Mixed bag of diabolicals never before seen in the US that may intrigue fans and gain a few new ones.
Though best-known for his endless Necroscope series (Necroscope: Avengers, 2001, plus eleven other behemoths in the series), Lumley first arrived in print as a Lovecraft wannabe with his own Cthulhu horror series that featured Titus Crow and had more action than the master but less style (Titus Crow, Volume One: The Burrowers Beneath and Transition), as mobile sludge bubbled with hellish dreams and babbling madness—the horror, the horror! Folded into his Harry Keogh Necroscope tales are two other long works, including The Psychomech Trilogy, while The Dreamland Series (four volumes) features David Hero and Eldin the Wanderer. All of this is background to the present patchwork, which collects what often read like early bottom-drawer leftovers amateurishly clogged with adverbial excess and far distant in style from the masterful title tale in Fruiting Bodies and Other Fungi (1993). Lumley opens here with three tales of Titus Crow, the psychic detective who later becomes the slayer of varied Lovecraftian aliens and sea-bottom monsters. In “Inception,” though, he’s seen almost at birth as he’s baptized with holy water that contains a mysterious and powerful Middle Eastern elixir that fixes him squarely into his destiny as a destroyer of satanic forces. “The Weird Wines of Naxas Niss” and “Stealer of Dreams” show David Hero and Eldin as agents of the king of the Dreamlands and even offer a whiff of sex. Brand-new are the vampire killer Harry Keogh stories, the Lovecraftian “Resurrection,” and the much longer “Dinosaur Dreams” (with crazy fossils!) and “Dead Eddy,” set in Las Vegas and featuring a dead master gambler still addicted to the music of the slots and the possibility of a last big win.
Stories that show death as a piddling health lapse like, say, the flu.