During a recent trip home, that mostly consisted of visiting friends and family and watching minor league baseball, I had time to go through some of my old books that are still lingering in my parent’s attic. Among these half-forgotten tomes, I found one entitled Cthulhu 2000, which I don’t remember purchasing. It comes from Arkham House, that legendary publisher of the weird.
I had been disappointed by the book I had brought with me to read, so, despite the miserable title, which makes it sound like ‘Retro Cthulhu in Space!!!’, I picked up this anthology instead. The first story, ‘The Barrens’ by F. Paul Wilson sucked me right in. It’s a fantastic example of a modern Lovecraftian story, and opens with a couple of the best opening lines I’ve seen in a long time:
‘I shot my answering machine today. Took out the old twelve gauge my father left me, and blew it to pieces’
In fact, I would rate the whole book as an above average collection of weird tales. Most are ‘Lovecraftian’ in one way or another, but not all of them. There are a few duds, as there always are, but a few real gems as well.
More important than the stories themselves, was the effect the book had on me. For a while now I have been feeling the urge to write some fiction, and reading Cthulhu 2000 helped kick me into gear.
Last week, I wrote my first fiction story in several years. Okay, it’s a piece of flash fiction that doesn’t even make it to 500 words, but that is of no matter. It is a complete story, and I am proud to have written it. Now I need to start looking for places to submit it so I can start collecting rejection letters again! Because that, more than anything else, is how you really know you are writer!
Anyway, although my copy of Cthulhu 2000 is an Arkham House hardback, I see the book is also available as a cheap paperback. I didn’t realize that Arkham House licensed their books out for paperback. Anyway, if you are in the mood for some weird fiction, it’s got some good reads.