That is the case here as well; while some of these stories had me riveted, some were average, and some weren't that good. The point is, though, that this is another Call of Cthulhu Fiction book and it's worth every second it takes to read it. So maybe if you're reading this review prior to starting the book, you'll be on the lookout. But overall, the people that have contributed these stories are amazingly imaginative and creative so it's a very fun reading experience. So now, a brief look at the contents (no worries, no spoilers here): * = one of my favorites Mysterious Dan's Legacy*, by Matthew Baugh: a man's legacy takes him from Kansas to Arkham, Mass. What a good story! Arkham Rain*, by John Goodrich: Very well done story in which the protagonist discovers some unsettling news which takes him to Innsmouth. Sammons: Things start to go wrong when a detective takes on the case of a missing relative. Overall, a good read & another fine addition to my library shelf.
and that is not even mentioning the grammar that was not corrected (again not something I would get snotty about as my grammar is not great either and I am not a stickler for it ...but that in and of itself should explain how bad it is if it bothered me...:)Still overall an enjoyable read--especially for Lovecraft and Mythos fans.
The book contains a number of short-stories which take place in Arkham, MA and are inspired by the Call of Cthulhu RPG.
Arkham Tales is perhaps the beginning of a new venture for Chaosium, all original fiction set in the world of their Role Playing Game, Call of Cthulhu. The only access to modern Lovecraftian fiction I knew about was through the Cycle books, trade paperbacks by Chaosium. Generally, these books featured reprinted stories gleaned and selected, usually by Robert Price, from these various magazines (Cthulhu Codex, Crypt of Cthulhu, Midnight Shambler etc). Lately, with improved online connections and facilitation of book production by small presses the amount of books containing almost all new published mythos fiction has sky rocketed. Also, maybe it's only my imagination but this new generation of authors (not that the last one has moved off the scene) (maybe the 4th or 5th Lovecraft Circle?) is immensely talented so most of these collections have highly superior fiction. I always say we are in a golden age of mythos fiction, and point to books like Dead But Dreaming, Hardboiled Cthulhu, Horrors Beyond and the Delta Green books. GW Thomas is set to release Cthulhu Express soon, and Rainfall Books has some titles in the offing, while Pagan Publishing has a new trade paperback collection of DG chapbooks planned. Edward Lipsett has opened our eyes to Japanese mythos fiction via Kurodahan Press, John Pelan plans to issue The Cthulhian Singularity and Charlie Stross' The Jennifer Morgue is coming from Golden Gryphon. Just like you don't need to know any of the Delta Green sources to really enjoy their books. Someone will have to fill me in on the authors' reimbursement but I think it was peanuts plus 2 copies of the book, so truly these stories are labors of love. What I really like is there was a solicitation of stories and a culling process by the highly respected William Jones, from Elder Signs Press. The book itself is a good quality trade paperback, like all the cycle books. Here are the contents (not otherwise listed elsewhere that I could find, so I typed the dang thing myself): Mysterious Dan's Legacy - Matthew Baugh Vaughn's Diary - Robert Vaughn The Orb - Tony Campbell The Nether Collection - Cody Goodfellow Worms - Pat Harrigan They Thrive in Darkness - Ron Shiflet What Sorrows May Come - Lee Clark Zumpe Arkham Pets - James Ambuehl Small Ghost - Michael Minnis Burnt Tea - Michael Dziesinski Arkham Rain - John Goodrich Regrowth - David Conyers The Idea of Fear - CJ Henderson Disconnected - Brian Sammons The Lady in the Grove - Scott Lette On Leave in Arkham - Bill Bilstad Geometry of the Soul - Jason Andrew Spoilers may follow so stop now if that bothers you ********* Mysterious Dan's Legacy - Matthew Baugh - This is a new author to me. While I enjoyed the story, I confess to liking Unfinished Business better. What Sorrows May Come - Lee Clark Zumpe - Mr. Zumpe wrote The Breach, a terrific story in Horrors Beyond, and has a few stories in mythos magazines. Small Ghost was terrific, maybe the highlight of Arkham Tales. Arkham Rain was a terrific story about the Innsmouth taint visiting an unwitting family. Being a Conyers yarn it was a darn good read, although I've liked other stories by him better. The Idea of Fear - CJ Henderson - We, of course, did need a hard boiled PI story in this book! But like everything else by Brian Sammons, do not expect the usual mythos conventions or story format. So in summary, this is a terrific book of all brand new fiction.
When I read that this was based on the RPG and that readers would be greeted by the geography and characters of the game.