First of all, Simon Vance! I could listen to that guy read the phone book. So good.
Now, Brian Lumley. He has amazingly cool ideas in the vei..Show More »n of modern, weird horror, and this book is no exception. In execution, he sometimes relies to much on telling rather than showing - robbing the reader of the chilling experience in favor of a kind of intellectual recap. Sadly, this book is no different. I enjoyed the book though. And to be fair, it is no more lacking in direct-experience than Lovecraft himself!
I don't want to share any plot details for fear of spoiling too much. But the basics are that you have an occult investigator/secret agent in your protagonist, Titus Crow, who uncovers a plot 'hatched' (you'll get that pun later) by Chtonians, an ancient and evil subterranean race.
The Transition of Titus Crow is a fascinating follow-up to the Burrowers Beneath but not one which is without controversy. Brian Lumley takes the titu..Show More »lar character and sends him on a 70s psychadelic trip across the multiverse in a time-travelling coffin which effectively turns the entire thing into Doctor Who meets Lovecraft. This the kind of story where the protagonist becomes a cyborg, journeys to science fiction heaven, outwits Yog-Sothoth, and talks with Cthulhu's benevolent brother. It's a crazy-crazy book and I'm very glad to have read it but it's not without flaws. Even so, Simon Vance does an amazing job here and I recommend people pick it up. Just don't expect a traditional Lovecraft tale.
The Clock of Dreams is the third novel in the Titus Crow novels and shows a big change in the narrative. Instead of the titular character, the protago..Show More »nist is now Henri de Marginy. Having been bequeathed Titus Crow's TARDIS-like coffin and a magical cloak, he proceeds to go on a mission to rescue his friend and his friend's new wife from forces that have imprisoned them in the Dreamlands. Henri is a more grounded character than Titus Crow and more rounded. Those who expect a more traditional Lovecraftian set of scares will be disappointed as this is more a psychedelic sci-fi journey across the multiverse. Brian Lumley is clearly fascinated rather than appalled by the Cthulhu Mythos and there's a lot of beauty here instead of grotesques. I think every dedicated fan should check it out, though. If you don't mind the Old Ones being evil and the heroes being good as well as the former getting spanked badly ala Ghostbusters, this is definitely the series for you.
The Spawn of the Winds is my second favorite of Brian Lumley's immortal Titus Crow series. Titus Crow, for those unaware of it, is a series which foll..Show More »ows the titular character or one of his supporting cast in their adventures against the Cthulhu Mythos. Unlike your typical Lovecraft heroes, they generally kick the Great Old Ones' asses rather than go insane and wet themselves. They're a very pulpy series with many homages to other franchises.
For example, Spawn of the Winds is a planetary romance where a Texas cowboy, Hank Siberhutte, is transported to the planet Borea where the natives are ruled by the monstrous Ithaqua. A resistance controlled by the beautiful redheaded sorceress Armandra is in resistance to the Great Old One but failing badly. Will Hank get the girl and punch the Great Old One's minions to submission? You bet he will! The only question is how and when as well as who dies in the process. This book was a big influence on Cthulhu Armageddon and another reason why it rocks.
If you want a rollicking good old timey adventure, this is a great story and Simon Vance does an amazing job bringing the characters to life.
In previous books, Titus Crow successfully defeated an invasion of Cthonian worms and escaped a trap set for him in the Dreamlands as well as disc..Show More »overed the Elder Gods' homeworld of Elysia. Henri de Marginy acquired Randolph Carter's Time Clock which, essentially, functions like the TARDIS and helped said individual become a wandering space hero. Finally, Hank Silberhutte married the half-human princess of a displaced tribe of humans and helped thwart the machinations of the Great Old One Ithaqua.
In the Moons of Borea's premise is an attempt to do an old fashioned Pulp adventure tale teaming up Henri de Marginy and Hank Silberhutte on a quest to recover the lost Time Clock. It's very much in the fashion of the Doctor Who serials of the time, only with no budget limitations. Henri lands on the planet quite by accident (or drawn there by the Elder Gods) but has his Time Clock stolen by the forces of Ithaqua who take it to one of Borea's two moons. Visiting the moons via a magic tornado, they discover the beautiful Moreen who possesses Snow White-esque powers to talk to animals. Dealing with the local Vikings, they try to prevent an invasion of Borea and end up facing not a group of ancient primeval wizards and Ithaqua himself.
As the plot description attests, this isn't exactly the most traditional science fiction novel. It is full of off-kilter and weird elements purely for the sake of being cool. Our heroes also never really feel endangered because they routinely laugh at the Great Old Ones and run rings around their minions, which removes any feeling of danger which might otherwise be present. Indeed, the aura of invincibility our heroes possess is the biggest problem in the narrative as nothing seems able to stop them for any length of time. Despite this, it's an imaginative and colorful story with lots of fun to be had between the two protagonists.
The Great Old Ones finally rising from their aeons-long slumber. The stars are right and all of the cosmos is feeling something evil in the wind. Thou..Show More »gh the Elder Gods defeated them a billion years ago, they have forgotten the secrets for doing so and are helpless with their current rising. Titus Crow is then given the impossible choice to mislead his friend Henri in hopes of using him as bait to lead the monstrous Cthulhu Cycle into a trap. This results in almost everyone finding themselves trapped on a cross-temporal journey through multiple realities as well as times.
Elysia ends the series with a bang rather than a whimper, having a catastrophic ending which nicely brings to close Lumley's saga of science-heroes and occultists versus godlike aliens. Unfortunately, the book is not without flaws as an entire section of it is taken up by recounting a story from his Fafhrd and Gray Mouser stand-ins versus the actual heroes. Still, we have a story which consists of visiting a sentient gas cloud, skimming a black hole, visiting a gigantic robot in the Dreamlands, dueling with a wanton airship pirate queen, and finally visiting an ancient Pre-Hyborian Age realm of wizard kings.
Lumley has an imagination he allows to run wild and it works well here with this being, along with Spawn of the Winds and The Burrowers Beneath, one of my three favorite Titus Crow stories. Lovecraft aficionados aren't going to find some last minute, "The Great Old Ones show up and kill everyone" but they're allowed more dignity here than they had in some of the volumes. Whole worlds are destroyed when the wrath of Cthulhu is unleashed and the final confrontation with him is epic in a Jack Kirby-meets-Doctor Who sort of way.
The book's ending actually moved me just a wee bit and gives the right sense of sacrifice as well as power for the defeat of the Great Old Ones. While Lovecraft purists will rail at the fact the Great Old Ones can be defeated at all, it isn't the case of Hawkgirl smacking Cthulhu around with her mace either. I felt this was a satisfactory wrap-up to all of the series mysteries and left me feeling like I'd spent my time well traveling with such an eccentric cast of oddballs.