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Mysteries of the Worm: Twenty Cthulhu Mythos Tales by Robert Bloch

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Robert Bloch has become one with his fictional counterpart Ludvig Prinn: future generations of readers will know him as an eldritch name hovering over a body of nightmare texts. To know them will be to know him. And thus we have decided to release a new and expanded third edition of Robert Bloch’s Mysteries of the Worm. This collection contains four more Mythos tales–”The Robert Bloch has become one with his fictional counterpart Ludvig Prinn: future generations of readers will know him as an eldritch name hovering over a body of nightmare texts. To know them will be to know him. And thus we have decided to release a new and expanded third edition of Robert Bloch’s Mysteries of the Worm. This collection contains four more Mythos tales–”The Opener of the Way”, “The Eyes of the Mummy”, “Black Bargain”, and “Philtre Tip”–not included in the first two editions.


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Robert Bloch has become one with his fictional counterpart Ludvig Prinn: future generations of readers will know him as an eldritch name hovering over a body of nightmare texts. To know them will be to know him. And thus we have decided to release a new and expanded third edition of Robert Bloch’s Mysteries of the Worm. This collection contains four more Mythos tales–”The Robert Bloch has become one with his fictional counterpart Ludvig Prinn: future generations of readers will know him as an eldritch name hovering over a body of nightmare texts. To know them will be to know him. And thus we have decided to release a new and expanded third edition of Robert Bloch’s Mysteries of the Worm. This collection contains four more Mythos tales–”The Opener of the Way”, “The Eyes of the Mummy”, “Black Bargain”, and “Philtre Tip”–not included in the first two editions.

30 review for Mysteries of the Worm: Twenty Cthulhu Mythos Tales by Robert Bloch

  1. 5 out of 5

    Thee_ron_clark

    Mysteries of the Worm is a collection of short stories by Robert Bloch (Psycho) that involve the Lovecraft mythos. Being an avid fan of this mythos, I felt compelled to get as many perspectives from the authors involved as possible. As with other collections, I will give my thoughts on the individual stories. The Secret of the Tomb involves a man going into his ancestral burial vault to face his destiny. At only a few pages in length, it served to entertain me without getting old. Not too shabby. T Mysteries of the Worm is a collection of short stories by Robert Bloch (Psycho) that involve the Lovecraft mythos. Being an avid fan of this mythos, I felt compelled to get as many perspectives from the authors involved as possible. As with other collections, I will give my thoughts on the individual stories. The Secret of the Tomb involves a man going into his ancestral burial vault to face his destiny. At only a few pages in length, it served to entertain me without getting old. Not too shabby. The Suicide in the Study is about man's duality. In this case, it is taken beyond the simple duality of the mind into the concept that we can be separated into more than one physical entity. Again, this story was a short and decent read. The Shambler from the Stars is typical Lovecraftian fare. A man seeks forbidden knowledge from cursed tomes and finds it to be not entirely what he hoped for. This was a decent short story. The Faceless God is the story of a greedy man's quest to attain a forbidden relic. This one was of interest to me in that it brought a lot of details to Bloch's thoughts on one Nyalarthotep. Otherwise, it was alright. The Grinning Ghoul is another of Bloch's stories involving the search for forbidden knowledge. As usual, the truth is not what the narrator hopes for. This one was standard. Again, it was nothing special. The Dark Demon was the first story I really enjoyed. In this story, a friend of the narrator becomes more and more reclusive and the narrator seeks to find the reason why. When the reason is found, the narrator attempts to make things right. The Mannikin is the story of a strange man who has a fondness for forbidden lore and a strange growth on his back. The narrator finds the strange man who he had known years earlier, to discover that the man is now erratic and struggling with some thing unknown. The growth is also much larger. I liked this story, especially the ending. In the Brood of Bubastis, a man travels to visit an old college friend. Both of them, of course share an interest in the occult. It seems that the friend has gained some forbidden knowledge and is using it in an evil manner. Good stuff in this one. The Creeper in the Crypt is about a kidnapped man being taken to an abandoned house to be ransomed. Little do the kidnappers know, the house has been abandoned with good reason. This was a pretty decent story with enough background given to keep my interest, but not over done. The Secret of Sebek features a man with a great deal of knowledge and interest in Egyptian mythology being invited to a costume ball. The ball turns out to be filled with seekers of dark knowledge, some of whom actually know what they are doing. The real deal folks get in a little too deep. Fane of the Black Pharaoh is the story of a man being led into a fantastic underground temple in which the future has been scrawled across the walls. The back story is pretty cool in this one, although I felt part of it was contradicted by its own mythos. The ending became rather apparent a bit before it was there. Either way, I liked it. The Sorcerer's Jewel is the story of a photographer who finds he is simply unable to make the art that he wishes to make with conventional means. His friend has an ancient jewel cut into a lens to allow the photographer to get a new angle. The new angle is not one that is expected. Nor is it safe. The Unspeakable Betrothal is the story of a young lady dreaming of a different life; one that she felt she came close to as a child. With her guardians deceased and her fiance away, she opens a window from her past to seek the dream life and escape reality. The Shadow from the Steeple is about the quest of one man to find out what really happened to his friend; a man seeking dark knowledge. Of course this cannot end well for anyone involved. Notebook Found in a Deserted House is probably my favorite story of the book. Those who have heard tale of the black goat of the woods will probably enjoy where this one goes. The last story is Terror in Cut-Throat Cove is the story of treasure hunters looking for sunken treasure best left untouched. As the treasure comes closer to being retrieved, the ones seeking it find that not all is as it should be.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Oakes

