Desert Of Zin

The occasional blog of Alistair Bain – Writer, Husband, Father and Chief Techno-Arcanologist at the Institute of Giant Robots, Spaceships and Wizards. None of these positions pay well.

The Burrowers Beneath by Brian Lumley

Burrowers is the first book in a series of six that he wrote for the Cthulhu Mythos.  Lumley is is better known for the Necroscope series of horror novels (it’s what I knew him for at any rate).

The Burrowers Beneath is my favourite of Lumley’s Mythos work but, even then, I feel that it’s not as good a Cthulhu Mythos tale as it could be.

The story deals with Titus Crow, who has interests in the more uncanny aspects of the world around him, and his erstwhile Dr Watson, Henri-Laurent de Marigny, and their involvement in discovering and thwarting the hideous machinations of the Great Old One, Shudde-Mell.

I’ll admit that, while it’s a great read, it doesn’t really fit in with my visions of the Cthulhu Mythos.  Lovecraft heroes were scholars or artists, and tended to reel in terror against the unescapable insanity of what they faced.  I always preferred this, the realisation of their being helpless in the face of unspeakable evil.  All my favourite Mythos stories followed that theme.

But with Lumley, his characters are able and well-versed in occult lore.  They are aware, for the most part, of what they’re up against and are armed with incantations, elixirs, the Star Stones of Mnar (the mere presence of which repels even the most foul of creatures) and the resources of an organisation, The Wilmarth Foundation, dedicated to the eradication of all things Mythos.  This is no bad thing but I think it reduces the scale of the cosmic horror they’re up against.  It becomes manageable and controlled.

And that just isn’t the Mythos.

So, I would recommend the book heartily.  It’s a great read.

But as a Cthulhu Mythos story?  It could have been better…

March 23, 2007 at 9:01 am | Reading | Tags: , , , | No comment