This review also appears on Goodreads.
This is a long article. If you’re not interested in long articles, the short version is that I like Space Eldritch very much, and I recommend you buy it immediately so that you too can like it very much. The long version follows.
One of the great allures of H.P. Lovecraft’s writing was that it didn’t so much cross genres as it did appropriate from them to make something uniquely his own. There was a strong element of fantasy in his work: dark fantasy, certainly, but his world was filled with history, ancient civilizations, magic, monsters, prophecies, secret societies, and mysteries that defied the rational mind. There was an equally strong element of science fiction: the Elder Gods were wholly alien to us, they possessed intimate knowledge of the way the universe worked, and many of their servitors were actually aliens from other planets, and used unknown technologies to pursue their goals. Even the magic in his stories was a hybrid of science, with mathematical calculations included in profane incantations.
But behind it all, Lovecraft’s mythos was horror: in his stories, the world we know is a veneer at best, and often simply a feeble lie told in the face of unimaginable horrors. Mankind, secure in its belief that it knew everything important about the universe, was unaware that most of what it knew was wrong and the rest was simply inadequate. There was a book that would tell you the truth about everything, but reading it would drive you insane. And there were things out there that could very easily destroy humanity—wipe us off the face of the earth, without a trace that we were ever here—and the only reason they hadn’t was they hadn’t noticed us yet.
It is a grim, bleak world, but the immensity and monstrosity of that bleakness brings with it a sense of wonder. It’s that wonder that ultimately dooms the characters in his stories, and will ultimately doom humanity, because humanity is enthusiastic about “piercing the veil,” but wholly incapable of handling what it finds on the other side.
It is in this kind of world that the stories in Space Eldritch exist.