Commenting on the work of another somewhat lesser known mythos author, this time Duane Pesice. Pesice’s stories come in different shapes and sizes, covering a variety of topics taking inspiration from here and there. Some, like “Inner Dark” are truly scary while others such as “Green” veer into darkly comedic or sinister irony reminiscent of Clark Ashton Smith or Robert Bloch. There’s a fair amount of humor to be found, there’s even a couple parodies.
A lot of Pesice’s work has been published on the internet, but also in print. In the usual format of this blog, I’ll say a few words about each story:
A bookshop owner in West Groves, Illinois receives a strange old tome named Vox Arcanum, amid a shipment of books. Something draws him to read the book and begins to have visions of a place named “Leng” where the strange book was written. There is an excellent audio version of this tale on youtube done by Morgan Scorpion.
Jonesville 2000 (1999)
A wondrous journey where the lines between awakening and slumber are blurred. Taking place during Christmas, it is technically a Christmas story as well.
The premise is that a man named Jones meets someone named “Nyarla” (sic) in an internet chatroom after which he receives some rather interesting presents in the mail. Then the dreams begin.
When A Little Shop of Horrors meets Eldritch Blue…
Blue Easter (2000)
Sequel to “Malone”. The authorities capture and interview a Deep One, discussing the threat the Great Old Ones pose and also the status of the Deep Ones. Are they evil? Do they have human rights? In August Derleth stories they are often depicted almost entirely as animals, non-human or evil, while in Lovecraft’s original “Shadow Over Innsmouth” there is much ambiguity. “Blue Easter” isn’t really a deeply philosophical story, but it does raise some interesting questions. Worthwhile read from Mr. Pesice once again.
Letters from Outside (2000)
Two Cthulhu-Mythos vignettes. In the first one, man discusses time travel with a dark stranger in a bar. In the second one an RPG nerd purchases some eldritch figurines.
Fear and Loathing in Innsmouth (2000)
Story in the form of diary entries by a 12 year old child from Innsmouth. Brief and pretty predictable, but the premise is original and the protagonist has a good sense of humor.
Ghoul Picnic (2000)
A dreamland story following a group of ghouls. They encounter intruders to the dreamland from the planet Yuggoth and run into the dark lord Nyarlathotep. There is some good character work to be found here. The ghouls are depicted as very animalistic, yet also anthropomorphic resulting a style that reminds me of the Warriors books (don’t laugh at me, my wife is obsessed with those books, they’re not bad).
Morgan Scorpion also has an excellent reading of this tale. Check it out!
Inner Dark (2001)
Truly nightmarish depiction of the coming of the Great Old Ones. Poetic and gruesome, told from the subjective point of view of one individual.
I of the Storm (2001)
A King in Yellow story that ties nicely into the Cthulhu-Mythos. There are basically 3 different schools of King in Yellow stories:
Pesice’s story is a dreamlike journey through the landscape of Carcosa and is a pretty interesting reimagining of the dead city from a distinctly Lovecraftian perspective.
Brown Jenkins (2015)
Pnakotic Reaction (2015)
Published in The Fall of Cthulhu.
I really liked this one. Its basically a short riff on Lovecraft’s Dream Cycle stories but very modern in approach. The protagonist is a musician and a skilled dreamer who travels to the dreamland in pursuit of a magic spell. A personal favorite of mine among Pesice’s work.