485 pages. Occasional black-and-white illustrations. Introduction, afterword/contributors' notes.
This is a trade paperback edition of a hardcover book which was published in 1994. It is also available in eBook format.
Village of the DamnedInnsmouth, that isolated New England fishing village where "the vast huddle of sagging gambrel roofs and peaked gables conveyed with offensive clearness the idea of wormy decay." A desolate place where the bulging, watery eyes of the residents stared from misshapen skulls, and a musty stench blended hideously with the town's fishy odour. This is the setting of one of H.P. Lovecraft's most famous tales, The Shadow Over Innsmouth, where hideous chants echo from Devil Reef and the Hall of Dagon.
– back cover
The concept of this book is an anthology that is inspired by Lovecraft's original tale about Deep Ones in a New England fishing town. The introduction promises that it will "…depict the dreadful decline of the Massachusetts seaport since the late 1920s: through the war years, the rock 'n' roll era, and the late 20th century political upheavals in Eastern Europe, into the modern scientific age and beyond."
I want my money back.
I would have loved to read a collection of stories that took what Lovecraft had begun, and had worked along a timeline to the present day.
Instead, we get stories that read as if the authors only did a cursory reading of Lovecraft (if that much!), or who think that Lovecraft needs to be "improved on," or who think all they need to do is re-tell his story in some other setting.
And we get a Ramsey Campbell story that has nothing to do with Deep Ones or Innsmouth. I guess it's vaguely "inspired by." And it gives them a 'big name' to put on the cover…
So we get things that go up your pants leg, and stories that rearrange the geography, a scientific explanation for Deep Ones, ghosts and werewolves in Innsmouth, sex-crazed Deep Ones in Hollywood, teleport gates that span the world, and changes which ignore or rewrite what Lovecraft said.
I fully understand that when you are expanding on what an author has previously written, it may be necessary to make a few changes. However, a lot of what is in this anthology seems to me to simply be laziness, lack of respect to the original material, and egotism from authors who have to do it 'their way'.
A very disappointing book. Not recommended. (But someone must like it, I understand there's a sequel planned.)
Reviewed by Editor in Chief Bill .