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by Brian Lumley

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-312-87694-7
Publisher: Tor

From the notebooks of Professor Kruger von Kirkus, Doctor of Lovecraftology:

I first came across this ms. in a labyrinth beneath the earth’s crust, a gigantic calcium cathedral once inhabited, now ravaged and abandoned, and bearing slime traces of the passage of mind-eating telepaths known as Thuun’Ha, the sentient offspring of those cultists of Cthulhu who feed on the brains of luminous lizards and mentally twisted young humans. What to make of these stiffly encrusted pages? Carbon-dating places the eldest back to 1969, while others smell of a mold found only in the fruiting fungi of Arkham House. Indeed, scratched on an early page are the words, “By the Unholy Author of Fruiting Bodies and Other Fungi (1996).” The longest entry in this ms. is labeled “Beneath the Moors” (first published by Arkham House in 1974) and reads like a bad head injury. This tells of a descent into the Devil’s Pool and the crumbling remnants of a long-lost underground fish civilization, if this ichthyotic alien species can be called civilized. Eight shorter entries leave one asking, What’s real? Are you <\b>real? Am I<\b>? “Dagon’s Bell,” a Lumleyization of Lovecraft’s “Deep Ones,” sets itself not in New England but under the phosphorescent rot and gurgling gases of nauseatingly miasmal kelp off the northeast coast of England. Readers dig at their skin and can barely breathe amid glowing putrescence, their brains choked by clotted and glutinous bursts of speech from slithering, slapping, flopping Deep Ones. “The Sun, the Sea, and the Silent Scream” tells of a woman’s scream so deep no sound comes out. “The Second Wish,” “Big ‘C’,” and “Rising with Surtsey,” all Cthulhu inspired, leave one in a blue glare under a gibbering moon.

(Ed.’s note: On 31 October 2001 Professor von Kirkus, suffering from a severe, rough, fishlike scaling, babbling deliriously, “They’re coming for me!” during a torrential rainfall, vanished into the Yorkshire Moors.)