The Litany of Earth

The Litany of Earth: A Tor.Com Original - Ruthanna Emrys

Modern timeless Lovecraft.

 

This captured the feel of Lovecraft's universe without ever really feeling like Lovecraft's writing. I enjoyed it quite a bit. 

 

It answers some questions about what happened after some of the events of Shadow over Innsmouth and handles them quite well.

 

The fact that the cultists from the story get significantly more sympathetic treatment here than they did in Lovecraft's original work makes this stand out a bit. It seems fair enough, since we are definitely seeing it from the "inside," but I do have trouble connecting what Aphra seems to remember of her religious beliefs with what we see in Lovecraft's horror stories.

 

She sees everything as peaceful, whereas I remember them as anything but. She also manages to take the sting, the real "weirdness" out of them, which I both like as a new viewpoint and dislike because that was part of the charm of the original stories. These cultists seem more like hippies, worshipping something that does no real harm and being deeply connected to the earth.

 

Except, you know, that they had human sacrifices and basically raped women in the original story.

 

I appreciated that this was a deconstruction of the original story, which certainly has a level of worry about "others" that Lovecraft himself would have extended to those of other races and nationalities (the story explicitly ties these themes in) as well as those of "monstrous" and other-worldly decent, but in the handling of these themes it seems to forget that this was not a terribly peaceful religion that was minding its own business; there were human sacrifices that took place on such a level they had to blame a plague to explain the numbers of the dead and women were forced to mate with the Deep Ones, with no suggestion that it was a choice on their part at all.

 

This is definitely an interesting and quite fascinating take on Lovecraft's original story, but it feels just as oddly biased as the original, though in a very different way. The writing was beautiful, however, and I'd love to see what else the author has up her sleeve.