    Mysteries of the Worm made me think back to a lot of the strange Egyptian stories I couldn't get enough of as a kid and absolutely loved -- mummies returning for vengeance, strange curses that fell on people who opened tombs, etc. While not all of Bloch's writing in this volume consist of his Egyptian tales, the book as a whole left me with inner squeals of delight. Sure, there are some pieces that are not so hot, but overall, this is a great read. Robert Bloch was not just the author of Psycho, Mysteries of the Worm made me think back to a lot of the strange Egyptian stories I couldn't get enough of as a kid and absolutely loved -- mummies returning for vengeance, strange curses that fell on people who opened tombs, etc. While not all of Bloch's writing in this volume consist of his Egyptian tales, the book as a whole left me with inner squeals of delight. Sure, there are some pieces that are not so hot, but overall, this is a great read. Robert Bloch was not just the author of Psycho, the book most people would associate with him, but early on in his career, he joined the ranks of the "Lovecraft Circle," which as Lin Carter notes was a "band of aspiring or season writers scattered across the country whose common links were their enthusiasm for macabre fiction in general and Weird Tales in particular, and their friendship with Lovecraft." Judging by what I've just finished reading, and by books I've already read, there is no doubt that he made sufficient contributions to the "tales that define the mythos," as the cover blurb notes about this entire series of books. While perhaps they're not the most bone-chilling of stories as a whole, a) they're fun and b) it's really interesting to watch the development of Bloch's writing over time in this volume from being a producer of Lovecraftian pastiche to coming more into his own both in terms of story and style. A big thumbs up for this book. Once again, Chaosium has come through with an anthology of stories where the good tales far outweigh the not so great ones. Definitely a no-miss not only for weird-fiction readers, but also for anyone who enjoys Bloch's writing in general and wants to visit the work of his earlier days. What a great group of tales! If you want to peruse the table of contents and read small (no spoiler) synopses of each, feel free to click to the weird-fiction page at my online reading journal.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Marvin

