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5.0 out of 5 starsEntertaining mix of humor and emotion, sci-fi and fantasy
Reviewed in the United States on September 14, 2017
This is an eclectic collection of short stories from the prolific Alex Shvartsman playing around with a range of science fiction and fantasy tropes. It is NOT -- as other reviews have noted -- dedicated to the Lovecraft mythos. Shvartsman has a cheeky sense of humor and many of the stories are flat-out goofs on establish conventions. The title story, for example, has fun with the cursed artifacts sub-genre while "Superior Firepower" explains why we needn't worry so much about Armageddon anymore. Other stories are very different in tone. "Spidersong" is a creepy sci-fi/horror, "Icarus Falls" a poignant meditation on love and memory, and "The Dragon Ships of Tycho" a good, old-fashioned spaceships-and-aliens puzzler. Shvartsman moves easily between subjects and styles, making this a read full of variety. Note the ebook edition has "bonus material" with several early stories and the mini-collection "Tales of the Elopus" showing Shvartsman schtick at full-throttle.
3.0 out of 5 starsDecent story collection, but whatever the title, this has very little to do with the Mythos.
Reviewed in the United States on August 29, 2017
This is a decent collection of stories, but not great, and the title is very misleading, as there's only one Lovecraftian story in it and even that one only has Cthulhu in a paperweight. It seems a little disingenuous to have an anthology with Cthulhu in the title that is not an anthology of Cthulhu Mythos (and I mean the whole body of cosmic horror, not just stories that explicitly feature the big C himself). Having said that, some of the stories are charming and engaging, and I can't recall one that I really hated (though it has been a while since I read this).
K.M. Weiland, Author of Historical and Speculative Fiction
5.0 out of 5 starsHad Me at Hello
Reviewed in the United States on June 17, 2015
How can you possibly go wrong with a title like "Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma"? Shvarstman had me at hello. And, even better, his stories totally deliver on the quirky, humorous, imaginative promise of that very high-standard title. There's a great mix here of short and long stories--although all can comfortably be read in a sitting. There's humor, there's even a little pathos and tragedy. There's aliens, there's bionic assassins, there's bigfoot, there's dystopia. You name, it's here. And it's all great. I enjoyed every single story--and that's saying something. Even the bonuses of his early stories were excellent. Totally worth the read!
5.0 out of 5 starsGreat collection of short stories!
Reviewed in the United States on October 15, 2019
I have to admit I purchased this on impulse buy simply because of the title. How can I not NOT buy a book called "Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma". I think this might be my best book impulse buy because I have loved this selection of short stories. I personally love the humor in some of these tales but there is also a range of feelings and tone in the stories so it keeps it interesting and different. It's a great collection and highly recommend!