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The Dreaming God [Paperback]

By Ken Asamatsu (Editor) & Robert M. Price (Introduction by)
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Item description for The Dreaming God by Ken Asamatsu & Robert M. Price...

This well-received collection of original stories and articles inspired by the 'Cthulhu Mythos' created by H.P. Lovecraft was published in Japan in 2002 as a two-volume set under the name Hishinkai. The list of contributing authors is a who's-who of Japanese horror fiction, featuring some of the finest writers in Japan today, and reviews demonstrate that the Japanese taste for horror can send shivers up English-speaking spines as well! We are proud to present this fourth and last volume of the series, with a new selection of eerie masterpieces to delight and chill you. Each story is accompanied by a fascinating introduction by Robert M. Price, the recognized master of the Mythos. The cover is by Yamada Akihiro, who is already winning fans with his "four seasons" approach to the four books in this series. In addition to handling many of the covers for the Japanese-language editions of Lovecraft and other Mythos works, he has built up a loyal following in the States as well for his work.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   382
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 5" Height: 8.25"
Weight:   0.95 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jul 1, 2007
Publisher   Kurodahan Press
ISBN  4902075148  
ISBN13  9784902075144  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Humanities > English
2Books > Subjects > Horror Fiction > Anthologies
3Books > Subjects > Horror Fiction > General
4Books > Subjects > Horror Fiction > Ghosts

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Dazzling conclusion to a revelatory series of Japanese Cthulhu mythos fiction  Aug 23, 2007
The Dreaming God completes the mesmerizing tetrology of newly translated Japanese Cthulhu mythos fiction (or Yog Sothothery if you prefer) from Kurodahan Press. These stories originally appeared in Japan in 2002 and are now available to western readers for the first time. The virtues of the preceding books apply to The Dreaming God. It is a high quality print-on-demand trade paperback that costs $20.00 There is no discount from this site but it is available for free shipping if you buy > $25 worth of stuff (like Inverted Kingdom, Straight to Darkness and Night Voices, Night Journeys). The cover art, marvelously beautiful and unique among all mythos books, is by Yamada Akihiro. Each cover in the series represents one of the seasons (Night Voices, Night Journeys spring, Inverted Kingdom summer, Straight to Darkness fall and The Dreaming God winter). My personal favorite was Straight to Darkness but this one is perhaps the most disquieting, where a bird-like creature with a human face stares at the reader from a moonlit snowy branch. Page count in each book was generous; here it is 382, including a 7 page forward, a 6 page introduction by Robert Price, a front/back otherwise blank title page for each story, a 2 page introduction discussing each individual story, also by Price, 3 nonfiction essays beginning on page 289 and minibios of the contributing authors and translators starting on page 373. Editing was flawless; translations were as seamless as we have come to expect from Kurodahan Press, except in one story I'll note later.

Here are the contents:
ASAMATSU Ken: Foreword translated by Edward LIPSETT
TACHIHARA Toya: "The Quest to the Nameless City" translated by Kathleen TAJI
KURASAKA Kiichiro: "A Night in Exham Lodge" translated by Daniel DAY
AZUCHI Moe: "...Which Art in Heaven" translated by R. Keith ROELLER
TOMONARI Jun'ichi: "Inside Out" translated by Edward LIPSETT
IINO Fumihiko: "Quagmire" translated by R. Keith ROELLER
FUSHIMI Kenji: "Rshanabi Street" translated by C.F. RYAL and Yaemi SHIGYO
SENO Yufuko: "City of the Dreaming God" translated by Kathleen TAJI
HARADA Minoru: "H.P. Lovecraft and Modern Occultism" translated by Naomi OTANI
WASHIZU Yoshiak: "The Cthulhu Mythos on Screen" translated by Michiyo MAYUMI
AOKI Jun: "Filmography of the Cthulhu Mythos Films" translated by Edward LIPSETT
As in previous volumes, all of the authors and stories were new to me. The forward by Asamatsu-san, as usual, was spot on for setting the mood for the anthology. Robert Price's introduction compared the general tone and outlook of the fiction of Robert E. Howard, Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith. It was interesting enough although I can't say it had much to do with the fiction at hand. His individual story introductions were excellent for putting everything into context, although they should be read after you have finished the stories themselves, as they contain spoilers. The nonfiction essays at the back were also absorbing but were originally written about mostly western works for a Japanese audience. They don't give us any particular insight into the state of Cthulhu films in Japan. If low budget mythos films interest you, you need to get The Lurker in the Lobby from Nightshade Books. As usual, I was very appreciative to get the small blurbs on each author, discussing where they first encountered Lovecraft or what they like about him. This should be a model for all mythos anthologies.

