Pros: Wonderful, dreadful cosmic horror tales
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
I almost skipped William Meikle’s Home From The Sea because the cover on Amazon looked cheap and chintzy, which made me worry the author would have skimped on other things like editing or just didn’t have much experience. But I was in the mood for some Lovecraftian cosmic horror so I decided to read it anyway–and I’m glad I did!
Stories range from a tale about an Inquisitor torturing a dark creature for information in the 1500s to a modern-day Twitter story. Most tales, however, fall in an in-between place, in the past but not too far back. Most of the tales take place in such areas as Glasgow, Oxford, London, or even Newfoundland. There’s a lot of booze and tobacco. Mad scientists build inventions to repel Russian ICBMs or render battleships invisible, with horrible consequences and side effects.
Doorways are opened. Strange and compelling rhythms tear holes in time and space. A massive creature destroys entire swaths of London, and a strange ooze eats people in Oxford. There’s a Sherlock Holmes story in which an odd green substance found in a brewery starts turning people into slime.
We are announcing our presence into the ether. And who knows what might reply?
Some of the tales are quite tense! Men try to rescue a whaling vessel, only to find themselves trapped on a ship full of tentacled creatures. A man’s experiments have called down a strange creature that kills all who come into contact with it.
“Turn it off,” I yelled into his face.
He replied, remarkably calmly. “That’s a problem, Duncan. It isn’t switched on.”
I recently read a collection of stories in which it seemed like most of the stories ended a moment or two too early; this collection didn’t have that problem. Nor did it go too far in the other direction and over-explain. The stories felt like they were the perfect length–enough to pull the reader in and make it fairly clear what’s happened, without trying to make things too mundane or easy. If you enjoy cosmic horror and mysterious ripples in reality, Home From the Sea is an excellent choice to read.