The decadent, smugly rotting, secret-filled town of Innsmouth is a supreme creation of Howard Philips Lovecraft.
It so finely mixes the carnal and the metaphysical that writers continue to take inspiration from it. New readers squirm in encountering Lovecraft’s horrifying vision, then return to revel in the tale’s grim wit and careful invention. Energized by powerful sexual and racial themes, Innsmouth and the heritage of the deep ones remains HPL’s single most influential concept.
Twelve more stories stories round out this collection. Three are precursors, including Dunsany and Chambers but also the comparatively little known “Fishhead” from Irvin S. Cobb. Nine successor tales (as well as three poems) bring the themes into the present, including the specter of nuclear weapons, a Freedom of Information Act search probing the government cover-up of Innsmouth, and much more. Vigorous and contemplative in turn, in all of these stories we sense the oaths of Dagon, glimpse the tell-tale signs of the Innsmouth taint, and hear in their cadences that faint sea-born music from cyclopean Y’ha-nthlei, the many-columned city beneath the waves.
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