Monday, February 6, 2023

THE WILD ADVENTURES OF CTHULHU Vol. 2 by Will Murray (who else?)

Yep, Scary Will Murray is at it again. This volume is packed with the same brand of creepy fun found in Volume 1, with a couple of new angles, too. Three of the tales were written especially for this book, and while the first volume trotted all over the globe, most the stories here take place in Lovecraft’s stomping grounds of Old New England.

The first tale is purportedly about a Lakota shaman sent to Korea by the CEEP (an organization dedicated to protecting we mere mortals from Cthulhu and his ilk), to deal with a dire threat to our continued presence on this planet. I say “purportedly,” because I suspect it may be a thinly-disguised version of psychic heroics performed by Mr. Murray himself. What’s that? Am I calling Will a closet Lakota shaman? I wouldn’t put it past him. This tale examines not only Cthulhu’s influence in modern-day Korea, but the mystical and cultural anthropological connections between East and West. And it all rings true. Does Lakota Will save the world in this one? I’m not telling. If you don’t want to spend the rest of your life shivering under your bed, you’d best read it yourself.

Next up is a visit the fabled town of Innsmouth, Massachusetts. It’s under a new kind of Shadow now, and we can thank the narrator of this nightmare for going there and fighting for his life—so we don’t have to. The hero of this one is not by any means Will—he’s a clueless tourist just looking for a good place to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Instead, oblivious to repeated warnings to stay away, he barges blithely into town and has the bejesus scared out of him. Thankfully, it’s scary for him, not us, as we’re safe in our easy chairs.

Ever wonder how Arkham, Massachusetts celebrates Halloween? Will knows all about that, too, and it ain’t for the faint of heart. And when it happens to fall on a Sunday, things get even weirder. End-of-civilization-as-we-know-it weird. It’s a cautionary tale you won’t want to miss. And it’s followed by another new-for-this-volume, where things get even more loathsome.

Another tale features a thinly-disguised version of the author bearing the designation ORV 007, who reports to a man named Cranston (no first name revealed, but we know who that is). This expose of what really goes on in the wild world of Remote Viewing will make you think twice before ever laying your head on your pillow again.

Still another story will teach you not to mess with Tarot cards. Jeez, it is even safe to play with a Quija board? Probably not!

For a change of pace, we visit the Aztec empire of 1753 to learn the truth about the god worshipped as Quetzalcoatl. Then it’s off to the Old West for a story I believe—or at least hope—is entirely fictional, the “The Cow-Men of Coburn.” The author has his tongue firmly in cheek in this one, and it’s all great fun. (Assuming, of course, that it didn’t really happen. If it did, we should all book tickets to Mars.)

For the finale, Will’s native American doppelganger Raymond Redarth returns for a harrowing visit to Massachusetts and a landlocked hamlet called Weirport. Once again, Redpath/Murray risks his skin trying to plug the growing hole between our reality and that of the Outer Darkness. We are all much indebted to Raymond/Will for his service.

Lurking behind all these stories are hints they are far more than the product of the fevered brain of a fiction writer. If you’re wondering (like me) how Mr. Murray can write all this stuff and retain his sanity, maybe the real answer is—he’s not making it up. Maybe this is his reality, and he’s merely reporting on events that are hushed up by the media to prevent a global panic that would make Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds broadcast look like a Sunday picnic.

Will civilization as we know it last long enough for a Volume 3? We can only hope!

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