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FREE DOWNLOAD Ä Dark Wisdom: Tales of the Old Ones õ The evolution of the Cthulhu Mythos has been toward equal but opposite extremes of complexity and simplicity Complexity, as the mythology of H P Lovecraft and his immediate circle was taken over by a band of enthusiastic later writers who elaborated and expanded it beyond all recognition Simplicity, as in order to support this complicated structure, the distinctive elements of that mythology were diluted and blended into a truly amorphous whole Dark Wisdom is a collection of modern Mythos stories that attempts to correct for both these extremes Each of its twelve tales is written around one of the central tropes of the classic Mythos a book like the Necronomicon, a race like the Deep Ones or a demonic god like Cthulhu himself Each affirms the enduring power of those books, those races and those gods to leave their terrible mark on the modern worldContents The WebSlugsMother of SerpentsFast FoodUnderstudyThe Big PictureOmegaThe MaskWhat Rough BeastThe NestFrom Inner EgyptHorror Show Dark Wisdom is a single author collection of stories by Gary Myers, newly published by Mythos Books I very much liked the stories and thus recommend the book, but I have one very great reservation that I will explain a bit later I don t know much about Gary Myers except that he was born in 1952 He actually has a small entry on Wikipedia where it lists this fact and says that his occupation is short story writer Not to be too presumptuous, but he must have another day job because his output h Dark Wisdom is a single author collection of stories by Gary Myers, newly published by Mythos Books I very much liked the stories and thus recommend the book, but I have one very great reservation that I will explain a bit later I don t know much about Gary Myers except that he was born in 1952 He actually has a small entry on Wikipedia where it lists this fact and says that his occupation is short story writer Not to be too presumptuous, but he must have another day job because his output has not exactly been prolific He wrote The House of the Worm, a collection of short stories set in Lovecraft s and others , especially the author s Dreamlands, published by Arkham House in 1975 I have a copy of this slim volume but have never read it all right, I just picked it up a few months ago and it s still in my to be read stack along with a huge mound of other books This is his first book since then Maybe he has beenactive in other genres Since 1975 he has had a few stories crop up in magazines and anthologies devoted to Lovecraftian tales It is a good quality trade paperback, up the usual standards of Mythos Books who really, really need to make their websiteuser friendly, particularly for fans who want to search out upcoming titles Here is my major gripe and one which may give some readers pause before buying this book It is only 120 pages of text Pugmire s The Fungal Stain from Hippocampus Press for the same price was about 160 pages Arkham Tales and Hardboiled Cthulhu were listed at about 15, and were 200 pages Regardless of the quality of the prose and this was high quality prose , this slender book is not a particularly good bargain I listen to classical music and if there is 60 minutes of music on a CD I have great qualms about buying it for full price Editing was tight I noted no typographical errors Mr Myers provided the cover art which shows a reddish cephalopod eye moodily staring at the reader He also was the artist for the interior art, which was evocative and effective, adding to my enjoyment of the book The introduction by Robert Price was useful for putting Mr Myers work into context My second and only other gripe about the book has to do with issue of copyright On the back of the book it says these are new stories Copyright for all stories is listed as 2007 But I know for a fact that some of these stories have been printed before In last year s The Tsathoggua Cycle the story Horror Show appears with a copyright of 2002 This sent me scouring my collection of other mythos books where I found The Web copyright 2003 in The Disciples of Cthulhu II and Understudy copyright 1999 in Tales Out of Innsmouth Not appearing in Dark Wisdom, I also found The Snout in the Alcove in The Nyarlathotep Cycle Maybe someone in the know about the biz can explain to me what is going on Further, some of the other stories just seem darned familiar, as if I had read them somewhere It would have been very nice for the publisher to actually list the publication history of Mr Myers stories to allow us to know how many of them would already duplications already present on our collections, and also to put them into context I like to see how Lovecraftian authors develop their art Horror Show is very skillfully written, the culmination of many years of practicing the writer s craft I wonder when the earliest story dates from This issue of questionable copyright lineage crops up every so often in Lovecraftian fiction For example, Eldritch Fells by Tim Curran was originally published in an obscure book Hastur, Pussycat, Kill, Kill, rather than Hardboiled Cthulhu but this was not obvious from the latter book s title page.Here are the contents The Web Slugs Mother of Serpents Fast Food Understudy The Big Picture Omega The Mask What Rough Beast The Nest From Inner Egypt Horror Show spoilers may follow so stop reading if it bothers you Gary Myers has an accomplished hand at prose Whatever churlish complaints I may have made so far, I was hugely entertained by everything I read Character development, dialogue, descriptive prose, plot and Lovecraftian sensibility were all highly polished I only wish Mr Myers wasprolific, that the collection had another six or seven stories It flitted by in a few too brief hours, leaving me hungry forIn fact, in his introduction Price mentions that Myers has written or is writing new Dunsanian tales that will appear in forthcoming book, The Club of the Seven Dreamers I ll be among the first in line to acquire that title and will also now rapidly turn my attention to The House of the Worm although maybe I should read Lovecraft s Dreamland tales first The Web shows what happens when an eldritch text is made available online to anyone, sort of like when The Dead Seas Scrolls were released Maybe the information age is not such a good thing Slugs was a nifty conventional mythos story although keeping the beasties off screen certainly helped heighten the tension, as a petty thief steals something he shouldn t from it s location in the sewers Mother of Serpents was the only story where I had an issue with the prose, there being rather too many sentences beginning with conjunctions Perhaps it was a stylistic affectation that was to suit the mood and period locale feel of the piece It was, however, a very good Yiggy yarn where a young couple has the misfortune to come into the ambit of an avatar of the father of serpents Fast Food was brilliant, maybe the gem of the book A new hamburger joint opens across from the protagonist s workplace They are pedaling perhapsthan food and he begins to get suspicious Understudy mingles the Deep Ones and the Creature of the Black Lagoon No surprises but a very good story The Big Picture describes how a man begins to look beyond the veil of reality, after a chance encounter with a not so friendly stranger Appearances can be deceiving and maybe we are better off thinking that we know what we re looking at The Mask was also aconventional mythos tale where an eccentric recluse has brought back an unusual artifact from places far away and wants to show it to his young prot g What Rough Beast vies with Fast Food and Horror Show for pride of place in this collection In this tour de force by Myers a traveling motorist tries to help a young pregnant girl escape from the clutches of a bizarre cult.Myers offers a tip of his hat to Lovecraftian ghouls in the highly enjoyable The Nest From Inner Egypt is Myers take on Nephren Ka, the evil necromancer first introduced to us in HPL s 1921 The Outsider I really liked Horror Show when I read The Tsathoggua Cycle and it is still a great read Terrific prose enlivens the story of a bored young lady who has a chance encounter at a goth night club that leads her to the ragged edge.That wraps it up In the end you have to make the call The stories are all really good with at least three mini masterpieces And who knows when you will get another chance at Gary Myers work The down side is it will cost you a few bucksthan it should have to So the five stars are because I really liked the stories but for some the small number of pages might lower the rating a star or two I await other opinions with interest