2 of 5 stars.
This horror tale melds artistic creation with supernatural inspiration as outre-intrigued visual artist, Enoch Coffin, travels to horror-tainted Dunwich, MA to meet divinely-inspired prose poet, Xavier Aboth in order to illustrate Aboth’s latest collection.
This deeply uneven tale starts beautifully, casting an eerie light on Aboth’s interactions with his surroundings. Likewise, the relationship between the 2 men shifts toward an easy homo-eroticism, artistic-spiritual in nature. Aboth, however, cannot reconcile his education and idiolect with his poetry created in possessed states.
Soon, the landscape problematically assumes a bigger role in Coffin’s assessment of Aboth. The word Horror gets thrown around like a tangible thing, without showing what this horror might be as if pointing to a Lovecraft reference is enough. A fill-in-the-blank horror story does not work without anything implied to spark the reader’s imagination.
The crafted story falls to the side, as numerous elements of Lovecraft mythos are dropped without description or context, leading the reader precisely nowhere.
“They Smell of Thunder” appears in New Cthulhu 2: More Recent Weird edited by Paula Guran after originally appearing in Encounters with Enoch Coffin (Dark Regions Press, 2013).
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