|When we remember that HP Lovecraft wrote his fiction as a contemporary
of the twenties and thirties it is interesting to read those of the nineties
who carry the torch of the mythos into the new millennium. Now names such
as R.E. Howard, Robert Block and August Derleth are replaced by John Tynes,
Dennis Detwiller and A. Scott Clancy and others, each flavouring and enhancing
Lovecraft’s dark future for the human race.
The names of the modern writers above may be familiar to visitors of a gaming bent for they are the foremost independent writers of supplements to Chaosium’s Call of Cuthulhu (CoC) role playing game. Their ‘Delta Green’ line breathed new life into jaded GM’s still hankering for the heady days of Masks of Nyarlathotep which was arguably the greatest roleplaying campaign ever written. Delta Green spans the years between the 1928 Raid on Innsmouth to the present day, taking in such diverse mythos events of the depression, WWII, South American juntas, the Vietnam war and ‘first contact’ alien encounters, building a massive, critically acclaimed campaign background.
Dark Theatres kicks off it’s collection of eight short stories with a trip back to where it all began, telling, in flashback, of the federal raid on Innsmouth in 1928 that took place after the events related by Lovecraft in ‘The Shadow over Innsmouth’. Other stories cover WWII, Vietnam, a group of UFO spotters who bite off more than they can chew, and some ‘X-files’ type stories from the nineties. The best of the lot for my money and thankfully the longest in the collection is ‘Suicide Watch’ by Arinn Dembo, that recounts a hired bodyguard’s custody of a bad-boy rock star in his descent into the mythos. Very noir-ish and a good study of characterisation which is probably why it appeals to me.
On a game related note I fix the spoiler factor for Delta Green players reading this collection at a medium. It could take a little of the edge off your sessions but no lasting sanity damage.
If any regular readers would like to borrow this book for a while, just
get in contact and see if we can’t arrange something.