Cody Goodfellow's Rapture of the Deep and Other Lovecraftian Tales was published by Hippocampus Press in March/April 2016.
Information about Cody Goodfellow:
Cody Goodfellow has written five novels and three collections. He wrote, co-produced, and scored the short Lovecraftian hygiene film Stay at Home Dad, which can be viewed on YouTube. He is also director of the H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival–San Pedro, and co-founder of Perilous Press, an occasional micropublisher of modern cosmic horror.
Information about Rapture of the Deep and Other Lovecraftian Tales:
Cody Goodfellow has emerged as one of the most dynamic writers of neo-Lovecraftian fiction in recent years. This volume gathers the many provocative tales he has written over the past decade or more, including several novellas that lavishly expand upon core Lovecraftian themes and motifs. Chief among these, perhaps, is “In the Shadow of Swords,” strikingly set in Iraq, where American soldiers during the Iraq War encounter entities far more baleful than the terrorists of the Taliban. A similar setting is used in “Archons,” which features a denouement both horrific and poignant.
Other stories play imaginative riffs on other Lovecraftian ideas. “The Anatomy Lesson,” set in the 19th century, is an ingenious take-off of “Pickman’s Model.” “To Skin a Corpse” transmutes the central idea of “Herbert West - Reanimator” into a gritty 1930s hard-boiled idiom. The key Lovecraftian notion of dreams is the basis of the pensive story “Broken Sleep.” And a spectacular and previously unpublished story, “Swinging,” employs “The Shadow out of Time” as the springboard for an extraordinary excursion into space and time.
Goodfellow is gifted with a prose style of exceptional lyricism and evocativeness, and his narratives are infused with all the compelling readability and cumulative terror that distinguish Lovecraft’s own. Vibrantly contemporary in setting and expression, they nonetheless constitute a fitting homage of the dreamer from Providence.
A REVIEW OF CODY GOODFELLOW'S RAPTURE OF THE DEEP AND OTHER LOVECRAFTIAN TALES
Cody Goodfellow's Rapture of the Deep and Other Lovecraftian Tales is a welcome addition to the ever-growing canon of Lovecraftian weird fiction. It's a brilliantly original and mesmerising collection of strange and well written stories. All of the stories in this collection pay homage to Lovecraft and his vision of cosmic horror.
Because I'm a big fan of Lovecraftian weird fiction, I find it wonderful that this kind of fiction is so popular at this moment. It's great that many new authors have emerged and have taken their place at the top of the genre, because there can never be too many good and talented authors. Cody Goodfellow is one of these talented authors, because he writes excellent stories.
Rapture of the Deep and Other Lovecraftian Tales is an essential collection to everybody who loves Cthulhu Mythos and enjoys reading Lovecraftian stories in which the atmosphere intensifies towards the end. The stories in this collection will create different kinds of feelings of dread and unease in readers, because they're captivating and psychologically effective stories.
I like Cody Goodfellow's way of writing Lovecraftian stories, because he genuinely seems to understand what it means to write Lovecraftian fiction. He's aware of the fact that you need much more than well-known Lovecraftian names to create atmospheric horror, because in order to write interesting Lovecraftian fiction you need to come up with a good and original story and you also need to be able to create the right kind of atmosphere.
The author's vision of Lovecraftian horror stands out for its atmosphere, imagination and originality. He's equally at ease at writing about Victorian era as he is at writing about modern era and events that take place in space. Just like the classic Lovecraftian tales, his stories are fascinatingly compelling and unsettling with just the right kind of amount of cosmic horror.
Rapture of the Deep and Other Lovecraftian Tales contains the following stories:
- The Anatomy Lesson
- König Feurio
- To Skin a Corpse
- In the Shadow of Swords
- Garden of the Gods
- Grinding Rock
- Rapture of the Deep
- Inside Uncle Sid
- Broken Sleep
Many of these stories have been published previously, but 'Archons' and 'Swinging' are original to this collection.
Some of these stories were already familiar to me, because they can be found in different anthologies and chapbooks, but it was a pleasure to read them again. During the second reading they felt even better, because I'd had time to digest them and think about their contents. They're among the best Lovecraftian stories I've ever read, because they can be read many times. Just the best Lovecraft's stories, these stories have an ageless quality to them that I find utterly compelling.
Here's a bit of information about the stories and my thoughts about them:
The Anatomy Lesson:
- A story about university students who set out to rob graves with fascinatingly morbid results.
- This story is wonderfully reminiscent of certain elements found in Lovecraft's 'Pickman's Model'.
- An excellent Lovecraftian story with a 19th century atmosphere.
- A powerful story set during the World War II.
- This story has an excellent atmosphere and powerful ending that is difficult to forget.
- This is one of the best stories I've read during the recent years and I can recommend it to fans of Lovecraftian fiction.
To Skin a Corpse:
- This is an interesting and original take on a gangster story. I have to admit that I don't remember reading a story quite like this ever before.
- This story has an intriguing feel of 'Herbert West - Re-Animator' to it.