    Technically not all of Robert Bloch's Cthulhu Mythos stories. There's about 5 or 6 missing that were added in a later version of this book. However these are the cream of the crop and a must for any Lovecraft enthusiasts out there. Bloch was the youngest of the Lovecraftian Circle and these stories could almost be called fan fiction. For the most part the tales were written in the late 30s. for the magazine Weird Tales.They represent a young developing writer who would later leave his Lovecrafti Technically not all of Robert Bloch's Cthulhu Mythos stories. There's about 5 or 6 missing that were added in a later version of this book. However these are the cream of the crop and a must for any Lovecraft enthusiasts out there. Bloch was the youngest of the Lovecraftian Circle and these stories could almost be called fan fiction. For the most part the tales were written in the late 30s. for the magazine Weird Tales.They represent a young developing writer who would later leave his Lovecraftian roots and develop a more modern style a la Psycho. Bloch would return briefly to the Cthulhu Mythos in the 70s with his novel Strange Eons but these stories are his most essential contribution to the Mythos.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Andy

    One of my reading goals is to read as much of the material from the original Weird Tales magazines as possible, especially the "big name" authors. I enjoy these old stories from the "Unique Magazine," even when they're not masterpieces they're fun and have a certain charm. And speaking of "not masterpieces," that's the case with many stories here, there's a lot of early work here, and one can see Bloch improve as he goes along. Some of these stories, especially the early ones can run together a b One of my reading goals is to read as much of the material from the original Weird Tales magazines as possible, especially the "big name" authors. I enjoy these old stories from the "Unique Magazine," even when they're not masterpieces they're fun and have a certain charm. And speaking of "not masterpieces," that's the case with many stories here, there's a lot of early work here, and one can see Bloch improve as he goes along. Some of these stories, especially the early ones can run together a bit with the same themes. It's not as bad as August Derleth's Lovecraftian tales (man inherits house of occultist ancestor, man goes to live in house, bad stuff happens) but some of the stories are rather samey. Many of these stories have the BIG(!), Lovecraftian(!) REVEAL(!)...All italicized of course. Because ultimate horror only comes through with italics ;). I love stuff like this on occasion, but know it's not to everyone's taste. Many Lovecraft fans know Bloch corresponded with him, and know that they wrote some stories about each other. But I didn't know Bloch included Lovecraft as a character in more stories than just "The Shadow from the Steeple." All of these stories appeared in Weird Tales magazine, generally in the 30's, except for four of them "The Sorcerer’s Jewel," "The Unspeakable Betrothal," "Terror in Cut-Throat Cove" and "Philtre Tip" which appeared elsewhere. The Secret in the Tomb - I will admit I got a bit of a chuckle out of a few passages here, about "there are some skulls that have reason to grin" and the protagonist pouring over "maggot-eaten volumes." Some say Lovecraft wrote "The Hound" as a comedy; it's imagery of lichen-covered gravestones, bats, full moons, tombs, and over-the-top horror elements. That's what this can feel like at moments, but it's still an enjoyable story, and interesting as an early example of Bloch's writing. A man visits the forbidden tomb of his family which some have ventured to, but never returned. The Suicide in the Study - A story published just one month after the previous one, but this one is far more original in concept I thought, and effectively "weird." A man uses hypnosis to manifest his evil side into a horrific form. The Shambler from the Stars - Another good entry here, somewhat predictable, but the stories are gradually improving I would say. The monster at the end of the story was fairly impressive, with interesting touches like how it was only visible after feeding. A man attempting to write weird fiction seeks inspiration from an old occult book in Latin, and a strange friend in Providence who can translate it for him. The Faceless God - One of those exotic weird tales, forbidden idols, exotic locales, which were so common in the magazine. A very grim piece, there's an aside in the middle of the story telling us essentially how badass Nyarlathotep is which was a bit overlong, but it's still an enjoyable story. A man catches a rumor about an idol in the desert, and gathers a party to go steal it, not knowing it's cursed history. The Grinning Ghoul - A decent ghoul tale which generates a decent sense of unease. I liked the final "reveal" in this one, seen briefly in a candle being snuffed out. A psychiatrist recounts how he followed a patient into an ancient graveyard to dispel what he considers irrational fears about creatures living below. The