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Publisher's Summary

Prior to the first American publication of Brian Lumley's ground-breaking, dead-waking, best-selling Necroscope in 1988 - the first novel in a long-lived, much-loved series - this British author had for 20 years been earning himself something of a reputation writing short stories, novellas, and a series of novels set against H. P. Lovecraft's cosmic Cthulhu Mythos backdrop. A soldier in 1967, serving in Berlin with the Royal Military Police, Lumley jump-started his literary career by writing to August Derleth, the then-dean of macabre publishers at his home in Sauk City, Wisconsin, telling of his fascination with the Mythos, and purchasing books by the Old Gentleman of Providence, RI. In addition, he sent a page or two of written work allegedly culled from the various forbidden or black books of the Mythos. Suitably impressed, the master of Arkham House invited Lumley to write something solid in the Mythos as a possible contribution to a new volume he was currently contemplating, to be titled - what else but? - Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos. And as might well be imagined, that set everything in motion. Forty years have passed since then and a good many words of Mythos fiction written, including critically acclaimed and award-nominated work, stories that have appeared in prestigious magazines such as Fantasy & Science Fiction, and hardcover volumes from publishers all over the world from the USA to China and the United Kingdom to Russia. But while Lumley's novels are all currently available, many of them in hardcover format, his Mythos short stories and novellas have until now remained uncollected. Here in this volume are found the novellas; the future companion volume will contain the short stories. And thus the very best of Brian Lumley's works in this sub-genre, including such recent tales as "The Hymn" and "The Taint", are collected and presented for the first time in audio format...

©2007 Brian Lumley (P)2019 David N. Wilson

What listeners say about The Taint and Other Novellas

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A well-narrated collection of Lumley's Mythos work

Short story collections are almost always difficult to review, especially ones such as this which draw from across a wide portion of the author's career. The collection contains Lumley stories firmly set within the Cthulhu Mythos. While I feel this is something of a constraint on his potential, those more enthused by the stories being part of that shared universe should mentally add 0.5-1 extra stars onto my rating of the stories overall. It's a real mix, everything from somewhat weak but competently written, to something very good indeed such as the headline story, 'The Taint'. Given this range, I'd assign the collection overall a 3.5, perhaps a 4 if one doesn't mind the weakest story. Mr. Saxon's narration is, as I've come to expect from him, genuinely excellent and a great fit for the genre and content. Weak narration can render a great book unlistenable, and narration as good as this easily justifies one bonus star at the very least. Taking that and the stories themselves into account, I feel that 4.5 is a fair score for this audiobook, bumped up to a full 5 if one is eager for Mythos stories specifically. This audiobook was provided to me for free at my request in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

2 people found this helpful

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An Outstanding Group of Horrific Stories

The Taint and Other Novellas contains an outstanding group of stories set in the background of the Cthulhu Mythos of H.P. Lovecraft. The author, Brian Lumley, conveys the same mood and horror as Lovecraft, but Lumley’s stories are thankfully more nuanced. These stories are intriguing, entertaining, and of course, horrifying. Also, Lumley is kind enough to give a brief preface for each story. Joshua Saxon is an outstanding storyteller. He skillfully conveys the sinister atmosphere of these novellas as well as the desperate apprehension of many of the characters in them.

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Great Author, Amazing Narrator, Creepy Mythos!

The Taint and Other Novellas: Best Mythos Tales by Brian Lumley I must confess I used to turn my nose up at Brian Lumley books. Two reasons. 1.) First, I was, and am, an insufferable zealot about my love for the H.P. Lovecraft. Poe creaked open the great door of horror literature for me at 9 or 10 years old. I remember being in shock that a book could cause you to be afraid, really afraid. Then, Lovecraft kicked the damn thing off it’s hinges, blew out the feeble candle in my 15 year old brain, and I fell into the darkness forever. 2.) Embarrassingly, I used to confuse Brian Lumley with August Durleth - and his mediocre attempts to write like the great American author who changed horror literature forever. Yeah, I never claimed to be smart, just a zealot . Once it dawned on me that man who penned the epic Necroscope series was not the same guy as August…well then I noticed Lumley’s terrific writing. This is a delicious book of collected mythos stories. Brian Lumley even annotates his tales with some info about what he was doing and what was happening in his life when he wrote each - I just love well annotated stories. ( thank you Joshi) Great collection of mythos tales by a good author. Plus, one more thing. And it’s a really big thing. Joshua Saxon. You get to listen to one of the very best narrator, ever. Especially for something as gothic as ‘Mythos tales’. Joshua Saxon is a national treasure of those who listen to horror audio books. So. Let’s review: 1.) Good solid and often great author Brian Lumley’s best Mythos tales. 2.) Maybe the Best Mythos Narrator. Got it? Get it!

2 people found this helpful

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Creepy Green Light

What a treat! I requested this audio book but i was in no way prepared for this much fun. I really enjoyed this collection of cosmic doom. Each story tackles a different mythos from H.P. Lovecraft's making. The writing is so good. The stories are great and fun. If your a fan of HPL, you definitely should pick this one up. Joshua Saxton read this. He did really great. His voice sounds so smart and scholarly. I felt he added sophistication to the production. As i said earlier, i requested this audio book and voluntary left this review.

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Loved!