In the Shadow of Swords:
- An exceptionally enthralling and powerful story set in modern day Iraq.
- In this story, the author creates an unsettling vision of American soldiers fighting against Taliban fighters and spices it with ancient evil and unforgettable entities.
- I don't normally find war stories interesting, because I find them boring, but speculative fiction war stories with strange elements and Lovecraftian elements intrigue me very much. This is one of those stories that truly intrigue me.
Garden of the Gods:
- A thrilling story set in South America where a mining operation has unearthed something ancient.
- The story flows captivatingly from start to finish.
- This is an excellent story that will please fans of weird fiction.
- A voluntary fireman who's been putting out a brushfire witnesses something strange and unsettling.
- An interesting and well written story.
Rapture of the Deep:
- A mesmerisingly told story about psychics and the Old Ones who inhabit a bottomless pit.
- This is an excellent and atmosheric take on a Cthulhu Mythos.
- The ending of this story reminded me slightly of certain elements in Lovecraft's 'The Shadow Over Innsmouth'.
Inside Uncle Sid:
- A thrilling story about Uncle Sid and Dana, who has been living with Uncle Sid.
- This story gradually grows into a powerful story that ends perfectly.
- Just like 'In the Shadow of Swords', this story is also set in Iraq.
- This story has a deeply unsettling atmosphere, because the events are seen through the eyes of a marine.
- An excellent and well written story.
- A story about a man who has unsettling dreams.
- A well written story that reminded me a bit of Lovecraft's Dream Cycle stories.
- In this story, marines go into deep space and scavenge an asteroid that is reminiscent of Cahokia.
- If there are readers out there who are not familiar with the name Cahokia, it's an ancient urban settlement and mound society in the Mississippian culture.
- An excellent and engaging story.
- In this story, the protagonist has been in observation in a mental hospital and has met a woman who has knowledge of strange things.
- The author writes well about Lorna and her father's discoveries. He also writes fascinatingly about the Great Race and what they value.
- A perfect final story with elements of projecting one's mind into bodies of others and using them like puppets.
- This is definitely one of the best and most compelling stories I've had the pleasure of reading during the last couple of years, because it contain elements that are related to Lovecraft's 'The Shadow Out of Time'.
Each of these stories is excellent and offers entertainment to fans of Lovecraftian weird fiction. I have nothing bad to say about any of them, because I find them all fascinating in their own ways.
I think that these stories will appeal to many readers. You don't necessarily have know anything about Lovecraftian weird fiction to enjoy them, because the author has written so well that they'll appeal to a wide audience of different kinds of readers. However, if you're familiar with Lovecraftian fiction, you'll love them.
What I like perhaps most about these stories is that Cody Goodfellow interprets Lovecraftian horrors in his own unique way. His stories are fascinatingly Lovecraftian and they stay true to the source material, but they're intriguingly modern and original. He modernises Lovecraftian weird fiction in the right kind of way, because he has his own voice.
You'll find mentions of strange beings, forbidden lore, ancient cultures and sense of otherness in the author's stories. He has woven stories that include bits and pieces of Lovecraft's best known and most terrifying creations, but he doesn't overuse or plagiarise them. He puts his own spin on Lovecraft's creations and delivers stories that have the perfect amount of dread and cosmic horror.
I was surprised by how well Cody Goodfellow wrote about the horrors of war in Middle-Eastern countries. These countries' cultures and histories provide an excellent platfrom for the author to explore Lovecraftian horrors from a new perspective. When Lovecraftian horror is connected to culture and history, the result is refreshingly effective.
There's an excellent atmosphere in all of these stories. I loved the author's ability to build up the atmosphere towards the end of the stories. When I read these stories, I got the impression that the author knows what he's writing about (he seems to have plenty of knowledge about Lovecraft's stories and Lovecraftian fiction) and doesn't resort to using superficial elements to please his readers.
I found myself enjoying the author's prose when I read this collection, because it was good and satisfyingly descriptive. He has his own writing style and he writes fluent prose.
There's something about these stories that slightly reminded me of some of the stories written by Richard Gavin and Livia Llewellyn. (Feel free to disagree with me on this if you feel differently, but in my opinion, Cody Goodfellow has a few things in common with these authors and their writing style.)
I like the cover image by Rob Winfield. It gives a fascinatingly unsettling touch of stylistic strangeness to this collection.
I give this collection full five stars on the scale from one to five stars, because I was deeply impressed by all of the stories. It's easy for me to recommend and praise this collection to other readers.
Cody Goodfellow's contributions to Lovecraftian weird fiction are worth reading, because they're among the best stories available for quality-oriented readers who want to read gripping stories. Rapture of the Deep and Other Lovecraftian Tales is proof of his writing skills and demonstrates the scope of his imagination. It's Lovecraftian storytelling at its finest.
If you're a fan of Lovecraft's stories or love Lovecraftian fiction, you can't afford to miss Rapture of the Deep and Other Lovecraftian Tales. It's a must-read for those who love weird fiction and captivatingly written cosmic horror.