Rapture of the Deep and other Lovecraftian Tales, by Cody Goodfellow, gathers the many provocative tales he has written over the past decade or more, including several novellas that lavishly expand upon core Lovecraftian themes and motifs. Chief among these, perhaps, is “In the Shadow of Swords,” strikingly set in Iraq, where American soldiers during the Iraq War encounter entities far more baleful than the terrorists of the Taliban. A similar setting is used in “Archons,” which features a denouement both horrific and poignant.
Other stories play imaginative riffs on other Lovecraftian ideas. “The Anatomy Lesson,” set in the 19th century, is an ingenious take-off of “Pickman’s Model.” “To Skin a Corpse” transmutes the central idea of “Herbert West—Reanimator” into a gritty 1930s hard-boiled idiom. The key Lovecraftian notion of dreams is the basis of the pensive story “Broken Sleep.” And a spectacular and previously unpublished story, “Swinging,” employs “The Shadow out of Time” as the springboard for an extraordinary excursion into space and time.
Goodfellow is gifted with a prose style of exceptional lyricism and evocativeness, and his narratives are infused with all the compelling readability and cumulative terror that distinguish Lovecraft’s own. Vibrantly contemporary in setting and expression, they nonetheless constitute a fitting homage of the dreamer from Providence.