review

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I've read a few Cthulhu anthologies and this was OK, about average (3/5). The collection spans the '30's through to the '90's with a different slant with each one.

The final story is my favourite one, easily a 5/5, a Neil Gaiman comedic take the Lovecraftian genre.

mmuutthh's review against another edition

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I saw a review of this collection of “weird” short stories that just ripped apart — mostly, seemingly having to do with some animus toward the editor of the book — and ultimately came down saying this series of stories were sub-par and weren’t worth the time it takes to read. I would not agree with that. I would agree that a number of the stories were tangentially, if not at all, connected to the Cthulhu mythos and many of them were not brilliant. But I found a number of them to be really good and chilling and tickling that itch of Lovecraftian lore.

Since the book does contain stories spanning from around Lovecraft’s time to the near present, there’s a lot of the similar racism (though it reads more pastiche to the originator than it does the outright disdain for the other that ol’ HP got down with) and sexism, and Orientalism that can be problematic and maybe means many of these authors — most of whom many readers will never have heard of — should stay unknown.

But I think there’s something to be said for reading all kinds of stories. Brilliant ones and mediocre ones. And, as just a few in this collection were: bad stories. That’s how we learn what is good and bad. And the interesting thing is learning that even authors you might conventionally like might also write things you don’t care for. (That would be the Neil Gaiman story that ends the collection.) It was Gaiman and ST Joshi (renowned Lovecraft scholar), as well as Jorge Luis Borges, whose names I recognized, but it was the inclusion of Randall Garrett that made this a must buy for me. (Full disclosure: I adapted one of Garrett’s short stories as a graphic novel.) And I’ll be honest, his story wound up being pretty much not related to Cthulhu at all, but the twist he takes on the idea really made me smile because he got me! It instantly made me go back and read the story again.

Anyway, overall I liked the book!

arthurbdd's review

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Price's introduction to this collection includes a risible rant about how Lovecraft fandom should be a select club of people who "get it" and trying to make the Mythos mainstream is doomed to fail and he despises seeing cosplayers at conventions.

It's a really odd take, especially when it boils down to "other people are doing Lovecraft fandom wrong" - you would think someone with that attitude would be more discerning about the stories they select for their anthologies, but instead The Acolytes of Cthulhu is all over the place in terms of tone, literary ambition, pulp quotient, and overall quality.

Still, Price is discerning in one respect: in a collection with dozens of stories, not one is by a woman. That's not a great look. Full review:

scrimzen's review

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adventurous medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? N/A
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No


starship's review

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dark slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? N/A
  • Strong character development? N/A
  • Loveable characters? N/A
  • Diverse cast of characters? N/A
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? N/A