by Springate Dickon (Author)
Here we have twelve Lovecraftian stories being offered as the real cause of events that happened in 1816. Many of the genre tropes are there, and this has stories within stories within stories and is just generally awesome.
Whether you know a lot about the history yourself or don’t and just go along with it as I did this felt authentic and offered a huge variety of plots. (It certainly made me do a little wiki diving.) It is filled with all sorts of strange and incomprehensible beings, Ghouls, your usual Lovecraftian “Deities”, and heck even the King in Yellow makes an appearance.
This truth is revealed through documents and letters collected all over the world and each one tells a story for each month of the year. The various narrators all must battle for their sanity as they come across things they can’t understand. While most are soldiers and sailors and other sorts of military types, you get a great story about a Rabbi that was my favorite.
This succeeded completely in capturing a dark and foreboding mood and engaging my imagination, which is what I love about this genre. I enjoyed how the history blended in effortlessly with the Mythos stuff. The action is also spectacular. The soldiers, armed with muskets and sabers, must do battle with beings they can’t even comprehend but can certainly comprehend that they are capable of tearing them to shreds.
Apart from the gore, which I love but always feel like I shouldn’t admit, the descriptions of the creatures are just so fun and gross. There was real creativity going on here.
I won’t be going through all the stories here, it would basically just be more of me gushing weirdly like I already have. The tales use a lot of the usual ideas but they felt original and the collection concept kept them grounded. I didn’t even think there was a bad story. This was just excellent.
1816: The Year Without Summer ends as a fresh and exciting collection which isn’t easy in this well-worn genre. I suppose choosing to stay ignorant and not read the truth this is offering you would be a warning right out of any Lovecraftian story but do it anyway, it is worth going mad for.
Blog only comments
Sometimes I hate how hard it is to review things without spoiling them. So take a bunch of quotes instead:
“There is nary a man alive not sharing his birthplace who can comprehend a single uttered syllable that escapes his vacuous cavern of a mouth.”
“’Oh, help! Jew murderer is draining children’s blood for Passover crackers!’ A crowd gathers, and soon one less Jew in world.”
“Is better someone think you smell like shit or smell like death?”
“There’s no order, is there? No justice, no law, no promised rewards. Just pain.”
“A century is, really, no more than an afternoon. Not to the Old Ones, and those who serve them.”
“The screaming of men was a sound with which Hastings would never reach an accommodation.”