The Seals of Abgal: A Homage to Lovecraft

H. P. LovecraftSeals received an interesting review on Monday. Apart from the reference to R. Crumb which I thought was a bit off the mark, overall, a very well written assessment in which the reviewer acknowledges my salute to H.P. Lovecraft. I’ll be honest, I loved that she did that. It is both humbling and euphoric. I wouldn’t say I had consciously tried to emulate Lovecraft’s style or voice, but I did aim for the pulpiness of that era, and I paid tribute to him in the story itself. My intention was partly to put a modern spin on Lovecraft’s philosophy of cosmicism–a central theme around which most of his stories were constructed–and partly to create my own mythos that could, hopefully, endure a series of stories. I never thought of it as a tale of horror though, but it’s quite possible that forty years ago it would have been viewed as such.

I take my craft seriously, but I’m still just playing in the long shadows of those literary giants before me, and for this person to have taken my small tale and compare it to something Lovecraft might have done, is immensely humbling for me. It’s an accolade I don’t deserve. Still, I allow myself to smile, if only for a wee while.

4.0 out of 5 stars Homage to Lovecraft, April 29, 2013

This review is from: The Seals of Abgal (A Guardians of the Seals Tale) (Kindle Edition)

This is a very well written novella. The premise is a bit shopworn, no pun intended. The owner of an antiquarian bookshop is visited by two ominous supernatural beings in quest of a mysterious grimoire. They torture and threaten him to locate it. The story can be read as homage to H.P. Lovecraft, and the style reflects the density and byzantine descriptions of a Lovecraft tale. As I read it, I kept visualizing the story as if it was illustrated in a comic book, drawn by R. Crumb perhaps, and I’m sure that was, again, a deliberate shout-out to classic horror comics.

The primary villain is genuinely creepy and disgusting, actually revolting. There’s a female character, Gio, and her description and her scenes have that fevered perfection of the ideal woman described by a teenage boy. Or an illustration on the cover of a Marvel comic.

The young bookshop owner escapes from his torturers, and how he does it came as a complete and happy surprise for me. I didn’t see that twist coming at all, although as in all the best stories, the clues are right there from the beginning. The novella is, I hope, the first part of a novel or a series and it is an intriguing beginning.

Having said all that, I’m not a fan of Lovecraft, detailed and extensive torture scenes, or perfect women characters with silken thighs. Except for a few moments I was never fully engaged with the story as a reader; I was always reading critically. Of course, I’m fairly sure I’m not the target audience.

I downloaded the Kindle version in response to a free promotion by the author. If he enlarges and expands this into a full novel, I’ll certainly buy it because I want to know how it comes out.

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