This is the third book by Brian Lumley that I've listened to, and they have all been super great! I remember in the past attempting to read an H.P. Lovecraft story (don't remember which one) but, needless to say, I had a hard time focusing, like it just didn't call to me, which means that I didn't finish it. So while these were Lovecraft-ish, I had no problem here. Of course, Joshua Saxton, my #1 fav narrator, did an amazing job. I did realize with this batch of stories that his female voices weren't really "female," like he kind of stuck with his regular voice. I know he's read for female characters in previous books, but I don't remember what he did for them. Either way, that did not deter me. Anyways, I love when authors provide the readers an explanation of how they came up with their short stories, or something along that line; I always find that an interesting bonus. I think my favorite story was "Lord of the Worms." I received a free audiobook copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Solid Additions to the Mythos

There isn't a whole lot of new ground here, but there are some new critters. The storyline is the usual unsuspecting or deliberate intent to make contact with nasties from outside our world has bad consequences that may or may not entail the release of said nasties in our world. Brian Lumeley is a good writer and even though some of these stories are older, they are well delivered and fit into both the Lovecraft style and world with no conflicts. Joshua Saxon delivers the stories with style and adds a lot to the contents interest. I was given this free audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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Unbiasedly and unabashedly fantastic!

**DISCLAIMER** I have NOT (gasp) read Lovecraft or any other works in the Cthulhu Mythos (with the exception of Robert E Howard's Conan stories, which I consider to be only tenuously connected). Therefore, my review will be based on this book alone on its own merits with no biases or comparisons to other Mythos works. That said, while novella is a very broad term that can be quite a range of lengths, here we have a nice collection of what I would call mostly short stories. There are a number of twist endings and reversals that were a pleasure to read. About the audiobook narrator: Joshua Saxon has a pleasant, eminently listenable voice and an impressive ability to draw multiple voices and accents. My one complaint is something quite common, particularly with deeper-voiced male narrators; his female voices are basically just softer toned versions of male voices. However, he has great control of vocal inflections and his tempo shifts throughout the text are spot on. Now, the stories. First, I would like to thank the author for the explanation in the opening about what constitutes the Cthulhu Mythos, as heretofore my only exposure to it has been via (very brief) experience with the tabletop RGP, Call of Cthulhu. Now, here we have quite an array of stories that cover several different themes and approaches to the mythos. The one overarching idea that comes across is almost all of them is that generally speaking, humans in a Cthulhu story are doomed. Now, some readers may consider that a point against these stories, as happy endings are a rare thing. But personally, I feel that as a culture we've lost touch with the reality that typically when people encounter monsters, we rarely come out on top. Even most modern horror has lost touch with that. So, for me, the fact that the protagonist rarely wins is not only a point in favor, but several points in favor. This is what horror is. This is what horror should be. Horror is meant to be, well, horrifying. And while some of these stories lean more toward the grotesque rather than truly horrifying, they still do their work quite well. I was particularly fond of "The Taint," "Lord of the Worms," and "Born of the Winds." Each for different reasons. In short, whether you enjoy realistic (while still supernatural) horror or if you are specifically a fan of Lovecraft or Cthulhu Mythos, I highly recommend giving this a read. **DISCLAIMER 2** I received a free copy of this audiobook from the publisher and am voluntarily leaving my honest and unbiased review.

2 people found this helpful

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Lumley is (in my mind) the heir of lovecrafts mythos

I love H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos. I devour any stories I can find that touch upon it. I’ve been fascinated by it since I was a kid. I have many well thumbed paperbacks of Lumley, lovecraft, anthologies of stories by various authors. This doesn’t disappoint. The novellas here provide a plethora of enticing stories into the mythos as well as touch upon characters that are flushed out and used I’m other stories (check out Titus crow!). The narrators voice and accent and vocal talents lends a chilling tone and a sophistication to the tales. Love love love them. I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator or publisher

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Joshua Saxon voice talent is simply MADE for B.L.

Joshua Saxon voice talent is simply MADE for Mr. Lumley's work. Rarely do i enjoy the "voice" of the preformee as much as i do the stories themselves. BRAVO.

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Really awesome!!

I really enjoyed these stories. The author really follows the Lovecraft style to a T. Really pulls you in. The narrator is just fantastic, definitely the top choice for Lovecraftian stories.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Chris Halliday
  • 10-06-19

Superior Mythos Tales

Among Lovecraftians, Brian Lumley can be a “marmite” author; you either love his work or hate it. His Mythos novels - like the Titus Crow series - tend to be pulpy and overblown, the antithesis of Lovecraft’s cosmic horror. His short stories and novellas though, are deft and classy examples of the weird tale. The title story, “The Taint”, is one of the finest slow burn Lovecraftian stories ever written, and the rest of the tales in this collection approach it in quality. The narration - bar the occasional place name mispronunciation - is excellent. I look forward to enjoying the other collections in this series.

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  • MR J LAMBERT
  • 07-25-20

Excellent Collection of Cthulhu Mythos Novellas

The Taint and Other Novellas is a seven story collection of Cthulhu Mythos novellas written by Horror Grand Master Brian Lumley. I enjoyed all of the stories, but Lord of the Worms - featuring a young Titus Crow - and Born of the Winds were my personal standouts. After being extremely impressed by Joshua Saxon's excellent narration on another Lumley collection called Haggopian and Other Stories, I was eager to check out more of his work. He once again proves ideal for this material, bringing a real sense of gravity and dread to proceedings. This collection is pretty much essential listening for fans of Lumley, Cthulhu and gothic horror. Highly recommended.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-14-20

As good as it gets!

Amazing,when you have read all the lovecraft stuff,you can continue here! Amazing,when you have read all the lovecraft stuff,you can continue here!

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  • Dee
  • 09-25-19

Excellent

I enjoyed this book from start to finish. Brian Lumleys take on the Cthulhu Mythos is fantastic. Joshua Saxons narration is spot on. I will definitely be on the lookout for more of the same. This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.