Briefly, I cannot recommend this book and the preceding volumes highly enough. Perspective and prose are all strikingly original compared to our usual mythos fare. As I read this I was exhilarated by the fiction and saddened because there are to be no more volumes. Dreamlike and vividly graphic prose brings a sense of yoki, or gruesomeness, to the reader. I hope Kurodahan Press can be encouraged to find more superior Japanese horror for us in the future, especially if it is Lovecraftian!

*********Spoilers may follow so stop now if that bothers you****************

"The Quest to the Nameless City" required a little research on my part. These authors did not write trying to cross a cultural divide and that sometimes mean we have to work at it. "The Secret Memoir of the Missionary - Prologue" from Straight to Darkness was more approachable if you knew something of the introduction of Christianity to Japan. "The Horror in the Kabuki Theatre" from Inverted Kingdom worked better if you had any understanding of Kabuki and its history as an art form. "The Plague of St. James Infirmary" from Night Voices, Night Journeys used some actual historical figures, including some from Japan who I was unfamiliar with, as characters. This time I was not going to be limited by my western culture! I did a wikipedia search of The Monkey God and found out that Sun Wukong accompanies the monk Xuanzang on the journey to retrieve Buddhist sutras from India. They are joined later in their journey by Pigsy and Sandy, who were ordered to go with the priest to atone for their crimes. In "The Quest to the Nameless City" Xuan Zhuang enlists the aid of these same companions to go to the Nameless City to meet, it is implied, Abdul Alhazrad, to obtain the knowledge to imprison the Great Old Ones. This subverts a religious folk tale to mythos ends, much like "The Secret Memoir of the Missionary - Prologue" did with a historic Christian voyage. Maybe they are successful, but poor Sandy becomes a Deep One. I also agreed with Price's introduction that this series of three narratives was modeled after (or at least strongly resembled) Derleth's Trail of Cthulhu.

"A Night in Exham Lodge" tells about an American politician's visit to the manor of an actress on the English countryside. What he experiences was not anything he could have imagined. Or maybe it was.

"...Which Art in Heaven" was the first absolute gem of the book. A young woman in an orphanage wonders why she has an unusual mark on her hip and then conceives she was a conjoined twin. She does not know where her twin is, what happened to it at birth. Supernatural twins are a hoary mythos tradition since the days of "The Dunwich Horror." This story was a brilliant new twist on the subject.

"Inside Out" was another astonishing story that does not obviously parade its mythos connections. A Japanese author has a possibly imaginary friend named Chau Chan (perhaps similar to Tcho Tcho? I'm not sure if this is a coincidence with the Japanese) Describing how this happened is done in a flashback when he decided to have a working vacation in Fiji. He gets to tour a site where there were cannibal rites years ago. The staff at the small hotel he is staying at gives him a sulu (A Fijian garment) patterned with weird fish frog lizard things. In a few pages of horrific prose more graphic than Lovecraft himself would have imagined, the residents of the hotel intoxicated on kava, recreate a cannibal rite. I was squirming after I read this!

"Quagmire" gave me a little heartburn as there was some odd juxtaposition of tenses and perspective that seemed to be the fault of the translation. Some odd story structure was probably more the doing of the author. Getting past that, it was a very agreeable read. A derelict man is taken in by his elderly aunt and given a nice room in the hotel she lives in. He meets a nice girl there. Unfortunately, all is not as it seems and his tenuous grasp on reality begins to slip as he discovers the true nature of his relatives and the other hotel guests.

"Rshanabi Street," another fine tale, is best appreciated after reading Price's introduction. At least, it was very helpful for me once I had read the story, as I am unfamiliar with common eastern legends, myths and names. A menial worker tries to track down a fellow employee who was fired. He knows his friend sometimes hangs out on Rshanabi Street. Not appearing on any maps, this street is not particularly easy to find and is not very easy to leave.

"City of the Dreaming God" was magnificent, a fitting valedictory to a marvelous series of anthologies. If the mythos entities are real, what makes them so? What gives them their power to affect our world? What would you do if you married a Deep One, lived in Innsmouth and settled down to some gentrified small town living?

In summary, a masterful book, part of a completely unique and original Lovecraftian series of anthologies. I am so sorry it is coming to a close. Urgently recommended!

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