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The Riddle of Cthulhu [Paperback]

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Item description for The Riddle of Cthulhu by Ray Emerson...

As we now sit on the brink of Armageddon, it just could be that WE are under threat of an invasion --- not as a country, but as a planet. And our weapons of mass destruction would be no match for what THEY could undoubtedly bring to the show. If we are clear on nothing else, the many theories of alien invasions all seem to agree on one thing --- WE can't beat THEM. At least, not technologically.

"The Riddle of Cthulhu," by Ray Emerson, offers a neo-classical odyssey in which humanity must determine who or what the aliens are, and then come to grips with the most serious problem Man has yet faced --- how to avoid total annihilation. Two young lovers and their companions are at the heart of this tale of bravery, adventure, and an insidious alien invasion.

The ancient myth of the devil, Cthulhu, and the Necronomicon of the Abdul al-Hazred have long gripped science fiction and fantasy readers with the sheer horror of the unknowable. In this story, Cthulhu has reoccupied the Earth with his evil "Old Ones" and is bent on destroying Mankind. Emerson explores the eternal battle between the forces of good and evil, and further intertwines this clash with the age-old mystery: "Where did we come from and why are we here?" And we are left with one final question of our own: "Could WE actually pull this thing off and beat THEM?"

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Item Specifications...

Pages   248
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9" Width: 6.12" Height: 0.62"
Weight:   0.82 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 15, 2003
Publisher   Llumina Press
ISBN  1932047786  
ISBN13  9781932047783  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Horror Fiction > General
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
3Books > Subjects > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > General

Reviews - What do customers think about The Riddle of Cthulhu?

Not a satisfying read  Dec 30, 2005
My experience with this book was frustrating. I knew not to expect a traditional Lovecraft story, but was still unsatisfied. The characters came across as fake and soulless, while their dialogue and actions sometimes made no sense. The characters motivations seemed to materialize out of thin air, all of which did not help me to relate to the characters at all.

The story itself was less interesting than one would hope for with such a promising premise. The introduction really captured my imagination, but once we join the main characters, disappointment ensues. I found myself pushing through most pages, giving the author the benefit of the doubt until Ulysses and Cybele finished their adventure. I did appreciate attempts to mix Greek mythology with the Cthulhu universe, but overall, I feel dumber for having read this book.
Not for Lovecraft purists  Aug 30, 2005
This is not a bad book, but it's not good Lovecraft. Yog-Sothoth has now become an "extension" of Cthulhu(?), and this whole story is definitely not in any Lovecraft, or Derleth, or any follower of Lovecraft, mold. With that out of the way, it's not a bad story. A little too much emphasis on sex, but that's not unusual for today's writers. The characters are a little two dimensional and just slightly too "heroic" for their own good. If you love Lovecraft, don't even think of reading or buying this book.
Time, the Forth Dimension  Feb 7, 2005
I don't generally dwell on typos in a vanity press book. Accidents happen, and when you are doing most of the work yourself, they seem to happen more often. But in this case the misspelling of 'fourth' turns out to be one of the highlights of the book. And it does make a peculiar kind of sense.

Ray Emerson's freshman novel is and adaption of Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos into the context of an attack in the genetic structure of the human race. Somewhere out in space, the Elder Gods (also known as 'good old squid-face') have devised a plan to take over the earth by using a comet to sprinkle us with alien DNA. Now, faced with the sudden appearance of beautiful blond vampires who eat sailors, the secret agencies of the free world unite to stave of this horrific invasion.

It's up to Detective Ulysses Martini and beautiful psychic Cybele Sikorsky to solve a string of ugly murders and chase the cause into the dark caverns and oceans beneath New Hampshire. Or rather, that's what their doing when they're not in the bedroom. Lovecraft, who I believe was something of a prude, will be turning over in his grave.

What is interesting about this book is Emerson's efforts to develop scientific explanations for Lovecraft's evil creations. He also tries to fit Cthulhu into Judeo-Christian mythology. In neither case does he succeed well, since Lovecraft intended his creations to be just what they were - mysterious and terrifying denizens of a world gone dark. Explanations will always ring false because they are never more than one person's opinion. That Emerson has to modify Lovecraft a bit to make everything work doesn't help.

The book is a little too roughly written, a little too focused on sex, and a little too prone to overblown language to be a success. On the other hand, Emerson demonstrates a unique ability to explain the scientific complexities behind his story making. There is potential here and the book does have it's moments. My feeling is that, if Emerson were to learn how to flesh out his characters and build up his narrative, he could very easily be an entertaining writer.

Be warned that the more you like Lovecraft, the more you are likely to be irritated by some of Emerson's reinterpretations. The book lacks what we like best about Lovecraft, the brooding sense of doom that inhabits his horror stories. If on the other hand you are looking for a breezy bit of heroic sci-fi you might very well like this story.
Curled Up With a Good Book  Oct 15, 2004
The Riddle of Cthulhu is a mix of ancient mythology, science fact and science fiction combined to form a mesmerizing tale that is hard to put down.

The cast of characters includes aliens who manifest themselves in a beguiling manner, protagonists who are named for Homeric heroes, manufactured critters beyond grotesque and enough seesaws between good battling evil to please the most discriminating reader.

The plot moves along steadily and is assisted by well-drawn characters whose personal foibles are believable. The science facts that are utilized so effectively give the whole book a ring of authenticity even in the face of the most outlandish "special effects". The science fiction becomes believable mostly because everything else is so recognizable and familiar.

Cybele calls to mind Ripley of Alien fame. She is a strong female character who manages to stand up very nicely against the boys, both human and otherwise. Some of the varmints she battles would give most anyone nightmares. It is refreshing to see a female hero for a change. The conflicts between Cybele and the men of the group provide a telling glance into the psyche of men faced with a strong, independent woman.

The Riddle of Cthulhu is the kind of book that, if you have to put it down before you finish it, keeps you wondering what comes next. That is the hallmark of a truly good book.

© 2004 by Karri Watson for Curled Up With a Good Book
Decent Read But Totally Unlovecraftian  Aug 9, 2004
The author's style doesn't bother me much, the plot made sense and even involved me a little, and the romance was amusing, bordering on titillating. However, as usual, the author has adopted the Derlethian heresy of good vs. evil, meaning that the story cannot be lovecraftian in any way.

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