Thursday, March 10, 2016

Crossover Cover: World War Cthulhu

This anthology contains two stories with crossovers, both written by authors with no little experience at same. One is "The Yoth Protocols" by Josh Reynolds. An FBI agent named Sarlowe thinks of centers of eldritch activity, such as the Warren site in the Big Cypress, the Martense molehills, and "certain secret cellars where a certain artist had painted certain pictures and almost certainly been eaten." He also thinks of Inspector Craig and his Special Detail in the subway tunnels beneath New York, as well as worms in the earth. Sarlowe’s partner Indrid Cold is described as having a wax-like face. It is stated there are worse things in Heaven and Earth than dreamt of in Alhazred’s philosophy. The local "old ones" include the Shonokins and the K’n-Yani. Sarlowe reminds Cold of the Yoth protocols. A circular stone covering the stairs leading to the mound where the K’n-Yani live was placed there after the Zamacona Cylinder was unearthed. "The batrachian hillbillies in Massachusetts" and N’Kai are mentioned. Cold is the only person who ever used the Voormithadreth Corridor and hadn’t rotted from the inside out. Cold identified Valusian spectrum radiation within the mound. The Russian necromancer Grigori Petrov refers to the Zann Concerto and the maw of Leng. Cold asks Petrov if he was planning to let Tsathoggua’s children loose to do his dirty work. Sarlowe quotes, "Evil the mind that is held by no head." Sarlowe is a relative of occult detective Baxter Sarlowe from Reynolds’ novel Wake the Dead. The Warren site in the Big Cypress is from H. P. Lovecraft’s story "The Statement of Randolph Carter." The Martense molehills are from Lovecraft’s "The Lurking Fear." The secret cellars where an artist painted pictures and was eaten are from Lovecraft’s story "Pickman’s Model." Inspector Craig and his Special Detail are from Robert Barbour Johnson’s story "Far Below." The worms in the earth are from Robert E. Howard’s Bran Mak Morn story "Worms of the Earth." Indrid Cold is an allegedly real person connected to the supposed Mothman sightings in 1966. His wax-like face implies Cold is a member of the wax-masked race of creatures seen in Lovecraft’s "The Festival," which is the source of the quote, "Evil the mind that is held by no head." Abdul Alhazred, the mad Arab, is the author of the Necronomicon in Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. The Shonokins are from Manly Wade Wellman’s John Thunstone stories. The K’n-Yani, Yoth, the Zamacona Cylinder, and N’Kai are from Lovecraft’s revision of Zealia Bishop’s story "The Mound." "The batrachian hillbillies in Massachusetts" are a reference to Lovecraft’s "The Shadow over Innsmouth." The Voormithadreth Corridor is connected to Mount Voormithadreth from Cthulhu Mythos stories by Clark Ashton Smith. Tsathoggua is also from Smith’s Mythos tales. Valusian spectrum radiation is a reference to the kingdom of Valusia in Robert E. Howard’s Kull stories. The Zann Concerto is from Lovecraft’s "The Music of Erich Zann." The plateau of Leng appears in a number of Lovecraft’s stories. The other story that I will include is "Cold War, Yellow Fever" by Pete Rawlik. Mitchell Peel is an operative of the Joint Advisory Committee on Korea (JACK), receiving orders from Colonel Doctor Wingate Peaslee, aka the Terrible Old Man. Peaslee tells Peel and other JACK agents Esteban Zamarano was sent to Banes, Cuba as part of Operation Mongoose to enlist his family’s aid. The Zamaranos bought six volumes from the sale of the Church of the Starry Wisdom Library, including what appears to be a Spanish-language edition of The King in Yellow. After contact was lost with Zamarano, another agent traveled to Banes, and disappeared himself, though not before sending the message, "Where is the Yellow Sign?" The Soviets are willing to neutralize the threat, but Peaslee says Washington does not want to see another Gizhinsk, particularly so close to the U.S. borders. Peel and company work with Major Romero of the Cuban Security Forces and Agent Tanya Romanova of Soviet Army Intelligence to deal with the situation. Romanova refers to documented cases of childrens’ minds being stimulated to see the universe in ways adults cannot, such as the Paradine children and "that village in Winshire." After the mission, a traumatized and disfigured Peaslee is retired to a minimum security facility near Arkham, Massachusetts. Mitchell Peel is related to David Conyers’ series character Major Harrison Peel, an NSA consultant who appears in stories set in the milieu of the Mythos. Wingate Peaslee is from Lovecraft’s story "The Shadow Out of Time"; his nickname of "the Terrible Old Man" is an homage to Lovecraft’s story of the same name. The Church of the Starry Wisdom is from Lovecraft’s "The Haunter of the Dark." Arkham, Massachusetts is the setting of a number of Mythos tales. The King in Yellow is from Robert W. Chambers’ short story collection of the same name, and was incorporated into the Cthulhu Mythos by Lovecraft in his story "The Whisperer in Darkness." The Yellow Sign is also from Chambers’ book. Gizhinsk and "that village in Winshire" are from John Wyndham’s novel The Midwich Cuckoos. Agent Tanya (or Tatiana) Romanova is from Ian Fleming’s James Bond novel From Russia, with Love. The Paradine children are from the short story "Mimsy Were the Borogroves" by "Lewis Padgett" (Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore).


  1. I read "Far Below" by Barbour awhile ago in my library's copy of the anthology The Weird (after you posted on Reynolds Jim Anthony novel "Death's Head Cloud" which reference it.) It's a good anthology with a lot of over looked classics of Weird Fiction. Some of them like "The Night Wire" and Jean Ray's stories "The Mainz Psalter" and "The Shadowy Street." I wish I knew some kind of link to the CU.

    Is this the first reference to "Mimsey" by Kuttner and Moore.

  2. I'll have to check out that anthology.

    This is the first reference to Kuttner and Moore's story that I'm aware of.

  3. It's a good anthology. It's about as thick as a phone book so you can't really read it straight through. It contains a lot of authors that are not really well known because either they were foreign or worked long ago. It also contains more famous authors like Franz Kafka, H. P. Lovecraft, and Stephen King.

  4. "Far Below" is one of my favorite stories (also my second-favorite episode of the television show,'Monsters'). I tend to sneak in references to it whenever I can.

    1. Yeah, it's a good story.

      The story itself references Pickman's Model with references to the sewers of Boston and a writer who is obviously Lovecraft doing research on it.