The Nickronomicon by Nick Mamatas is a collection of loosely related short stories that delve into the backstage of the Lovecraftian Mythos, upending piles of clutter to sift through decades’ worth of dust collected in the paraphernalia that make up the foundation of its inherent nihilism.
Nick Mamatas’ style is strongly reminiscent of Jack Kerouac’s. A semi-biographical affair, The Nickronomicon appears to be a road-trip -of sorts- into Lovecraft Country. The level of research put into this collection can be overwhelming at times, especially considering the depth of trivia that it goes into, creating a rough fictional map of the life of possibly one of horror fiction’s most underappreciated authors. “Wuji” and “Inky, Blinky, Pinky, Nyarlathotep” are the standout stories in the collection; being at the same time informative, entertaining while maintaining a high quality of horror throughout.
Oliver Wetter’s cover artwork is stellar, but it is GMB Chomichuk’s interior artwork that makes the book really shine: from the ink-choked postcards to the alien shapes depicted on the surface of linen cloths to the alien-graffiti-defaced banners, The Nickronomicon’s artwork makes a good case for shelling out that little bit extra extra for a hard copy.
A point that can be made against The Nickronomicon, however, is that a lot of its stories veer away from the template of the Lovecraftian short story. While most of the stories do deliver on the promise of impending cosmic annihilation, many seem to steer away from the main motif. Some are simple treks through the histories of cults, others focus on the lives and blunders of cultists. While they make for an interesting variety, they will clash considerably with the expectations of seasoned Lovecraftian aficionados.