Opener of the Way - This one I read a couple years ago from a scanned copy of Weird Tales. At the time I wrote, "I was actually pretty impressed by this one, very creepy at times, a stunning conclusion." It's a fairly typical cursed tomb exploration story, with some creative, original ideas at the end. The Dark Demon - An OK story, again rather like what one would expect from a 30's Weird Tale. I like how Bloch writes so many of these tales with a nod to Lovecraft the man himself. A man tells of his friend, an author of weird fiction whose work is inspired by his lucid dreams, and how his work became stranger and stranger before he disappeared. The Brood of Bubastis - This is one of the best early stories here, quite effective, riffing off of Lovecraft's "The Rats in the Walls," but creating a quite original, horrific story. A man visits a friend on the English moors who has discovered a dreadful horror living in a network of caves below. The Mannikin - This is another top tier story as far as this collection goes, the influence of Lovecraft is certainly present, but Bloch makes it his own. A man tells of his friend, a sickly scholar who has an odd growth on him, and a family history haunted by accusations of witchcraft. The Creeper in the Crypt - A pretty short tale, predictable? Sure. But it does have a pretty effectively horrific ending I thought. A group of kidnappers have no idea what's in store for them when they hideout in an accursed old mansion. The Secret of Sebek - A decent story, predictable but good fun, with that big Lovecraftian, italicized reveal at the end! Most interesting were the descriptions of the settings and people. An author enjoying Mardi Gras meets an occultist who has smuggled the cursed mummy of a priest into his house. Fane of the Black Pharaoh - Another one of those exotic weird tales, also fusing Egyptian mythology and the Lovecraft Mythos. Yet again, predictable but fun. Bloch likes to start these stories, then pause for an in-depth view of "dark and dreaded" history we are about to explore. An Egyptologist with a keen interest in the cult of Nephren-Ka gets an offer to be shown the tomb by a member of the surviving cult. A dreaded place wherein Nephren-Ka inscribed future events along the walls with the aid of Nyarlathotep himself. The Eyes of the Mummy - This is a continuance of "The Secret of Sebek," and one of the better stories in the book. It's got an interesting, original theme to it. A man agrees to accompany an archaeologist into the Egyptian desert to raid the tomb of a cursed priest, little to they know he has set a trap for his own resurrection. The Sorcerer’s Jewel - This was an excellent story and I'm surprised it didn't appear in Weird Tales, instead it was in Strange Stories. It's riffing on Lovecraft's "From Beyond" but this story really makes the inter-dimensional themes it's own. Two photographers use a cursed Egyptian jewel as a lens to see into another dimension. Black Bargain - One I'd read before, pretty good weird story, not difficult to predict what was coming most of the time, but still enjoyable. A soda jerk meets a man who gains power and influence after making a deal with some "thing" but afterwards his shadow takes on a life of it's own. The Unspeakable Betrothal - This one was a bit different from most others here and was another to not appear in Weird Tales. It leans a bit more toward fantasy with a Bradbury-esque childhood wonder. A young girl establishes contact with alien presences in her dreams, presences which she wants to take her away. The Shadow from the Steeple - This is great Lovecraftian mythos fiction, certainly one of the most original and effective in this collection. I admit, it's final "sci-fi/horror reveal" feels a little dated, but it's investigative tone is very much like something Lovecraft himself may have written. A horror author and member of the "Lovecraft circle" tries to uncover the truth of Robert Blake's death, written about in Lovecraft's "The Haunter of the Dark." Notebook Found in a Deserted House - This was a re-read for me, I think I liked it even more this time around though. It has a number of decent scares throughout and a creepy setting and mood. In an old deserted house in the backwoods a boy sets down his story in a notebook about how he is being pursued by a cult and the horrible monster they have invoked. Terror in Cut-Throat Cove - I thought this was a good mix of pulp adventure/crime with a Lovecraftian horror theme. It's a maturely developed story, written in 1958, some years after Weird Tales went out of business. Despite this and it's 15,000~ word length there's several stories here I'd put ahead of this one. A writer living on an island in the pacific gets involved with a deep sea treasure hunt for a sunk pirate ship, little do they know what's guarding the treasure. Philtre Tip - Another one I'd read before, a funny, pulpy little story. A man obsessed with a married woman uses his influence to punish her husband, then later the husband sends him a book to review with a love potion in it which will turn someone into a "bitch in heat."

