Montag, 24. September 2012

Dark Gods by T.E.D. Klein

Pan Books. 1987

                            My UK edtion from 1987 with a truly stupid cover that doesn't do this book justice.

                                                                    The original 1986 US edition.


"Children of the Kingdom"
"Black Man with a Horn"
"Nadelman's God"

I’m pushing the edge here as far as my own personal concept of “vintage” goes. I’m telling myself that any one younger than 40 would consider a 25 year old book to be “vintage”, so I’ll let it slide.

“DARK GODS” has to be one of the finest single author horror collections I’ve ever read and definitely the finest H. P. Lovecraft inspired collection ever. Mr. Klein has taught written and even edited the old “Twilight Zone Magazine. Sadly due to writers block he has written very little. Aside from “DARK GODS” he has published one novel, Ceremonies, and only a few the short stories, including "The Events at Poroth Farm" which “Ceremonies” is based on.

Interesting trivia: Mr. Klein’s full name is Theodore "Eibon" Donald Klein. He addes The name “Eibon” as a nod to “Clark Ashton Smith” and to Mr. Smith’s fictional Wizard “Eibon” and his self named tome of forbidden knowledge “The Book of Eibon”. This allowed Mr. Klein to have a cool by-line of “T.E.D.”.

I read two of the novellas included in this collection prior to 1986. I read “Children of the Kingdom back in 1981 in the classic anthology “Dark Forces” and “Black Man with a Horn” two years later in “New Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos” in 1983.

And now to the novellas…….

“Children of the Kingdom”

CotK takes place in New York during the lates 70s or early 80s prior to a massive summer power outage/black out. It deals with NYC basically being invaded by a race of subterranean half humans who reproduce in the oddest way. This story unfolds nicely through 2 parallel plot threads. The first one deals with a young man and his elderly Grandfather. Gramps gets moved into a senior citizens apartment complex in a neighbourhood slowly being taken over by swarthy foreigners and other undesirable types. This is a nice intentional nod to Mr. Lovecraft’s issues with multiculturalism. Gramps and the young man make friends with a  costa Rican priest who is writing a “true” history of the races. It seems that there was once a half human civilization in what would become Costa Rica. It seems that they were punished by the gods for being so warlike. The Gods removed their penises and forced them underground. The 2nd thread in the story deals with a series of strange occurrences centered on the sewer system. I wonder if they could be somehow connected with the old priest’s histories. Read it and find out!


A couple buy themselves an old house in the country at a bargain price.  Actually it’s a steal since the husband gets the house through a crooked highway planning scam.
It’s seems a madman lived there with his “pet/adoptive child” and no one has been feeding it since it’s “father” was sent to a mad house when he refused to sell his home to the highway commission. And when “Petey” gets hungry he becomes very angry. The folks at the new owners house warming party are about to find out.

“Black Man with a Horn”

This is a great story. It thinks it’s the best “Cthulhu Mythos” story ever written by someone else other tham Mr. Lovecraft. A pulp writer, and acquaintance of HPL, finds out the maybe Mr. Lovecraft wasn’t making up all of his stories. I’m not going to say more. This is a wonderful mystery, Mythos tale and character study. The old pulp is writer is based on “Frank Belknap Long” which adds that certain touch of realism and authenticity. Find this story and read it! I can’t even begin to describe how good it is!

Here is what "World Fantasy Award" winner Darrell Schweitzer recently said in a discussion about this story and Mr. Klein....

" A great story. The protagonist is obviously based on Frank Belknap Long. Klein had a knack for making serious literature out of what would have in most peoples' hands been fanfic. If only he were still writing!"

“Nadelman’s God”

 I just love “OMG! I’ve help create a monster!” kinds of stories.
 Mr. Nadelman is a self satisfied ass of an Advertising executive who was a pretentious gothic poet during his college years. It now seems that a Heavy Metal Band wants to use one of his old poems on their new album. He’s flattered and says yes. Unfortunately an unbalanced fan takes the song literally and follows the directions given in it to create a new “god”, a god of death and despair for the modern age. This succeeds beyond the fans wildest dreams. Sadly he can’t control what he has called up and it goes searching for its true creator. The nice since of unstoppable doom makes this one tough to read.

You can consider yourself extremely lucky if you can get your hands on a copy of this book. Every single one of these 4 novellas pays off in spades! If you love HPL, then the pay off is even higher. Believe me, this book is that good! Now go out there and get searching!

Take care.
And thanks for stopping by!



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