Monday, May 30, 2016

Lovecraftian Thing a Day No.151: The Burrowers Beneath (Day 1 of Brian Lumley Week).

Brian Lumley can be quite a polarizing figure when it comes to the Cthulhu Mythos, insofar as his work in the field tends to reiterate and develop upon the Derlethian 'heresy' - an issue I mean to explore over the coming week. In any case, I retain fond memories of Lumley's The Burrowers Beneath, if only for the fact that it was my first encounter with a Cthulhu Mythos novel by someone who was part of the 'new' Lovecraft circle. In actuality, I quite like Burrowers - it moves along at a fine pace, and contain some moments of genuinely weird horror; it also introduces Titus Crow, a character for whom I have retained a fondness since encountering him here. Sadly, the copy shown here is not the original Grafton UK edition which I picked up in the late 1980s, but an earlier US paperback edition which I purchased more recently.

1 comment:

  1. I've enjoyed a lot of Lumley's stuff over the years. He's at his best when he's simply having fun with the genre. His Dreamlands stuff ('Hero of Dreams', etc.) for example uses the setting and invokes a lot of the tropes, but overall feels a lot more like traditional fantasy than Lovecraft or even Dunsany. Nonetheless, the opportunity to revisit places like Dylath-Leen and Xura is always a treat! Taken for what they are, these stories are well crafted and engaging, and have a lot to recommend them.

    On the other hand, I can see why critics aren't too impressed with Kthanid, the "good" counterpart to Cthulhu, and other such attempts to develop the Mythos along Derlerthian lines. Derleth was the editor who got Lumley published in the first place (I believe he was in the Army at the time) and when I interviewed Lumley for SFCrowsnest a few years ago, he paid tribute to Derleth as an excellent editor even if his writings are overlooked nowadays, and without Derleth editing and publishing Lovecraft, Lumley didn't think there's even be a Cthulhu Mythos in the popular culture.

    ST Joshi is especially hard on Lumley, but in my opinion Lumley is a much more entertaining writer, extremely readable if not necessarily "high brow". By all accounts he's also a really nice guy, and that was certainly my impression of him.