  5. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    All right. If you must read stories inspired by Lovecraft do yourself a favor and read some by people who understand what they're doing. In a fair and just world, nobody should need any introduction to Robert Bloch. His tales are excellent, creepy, and leave a lasting impression. And although he never achieved the popularity of a KING, Bloch still resides in the penthouse while the other belongs in the basement.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ekel Adolf

    Judging by the average level of horror and dread, Robert Bloch might be best author of Mythos stories beside Lovecraft himself, one of his biggest contributions being the enrichment of the Nyarlathotep lore by means of adding elements from egyptian mythology. Since this is an anthology spanning more than 20 years, the quality of the stories differs. While some are "decent" (Fane of the Black Pharaoh, others, like Notebook Found in a Deserted House are amongst the best and most chilling tales eve Judging by the average level of horror and dread, Robert Bloch might be best author of Mythos stories beside Lovecraft himself, one of his biggest contributions being the enrichment of the Nyarlathotep lore by means of adding elements from egyptian mythology. Since this is an anthology spanning more than 20 years, the quality of the stories differs. While some are "decent" (Fane of the Black Pharaoh, others, like Notebook Found in a Deserted House are amongst the best and most chilling tales ever written.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Joel Hacker

    Robert Bloch wrote voluminously across a variety of fiction genres during his life. To many, he may be best known for writing Psycho as well as episodes of The Twilight Zone and Star Trek The Original Series. The latest version of this collection contains all (or at least the bulk) of his 'weird fiction' work, including the stories set in turn of the century Egypt discussed by H.P. Lovecraft and his lovecraftian mythos stories as well. This was a second time around on some of these stories for me Robert Bloch wrote voluminously across a variety of fiction genres during his life. To many, he may be best known for writing Psycho as well as episodes of The Twilight Zone and Star Trek The Original Series. The latest version of this collection contains all (or at least the bulk) of his 'weird fiction' work, including the stories set in turn of the century Egypt discussed by H.P. Lovecraft and his lovecraftian mythos stories as well. This was a second time around on some of these stories for me, and others it had been so long since I had read them it might as well have been the first time. First of all, I should say that if you are a fan of Bloch's script, film, and television work these stories may not be for you. The pacing is much different, and while some scene are described with rich language, none of this is what I would call cinematic. While technically their inclusion in this collection means all of these short stories share some element of the Cthulhu/Lovecraft mythos, in my opinion only a few really merit that label. Most share a minor element common to the Lovecraft circle of contemporaries. Like Robert Howard, Bloch borrowed either names of entities (i.e. Nyarlahothep), forbidden tomes (the Necronomicon), and/or used analogs to them or story telling devices meant to serve the same purpose (De Vermis Mysteriis). Only a few rise to level of something that feels like part of the mythos, though Lovecraft completionists will undoubtedly want to read the entire collection. As a fan of mythos fiction in general, and the actual Lovecraft circle of contemporaries in particular, I not only expected to enjoy the mythos stories in this collection more, but even vaguely recall enjoying them (especially the more tongue in cheek, semi-meta stories) a lot more than I did with this reading. Its difficult to say whether that's a result of changing tastes (I first read those stories in my early to mid-teens), or if because they don't hold up well next to truly exceptional Egypt centered horror fiction here. These stories are similar in feel to some of Rudyard Kipling's India horror, and with the tone of the turn of the 20th century stories (and later films) about the ancient mysteries and curses surrounding the archeological discoveries of the mysterious Egyptian desert. I found myself rushing through mythos fiction that felt ho-hum in an effort to get more of stories like 'The Secret of Sebek', 'The Fane of the Black Pharaoh', or 'The Eyes of the Mummy.' These more thoroughly satisfied both my inner child fascinated with archeology and the black & white Universal Mummy as well as the adult in my that could appreciate the craft that went into the lush descriptions that really brought the mystery and menace of the desert to life. All in all, a good collection by Chaosium, especially as to the best of my knowledge there isn't an adequate Complete Works of Bloch's material (which would likely be sizable anyway).

