2 of 5 stars.
This manipulative short story masquerades as Lovecraft biography providing 3 possible readings. It purports to be biographical, claiming that Lovecraft procured the mad ramblings of an woman institutionalized where his parents were and wrongly thought to be his distant cousin. Said ramblings are strikingly similar to the alien-ocean-god tale of Cthulhu and Innsmouth. Lovecraft wrote the name of his story’s town and god-figures over the original text in the woman’s notebook.
The humans worship themselves through a demon called Darwin. If their line of faith were right I would be greater than my grandmother, my grandmother would be greater than hers, and she would be greater than . . .
-OR- One could imply that the notebook is a fake created by Lovecraft to add intrigue to his Cthulhu story and there is no faux cousin. The false family connection and the madhouse add nice writerly details.
No race can kill a planet they say. I warn them, there is no race as vile as humans.
-OR- There is no faux cousin nor notebook and the entire bio is a fictional short story by Webb to add mystery and longevity to the Lovecraft / Cthulhu world. This would put it on par with Shakespeare in Love and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer.
Aside from a few nice random quotes, this piece does not add much to the original Lovecraft with any of the 3 readings.
“The Doom that Came to Devil’s Reef” appears in New Cthulhu 2: More Recent Weird edited by Paula Guran after originally appearing in Through Dark Angles (Hippocampus, 2014).
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