Friday, May 6, 2016

Crossover Cover: Deep Red Bells

This anthology includes “Deep Red Bells,” a Royal Occultist story by Josh Reynolds. Charles St. Cyprian and Ebe Gallowglass try to exorcise the ghost of a shark from St. Cyprian’s friend Gussie Fitzgrace’s body. St. Cyprian has a tremendous amount of respect for the Society for Psychical Research, engendered in him by his mentor Thomas Carnacki. St. Cyprian describes Gussie’s sister Dahlia as “this year’s answer to Rosie M. Banks, producing widely read and inevitably maudlin tripe with a speed that would astound the messenger of the gods himself,” and recalls an incident with an ichthyosaur skeleton in the Drones billiards room. Dahlia mentions “that business with the crystal egg.” St. Cyprian mutters “By their smell can men sometimes know them near,” in response to the odor Gussie is emitting. St. Cyprian asks Gallowglass if he did or did not give her Harzan’s monograph on the detection of abhuman manifestations, and says no two Saaitii manifestations are the same. St. Cyprian traces the sacred shape of the Voorish sign in the air. St. Cyprian possesses a silver disc that has engraved upon its surface the signs of the Saaamaaa Ritual, crafted by the hands of the last of the ab-human priests of Raaee sometime in the 1600s, and confiscated by Dr. John Dee. Thomas Carnacki, Harzan, Saiitii manifestations, the Saaamaaa Ritual, and Raaee are from William Hope Hodgson’s short story collection Carnacki the Ghost-Finder. Rosie M. Banks and the Drones Club are from the works of P. G. Wodehouse. The crystal egg is from H. G. Wells’ titular story. The quote “By their smell can men sometimes know them near” and the Voorish Sign are from H. P. Lovecraft’s “The Dunwich Horror.”

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