Whispers from the Abyss, edited by Kat Rocha is a Lovecraftian anthology which likes to steer from the beaten path of the Lovecraftian Mythos: from eldritch-powered necromancer automata to dysfunctional Innsmouth families to short stories about parasitologists in way over their depths, this anthology was a very fulfilling read through and through.
In the introduction, Alasdair Stuart focuses on William Friedkin’s quote ‘Horror is seeing something approach’. While I disagree with this laconic (and certainly catchy) definition of horror, this theme is evident throughout every story in Whispers From the Abyss and it serves to make for a very different sort of Lovecraftian short story collection. While certain stories deal with the aftermath of the Apocalypse, the majority of the stories deal with smaller disasters, presented from a number of very interesting points of view, many of which caught me utterly by surprise. Furthermore, the spin given to the artifacts of the Elder Gods in the anthology in some of the stories is very imaginative and entertaining (the dusty chest leading into an otherdimensional sacrificail chamber was one of my favorites). Special mention must be made to the more unconventional stories inside the anthology, as well: the Hunter S. Thompson parody “Fear and Loathing in Innsmouth” was one of my favorites, even if I was disappointed by the ending.
The cover art by Josh Finney is straightforward and evocative, even though I feel as if the anthology would have required a touch more elaborate of a book cover. As it stands, the comic-book cover quality of it still helped to catch my eye and would make for excellent interior art in any Call Of Cthulhu adventure module.
My one complaint with Whispers from the Abyss is with some of its more experimental stories, particularly certain flash pieces and one piece of microfiction. I understand that Kat Rocha‘s intent was to create a different sort of anthology and she has succeeded, 9 times out of ten with her selction of stories. However, these particular pieces of fiction feel awkward and missed the mark, in my opinion.
So if you are aching for a Lovecraftian anthology that skirts around the razzamatazz of the end of the world as we know it and finds purchase in all the dark twists and turns in between, t5his might just be the kind of book you are looking for.