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tony Calder

    One of the (many) slightly unusual things about HP Lovecraft was his willingness to share his creations with other authors. Not only was he willingly to, but he often invited others to come and play in his sandbox, which is one of the things that makes the Cthulhu Mythos such a rich tapestry, as each author would add to the overall mythology. Robert Bloch started his writing career as a teenager, having been encouraged by Lovecraft to write weird fiction. And the first story of his accepted for p One of the (many) slightly unusual things about HP Lovecraft was his willingness to share his creations with other authors. Not only was he willingly to, but he often invited others to come and play in his sandbox, which is one of the things that makes the Cthulhu Mythos such a rich tapestry, as each author would add to the overall mythology. Robert Bloch started his writing career as a teenager, having been encouraged by Lovecraft to write weird fiction. And the first story of his accepted for publication (although not the first published), "The Secret in the Tomb", introduces what many may say was his greatest contribution to the mythology - medieval sorcerer Ludvig Prinn and his tome De Vermis Mysteriis. De Vermis Mysteriis ("Mysteries of the Worm") is well known to most devotees of the Cthulhu Mythos, whether they come from reading the stories or from playing the role-playing game, or from some other route. It is the glue that binds this collection (which is by no means a complete collection of Bloch's Mythos tales) together, as almost all the stories at least mention the book in one form or another. The stories are presented in chronological order, so the reader gets to experience how Bloch's writing grows over the years. The majority of these stories are from the mid-to-late 30s, as Bloch put aside Cthulhu fiction for quite a while after Lovecraft's death, and the writing style is quite different in his post-war stories, most notably "Terror in Cut-Throat Cove", which reads more like a hard-crime story than a Mythos story. If you're into Lovecraft's mythology, then this is a very worthwhile read. A note of caution though, each story has a small preface, many of which contain spoilers.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Taneli Repo

    A collection of Cthulhu mythos tales by Robert Bloch. Not all of them are great - some are quite badly written. In general, the later stories are better than the earlier ones, as Bloch gradually finds his own voice instead if trying to imitate HPL’s writing style. Quite a few of the stories are familiar to Call of Cthulhu players, as they have been used as source material and inspiration for role playing game scenarios. Recommended for HPL fans and nerds in general.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jaron (TheBookBaron)

    This is great Lovecraftian pastiche writing. Recommended reading for all fans of Lovecraft the Cthulhu Mythos.

  11. 5 out of 5

    East Bay J

    Robert Bloch is best known for the 1959 novel, Psycho, which inspired the 1960 Hitchcock film and was inspired by the 1957 arrest of serial killer, Ed Gein and the discovery of the unusual contents of his home. Perhaps more interesting is that Bloch got his start in writing with encouragement from H. P. Lovecraft and eventual publication in Weird Tales in 1935 at the age of seventeen. What a way to come out swinging! By his own admission, he didn't properly begin to write until ten years later a Robert Bloch is best known for the 1959 novel, Psycho, which inspired the 1960 Hitchcock film and was inspired by the 1957 arrest of serial killer, Ed Gein and the discovery of the unusual contents of his home. Perhaps more interesting is that Bloch got his start in writing with encouragement from H. P. Lovecraft and eventual publication in Weird Tales in 1935 at the age of seventeen. What a way to come out swinging! By his own admission, he didn't properly begin to write until ten years later and therein lies a good twist to reading this collection of Lovecraft inspired tales. Because these thirteen short stories are in chronological order, the reader gets to witness Bloch's progress as a writer over the course of about twenty three years, right up to the time he was likely writing Psycho. The early stories are clearly in imitation of Lovecraft's style yet, by the 1958 publication of "Terror In Cut Throat Cove," Bloch had clearly found his own voice, even when dealing with Lovecraft's creations. In fact, that story and "Notebook Found In A Deserted House" are my favorites. Also of considerable note are the stories "The Shambler From The Stars" and "The Shadow From The Steeple." It's an oft told story and you can find the details on Wikipedia, but Bloch asked Lovecraft if he could kill him in a story ("The Shambler From The Stars"), Lovecraft replied with a signed document giving his permission, returned the favor by killing Bloch ("The Haunter Of The Dark") who later finished the trilogy with "The Shadow From The Steeple." It's unfortunate the scope of Mysteries Of The Worm didn't allow the inclusion of "The Haunter in The Dark" because it's fun to read the three stories in order. Tales Of The Cthulhu Mythos Volume Two opens with the three, which is a great way to kick off a Cthulhu collection. Apparently Bloch had a sense of humor; his best quote is, "Despite my ghoulish reputation, I really have the heart of a small boy. I keep it in a jar on my desk." I dug this a lot. I'm going to have to read some more Bloch.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    The afterword to this by Bloch himself notes that he wished he had written many of these a decade later when he could do justice to the concepts he came up with. Unfortunately, I couldn't really disagree with him. He does not really have the creeping dread of Lovecraft or the Mythic sense of Ashton-Smith. Rather just incredibly formulaic.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    The stories in this collection are certainly inconsistent, but that makes sense (and is admitted by the author in his afterword) because Bloch started writing mythos stories at the age of 17 as a young acolyte of HPL. So... the first several stories are definitely HPLite. However, they are charming, if not great. And they get much better as the collection continues, finishing up with several quite good stories. By the last story he even has a bit of a Hemingway thing going on (amusingly, he even The stories in this collection are certainly inconsistent, but that makes sense (and is admitted by the author in his afterword) because Bloch started writing mythos stories at the age of 17 as a young acolyte of HPL. So... the first several stories are definitely HPLite. However, they are charming, if not great. And they get much better as the collection continues, finishing up with several quite good stories. By the last story he even has a bit of a Hemingway thing going on (amusingly, he even has a character insult Hemingway in the story..I got a good chuckle out of that bit of self-awareness)... spending a lot more effort in characterization and overall delivering more satisfying stories. Surely worth it for any fan of the mythos, but be prepared to slog through some weaker material at the beginning. I'd like to read some Bloch after this, surely.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Axel

    There are some truly well written stories in this book that gave me the shivers. They have also learned me what real horror should be and can be. There are also some really boring stories in there where you have to drag yourself along. At some points the Bloch seems as if he wants to try and be the new age Lovecraft, which nobody will ever be. But then again he also writes truly good stories worthy to be added to the Lovecraftian cult mythos. Overall there are more gems in this book than boring no There are some truly well written stories in this book that gave me the shivers. They have also learned me what real horror should be and can be. There are also some really boring stories in there where you have to drag yourself along. At some points the Bloch seems as if he wants to try and be the new age Lovecraft, which nobody will ever be. But then again he also writes truly good stories worthy to be added to the Lovecraftian cult mythos. Overall there are more gems in this book than boring nonsense. One of my favorites being the cabin in the woods and the statue of the black Sphinx. I cannot remember the titles. Also another good story is about the guy summoning a demon. A bit too much refference to Egyptian obscurity for my taste, but all in all a nice addition to cosmic horror.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Joel Mitchell

    This collection of short stories by Robert Bloch (best known for Psycho) show his skill at writing "Cthulhu Mythos" fiction. Unlike some other members of the original Lovecraft Circle, Bloch wrote stories that have the same feeling of atmospheric dread so often evoked by their mentor. I much prefer Bloch's vague, creepy Lovecraftian work to that of the more action-oriented Robert E. Howard, or more systematic August Derleth. Some of the early stories in this book are definitely amateurish, since This collection of short stories by Robert Bloch (best known for Psycho) show his skill at writing "Cthulhu Mythos" fiction. Unlike some other members of the original Lovecraft Circle, Bloch wrote stories that have the same feeling of atmospheric dread so often evoked by their mentor. I much prefer Bloch's vague, creepy Lovecraftian work to that of the more action-oriented Robert E. Howard, or more systematic August Derleth. Some of the early stories in this book are definitely amateurish, since Bloch began writing in his teens, but they're fun in a hokey B-movie sort of way. The later ones are good, solid cosmic horror well worth reading if you enjoy the genre.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Hatebeams

    Bloch's apologetic afterword (to the effect of 'I hope that you will be able to appreciate these for what they are, works of love') says it all. While it's interesting to learn about Bloch's role in Lovecraft's circle, and while Bloch is undoubtedly a capable writer, this is a depressing read. The material is tired, the plots are stock, the endings, if not entirely predictable, are a little too pat. It's a shame. Colorful concepts and interesting ideas are starved of oxygen in these sterile pulp Bloch's apologetic afterword (to the effect of 'I hope that you will be able to appreciate these for what they are, works of love') says it all. While it's interesting to learn about Bloch's role in Lovecraft's circle, and while Bloch is undoubtedly a capable writer, this is a depressing read. The material is tired, the plots are stock, the endings, if not entirely predictable, are a little too pat. It's a shame. Colorful concepts and interesting ideas are starved of oxygen in these sterile pulp fillers.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    This was hard going - there is no other way to describe it to be honest - Born from the Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu role playing game this series of books has tried to collect together all the masses of mythos related stories and material in to one complete (or as close as can get with licensing agreements will allow) series of books. The book therefore has a wide range of quality (both style and substance) and at times it painfully shows this. However if you are interested in the mythos and have This was hard going - there is no other way to describe it to be honest - Born from the Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu role playing game this series of books has tried to collect together all the masses of mythos related stories and material in to one complete (or as close as can get with licensing agreements will allow) series of books. The book therefore has a wide range of quality (both style and substance) and at times it painfully shows this. However if you are interested in the mythos and have a bit of an obsessive compulsive steak then this is a must.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Coeruleo Luna

    i need to track down this most recent version, as i can only assume 4 additional stories will only make the book that much better. robert bloch is one of the best ever horror writers, one of the few that actually give me the chills when i read their work, and his cthulhu mythos are very well done. he's an original member of the 'lovecraft circle' and it shows.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Wyonch

    These are stories set in the Cthulhu mythos, and while a few of the later stories stand out, most were written by a very young Bloch. This is probably not the best introduction to his work, but if you're a Cthulhu fan, you'll love it all the way through.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Dean Madonia

    This is a must read for huge fans of HP Lovecraft. Apparently Bloch was insured by Lovecraft and was in communication with Him. They featured each other as characters in stories, getting killed in various ways!

  21. 5 out of 5

    J. Allen

    A book for completists of Robert Bloch or Lovecraft Circle stories; two-thirds of the book is shallow pastiches of Lovecraft that don't have much to recommend them. Only after that do we get a handful that bear Bloch's own mature voice, and of those you can probably find most collected elsewhere.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Timothy Boyd

    A collection of stories based on the writings of H.P. Lovecraft. These are, to me, only slightly better than the original Lovecraft stories. Just not a fan of his writings. Not recommended

  23. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    My GOD! I had this book when I was an adolescent--a copy from Zebra Press. Owing to extent pressures, I had to get rid of it. Losing this is one of the 100 Great Regrets of my life.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Greg Meyer

    Some interesting images and scenes, though the stories as a whole are a bit anemic. Some classic Mythos contributions, so I can forgive it.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Pablo Regner

  26. 5 out of 5

    Salar258

  27. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne Drinkwater

  28. 5 out of 5

    Pj

  29. 4 out of 5

    Robert Gonzalez

  30. 5 out of 5

    Meghan Mclean

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